Our wild dog Wizby
At two months old, our dog was completely wild. If he had an urge to do something, he'd do it. He peed wherever he wanted, bit whomever he wanted, destroyed whatever he wanted. We've spent the last year and a half trying to tame the wild out of him. Now he only pees outside.  Based on the fact that yesterday he ripped up our entire DVD collection, I would say his percentage of wild is still too high.

If we could get him to stop destroying things, barking insanely at the doorbell, and jumping up on people, his wild to tame ratio would go from a guesstimate of 50/50 to 20/80. He would still be able to sleep wherever he wanted, have crazy time whenever he wanted, and get us to pet him whenever he wanted.

Some people think that is still too much wild, and give me unwanted advice on what I'm doing wrong and what I should do different raising him. I have friends whose dogs are completely tamed. They only tip-toe on designated areas of the carpet, only bark on command, and poop in the toilet and even wipe the seat! I'm sure it's nice on the one hand, because you'd have a lot more free time not having to chase him around or clean up his messes (just think of all the extra Internet surfing time!). It's like having a programmed robot for a pet that only does your bidding. On the other hand, it's kind of boring and sad---at least for me. It dims their personalities. The wild bits, while frustrating, also make for the best stories. It makes them unpredictable and entertaining. Just yesterday, Wizby snagged an entire loaf of homemade cinnamon bread of the kitchen counter. I was really upset. But a day later, I find it pretty hilarious, remembering him scrambling around the furniture with a huge loaf wedged in his skinny mouth, with me running after him shouting poorly woven obscenities. Plus, I remade the bread and it turned out even better than the first loaf.

I get that there is good wild and bad wild.We are working to remove most of the bad wild from our dog, while keeping all the good wild. For example, pooping on the carpet for no reason is bad wild. Pooping on the carpet of your arch enemy, good wild.

Wizby is definitely getting better, as indicated by the following text my husband recently sent me:

"I hope you are having a good day and Wizby is more less-bite-y."

If that isn't progress, I don't know what is.

When I was kid I was an awesome amount of wild. Back in the day, I would romp in the woods, jump on the bed, do front flips on the couch, have adventures, all without adult supervision---I just had to be home on time for dinner. My parents had no idea where I was and couldn't contact me because cell phones didn't exist. Electronic media choices were limited so we weren't submissed by TV and video games. Kids were expected to be nuts. My parents never minded and let us be crazy as long as we didn't take it too far (i.e., bad wild---e.g., hurting people, committing crimes, etc.). I had a glorious childhood. And then Jr. High came along with the social taming from well-intentioned peers. In Jr. High I really start caring what other people think about me, and without questioning, internalized the taming.

All of us start out wild and most of us eventually become Prudfrokian---afraid to even eat a peach in front of others for fear that the shiny, goopy mess will be too embarrassing to bear.  And then we become like that extremely tamed dog---only doing the predictable and conveniently out of the way---living quietly and conservatively, and eventually dying the same way. How many sweet, luscious peaches do we miss?

Unfortunately, kids today don't even get the wild childhood anymore because media changed---new things were invented like  Pac Man, cable TV, VCRs, cell phones, and 24-hour news. Information became omnipresent---which bombarded us with things like germs, kidnappings and bicycle related deaths. It seemed like the world was getting more dangerous and kidnappers were hiding behind every shrub. Although to this day I don't know a single person personally who was kidnapped or died by falling off a bicycle without a helmet. But the point is, it all seems more dangerous now. So we stopped letting our kids run wild and started micromanaging their every move. We wanted to tame all the wild out of them to keep them safe physically, intellectually, emotionally, and socially.

Tame people are easier to control, do what we want them to do, and don't cause trouble. But at what cost? Wild begets creativity which begets innovative ideas and inventions. Without wild, as Thoreau said, we "...lead lives of quiet desperation." We can't be happy when we are slaves to social convention and status quo. We will despair quietly and alone. We were each born wild and owe it to ourselves to resurrect the good part of that wild self.

Stop suppressing all your inner wild. If people complain that you laugh too loud---laugh even louder.


Popular Posts