It took 19 months for him to have an opinion strong enough to verbalize.
Normally he communicates with snorts and huffs and every so often a very soft sound that sounds like “berf.”
But a week or so ago, he had something to say, which was:
“I like pork.”
It all came about when I was eating stir-fry pork. Bosco thought it smelled good, and dropped some hints that he’d like to taste it. He put his head in my lap and stared up at me with huuuuuge eyes. Really subtle. Then I offered him a vegetable. He eagerly reached for it – then realized that wasn’t what he wanted. He sniffed again, curled his lip, and shook his head.
Being a jerk, I laughed at him. And then he spoke up, and ran around in little circles.
A few days later, we had the same scene – but this time it was grilled chicken. After submitting his request, Bosco accepted that there would be no chicken for him, and went off to watch from a distance. Then I called him over and gave him a piece. This is a loose translation of what he had to say:
“Yay it’s chicken I’m eating chicken and it tastes soooo good and I’m so happy I’m going to run around the room and yell because I’m eating chicken and it tastes so good and this is the best day of my life because I had chicken.”
Or something like that. Something so wonderful happened to him that he finally forgot himself and all his anxieties and was a big happy dog. A one inch piece of chicken did all that.
In the last few months, he’s been seeking affection, asking to be petted, and to have his ears rubbed. He doesn’t get as nervous when I cuddle the stuffing out of him, and seems slightly disappointed when it stops. But …. then there’s the smooching. He’s so cute, and so tall, and I love to plant a big kiss on the top of his head. He haaaaates the smooching because it comes with sound effects. Yesterday I smooched at him from across the room. He ran backwards and “berfed” at me, wagged his tail, then ran forward. Repeat repeat repeat. He wanted me to know that it would be more fun to run around the house than smooch.
I was eating trail mix yesterday, and Bosco wanted some. He was unconcerned that everything in trail mix is bad for dogs. He made his eyes 600 times their normal size, and looked from me to the container, and back again – After I’d put it away, he kept it up for another hour.
Let’s just say this- I’m pretty thick sometimes. He wasn’t telling me he wanted nuts and raisins. He. Had. To. Go. And I wasn’t getting it. So he resorted to the classic way to get my attention. He put himself at eye level, reached out with a big ol’ paw, and smacked me.