Last week, my in-laws drove 800km from the north of France to the Alps to stay with me and my husband, Max, for a week.
It was unsure until the last minute if they were going to bring their bouncy Shepherd mix, Roxanne. My husband saw me making a face as he ironed out the details with his mom on the phone, and reminded me later that, “Even if they do bring Roxanne, we can’t say anything; they always let us bring Pinch when we stay with them.”
Roxanne, like many dogs, is a chewer, and her long, fluffy coat sheds constantly. I shuddered to think of what she would do to my apartment (and my furniture) if she moved in for a week.
My in-laws ended up leaving Roxanne with their neighbor, and I breathed a sigh of relief. Don’t get me wrong — I like Roxanne, but I like her even better when she’s destroying her home and not mine.
Because, compared to Roxanne, my Pinch is actually a really easy-to-live-with dog, and he doesn’t have a lot of those annoying dog habits that pet owners tend to grumble about.
So what kinds of things doesn’t my dog do? Let’s see:
Well, he probably must shed a little, but I certainly don’t notice it. His coat is very short and coarse, and I can run the cat’s brush through it and come up with only a few measly hairs. The only time I notice brown- and black-tipped strays in any substantial quantity is on the vet’s examining table. Pinch gets anxious at the vet and tends to lose some fur while he’s there. Other than that, I’m not one of those people who is constantly picking dog hair off her clothes or asking my husband to roll a lint brush over me like a deranged TSA agent.
And it’s a good thing, too, because I have three of them!
Pinch grew up with cats, and he’s never seen them as prey. He doesn’t really see them as his BFFs either, but I don’t worry that he’ll hurt one of my kitties. If anything, my Sphynx cats bully him, and poor Pinch gets smacked in the face by someone’s paw and nipped on the leg daily. Fighting like cats and dogs? Not in my house!
On anything. Ever. I think I have only one or two photos of Pinch gnawing on something, and they are from when he was a teething puppy.
He’s never chewed on shoes, doorframes, bedding, or Barbies. I’ve heard many (horror) stories of how someone’s dog has dug through the dirty laundry and chewed out the crotch of a pair of undies (usually in front of company). Pinch would rather go into the laundry bin and separate my whites from my darks than nibble on my knickers.
He does have a tendency to get a lot of tartar build-up, and my vet suggested giving him various dog bones and treats designed to help keep canine teeth clean. I tried them all, and Pinch turned his long nose up every single time. Even when I want him to chew on something, he won’t! As such, he has to go in for a yearly teeth cleaning at the vet.
I could set out a spread on my coffee table and Pinch would not touch anything, even if I left the room. I suspect it’s in part because he is only inches off the floor and it’s hard for him to reach, but he’s never been the kind of dog who would jump up on the table and lick the Thanksgiving turkey or snatch a hotdog out of your hand. He doesn’t mooch at my side when I’m having dinner, and while he may stare longingly from afar at the cheese tray I’ve put out, he will never just help himself. But, if a cube of cheese gets dropped onto the floor, it’s gone in a flash. Table? Off-limits. Floor? Fair game.
Some dogs will run and hide when they see the camera come out, or won’t sit still long enough to get a good shot. Similarly, the sight of a doggie sweater (or even worse, a doggie raincoat) will send them into a panicked frenzy.
Pinch could care less. He’s not terribly thrilled when I try funny little coats or sweaters on him, but he’ll sit there patiently and take one for the team. And, most of the time, I’m only dressing him up for a few minutes to snap a quick picture. Except for the very coldest days in winter when I strap him into a warm fleece coat, I never make him wear anything inside the house or out.
And since he’s such a willing and obedient subject, I take photos of him constantly. I can’t help it — he’s just too cute!
So, you are probably thinking, “You are so lucky! Your dog is a perfect angel!”
Umm, no. He is most certainly not.
Pinch has a couple of annoying habits that tend to far outweigh the good habits on most days.
For one, he’s a mix of breeds that are known for barking and being protective and territorial. And boy, does Pinch bark. At everything. All the time. I’m convinced he thinks that he’s ensuring my safety and guarding his house, but I’m pretty sure I don’t need protection from that plastic bag or gust of wind. And I swear he pretends he can’t hear me when I’m standing three feet from him and telling him to “be quiet!” But he can seem to hear another dog barking ten blocks away and won’t hesitate to chime in.
He also suffers from severe separation anxiety, which is more my fault than his. He was the first dog I got as an adult, and I babied him too much at the beginning, in time creating a tiny brown monster who cannot be left by himself. Since I work from home, he’s not alone very often (and he’s always got three cats here for company), but I know it’s one of the things I need to work on. He’s getting better about it with age, but I hate to think that he’s plagued with anxiety whenever he sees me go out the front door.
Pinch is not a perfect dog, but really, is there such a thing? He may not chew, but he barks. He doesn’t shed, but he gets carsick. He walks nicely on a leash, but he loves to lick the cat’s bum. He can be annoying and frustrating, but that aside, he brings me so much joy and comfort that I just couldn’t imagine life without my yappy, stubby-legged sidekick.
Does your dog have any annoying habits? And is there such thing as a “perfect” dog? Let us know in the comments!
Read more about Crystal’s life with Pinch:
About Crystal Gibson: A child-sized Canadian expat in France who is fluent in French and sarcasm. Owned by a neurotic Doxie mix, a Garfield look-alike, and two needy Sphynx cats. An aspiring writer and pet photographer with a love of coffee and distaste for French administration, she can be found blogging over at Crystal Goes to Europe.