Abby isn’t afraid to let me know what she wants.
If she wants a belly rub, she rolls over on her back, paws in the air, waiting in perfect expectation of wish fulfillment. If I take too long, she may raise her head and look at me to make sure I see her request, or she may wiggle a bit to grab my attention.
If she wants a scratch, she will nose my hand to ask it to do its thing. If the hand remains still, she will nose it some more until it is resting on top of her face, to indicate where she wants the scratch. If the hand stops scratching too soon, she will let it know that the job is not complete by nosing it some more.
If she wants attention she will put her paw up and look up at me, to say please. If I persist on the computer, she will lay her paw on my arm. If that doesn’t convince me to set my work aside, she will put her head on my hand and make it quite difficult to move the mouse. If I prevail nonetheless through all this, she will get up, go get a toy, and drop it on the keyboard.
If she wants to go out, she will sit and stare at me intensely with her head slightly lowered and her paw on my arm. If I don’t react, she will pat my arm several times with her paw and look at me more intensely by extending her neck further. If I don’t catch on, she’ll move closer, until her nose is a breath from my face and stare her message into my brain. If I still remain the obtuse human, she will stand on me in order to get better staring leverage, bumping my nose with hers. If I tell her “off,” she will lie down on me and stare at me peevishly. If I tell her “wait,” she will get up and press the side of her face into mine. She’s persistent.
If she wants to go on a walk, she will jump up and down, run around in circles, and sneeze. (Excitement makes her sneeze.)
If she meets a new person, she will sniff their hands, pockets, and bags for treats. If she smells something, or if she doesn’t smell anything, she will sit pretty with her front paws in the air, asking for a treat. If she gets one, she’ll do every trick she knows to get another.
If I nuzzle with a different dog, she will look at me from across the room with the stare of ultimate martyrdom as she suffers my betrayal in silence. Then she will sigh and turn her face away from me.
If she wants to snuggle under the covers with me, she’ll paw at the sheets to ask me to lift them. When it’s time to get up, she will paw at the pillow to let me know. If I tell her to “wait,” she will lay down for 5 seconds, then get up and paw at the pillow. If I roll over, she will sit on my head. If I pull the covers over my head, she will paw at my head, trying to move the covers. It’s time to get up.
If she doesn’t want me to leave, she will hunker down into a little shivering ball of furry plight and stare at me mournfully to demonstrate the pain I am inflicting on her. She will all but cry tears of unremitting sorrow as I close the door on her. But when I come back home, she will always greet me with boundless joyful hugs and kisses (no tongue).
Abby doesn’t always get what she wants, but I always know what she wants. Well, and because she asks so sweetly (and persistently), she does almost always get what she wants. It’s hard to say no to someone so sweet and loving!
I’m not going to shoe-horn this into a lesson beyond the obvious — we should all be more like dogs! 😀
If you find me staring at you intently, it means I want to go out. 😉