On Saturday, Pamela at Something Wagging This Way Comes pointed out that most of what we think of as good dog behavior is actually good human behavior. We even use the same words–we are teaching our dogs “good manners” or “how to behave in public” or “to ask politely” for things.
This set me thinking about all of the really wonderful things about my dog, who is emphatically not a good human. Unless hermits count; Silas is great as long as he’s alone at home with just “his” people. The more I thought about them, the more I realized that all of Silas’s best traits are also all of his most “difficult” traits.
Silas is independent. He doesn’t lie on the rug and stare lovingly at me. Thank goodness. That much attention wigs me out. When we leave the house, he naps on the couch like we weren’t even gone. Independence is hard to train around, though. Other dogs seem to come pre-programed to care what their owners think. Not Silas. His attention is still, after over a year, a fleeting thing.
Silas has a sense of humor. Or whatever the dog equivalent is. His latest “joke” was to grab a throw pillow off the sofa and run like mad to the top of the stairs. When the human of choice gets up there to take it away, he’s at the top of the stairs, eyes shining, tail wagging. “Look at this awesome game!” he says. See also: the tape game I posted about on Friday.
Silas knows what he wants in life. I don’t even need to explain that one, do I?
Silas gives affection on his own terms. His snuggles are strictly voluntary. That much sweeter when given, but sometimes you just want a snuggle on demand, you know?
Silas is clever. He can solve puzzles and do tricks. He can also piece together all kinds of behavior chains that make life hard for his humans.
Most importantly, Silas is sensitive. He is very, very sweet. He has intuitively learned most of his best household behaviors without them being explicitly taught. He can also be incredibly paranoid about things so small the humans can’t even tell what they are.
Is it any wonder that I find him hard to live with, but can’t imagine life without him?