Pets copy habits, stress of owners

Apparently my daughter, who has two class periods at school where she studies small and large animal science, has learned how to psychoanalyze our dog. According to her, our pets copy some of our habits and even take on some of our stresses.

Well, I wasn’t shocked because I already had concluded that our dog shared some of the household habits. Take snoring. The sounds of loud snoring wafting in from the kitchen may mimic my husband, but I know my spouse isn’t sleeping on the kitchen floor behind the living room couch. It sounds like him though which is quite strange.

Another habit Cocoa has is throwing herself on the floor. One of the kids throws himself onto the couch.

She must have picked up her smacking and licking habits from when the kids hadn’t learned table manners yet. This habit wears on my nerves, along with her annoying belching and farting habits, but those we blame on her eating habits.

Cocoa thinks she has to eat when we eat and where we eat, so she grabs a mouthful of food, brings it into the dining area, throws it on the floor, then snuffles it up. PUHLEEZE! Could she just eat her dog food over her dish like a sensible animal would? Must she drip her water all over the floor also? I haven’t noticed anyone else with such manners, though one child does eat fast.

My talkative offspring may have rubbed off on the dog, though. She feels the need to announce her presence to everyone in the neighborhood at all hours of the day. Perhaps she’s shouting, “Hey, I see you yonder. How are you? Don’t come into my space. I don’t like strangers. But, why don’t you talk to me? Hey, Hey, Hey, HEY, HEY, HEYYYYYYYY!”

My daughter says that Cocoa’s anxieties may be a result of anxieties in the house. So Cocoa’s bad habits which set my nerves on edge (especially if I go skating across the floor and my hip goes out) may increase her stress which causes her to start licking, smacking, inhaling her food, and emitting skunk-like odors. Then my stress escalates, adding to her stress.  Do you see a cycle?

I’ve heard sedation helps with stress. But sedation doesn’t work for our dog. We tried during a graduation party. She not only stayed awake the entire day, she managed to traumatize a guest. At the last graduation party, we locked her in a bedroom with a Taylor Swift CD replaying the entire day. Why waste money on tranquilizers if they don’t work? As far as we know, she doesn’t know there were guests swarming about the place.

Perhaps my problems could be solved if I were sedated. No, no. I can’t go that way. I won’t get anything accomplished which will cause me stress. We don’t need any more stress.

So what am I to do? If I had realized all the stress incurred by both parties, I may have rethought this whole idea of getting a dog. Because of my daughter’s analysis, I am promoting more walks and more ball playing which reduce anxieties. Perhaps both of us will be happier this way.

Since it is hard to reason with a dog, I guess I will just have to tolerate these annoyances. The rest of the family loves the dog. I mean, who doesn’t love a dog who likes Taylor Swift, right? If you see me taking a walk with my dog and listening to Taylor Swift, you’ll know we’re bonding.

What habit does your pet have that mimics someone in your family?

8 thoughts on “Pets copy habits, stress of owners

  1. Thankfully, it’s warming up and Cocoa can relax outdoors more often! Our two cats are very tidy and creatures of habit, just like us. (And much lower maintenance than dogs!)

  2. Michelle, I don’t know if this one was supposed to be funny or not, but I thought it was hilarious! I loved it, and your sense of humor. I will have to be more attentive to Max’s habits and see how many are copied from things Lynn and I do. It should be a fun project. Or not!

    1. Yes, it was supposed to be funny. I’m glad you laughed. 🙂 Let me know what you learn in your own personal investigation. It puts a whole new spin on having good habits because someone is watching! LOL

  3. I LOVE that Cocoa takes a mouthful of food and spits it out to re-eat it with *the family.* I have NEVER heard of a dog doing that. Too funny. My horse Scotty always wants to be in the middle of whatever is going on and has to check out all the details (much like me, his mom.) I have the cutest pic my vet said she was going to post, where she is standing in the barn with her laptop, explaining x-rays to me, and Scotty is standing on the other side of her looking right at the screen and listening too.

    1. Aw! I love that story about Scotty! So cute! I am so glad you shared it. 🙂 Yes, Cocoa has to be in the middle of everyone. If my youngest goes to a neighbor’s house, she sits on the patio howling, watching where she saw her go last until I tell her to come in. She’s so mournful when she does that.

  4. Great post, Michelle! Very funny. I can’t think of any habits our dogs picked up from us, but since I didn’t know they did that, I probably just wasn’t very observant. The next dog I get, I’ll be sure to watch for that!

    1. LOL I think the first time I realized it was when she threw herself on the floor after I had just told a certain child not to do that. Before I started analyzing poor Cocoa, I hadn’t ever noticed it in any of our other dogs. I’m glad you enjoyed the blog. You’ll have to let me know what you discover with your pets (current or future). Thanks for taking time to share.

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