Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Why I Need Discipline: Because No One Wants to Keep a Dog that Shits the Bed

Imagine you have a dog. She's an awesome dog. Cute, fun, and loyal as hell. There's only one problem: the bitch shits the bed.
Your bed.
It's not a constant problem. The dog doesn't do it all the time. Once in a while, maybe, like once a week--maybe even just once a month. I mean, shit happens, right? So you change the sheets, clean the mattress up as best you can, give your dog The Look, and carry on.
It's not that big of a deal, you think. Certainly not a big enough problem to turn around and punish the dog. After all, she's a great dog. Doesn't bark, doesn't knock things over, doesn't beg, comes on command, brings you your slippers and paper, sits at your feet in the evenings as you watch your shows...you wouldn't trade this dog for the world.
It just has this one small problem. It's a shitty problem, yes, but you can deal.

Except maybe the dog knows she's doing something wrong. Not exactly what, or when, or how; but she knows that once in a while, you turn around and give her The Look, that stare that says clearly "you are a bad dog. A bad, bad dog. BAD DOG."
And the dog doesn't like getting that stare, not one little bit. She wants to know what she did to deserve it. She wants to know what she did wrong, so she doesn't do it again.
Cause maybe, just maybe, the dog could be trained not to make the same mistake again. Maybe she shits on the bed because she doesn't know any better. Maybe she just doesn't understand how important it is to you not to do that. Maybe, if things were clarified a little bit, if some discipline were administered by a calm, dominant hand, she would be able to understand, and she would learn, and remember.

Learning how not to make the owner give her the BAD DOG stare would be good. Really, really good. And she's a smart dog; she can learn! She just needs time. Time, consistency, training, and discipline.
She wants to learn, because anything, even the harsh discipline, is better than the BAD DOG stare. The BAD DOG stare is horrible. The absolute worst of the worst. The dog would rather walk through fire than get the BAD DOG stare one more time.
The stare means the dog has disappointed the owner. Nothing--nothing--is worse than that.

The dog knows something else in the back of her small dog mind: nobody wants a dog who shits the bed. Not for very long, anyway. Sure, for a while, the dog's good qualities will please the owner enough to balance things out. But after a while, the whole "cleaning shit off the bed" thing is going to get old. The owner is going to get resentful. Eventually, he will begin to wish he had a different dog, one who didn't shit the bed.
But the dog does not want a different owner. The dog loves her owner. All she wants to do is make her owner happy. All she needs to know is how.

This is why it is often kinder, nicer, more dutiful, and more loving to discipline the dog. The dog learns what you want, what you expect from her. There are no questions; there are no doubts. Memories are made through lessons. Sometimes these lessons have to be harsh to make lasting reminders, but that is okay. The dog will accept discipline if it means becoming a better dog...whatever "better dog" happens to means for her loving owner.

What I'm getting at here is this: sometimes I need discipline. This does not mean I enjoy it, or crave it, or in any way look forward to it. But I ask for it, because I know it is how I learn, and what I want to learn is how to make you happy.

Because I know a dose of discipline now will save me from seeing disappointment in your eyes later. And anything, anything is better than that.

Did I just use an analogy comparing myself to a dog? Yes, I did, and I am surprisingly okay with that. Because, as Husband likes to say, I can be a bitch--but I am his bitch. :)


  1. I LOVE this post. It stikes a chord with me...so true to in my world!


  2. OMG I'm a bed shitting dog... This is great! Though I'm concerned I've stained and stunk up the mattress a bit too much :-(