I don't need to wonder who is making Polly bark. It's not some bad guy loitering in the carport...it's Walt, who gets a whole different bark from Polly than, say, the mailman.
Over the years, Walt, who at first was tolerant of my desire to foster SPCA dogs, has been totally won over to a dog fancier. He plans his trips to Peets for coffee, for example, for Saturday so that he can stop by Petco and see the new puppies. We don't foster any more, but the puppies are still endearing and though I rarely join him to go see the puppies, it's one of his favorite things to do.
When we took Polly in, neither of us liked her much. We tolerated her because she was such a needy dog. Even now, many years later I still wonder what happened to this little dog in the first year and a half of her life to make her so terribly skittish. She has improved. Some. In the ~10 years she has been with us.
In her first year or so, she lived to be in my lap. And when she was in my lap, she buried her nose in my armpit and would live the rest of her life there very happily. When Walt bent over to pet her, she cowered with her tail half hidden under her, but with the tip of it wagging a bit.
Over the years, she started lying in my lap in the other direction, where she could look out on the world and when Walt came to pet her, she mostly stopped cowering.
I'm not sure when it was that Walt became her favorite person...or why. If he is in his chair, she is in his lap. If he's not here, she is in the dog bed. Rarely does she leap into my lap any more, which is fine with me. I think it's cute that she and Walt have bonded so well.
In addition to having chosen Walt as her person, she has become more insistent that we follow her rules of behavior.
If Walt comes into a room and does not pet her, she barks until he does.
If he starts to go upstairs and is obviously leaving the family room she barks until he pets her on the head before he leaves.
He gives her a treat at night when he is locking the dog in for the night. It used to be she would go outside and bark at the back fence and Walt would call her in and give her a treat. Then she realized that she was getting a treat for barking and coming in, so she stopped barking at ghosts in the night on the far side of the yard and just stood on the patio giving a yip-yip bark that nobody could hear but us. As soon as she heard Walt stand up, she would run in and bark her "OK--I came in; give me a treat now" bark.
Lately she's stopped bothering to go outside at all. She just decides at some point, around 10 p.m., that it's time for her treat and she barks and barks and barks until he gives it to her, then she jumps into the chair with him and goes to sleep until he goes upstairs to bed.
(I wonder what Cesar Milan would say of her complete domination of the humans around here!)
She hasn't forgotten me, of course. I'm the breakfast and dinner person. I try very hard not to stand up until she is unaware of me, but usually she watches me like hawk and if I show any sign whatever that I am about to go to the kitchen, it's nonstop barking until I get to the kitchen. Once I feed the dogs, she doesn't care about me until it's meal time again.
Both dogs are having a difficult time adjusting to the time change. Where they used to start bugging me around 4 for dinner (I don't feed them until 6), now they start bugging me at 3. Fortunately, Polly seems to understand what I say to her because I'll give her butt a skritch and say "Not now. It's too early. Come back in an hour." And by golly she goes away and comes back in an hour. Almost exactly 60 minutes.
Yes, life with Polly is ... interesting. And I never, ever was the kind of person who ever referred to Walt by any name at all, other than "him." But Polly has bonded to him so strongly that I find myself telling her that "Daddy will be here soon."
Then I blush with shame. :)