You’ve heard the old saying “fighting like cats and dogs.” Well, what if you’re fighting about cats and dogs.
My husband and I argue very little. But one of those rare sources of conflict is about our pets.
We’re both animal-lovers, he and I. And we love cats and dogs more or less equally. But we brought different species into this marriage…and different histories.
I came with three cats. He brought one dog. My cats are better trained than his dog. Hence, my frustration and our latest argument.
I read a fascinating article the other day about training cats (I’d share the link, but it was in my Apple News feed and I don’t subscribe to National Geographic. However, you can Google the topic and find lots of similar articles, as it turns out.)
It’s different in some ways than training a dog. You can use treats, yes, but you also need to ignore negative behavior directly (negative attention is attention, after all) and correct it in a detached way (like leaving something on the counter that will make noise when the cat jumps up). If the cat knows it was you, though, they’ll hold a grudge. Cats think of us as big clumsy cats, so there’s no deferring to the human “alpha.”
Dogs, however, know we’re different. And they need to know who’s in charge. Well, the dog thinks my husband is the alpha. And this is where we run into trouble.
Grace is a sweet dog but we simply can’t undo all of the problems the ex-wife created. She was bought to be a purse poodle and then a housedog. She was even trained to poop in a box.
We’ve worked to train her to be a “dog,” but my husband will only go so far. He’d rather adjust our behavior instead of hers. He feels sorry for her, really. I do, too, but I’m not ready to accept that a dog is in control of my house.
I want her to be better trained (or at least as well-trained as my cats for goodness sake). He just wants her happy.
And here’s the real source of my frustration: so do I. But, you know, not eat the cat litter and then puke up cat poop all over the house.
We’ll work it out, I’m sure. After all, he spoils all of us, so it’s hard to argue with the man’s motives.
I guess on this one topic, we’re just as different as cats and dogs.
Allyson Longueira is publisher of WMG Publishing. She is an award-winning writer, editor and designer.