Friday, July 27, 2012

Ranger Rides Shotgun

Here's a strange and little-known truth about my dog, Ranger. He is a dog who loves to stand up.

When left to his own choices, Ranger never sits down. He will, however, sit on command. But I can tell he hates it. Within just a few moments of parking his back end, I can see him start to squirm uncomfortably. On the wood floors of my kitchen, his back half literally starts to slide away from his top half.  It seems like his body was just not built to sit.

Yes, he was sitting brilliantly here. He was also being bribed.
Once he got the treat that motivated him to obey the 'sit' command, he popped right back up on all fours.
He's better with lying down, but only if I sit down with him and stay put. Always worried that he is going to miss something fun, he makes sure to stay in physical contact with me. That way, if I get up and walk away, he will feel me move and immediately get up and follow me. So even when he is lying down and dozing, he is never completely relaxed or at rest. 

By far, Ranger's preferred pose is standing. I'll be honest, it's a edgy vibe he gives off when he is standing near me and watching me work. He makes me a little nervous. But in a lot of ways, his upright stance fits his personality to a tee. Ranger is a dog of action, and his four-on-the-floor mode suits his spontaneous style.

No, Ranger, I cannot enjoy my book while you are looming over me like an alien invasion force. Please sit down.
You are totally cute and needy, but this is not what I meant by 'sit.'

The one and only downside to this preference kicks in when we get in the car. Ranger would love to ride in the front passenger seat. The view is better, the windows go down, and he's that much closer to me.

If he was willing to sit down on the seat, we might have a front seat deal. But I can't have his 80 pound body up in front if he is going to insist on standing on the seat (which is exactly what he does). That pose puts his center of gravity dangerously high, so for everyone's safety and protection, Ranger is relegated to the back seat. He might not like the arrangement, but for many years now, he has accepted it with only a little complaint.

Standing in the front seat gives him a nice view of the road, but if we were to stop suddenly, he would quickly become a  canine projectile. 

So I was surprised today when Ranger opted for a game-changer. During my errands, I came back to the car to find my dog lying on the floor of the front passenger seat. And I was completely shocked when he stayed there, good as gold, while I drove to the next stop.

As we rode along, he looked up at me with those big brown eyes. Clearly, he was very please with himself for FINALLY gaining access to the front seat area. And I realized that old dogs really can learn new tricks.

Admit it - I'm an angel.

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