Every day I see someone pulling his dog away from an interesting smell, yelling at them for barking, or looming over a new dog they want to greet. I wonder what would happen if more people tried to see a dog’s point of view?
Seeing My Dog Honey’s Point Of View
I work hard to look at the world through Honey’s viewpoint.
But she doesn’t speak English. And I am kinda dense. Sometimes it takes me a while to see things her way.
I was a bit slow on the uptake over the Christmas holidays.
Every morning I get up early to write. Honey will eventually jump off the bed and follow me into the office. I shut the door to keep the light from disturbing my husband so he can sleep a little longer. And Honey usually curls up on the couch or under my desk.
But one particular morning, Honey would not relax. She whined and paced and would not settle down.
I ran a mental check list in my mind.
Did she need to go outside? Nope, my husband took her out when she woke up.
Was she hungry? Always. But it was hours from breakfast and she got a biscuit when she came back inside.
So what was going on?
Ohhhhh, I know what’s bugging Honey.
On a hunch, I opened the office door.
Honey curled up on the rug in the hall and started to doze—in the perfect place to keep track of me in the office, my husband who was reading downstairs, and my sister and her husband who were sleeping in the guest room.
Honey is not a guard dog. But she is a party girl. And she worried that someone in the house might be having fun without her. So she staked out a spot where she could follow the comings and goings of everyone in the house.
Once I was able to see things from Honey’s point of view, she settled right down.
I’m Not In The Bahamas In My Brain
There is snow on the ground and it is freaking cold in upstate New York.
At least once a day someone who knows of my plans to move aboard a sailboat will say to me, “I bet you’re already sitting in the sun in your mind. You probably can’t wait to get to the Caribbean.”
The last time you moved, did you spend every moment thinking about the wainscot in your new apartment or the huge garden you’d grow in your new back yard? Or instead, were you cleaning, packing, and dealing with the emotional fallout of a life event that sits near the top of the list of most stressful occasions?
Now imagine my point of view.
We’re making dozens of repairs to our 115 year old house. We’re selling big items so that someone trying to mentally fit their own belongings won’t find the house cramped. I’m creating a marketing plan to sell the place. And I’m mentally preparing myself for the crazy rude things people do when they’re thinking about buying your house. (I’ll never forget making breakfast when my last house was on the market and seeing someone’s face smooshed up against my living room window peering in.)
I haven’t started thinking about buying the boat. I can’t wrap my head around trying to figure out if a rudder is attached properly or if the wood under the decks is soggy.
And then, once we find the boat and get it ready to go, we still have to face our greatest sailing challenge yet: getting the damn thing south after hurricane season without getting ourselves killed.
So no, thoughts of snorkeling turquoise waters, running on pristine beaches with Honey, and buying fruit from a tropical market aren’t even on my radar yet.
What The World Looks Like To A Dog
Dogs spend their days in the company of giants. On a walk, they see as many feet, knees, and ankles as a human toddler.
Their noses are capable of capturing and distinguishing thousands (millions?) of scents. And yet they can only explore smells they can reach at the end of a leash and then, only if their human walking partner gives them time to sniff.
Although it’s normal for a dog to chew, run, mate, poop, and bark we control when or if they do any of these things.
If we spend more time trying to see the world through a dog’s point of view, I wonder how much happier our dogs will be? And how much more will we build our bond?
I didn’t think much about the point of view of my first dogs, Agatha and Christie. It was their loss. And my loss too.
But I’ve learned a lot over the years.
I greet dogs by crouching down instead of looming over them. And I avert my eyes instead of staring at them.
I stroke their chests instead of petting their heads.
I often let Honey choose the route for our walks. And she can sniff as long as she likes.
I still have a lot to learn about my dog’s point of view. But I can’t think of a place I’d rather live than in a dog’s world.
Honey’s Birthday Week Surprise #3
I am so loving seeing your pictures of your pups joining Honey’s birthday week surprises on Something Wagging’s Facebook page. Thank you so much!
I’ve seen some awfully cute toys and noses so far. It’s almost as good as having everyone over for a party and playtime in the yard.
Today’s surprise is to teach Honey a new trick.
Honey loves learning new things. And she looks as excited when I get the clicker out as she does when someone comes to visit.
After thinking it over, I decided to train a skill that complements Honey’s retriever nature. I’ll teach her to pick up a toy and put it away.
I have a feeling she’ll really enjoy it.
Do your dogs have any cool tricks? If you have pictures, we’d love to see them. Hop on over to Facebook to share them now.
Your Turn: Can you think of a time when something clicked and you suddenly saw the world from your dog’s point of view?