Friday, January 31, 2014

"That dog sure is spoiled!"

I don't get a comment like that a lot, once in awhile, in casual conversation, somebody refers to Elka as "spoiled". Arguably, that's a pretty rude thing to say, but she's just a dog, right?

Anyway. Is Elka spoiled? I think it's kind of in the eye of the beholder.




We're a "dogs on furniture" household, so she isn't required to stay on the floor. She also sleeps in bed with us. Compared to "outside dogs" or even "garage dogs", then yeah, I guess that could make her spoiled. She wants to be with her people, and expects it, and pretty much knows it's going to occur.



She eats Taste of the Wild dog food, a grain-free kibble which costs considerably more than the fifty pound bag of Pedigree at the grocery store does. Or Ol' Roy. Or Kibbles 'n' Bits. Frequently, if offered a Milkbone, she will in fact refuse it. They pretty much don't register on the treat value scale for her, compared to Orijen and Natural Balance. So that's kind of spoiled, or snobby, that my dog doesn't eat doggie junk food. Okay.



Elka also eats people food, provided it's safe for her, and she's behaving herself. This is where a spoiled argument can be made, when Elka expects to receive people food, rather than taking it as a reward or reinforcement. But, if she gets too pushy or whiny, she doesn't get any. From me, anyway.


Elka's gone through an awful lot of toys. They break regularly; the purpose of them is to go into that toothy maw, after all, even if they're not best designed for that. Mental stimulation is very, very important for the household's happiness, and Elka is no exception. When she isn't getting activity, physical or mental, she gets whiny. She gets restless. And it drives us nuts. Toys are such a simple fix for that.




So is Elka spoiled? Maybe. Maybe compared to some peoples' views on dogs, and to the general consensus of how dogs were treated within the past fifty years (and still are, depending on personal outlook). But the decisions we've made with her (people food, furniture privileges, toys) are ones that we've consciously made. She'd have doggie playdates, too, if I'd been smart enough to seek out other dogs and socialize her well when she was younger. Ah well, can't have everything.

24 comments:

  1. Elka is not spoiled. She is a well trained dog who lives within her family. How did you get her to wear doggles? Not one of my dogs will wear them. Red is so her color!

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    1. Hah, she wears the Doggles only briefly, through redirection and reward. The longest she'd had them on was at the beach last summer, when we walked from the rental house up to the sand.

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  2. It's a slippery slope. At *some* point it's obviously too much, but on the other hand . . . what does it hurt? Your dog isn't going to get hooked on drugs and embark on a life of crime because you're an over-indulgent parent.

    I did accidentally mention the price of Silas's venison food to my family the other day, and they now think I'm crazy. But he only gets it sometimes!

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    1. "Your dog isn't going to get hooked on drugs and embark on a life of crime because you're an over-indulgent parent. " Hah, this is the best. You're right. She's not out robbing old people. Nobody's gonna die because Elka sleeps on the couch.

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  3. I deal with the question of whether my dogs are spoiled by totally avoiding anyone who would say that.

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    1. I hear you! Sometimes, though, I get ambushed.

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  4. Well-trained and spoiled in the best way. :) Let's put it at that, right?

    Also, just wanted to let you know that I came across your blog only a few days ago (somehow?) and was inspired to finally make one of my own for my dogs. The doberman has been my secret dream breed for a long time. And how I got into the whole dog world and becoming obsessed with research is funnily similar to yours, from the sounds of it... LOL

    looking forward to following Elka and your experiences!

    ~Fiona

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    1. Welcome, I'm happy you found us!

      Funny how similar our "obsessions" can be, isn't it? And the Doberman really is the breed for me now, I feel. So hard to imagine living with another dog!

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  5. I don't think she's spoiled. She is well-loved, and properly cared for.

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  6. If Elka is spoiled then Maggie and Duke are too! (They do get the bigger wing of the couch. :)

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    1. Well, couch space is at a premium ;)

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  7. It all depends on peoples' views on dogs' roles in our lives. I think that Elka is not spoiled. Rather, she is well-loved.

    Funny, we get our dogs awesome treats (e.g., freeze dried liver pieces, lamb lung, etc). Just recently, on a whim, I bought a box of milkbones. Our dogs think they are incredible. They'll do anything for a milkbone :)

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    1. I think you've hit upon an important distinction: dogs' roles in our lives vary from person to person, and dog to dog.

      How funny they love Milkbones! It's actually really funny to me that Elka doesn't; she begs us for PEOPLE junk food just fine ;)

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  8. I don't think Elka's even slightly spoilt! But I'm a doggie so she's always got my vote!

    I hope you're having a fun day,

    Your pal Snoopy :)

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  9. ...why does she have googles?

    ...

    you need to dress elka up all steampunk like!

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    1. They're Doggles.

      And they match her collar (which is red with cogs on it). She does have a (fleece) vest....what else does she need? ^^

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    2. I've got a hot air balloon ceiling lamp with a clown that rides in the basket (that I need to hang up from said ceiling) Does that count?

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    3. yes, but pics or it didn't happen.

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    4. Well, I mean, it's not like I'll hang the lap off the dog. But I have a beanie baby Doberman I can put in as a replacement?

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