You might think I’m going to be talking about dominance or toy possession, but what’s really on my mind today is the perception of who owns the dogs toys. If that sounds a bit confusing, let me explain.
Here’s a common routine that tends to happen on nights when I’m particularly tired. Haley arrives at my side with a toy. I smile at her and say, “In a little bit,” which means the same thing as when a mom says, “In a minute,” to their child. My oldest son used to ask me, “Is that a real minute or a mom’s minute?” haha! Anyway, Haley will disappear with the toy after a few moments and then return with a different one. If I don’t respond, she’ll try yet another toy until I’m so amused with her method of trying to tempt me with toys, I surrender the laptop and get down on the floor to play with her.
The reverse scenario can happen too. If Haley’s in a lazy mood and I try to entice her with a toy, I may have to try a couple of different toys before I peak her interest. This sometimes makes me wonder how she perceives the toys. Does she know the toys belong to her or does she think the toys are mine when she teases me to play? After all, she watches me carefully select them when we’re at the pet store. I check their squeakers and make sure they pass my inspection for durability. I also rotate the toys occasionally and keep the extra ones in a zippered bag inside my closet.
When Haley brings me a toy and I don’t respond right away, maybe she thinks, “Mom’s not in the mood to play with her rope toy today but I’ll see if she’s interested in her stuffed rabbit.” When I start to play, maybe she’s amused by how silly I am when playing with my toys and how funny it is to watch me chase her around the dining room table trying to reclaim my squeaky ball. When her eyes light up, she might be laughing on the inside about how gullible I am when I’m getting teased with one of my toys as I try to snatch it away.
So Really, Who Owns the Dog Toys?I can only answer that question by saying that deep inside that zippered bag of toys inside my closet is one very special dog toy, a black and white cow. You see, Haley’s first toy when she was a puppy was a miniature version of this exact cow. She loved it so much but it met an early demise from those sharp puppy teeth. Years later, I was thrilled to find a bigger version of the same toy at a nearby store. I was so excited to find it but not nearly as excited as Haley was to see it again. I swear she remembers the toy from her puppyhood and every time I unzip the bag of toys, she forces her head deep inside, rummages around and emerges with the cow as her favorite toy from the bag. The problem is, I’m very sentimental about the cow so I usually don’t let her play with it very long. It may sound a little morbid, but it was her first toy and maybe I also want it to be her last. So, I’ll let Haley own all the other toys and I’ll own this one…at least for now.
These are just a few of my random, silly thoughts when I try to think from Haley’s perspective. Over the years, I’ve been able to solve a lot of training and behavioral issues by putting myself in her four-footed shoes and trying to see things from her point of view but sometimes it’s just amusing to imagine what she might be thinking.
Who owns the dog toys in your house? Do you ever have fun trying to think from your dog’s perspective?