The last year we lived in Switzerland, Mr. Wild Dingo did a "no-no" and invited the cracker onto the sofa. I'm not against dogs on sofas or beds, I just happen to like my furniture a lot and though I like napping with dogs, I don't particularly like spending an entire night sleeping with them. And lets face it, Loki is not a gray dog. He's black and white. He only understands what he can and cannot do. Not what he sometimes is allowed to do by invitation. So the rule has been: no dogs on furniture.
But Mr. Wild Dingo, he made that faux-pas and allowed him on the sofa while living in Switzerland. It wasn't our favorite sofa. It's a beat up old leather sofa. So I overlooked it. And shortly after those first few times, Loki followed up with begging eyes, pleading with a look so sorrowful that you just knew you'd be going straight to hell if you died at that moment and did not let him on the sofa. You see, cracker guilt, is different from normal dog guilt. Because it's often served up with a heavy dose of "you're to blame" and "you made me like this."
First, it's the sit-stare: "Hey can I get up here with you please? No? But WHY? I'm the poster dog for 'nervous breakdown' because of you. Why can't you make up your mind what I can and cannot do? I don't understand! I want on the sofa. I've been on the sofa. And now you won't let me. Am I a bad boy? What did I do that was so wrong? I'm so confused! WHY? Why can't I be on the sofa? I just want to be next to YOU! Is that so wrong?"
Then puppy eyes come out. They grow wider and wider with each attempt to ignore him. He wiggles his but closer and rests his chin on my knee and, "I love you. Why don't you love me? Why the change in heart? What will happen next? Will you stop feeding me dinner? Or giving me bones and treats? Will you kick me out? Where will I go? Who will love me? What have I done wrong? WHY are you doing this to ME? I'm so confused. I thought I was a good boy. I'll try harder to be good. I promise."
I'm sure you know what followed after that. Snuggles with the cracker on the sofa. I am the poster person for enabling anxiety through gray rules and wishy-washy boundaries.
Soon, Loki got in the habit of leaving his dog bed every night to go downstairs and sleep on the sofa. I overlooked that too.
Guess what Loki did the first night back in our California home? But this isn't a beat up old leather sofa. And I don't really want him on it, no matter how adorable he is. Rather than voice correct him and make him feel bad about something he thinks he's allowed to do, the second night I outfitted the sofa with big boxes partially filled with books and magazines. I gave him plenty of praise and his favorite scratches for being in his own bed. Later that night, in the pitch dark, I heard him tap downstairs and a few seconds later an "Omfph," then a whimper and then a sigh.
Poor Loki! Foiled by cardboard boxes!
While we wait for his 47 plush dog beds to arrive by shipment, he and Juno are sharing some old comforters and pillows thrown over 2 dog mats. And each night, before we go to bed, he watches me lay a few books and magazines on the sofa to politely discourage him from sneaking downstairs.
But I can read his mind: "You don't love me. You love those damn books better than me."
Don't worry buddy. It won't be long now. Our sea shipment arrives tomorrow. And you'll have your choice of any 47 plush beds that you want.
"Only the 48th one matters--the sofa," he tells me as he skulks away.
It's times like this I wish I didn't speak dog.