I have noticed something about our dog, Cocoa, the two-year-old wonder poodle.
A typical scenario is this: Jonathan and I take him walking many mornings together, but sometimes Jonathan heads for home while I extend the walk for another 20-30 minutes. As soon as Jonathan moves away, Cocoa sets off a howl and pulls to go after him. He goes with me–I have the leash–but he keeps looking back toward Jonathan.
Then, as Cocoa and I keep going, we encounter a neighbor jogging or walking another dog or someone walking alone, and Cocoa’s attention shifts. Jonathan is forgotten, and now Cocoa is pulling and making noises wanting to connect with the new item of interest.
I know Cocoa likes to walk with me. When there are no other distractions he is very happy, wagging his tail, looking up at me, rubbing against my leg.
But if he has a second option, he wants that. He wants what he does not have. I have begun to call it “Cocoa’s Law.”
Thing is, I know this is not limited to Cocoa. I have some of the same tendencies. I know other people do, too. When I mentioned Cocoa’s Law to a fellow dog walker, she said, “How human of him!”
Why is it that we are so often not satisfied, even with things we really like (or love)? Why is it that the negative in a situation becomes so much more important than the positive?
Are we really that perverse? I admit I often am.
Maybe I should call it Robin’s Law, or just remember it seems to be human (and canine) nature. But I wonder: shouldn’t I be doing better than Cocoa?