Some people have such a simple view of dogs.
If you train them, they’ll make excellent companions. Or if you’re a strong leader, they’ll be perfect.
But don’t dogs ever just get bad moods?
Living In A Moody Household
Poor Honey. She’s such a calm presence in a moody household.
Actually, I have one main mood—gloomy.
But my husband runs the gamut. He may start the day talking a mile a minute and end it sulking. Toss in an angry rant and gut-busting laughter and you’ve either got an actor practicing his skills or my husband on a typical day.
Honey is more even-tempered than either of us. But she has her moods too.
Moods In A Dog
I don’t know exactly what combination of weather, biochemistry, and past experiences influences Honey’s moods. But I know she has them.
Some days she can barely control her jumping on a neighbor or friend. Other days she has the manners of a trained service dog.
One day a squirrel will run across her path and get no attention. Other days, Honey goes running for a tree half a block away because she heard a branch rustle.
Sometimes Honey is clingy.
Most mornings, she’ll nap on the couch or sleep under my desk while I’m writing. At least until 6:30 a.m. or so when her stomach clock goes off.
But this morning, she has already come by twice for lovies and just dropped a ball at my feet. I have no doubt that if I sat on the couch, she’d curl up in my lap in five seconds flat.
Understanding A Dog’s Moods
The people who understand a dog’s moods the best are people who work with them closely.
No, not research scientists. I’m talking about people with service dogs, folks who run agility courses, farmers.
If a dog’s only job is to hang around the house and be a companion, only a particularly sensitive person will notice their changing moods (you know, like the kinda people who come here and read about dog moods). But when your dog has a job, it’s easier to see the moods because their performance will change, sometimes for reasons you can’t see or explain.
It must be their moods.
Working With Moods
Both my husband and I have learned that we can’t always give into our moods. Sometimes you just have to do stuff when you’re feeling bad. And a good day is no sign that you’re on the right track. It might just be the longer, sunnier days interacting with your brain chemistry.
But you can’t ignore moods either.
And I’ve tried to pay more attention to Honey’s.
I’ve cancelled training sessions because Honey wasn’t in a mood to focus. Why frustrate her or me if she’s not in a place to work?
I’ve found that when Honey is barky and frustrated, it’s best to just get up and take her for a walk or game of fetch. After all, I won’t get anything done with a moody dog in the house. So why not solve the problem and get a little exercise at the same time?
A bit of wrestling and tug has been a good mood stabilizer for both Honey and my husband. I wonder if psychiatrists have ever thought of prescribing it for their patients with mood disorders?
Like A Dog And Not Like A Dog
One thing I love about dogs is how different they are from us.
And the other thing I love about dogs is how similar they are to us.
Personally, I think dogs are a lot more than their training and socialization. And their emotions and moods make them very complex creatures to live with.
But if Honey can put up with my moods, I’m happy to put up with hers.
Your Turn: Is your dog moody? Or does he or she have a pretty even temper? Do your moods influence your dog’s moods?