Wag More; Bark Less

Driving home the other day, I sat behind a sport utility vehicle at a traffic light. It had a sign in the back window: Wag more, bark less. I figured we humans could take a lesson from that. And then I thought, ah, a New Year’s plan.

It made me smile. I’d been missing my furry friend who passed away back in August, but I was not yet ready to care for and love another doggy. However, my smile broadened as I remembered my dog’s welcoming wags of pure joy whenever I’d return home, or the way she would insert herself between the couch and ottoman presenting her back for some gentle massage and fur stroking. Dogs are amazing in how they know what to ask for, and they’re never shy about it either. I admire their confidence. “Hey, I’m here. Love me.” 

I’m a few years younger in the photo above, (go on, tell me I haven’t changed a bit, hee hee) and the hair was redder, but that’s okay. Nikki was an Akita. They aren’t known as barkers. Yet, they are loyal and fantastic guard dogs and will howl like a wolf whenever necessary. As far as wagging goes, the Akita has a tail that curls up and almost touches their back. They are the best waggers to have in a house. No swishing sideways movements that can knock things off low lying tables, just a gentle wag.

How might “Wag more, bark less” apply to me as a New Year’s plan? Instead of snapping and being short with people, instead of growling my displeasure, or cursing under my breath, instead of road rage and giving the finger (I never do that) or getting upset over the slightest of slights, what if I smiled and waved?

How often do you wave? How many times a day, or a week, do you raise your hand in greeting and friendship? Interesting thought, huh? Kind of like that saying, “Have you hugged your kid today?” Hugs are huge. But so are waves. Waves cross all boundaries, sexes, cultures, religions, and they are clean and don’t involve any sensitive touching issues. I’m going to incorporate more waves into my life. Here are my seven signature waves:

The flutter wave, which I think will be great for children I don’t know well.

The big sweeping, “Hey old buddy, good to see you,” wave.

The never ending wave as I say farewell after a visit (usually comes with tears.)

The, “Hey wait for me,” wave (always accompanied by a yell.)

The royal wave for special occasions when I’m feeling, well, royal.

The, “get outta’ here,” wave.

The sexy beckoning twitch of the fingers wave, good for when I see the cute guy in the bar. (I’m going to have to practice that one.)

How about you? Do you have a special wave?

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22 Responses to Wag More; Bark Less

  1. Carolyn says:

    Great post, Robena. I guess for me, hugs are my waves. As a touchy feeling type person, I guess I need that contact. I even hug people I’ve just met by telling them “I’m a hugger.” LOL

    Now, I do wave to kids sitting in the backseat of a passing car just to make them smile because they’re trying to figure out who the heck is this crazy lady.

    Happy New Year, my friend. Waving wildly. 🙂

  2. KarenB says:

    Wag more, bark less. Love it! I just read about a guy who wrote a thank you note everyday, or said thank you as much as possible, and how it changed his whole perspective. Wags, waves, thanks, it’s all about putting positive energy out into the world.

  3. Robena Grant says:

    Absolutely, Karen. I like that guy’s philosophy.

  4. Merry says:

    Now I’m picturing you doing the royal wave 😉

    Beautiful picture, though how anyone could confuse that sweet dog with a wolf beats me.

    • Robena Grant says:

      Hi Merry, I think it was how she could bay at the moon. Plus her body size and shape. A lot of people would ask me, as she got older and grayer in the muzzle, if she was part wolf. She was the sweetest dog ever.

  5. Dee J. says:


    WMBL. Love it! My dogs’ tails are deadly! Have to stay clear of the rear when they wag. I like the idea of the wave. I’ll see if I can’t implement one from your list and see what sticks. (Minus the royal wave. Haha. Don’t picture myself doing that one too often!!)

  6. Thea says:

    Our rescue Cocker has a stub tail capable of whirring. Someday coming I expect it will levitate him above our heads. He and we will be delighted, not surprised.

    How intuitive you are. *Less bark, more wag” is my 2012 resolve.

    The photo of you and your Akita is royal in and of itself. Thank you for sharing.

  7. Maria says:

    Great post and I think I just like the saying “Wag more; bark less.” I think that will be my motto for 2012.

  8. Hi Robena! (Waving madly!) You haven’t changed a bit! 🙂

    I saw that bumper sticker on a car in the market parking lot last year and loved it, too. Since we don’t have tails to wag (wouldn’t it be weird if we did?) I like the idea of waving. When I go for walks, I always lift a hand to people walking across the street or as I pass them, or working in their yards or garages. I think it is a basic civility to acknowledge someone exists to you. So many times I walk past people, say hello, and don’t get any response. What am I chopped liver?

    Anyway – I like the spread fingers jack-in-the-box kind of wave.

    Thanks for another fun blog.

  9. Julie says:

    Okay, this might be wrong but I don’t think so, there is a small, independent pet store (not a big box, not even close) here in town, and the name is “Wags“. They sell those stickers, have since the two women opened the shop about 8 or so years ago. They told me, when I commented on how great the saying was, and how many of them I see all over the place, that they had the stickers made for them.
    Was the one you saw kind of oblong shaped, with an outlining circle around it? Could there be other stores that are buying them now too? Or is this one store in Eugene the only one to sell them? Because originally THAT was the case.

    Now, on to the post. I absolutely adore that picture of you and Nikki! And wow, brilliant idea about the waves. I do wave quite a bit, and oddly enough, I kinda hug a lot too, even though I’m NOT a touchy feely person. (But yes, Carol and I were ridiculous together.)

  10. Robena Grant says:

    You know what, it was kind of oblong, not real big. I’d never have seen it if I wasn’t stopped at the traffic light. I don’t quite recall the color. Maybe brown and white? Anyway, I think that is awesome about it coming from a small store. I might google later and see what I can discover about the sign.

    I thought you’d be a waver. ; )

  11. londonmabel says:

    Bark less bark less… yes must remember this one. Especially when I’m tired.

  12. Robena Grant says:

    Hey, London. Good to see you. I know that being tired and or sore makes me achy=grumpy. I’m trying not to rush so much these days.

  13. I have been barking a lot lately, because we are trying to change a few things here in the House of Penii, and frankly, I’ve been frustrated. But I think I will try the hugs. As the boys grew older, I hugged less. Maybe because they got bigger than me? So, more hugging, less barking.

  14. Robena Grant says:

    Yep. Hugs are good.
    Kids go through a stage where it isn’t cool to be hugged or to show affection for parents. I’m not sure exactly when that changes, but I know by the time both the boy and the girl had reached twenty they openly hugged and kissed hello and goodbye. So yeah, keep the hugs going.