Whenever I get home my lovely, adorable beast of a dog always greets me the same way: as if I have been away for ten long, hard, lonely years. He’s a wiggling, jumping, chaotic mess. Ironically he’s so damned excited about me petting him that he moves too much for me to get a hand on him for the first 30 seconds or so. It’s always this way.
Sometimes I’m gone all day so I sort of understand that, but other times it’s like he has short-term memory loss. I can literally leave the house, walk to the car to grab something out of the back seat, come back to the house, and he’s throwing a party for my return like I’d been gone since 1999. Did I mention he watches from the front door? So it’s not as though I’m even out of his sight on these brief forays out into the wild.
So, obviously, the only thing I can think of when this happens is “how freakin’ cute!” but recently a behaviorist acquaintance of mine recommended that I get my dog’s behavior under control!
Apparently, a dog should not be greeted by the owner while it’s in this chaotic, uber-happy, excited state. I should wait until he’s calm and collected before acknowledging his presence. This is literally the advice I received: ignore my dog until he gets his shit together.
Cesar Millan also promotes this same strategy which for many people would settle things. “The Dog Whisperer said to ignore your dog? Case closed.” But I’m still skeptical. No offense to Mr. Whisperer but I’ve watched his show many times and I’ve read his “theories” and he does a great many things that I don’t agree with and quite frankly cannot even fathom as making any sort of sense whatsoever.
For me, I can only think about how hurtful it would be for a beloved animal, a tender pet, and a part of the family to be SOOO happy to greet the love of his life only to be ignored, rejected, and sent away to another room (and yes, animals have feelings).
Imagine if you were treated this way. You run up to your mom or sibling or best friend, are super excited to see them so you’ve got a big smile on your face and have your arms up in the air anticipating a big hug as you skip over and, boom, rejected. They send you away until you know how to behave in public. I can’t deal with your love right now! Come back when you like me a little less and have yourself under control would you please!!?? Once they deem you capable of having a civilized conversation you’re allowed out of the corner and may be recognized ever so nonchalantly. How terrible would this make you feel?
And quite honestly, I’m usually just as excited to see Rufus as he is to see me. Maybe not so much on my two-minute dash to the car and back, but I love the little guy and love that he’s so open about his unconditional devotion to me. Since when did it become a good idea to reject love? Or excitement at our arrival? I don’t know about you, but I just can’t afford to reject that kind of love. I need love in my life. Even if it’s from our furry four-legged friends. Especially from my furry four-legged friend because some days he’s the only one in the house who is happy to see me when I get home.