In the latest edition of the Existential Expert, we cover territorial disputes with canines in the bedroom – and the ethics of cheating.
Q: Hi. I have a dilemma. Our large rescue greyhound loves to sleep on our bed. Last night he was hogging my space and I tried to move him. He woke with a snarl and smashed me in the eye socket with his snout. Should I move him out to the kennel or should I consider this an example of the old adage “let sleeping dogs lie” and move to another bed myself?
Fran from Waverton
The Existential Expert: Dear Fran,
The question of with whom we share our bed dates back aeons – oh, at least to the invention of the Sealy Posturepedic®.
Generally speaking, we advise sleeping alone – if only because it prevents the spread of any contaminants, such as bugs and disease. This can equally apply to canines as it does any strays you might find on Tinder or the like. Of course, in this instance, the issue is moot.
The snarl and snout offensive is a different matter – and needs to be addressed. According to Val Bonney, doggo obedience instructor and author of the celebrated tome Who’s The Boss?, behavioural issues are a result of the pack structure in your home being out of whack. Doggos actually thrive on hierarchy -– and it’s important you assert yourself and establish dominance in any pecking order.
By no means move to another bed. You are the boss – and need to assert yourself. If you relinquish your bed, pretty soon your dog will be pushing all sorts of boundaries. Like any other freeloading housemate, they’ll start weeing everywhere, using all the fridge space, smoking inside and so on.
A correction should be made at the exact time the snarl occurred: look at the animal clearly in the eye and say “no”. Stand over it, if needed, to physically establish yourself. Recite the opening soliloquy from Macbeth. Whatever it takes to make yourself the superior being.
That might be easier said than done if you tend to avoid confrontation. But don’t worry, you have another option.
You refer to “our bed”, which implies there is a third party involved in all this. At the risk of being presumptuous, we’ll assume they are a human partner of some kind. Perhaps, under these circumstances, it would be easiest if they sleep somewhere else. This will at least open up more space in the bed – and thus mitigate territorial disputes.
Be sure to leave a bowl of water out for them – and you might want to leave a radio close by their bed. This can provide comfort for a discarded partner in an unfamiliar environment – and will help prevent the incessant whining that will your disturb your sleep.
All the best with your bedroom dramas, Fran.
Q: Why is it wrong to cheat on a partner if they don’t know about it? What they don’t know can’t hurt ’em, right? Asking for a friend.
Aaron, via Twitter
The Existential Expert: Hi Aaron,
The answer is that there is nothing wrong with it – unless there is. The perverse nature of this romance stuff means that ultimately it’s up to you – um, we mean your friend – specifically.
Obviously, if this friend doesn’t tell the other party, then there’s no immediate cause of hurt. But there may be pain caused involuntarily in the long run – particularly if any unspoken emotional problems, that caused the infidelity in the first place, lead to resentment.
We’re certainly not gonna impose ethics on the matter. But your friend might – which will only exacerbate the situation.
If it was just a drunken shag, at least they have the excuse of being temporarily out of their mind. Booze can be conveniently blamed for any number of things. And even if alcohol wasn’t a factor, but it was understood to be a consensual one-or-two-off, then no harm done.
If neither is the case, then emotional honesty is probably the best policy. The good news is that a deeper connection might be found. It might not, too – but then we said this romance stuff could be perverse. And if you are dumped, then you’ve got the freedom to pursue perversity more-or-less on your own terms.
A panacea for uncertain times, the Existential Expert is a forum where the Sentinel will address the essential questions, you – our readers – have posed. If you have a conundrum, whether it’s spiritual, philosophical or just something that makes you break out in a rash, tweet or DM us @sydney_sentinel. New columns published each Sunday.
Disclaimer: The advice provided in this column is no substitute for professional advice, and should not be treated as such.