The Boss's Dog

Mailbox: Be the person your dog thinks you are!

By The General

Well, it was The Boss actually. He pointed out I hadn't been answering my mail lately so I thought I had better catch up.

Here's the best of the litter over the last month or so:

Dear General,

My dog is usually happy to see me get home from work but it doesn't last long - he just lies down and looks constantly disappointed. What should I do to cheer him up?

Perplexed, Upotipotpon.

Dear Perplexed,

The sad fact is, you humans are a disappointment to dogs most of the time. So consider your dog's reaction to be quite normal.

We canines value things like loyalty, honesty, compassion, honor and friendship. We love ritual; we like being with you.

Whereas, humans generally do what is expedient - we see what you do when no other human is looking - and how it changes when they are. You mostly take the easy way out, you put things off and you can't keep your promises to yourself, let alone anyone else.

We dogs are also pack animals, so we have a good instinct for proper hierarchy. We soon work out who is the leader, who is dangerous, who is up for some fun. There can be a bit of sniffing, growling and tail wagging but we generally sort it out very quickly without having to scrap. We get on with life.

You humans are constantly complaining about the government, the politicians, the bureucracy, the local council, your partners, the kids, your workmates and the weather.

And then you nick off all day leaving us with nothing to do and no-one to play with and you expect to be fussed over the minute you get home.

But, despite your manifest shortcomings, we love you unconditionally. We are the only things on earth that love you more than we love ourselves.

So there's a lot you could learn from dogs. As Robert Benchley said, a dog teaches a boy fidelity, perseverance...and to turn around three times before lying down.

The best advice I can give you is to be the person that your dog thinks you are. Think about that.

Despite all the evidence to the contrary, we think you're a hero, our best mate, our protector and provider, our reason for being. We forgive you for being unreliable, untrustworthy and talking behind people's backs.

Just take us for a walk every day, preferably at the same time. And feed us at roughly the same time. Half the food twice a day is better than all of it once - gives us something to look forward to.

Give us an extra scratch now and then, behind the ears and in those hard-to-reach places (don't be shy or sqeamish about this!) And another before bed.

If your dog doesn't cheer up after three days of this, get him another dog to play with. Two dogs are better than one.

Woof woof,

The General

If you require sound hound advice, email me at and I will deal with it when I feel like it (I learned that habit from The Boss!)