That black-haired beauty and I: Part II “The Paw”

Arwen likes a lot of attention. If her major events during any given day (food time, walking, taking care of business, play time, riding-in-the-car time, food time) are either completed or not immediately forthcoming, then she has two primary residual modes – resting and getting affection. [Which, by the way, if you own a dog like ours one does not necessarily preclude the other].

The black-haired beauty loves to be petted, touched, generally paid-attention-to. AND if by some wild stretch of the imagination you should cease and desist your ministrations you will get — “THE PAW.”

Now we haven’t quite figured out what ‘The Paw” means at any given time, but, in general, it seems to be something akin to “You stopped petting me and I want you to continue.” Simply put, Arwen raises her front paw (most often the right, but I should do a study of this to be sure), and places it on your hand, leg, thigh, shoulder, face – anywhere convenient – to let you know that you have, in doggy terms, just let her down.

And should she be in a position where “The Paw” is not readily positioned to strike, you may very well get “The Eye” – a raising of the head that says pretty much the same thing. If you’ve really been negligent, you may get both “The Eye” followed by “The Paw” and repetitive, more insistent manifestations of ‘The Paw.”

What is difficult to understand is what it is she specifically wants. Generally it is fairly obvious that you have stopped doing something that she found pleasurable; but sometimes you’re not quite sure whether it is “I want more of the same,” or “A little to the left, please,” or “Harder, harder, left; no, right, almost, a little more to the right…” “The Paw might go down if you simply touch her again – it seems it is just the contact that she wants. At other times, “The Paw” comes again and again and in spite of your best efforts you don’t seem to hit on the perfect response.

Did you know that one of the key reasons some people are ‘difficult’ is because they simply want attention. Yes, they may have some very odd (and we could probably correctly say ‘not very well thought out’) ways of garnering attention, but this is a basic fact that is worth contemplating. I can smile and say, “Oh Arwen, isn’t that enough petting for one day,” when I get ‘The Paw’ or “The Eye,” but it isn’t so easy to ignore the in-your-face “I WANT ATTENTION!” you might see manifested by a colleague or relative.

Another truth about some difficult people is that IF we are willing to take the time and make the effort to give them some POSITIVE attention every day, it is far less likely that they will feel the need to seek out attention in negative ways. It is worth thinking about isn’t it?

Are you getting “The Paw” or “The Eye” from someone in some way? Want to share? We can all learn from your contribution.


Joe Koob

The Black-haired Beauty


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Filed under That Black-haired Beauty and I, Understanding Difficult People

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