Not winning

My husband walked into the bedroom the other night to find me and the wondermutt Jeffrey in total face-off mode. A big hairy dog was lying on our bed, where he is not allowed, and I was trying to glare him down.

I won, because Jeffrey had moved into “I’m uncomfortable with the angry way you’re staring at me” mode and was trying to valiantly look away from my glare. The key here is to not say a word, because he figures one good perk of being a dog is pretending he doesn’t understand us. He gives you that doe-eyed, head-tilted look of “I’m just a simple dog. Your companion. Your friend.” Then he flops back across the bed like the subject has been handled.

But if I walk in and say non-challantly, “You know you aren’t allowed up there,” he has to acknowledge it. Then he gets the hang-dog sorrow-faced sad look. It works on Eric every time. I’m a mom, and made of sterner stuff.

So Eric walked in on the face-off, while Jeffrey and I were waiting to see who would break first. He (Eric, not Jeffrey) ruined it by laughing at us and placing odds on who would win. Dude needs to understand I spend way more time actually communicating with his dog than he does. I never spoke a word, I just gave him my best Mom evil-eye. And won. Jeff slumped off the bed groaning like he was dying. I heard him get up on the couch before we had finished getting into bed.

He is not allowed on the couch.

Jeff and I have understandings about a lot of things. He gets thrilled whenever I pull in the driveway, even if I’ve been gone five minutes. So thrilled, in fact, that he has to get in the way of my car. He gets thrilled if I have to carry more than one load of groceries into the house, because he knows I bought him a treat. He’s the center of the universe, after all.

When I’m vacuuming the house and Eric isn’t around, I can barely get the big lunk to move. I have literally vacuumed over him and he just gives me a baleful look but seems to enjoy it. But if Eric is here, Jeff acts as if I’m trying to kill him and hides behind furniture or Daddy. He’s also nervous about the broom if Eric is around, but wrestles with it as I’m sweeping if Dad isn’t around to witness the situation.

On the other hand, if it is nice out but getting late and time for Jeff to come in, Eric has to literally drag the dog in the house. If Eric isn’t home to show me how to do it the right way (yes, that was sarcasm), I walk outside and call his name, then tell him to get his furry butt inside. Then I give him the “Mom look” and he slinks indoors. Then gets excited because I left nibblies in his food bowl.

I like to think I’m winning when it comes to dealing with Jeffrey behavior, but I can’t fool myself. Eric certainly isn’t winning, and I just treat the big monster like one of my kids, picking my battles and moving on.

The real winner here is Jeff, who knows how to play it and to whom. He does his moan and groan routine to me and I just roll my eyes. He keeps Eric jumping up off the couch to let him out when he clearly just wants some attention. I give in to his big brown eyes while making supper.

That dog has us pegged. And it ain’t pretty.

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