The Canine Uselessness Has Baffled Even Me

We stopped training our dogs quite a number of years ago. I think it was the sheer numbers thing that finally broke me, but I'm pretty sure it also had something to do with the fact that I had to teach myself that the dogs are a business and not just my pets. I learned the hard way that the more time I invest in my dogs, the more attached I get to them. And I just can't be all that attached when they cycle through here every 5 years or so. I love them. I care for them. They live in my home. But I do not invest time in training, daily walks together, or taking them with me to Walmart. The heart can't afford to reach that level of commitment.

I do, however, teach my dogs the basics. House training is of utmost importance, of course. One cannot be soiling my house all willy nilly. It just doesn't sit right with me. Especially when I step in a puddle of wet (or worse) in my bare feet. They also learn to come when they're called (although they have mostly learned that they need to listen to me, and nobody else. Fail.), they learn to stay (which is a loose term for all of us. It simply means "stay in the house" or "stay in the kennel" or "stay near me" whatever the circumstance may be), and they learn to go to their crate when they're told. (Because we always have a dog that's in the puppy stage, or just not bright, they get crated when we go away and at night. If not, they'll shred all the tissues in the bathroom trash and pee on the floor. Every.Single.Time. Crating is essential. Also, if you know a good way to incorporate dog crates into home decor without making it look like you have way too many dog crates, please share.)

Other than that, we pretty much feed the dogs, pet them, and spend a lot of money on them. They do not know how to fetch, can certainly sit and lie down but never on command, know nothing of this "shake" thing, and will only play dead if a larger dog is threatening them. In general, they're useless to society. I did realize only recently that leash training is a very good thing. Carrying a nervously shedding dog around the vet's office will leave you looking rather shaggy yourself. But that's minor, and all dogs can be trained no matter their age. Leash training for everyone! (They'll love that. Heh.)

It was while sitting on the toilet that I was struck with the realization that my dogs are completely and utterly useless to me. I have one who thinks my toilet time is her personal petting time. Every time I sit on the throne, a nose magically appears between my knees. I'm sure it's totally unsanitary to pet a dog, then wipe, but else am I to do? (Oh, is that TMI? Sorry.) When I pulled the last square of toilet paper off the roll, and realized that the spare rolls are on the other end of the bathroom, I had my great epiphany.

WHY did I not train my dogs to fetch? Why did I not take the time to teach them things like, "Get the toilet paper," or "bring the phone," or even "shuffle the laundry." (Hey, one can dream, right?)

Stupid, useless dogs.

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