One thing that I’ve noticed about Mike is that he’s a really slow reader, at least of books. After watching him sit in front of that computer screen all day, I rarely see him curl up with a book after dinner. He’s been reading one book about dog behavior, Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell and Know, since even before he went to Hawaii, and it’s still sitting by his bed long after he came back. In my opinion, Mike should be doing more reading and less watching sports on TV (particularly now with all these sordid sex scandals going on). From my standpoint, when he reads, he’s more likely to fall asleep, which gives me more time in bed, lying between his legs, keeping warm and trapping him at the same time. For me, reading is good.
But frankly, all these dog behavior books that Mike reads just bore me. Really, what’s to know? Eat, poop, sleep; that about covers everything, and I’ve got them down pat. What else about dog behavior is so damn important?
Still, I couldn’t help but notice a page in the book that Mike had dog-eared. On page 53, author Alexandra Horowitz writes, “It would be a mistake to guarantee a dog, bred or not, will inevitably act a certain way (upon seeing a rabbit). This is the same mistake that is made when we wind up calling some breeds ‘aggressive’ and legislating against them.”*
The asterisk refers readers to a footnote at the bottom of the page, where Horowitz writes (the boldface is mine), “What is considered aggressive is culturally and generationally relative. German shepherds were at the top of that list after World War II; in the 1990s, Rottweilers and Dobermans were scorned; the American Staffordshire terrier (pit bull) is the current bete noir. Their classification has more to do with recent events and public perception than with their intrinsic nature. Recent research found that of all breeds, dachshunds were the most aggressive to both their owners and to strangers. Perhaps this is underreported because a snarling dachshund can be picked up and stashed away in a tote bag.”
Oh really? I beg to differ. While I have been known to bite Mike’s nose whenever I get the chance, and although I’ve barked at many strangers who tried coming down my sidewalk, just to let them know they need my permission to pass, I wouldn’t call such behavior “aggressive.” I’m just a kid who wants to have a little fun and make sure everybody knows I’m around.
Besides, the older I get, the more I’m learning to chill. When I grow up, I’m going to be a lover, not a fighter.