We own (or are owned by!) a schnoodle (schnauzer/poodle mix) named Rascal. Most of the time he behaves quite well–but the last few weeks, he has decided that he is not getting enough attention, and so he’s become much more demanding!
He is right about the lack of attention… Due to a number of situations beyond our control, we’ve had to be gone quite a bit, and so while he’s had a warm place to stay with food and water, he hasn’t had the attention / interaction he wants. And it’s showing up in several ways.
When we get home, he demands attention–yipping at us if we ignore him…pulling kleenexes out of the trash and shredding them (his favorite activity when he’s out of sorts)…jumps up to sit in my lap if I’m at the computer…just generally getting underfoot.
It’s really made visible the fact that dogs are pack animals!
He won’t eat unless we’re in the kitchen with him. We don’t have to be eating ourselves–but we have to be there. If we leave, so does he, and he usually won’t go back to his food.
At bedtime, he waits for us to get settled in, and then he takes his place in the bed–either laying on top of one of us or snuggled as tightly as possible into the crook of my knees. (And he doesn’t budge! If you want to move him, you have to physically pick up the blanket and roll him into a different spot.)
Why all this?
Because–I think–he needs the closeness. He needs to know that he has a connection that’s important…that while it may have been stretched recently, it’s not been broken.
As I’ve thought about his needs–and the frustration sometimes that his demands for attention have caused–I’ve come to realize that what’s true for him is also true for us.
We’re pack animals as well. Maybe not quite in the same way as Rascal is, but we all need companionship and attention from those we love. We need to be shown that we’re cared for…that we matter. And at times, we’ll do whatever it takes to make sure we get that attention. It’s definitely making me look at some behaviors of others I love in different ways!