My dog is passive-aggressive!

My dog, Riley, really hates it when my mom's dog, Jack, comes to visit.  Being an only dog for many years, Riley pretty much has the run of the house.  He does not have to share his food, treats, or even share our love with another dog.  He gets it all...that is...until Jack visits.

Jack is much more dominant and stands his ground.  He lets other dogs know who is in charge.  As a result, he tends to get his way.  Riley, on the other hand, is far more submissive, backing down to aggressive dogs.  He tends to accept defeat and give up.  When Jack visits, any chance of Riley being in charge is left at the door.

So how does Riley handle this?  Though he has given up his authority, he does not like it.  Consequently, he is passive aggressive.  He acts out negatively and the best way he does this is by secretly urinating in places he should not.  This negative attention lets us know he is upset.  In fact, he is so passive aggressive toward Jack that, once, Riley walked up to Jack's back end while Jack was not looking and attempted to urinate on him!!!  Unbeknownst to both, I was watching and stopped Riley before he had a chance to complete his act of revenge.

According to, passive-aggressive behavior is defined as "pertaining to behavior in which feelings of aggression are expressed in passive ways as, for example, by stubbornness, sullenness, procrastination, or intentional inefficiency."  They go on to say that the term originated in 1945 when describing soldiers who toggled between "passive resistance and grumbling compliance."

When we fail to confront issues and quietly complain under our breath, we become victims of circumstances.  As a result, we get frustrated and begin to blame.  How often do we complain about our jobs or struggle in relationships, but do little about it?  Rather than confront the issue and find resolution, we remain quietly angry and frustrated.  We may even go so far as to secretly "urinate" on the offender through gossip and manipulation.  Unfortunately, nothing changes.

When we have problems, are we more like Riley ~ willing to accept defeat while passively hoping it will change; or are we more like Jack ~ willing to let others know what we need and stand our ground?  Seems to me we could learn a lot from our canine companions.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great article, makes us think. I surely want to be more like Jack :)