Shaun and I were talking about manipulation last night. It’s interesting how we all do it unconsciously and even children learn it very early – like in the first few months of life. We have three children, three large dogs, two cats, and two diamond doves and all but one regularly manipulate us to get what they want. All but one step up their tactics or try aggression when manipulation doesn’t work.
That makes the one abnormal. It’s really strange to see such blatant honesty lived out and she really doesn’t realize she’s atypical. The one is our Great Dane, Nola. All the other babies, human and fur, have manipulation tactics that range from playing coy, buttering you up, trying to get on your good side, using the sandwich effect*, and all the way up to blatant con-man tricks. Ernie uses the whore tactic – make you think you’re the most wonderful thing in the world until he’s successfully stolen what’s on your plate and sampled your drink too. Abbie stares and begs. Cali pretends she’s dumb (she’s got the dumb act down PERFECT) then when you least expect it, she goes for what she wants. Spooks has us all convinced that HE’S the master of the house and we should bring him gifts and attention. Even the birds manipulate you – they repeat your coos and fluff up and act happy. They know happy people give good things. However, forget to pay attention or give them a millet spray, your ass is getting pelted with birdseed until you do it.
Nola just really is that happy. I’ve read that about other Great Dane’s too – that they’re abnormally goofy and happy. They want their people to be goofy and happy too… apparently so they can pretend to be lapdogs and get hugs. Nola LOVES hugs more than anything else. She’ll come up, stand up on her hind legs so she can wrap her front legs around you and lay her head on your chest. When she sees me or Shaun be grumpy, she looks so confused. Like “what the hell? You must need a hug.”
I’ve met other dogs who were just as happy but they were “touched in the head” as my Granny would say. They aren’t all that bright and that’s ok too – there are plenty of dog lovers who love those big lugs. We like dogs who solve problems and think for themselves. This is a mixed blessing though – we end up with dogs who think up ways to get out of the fenced in yard.
But normally thinking dogs are more serious and sober. Nola is neither serious nor sober. Last night, Abbie was laying at my feet while I crocheted. Actually, she layed UNDER my feet so that the soles of my feet were resting on her back. Nola wanted me to play and I kept telling her no – the kids were in bed and to go lay down. She laid down and then army crawled over right next to Abbie and set her head right ON TOP of my feet. She rolled her eyes up at me like “haha.” Then she pounced me and wiggled her big but into my lap and tried to curl up. Shaun tried to explain relative size to her but she just grinned at him.
* The sandwich effect is a business tactic. If you have bad news or a message that will be responded to negatively, find two positive messages to sandwich the bad message in.