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We have a habit around here of asking dogs to do things as opposed to telling them what they have to do. (about the only time routinely I deviate is when Zora is eating poop and then 90% of the time she completely ignores me, so yea that’s a successful tactic…not)
In the spirit of an ask, the human doing the asking has to realize that they might not get an answer they wanted.
And we’re ok with that around here. And the dogs learn that no is an answer they can safely give, and how to safely give a no without escalating a situation further (which is unfortunately not something majority of dogs learn. When dogs aren’t given the option by humans for a non confrontational ‘no’ answer to work, the dogs often figure out escalating will get them the results they are needing). It we get a ‘no’ we try to figure out why and then change the ask or the situation or depending on context do some behavior mod or training to increase the chance the next time the dog will feel more comfortable giving a yes, or sometimes we just leave it as a ‘no’ answer. I mean the dogs ask me to do things for them all the time and sometimes I tell them no, sometimes a no is just a no, and that’s a good thing for all of us. Sometimes the outcome of the question posed is rather amusing though.
The other night I was on the couch and Zora was snuggled up half on my lap half on the couch cushion, very comfy and content, when my spouse came over and said, “Hey Zora, could you move over so I can sit there?” (This is a common ask around here, and one she goes along with a yes answer to majority of the time.)
Zora lifted her head up. Gave a half hearted effort to move, and then flopped back down in the same spot very dramatically. “I tried, really I did, I tried to get up, but the strain was just too much, I’m too tired, just can’t do it. Look I tried, you can see how much effort that took, I just can’t move out of my most comfy spot right now. You understand. You can sit elsewhere, right?”
We both cracked up laughing. The drama. The diva. “Oh no, I’m just too tired. Can’t you see how much that small effort took out of me? I’d love to comply and do as you’re asking and move, but it’s just too great an ask right now. You understand, don’t you? Be a dear, and go sit somewhere else.”
OMG. This dog is too much. Too much!