Trying to break the language barrier

If you read my last blog post, which I’m sure you all did, you know that I have a dog named Homer.
I got him from the Blue Earth County Humane Society in October 2008 and, in living together for the last five-and-a-half years, we’ve come to understand each other pretty well. Essentially, what he wants, he gets. There’s no denying who the true “master” is in our relationship. (Hint: Not me.)
I like it perfectly fine that way. Spoiling him is one of my favorite things to do and, most of the time, he’s pretty clear about what he wants. If he goes to the back door and whines; he wants out. If he brings me a toy; he wants to play.
Sometimes, however, we have a bit of a language barrier that can be difficult to work through.
Every once in a while, he’ll just look at me when I’m sitting in my chair and whine or let out a half bark.
My first reaction is that he wants to play, so I comply by getting up and finding one of his many toys (of which probably his favorite is nothing more than an empty Diet Coke bottle) and offering to tug on it with him. If that doesn’t work or he quickly loses interest, I check the food and water dishes; which almost never go empty. Next, I open the back door and offer to let him outside.
This is when things can get tricky. There are times when, after all of my attempts to give him what he wants, he just looks at me as if he’s thinking, “No, you stupid human. That’s not what I want.”
This probably bothers me a lot more than it should and I know I’m not the first person who sometimes wishes they could communicate with animals. But the truth is, I feel truly guilty when I can’t figure out what the problem is. Sometimes this game goes on for a while before he either lies down and stares at me dejectedly before finally going to sleep. Other times, I think he “gets” that I’m trying and humors me by playing forĀ a little while or going outside.
Luckily, these breakdowns in communication have never caused any major arguments and eventually, we go back to understanding each other.
Sometimes even “dog dads” have parenting issues.

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