Four Things You Should Know About My Dog Trudeau

Dear Trudog, what exactly are you doing?

Trudog, you know I like snuggling with you bro but this might be a little over the top.

1. Trudeau is afraid of the oven. He has oven-phobia. There is no logical reason for this. He’s never had a bad oven experience, or been afraid of any other oven or even this particular oven before. But suddenly, the simple act of turning the oven on sends him into a full-blown panic attack. If he has even the slightest inkling that the oven is about to be turned on, he will completely lose his shit. He’ll hide in corners and try to squeeze his massive frame beneath end tables. He’ll ignore all food offerings designed to foster in him a new love of the oven. He’ll pace the house while hyperventilating. Before I figured out exactly what the hell was going on and started trying to head it off — mostly by “crating” Trudeau in my bedroom any time the oven is in use, because I am completely at a loss with this one — he expressed his anxiety by becoming an actual lap dog. He felt better but I was slightly crushed.

He’s not sensing a gas leak (the oven is electric), and if he’s picking up some scent or sound undetectable to human senses, I obviously don’t know about it. Mostly he just seems to be feeling emotionally fragile. Possibly about my cooking. Maybe he realizes there’s a fair chance that my attempts at culinary excellent may one day actually result in a fiery inferno.

2. He’s a surprisingly picky eater. I say “surprisingly” because one of his more terrifying qualities is his particular taste for anything that he shouldn’t eat. Body-destroying foxtails? Delicious. Goose crap? A delicacy, you uncultured swine. Roadkill skunk? It’s like convenient take-out. An entire live elk? That meat’s just really fresh. He also has a general policy wherein anything you throw at his face will be assumed to be food until proven otherwise. So you’d think I wouldn’t have any difficulty getting him to eat anything at all, but suddenly there are no chews good enough for him.

"Excuse me this marrow bone is not what I ordered. I was thinking more like Twinkies maybe. Or squirrels."

“Excuse me this marrow bone is not what I ordered. I was thinking more like Twinkies maybe. Or squirrels.”

Meaty venison bone? Pass. Bully stick? Perhaps, if you ask nicely. Buffalo tendon? Yes, but only every other Thursday or on the full moon. The vet assures me his teeth are fine, though they probably won’t stay that way if he stops chewing on anything ever, and meanwhile I’m reduced to repeatedly placing various animal parts directly into his mouth until he realizes that actually, now that you mention it, this thing is delicious. Honestly, I think he’s probably just screwing with me. When he’s alone in the house he’s probably snickering into his paws. Which is a surprise because…

3. He is annoyingly polite. I probably brought this on myself by naming him after a Canadian, but seriously. He really likes to enjoy the furniture just like the rest of us, but first he has to check with you that it’s okay. This is his particularly pathetic opening move:

It's basically equal parts "look how amazing my manners are" and "please sir, may I have some more?"

It’s a killer combination of downcast body language, tentative tail-wagging, and wide, beseeching eyes.

You might think — as I did, at first — that this is a delightful quality. He usually won’t just hop up onto the couch uninvited, so there’s always time to put down a fur-and-drool-catching blanket. But it’s more irritating than it seems, because first of all, you don’t always know what he’s asking for. His pathetic “can I get up there?” face is the same as his “can I have food?” face and his “can I have a walk?” face and his “why don’t we have a pet squirrel?” face. Once you ascertain that he is in fact attempting to gain access to the furniture, then he has to be invited. But typically he doesn’t find invitations convincing. I don’t know, maybe he has low self-esteem or something. Because you invite him on the couch and he doesn’t get up. He just stares at you as if to say, “Really? Me? Are you sure? I thought maybe you didn’t like me! I don’t want to impose!” You have to go from casually inviting to outright imploring before he’ll actually climb up. I’m never sure whether he’s uncertain of his welcome or whether he’s really pissed off that I didn’t actually bother to send him an engraved invitation and a nice platinum card that entitles the bearer to free furniture privileges for life.

4. Trudeau is a vigorous, active dreamer. It seems odd to me to use such doing words as adjectives describing my particular dog, because a character sketch of Trudeau in general terms would be more likely to involve words like “somnolent,” “laggard,” and possibly “pining for the fjords.” He’s perfectly content to spend a good 90% of his day enjoying various depths of snooze. As I write this, he’s chosen to illustrate my point by dragging himself laboriously from his bed, staggering two steps to a cooler stretch of floor, and collapsing with a heartfelt groan, as if he’s just expended an effort equal to the Iditarod.

In his dreams, though, he is clearly ferocious. He barks in a way that would be deep-throated and remarkably loud, if he were awake. (When he is awake, he’s remarkably quiet; I’ve had him nearly four years now and heard him actually bark maybe twice.) His legs twitch in a fair imitation of a mighty sprint that never leaves him winded. Sometimes his lips curl back from his teeth in a snarl that would be truly terrifying if the sound that accompanied it wasn’t reminiscent of a distressed guinea pig. You’re not fooling anybody, Trudeau. Not even those dream-squirrels you’re chasing.

Sweet dreams, you adorable little bastard.

Sweet dreams, you adorable little bastard.

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7 thoughts on “Four Things You Should Know About My Dog Trudeau

  1. The New Girl (who is not so new, since I got her in fall of 2007) is also terrified of the oven. This is because she knows that every once in a while, after the oven is turned on, the smoke alarm goes off. So she frequently gets upset about the oven. This might be Trudeau’s issue: if it happened even twice, that’s enough for a smart dog to make the connection.

    In other news, Trudeau does have a quite endearing face. So cute.

    • He’s freaking adorable, it’s ridiculous. The pictures on my phone of him rolling in the grass on his back are particularly criminal. :D

      I’ve done some reading up on the oven issue and it turns out it’s actually pretty common? (Especially with GSDs, if my research has any basis at all in science, which it totally doesn’t.) It sounds like it’s smoke alarm related for a lot of dogs, but I don’t believe that’s the case with Tru… as far as I can recall the smoke alarm’s only gone off once since we’ve been here, and that was in response to the toaster, not the oven. His response to the smoke alarm was also to jump up, look around, then turn a circle and go back to sleep. :D He does respond to the pops and settling noises the oven makes as it heats, but I don’t know whether that’s the noises or just the fact that they came from the oven and the oven is bad.

      He does okay with being closed in a room that is as far away as possible from the oven, but I do wish it didn’t stress him out so much. :(

  2. Wish my cat was paranoid about the oven. He turns it on by himself (the keypad lock doesn’t work). Sometimes I come home from work late at night and the kitchen is very, very warm…and smells like burned leftovers.

    • That is BANANAS. I would be so terrified he’d burn the house down that I’d probably completely remove the oven. I think your cat might be the bad seed ooooorrrrr he’s trying to tell you to turn up the heating because he’s cold. ;D

      • I vote for bad seed. Incorrigible. I put double-sided sticky tape on the keypad and he doesn’t walk around on it quite as much but he’s still a hard-head. He has to get lucky to actually turn it on, so that doesn’t happen very often. Maybe once in the past year. My rationale is that ovens were made to bake stuff, so if it goes on it’s not likely to hurt anything except leftover crusts of whatever overflowed the last time something was cooked in it. Still gotta pay for the gas the little varmint uses up to bake nothing however. He started out kittenhood as an incredible jumper. One day he either jumped too high or fell off something too high (cat is also a klutz) and hurt his back. It was a few years before he got well enough and got up courage enough to jump again. Those were the good days, gone until he does some stupid acrobatics again, if ever.

  3. “I’m never sure whether he’s uncertain of his welcome or whether he’s really pissed off that I didn’t actually bother to send him an engraved invitation and a nice platinum card that entitles the bearer to free furniture privileges for life.”

    I think he is actually just hoping that you will lift him up on the couch so he doesn’t have to make the effort, it is so very high after all.

    • That wouldn’t surprise me at all. Although I have tried to lift him up to high things before, like into the truck, and his response is more of an immediate NO I CAN DO IT DON’T TOUCH ME. Maybe I just haven’t rolled out enough literal red carpets. ;D

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