So I've taken to watching The Dog Whisperer on the National Geographic channel. You've probably heard of Cesar Millan before. He's actually pretty fascinating. Dogs are a big part of my life, and always will be. And it pains me to see a family with a dog (or multiple dogs) that has behavioral issues that could be easily solved with proper training. If you haven't had the opportunity to experience his show, each episode has a few different dogs with behavioral problems, often neurotic attitudes, and usually aggressive problems. Some dogs have separation anxiety; some attack other dogs. Today the episode I was watching featured a husband and wife, and their almost-adult son. They had two yorkies that yapped nonstop, pottied in the house at will, and attacked shrubberies. They don't usually get into the occupations of the owners unless it applies. Today it did.
The husband was revealed to be a police officer. This was used to emphasize the point that this man should know how to discipline his dogs, but didn't. Cesar put it pretty appropriately when he said "Tom comes home and he punches out." And boy is it true! There are some cops I've known to have the same personality on duty and off. But most of them have a 'switch' when they're on duty. It's difficult to explain if you haven't witnessed it for yourself, but it's a subtle difference in personality and attitude. I've heard of some officers who have to turn it on a while before shift. With my husband, I don't notice it unless I happen to see him on duty. And even then, he's pretty good at turning it on and off. If he's getting some food or he's in the car and we talk on the phone, he's himself. Normal, jovial, good humored.
Because I don't see him that often on duty, it's a rare opportunity that I experience the cop persona in him. He's more focused on the job, much more serious, not nearly as easy to crack a joke. Don't get me wrong, J has an insane sense of humor and almost always finds a laugh out of a given situation. It sounds weird as I type it out, as though this personality change should be obvious to the average joe citizen. To your common criminal, they probably assume cops are that hard personality 24 hours a day. To family members, it's a bit difficult to see their loved one with that mental 'helmet' on.
The cop/dog owner, Tom, also said himself that he had a soft spot for children and animals, those who can't defend themselves. I like to think that's true of most cops; at least the ones we know. Most of them do have dogs, and are good around kids. Even one cop we know at J's old post who is quite the asshole, has rescued a Katrina dog. He pretends he doesn't have a soft spot, but I've seen it; lurking around the edges. He's the gruff old uncle type. But Tom, on the Dog Whisperer, couldn't bring himself to discipline his dogs because they were small, and they were animals. Ultimately Cesar showed him how to become the 'leader', or as other trainers put it, the alpha. I didn't doubt for a second that Tom could do it, but he comes home and wants to be the family guy. Cops don't come home and keep that badge on with their family.