The word “manipulate” carries connotations such as scheming, controlling in a skillful manner and influencing cleverly. Yep, that is exactly what my Golden Retriever, Murphy, tries to do with me!
To “manipulate” isn’t necessarily a despicable thing. It only means to control something or someone. If you think about it, I’ll bet you can come up with several ways your dog manipulates you on a regular basis. Maybe it’s the cookie or treat ploy, where you find yourself handing out extra treats after responding to those big puppy eyes. Or maybe you find yourself on the floor petting your dog because he rolled over on his back exposing his belly and looking so cute.
Then there are the times when you are preparing to go out, after taking your Fido for a walk, feeding and watering him and generally catering to all his basic needs. You suddenly notice that you are being watched. As you get ready to leave the house, Fido will lay on the floor, make a heavy sigh and with tail between his legs, he stares at you with those big sad eyes. His eyes will dolefully follow you right out of the door.
Can you relate to this abuse? Several years ago when I had a large black lab named Sammie, I would offer her a treat before I left the house, but she would refuse to take it. I would then place the treat on a kitchen chair and tell her she could have it. She never ate it until I got home. She was busy pouting and making me feel guilty.
I don’t think they are born with this clever skill, but they acquire it very quickly as they learn to manipulate us using their own unique fashion. And somehow, as much as we hate to admit it, we allow it to happen.
Murphy has taken her special manipulating talent to a higher level involving our daily walks. She decides that she wants to go down a specific street because she knows where a good neighbor lives who always has a treat for her. When I try to go in the opposite direction, she will either promptly sit down on the road or begin to back up with me holding her leash.
She knows exactly what she wants, and she does her best to influence me to follow her lead. I stand strong and encourage her to go in my direction because I do not want her to think she is controlling me. I usually win after some coaxing, but she really gives it her all to have her own way.
Dogs can be so clever and manipulative all while looking so sweet and innocent. Just remember the next time your lovable pooch looks at you with those big sad eyes, it knows exactly what it’s doing.
Does your Fido need some training and good socialization? The Heartland Dog Club is currently taking names for the August trainings. These trainings will include Basic, Intermediate and Advanced Obedience, Rally Intermediate, Canine Good Citizen (CGC) and Canine Good Citizen Advanced (CGCA). Call for additional information at 863–304–8582.