Treat Me Like A Dog

I realise the dry humour of this post title. There are a lot of things that tie (no pun intended) into one here, but for the moment then I’m just going to talk about my submission, punishments and rewards. This also isn’t a life ramble as such, but it is what it is and it’s interesting nonetheless. It’s also a true testament to the saying “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em instead”.

You see? By laughing at myself with my post title, I disempower my owners a little. By beating them to the punchline, they’ll have to think of something else to use instead. Well, you gotta keep the buggers on their toes somehow! But like I was saying…

Today I took the test again, and I don’t want to go too much into some of my results right now (that’s an upcoming post) but my brattiness percentage has dropped by 6%, and slave and pet percentages have increased. In the long and short, then somehow I’m being subconsciously reconditioned to be a good girl. 

And as a growling, snarling, ferocious, primal beast, I was none too happy about that. 

I have sharp claws! Fear me!

But then that got me thinking more, about punishments versus rewards and positive reinforcement versus negative reinforcement in dog training. Suppose that I really can be trained, ahem, like a dog?

As a dog owner myself, I abhor those who use cruel negative reinforcement training techniques, “training techniques” like Cesar Milan shares on his show. In my very humble opinion, many of those dogs are not bad dogs turned good dogs, they are merely fearful dogs turned confused and anxious dogs that are ready to snap at a moment’s notice. I have even seen people (my mother, specifically) get badly bitten by attempting an “alpha roll”.

Now let’s look at the effects of positive reinforcement:

Using food as an incentive, I have a Jack Russell Terrier who: sits, stays, waits, lies down, rolls over, plays dead, does his business, spins (both ways), fetches, drops his ball, gives one, either, or both paws, touches his nose to your hand and will rest his chin on it too, for a photo. He can close doors and drawers, flip open lidded boxes and close them again, fetch things, put his toys away and he is flawless on the recall because duck jerky is a very good reason to come back. Believe me when I say, I fully understand rewards-based (positive reinforcement) dog training, and I fully believe it works. 

Hence, perhaps that the dog owner has become the dog owned is the reason my fate winds me up.

I want to hate it, I want to protest it and yet there’s no denying that it works. Clearly it does! My brattiness has come down. 

As a young girl, rewards and praise were seldom. Good behaviour wasn’t rewarded in our household – bad behaviour was punished and good behaviour was expected. You didn’t get a reward or praise for doing what was expected of you, you did what you knew or thought was right and prayed to all things holy that you didn’t screw it up. We could get treats by earning pocket money through performing bonus chores, and even then the “tuck shop” was only ever open on a Saturday.

When I stepped into BDSM as a submissive, I’ll admit it, I was afraid. I didn’t want to be moulded seemingly into another Gorean-style cookie-cutter submissive that followed the same rules as every other submissive and held the same slave positions that every other slave knew, I wanted and needed to be me. I wanted and needed a Dominant who would accept me for me and work with me to create whatever we created: feisty, playful and fun. 

At the same time, though, I was also afraid that I’d never be good enough. Good enough to be “good”.

So when I heard “good girl” for the first time, I needed that. My god, I needed that so bad. That reward, that praise, that validation – lavish it on me, please!

I’d jump through hoops to please. The more praise I could get, the harder I wanted to work. My self-worth meant nothing to me anymore – a thousand affirmations could never do for me what a drop of my owner’s praise could do.

I didn’t realise it, but I was being reconditioned, trained into the good pet that I can be. I was giving paw and rolling over, anything and everything to please.

And now that I’ve realised it, it’s too late and it amuses them. My need to be good, exposed. 

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