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No Winning, No Losing

Recently my dog Sparky and I were playing tug-of-war. He loves this game. I wanted him to enjoy himself and not feel that he was losing, so more than half the time I was letting him win. Then I noticed that he kept coming back for another round, win or lose.

That’s when it hit me: he has no concept of “win” or “lose.” Now, this is rare, even for dogs. I’ve lived with ten dogs in my life, including Sparky, and known countless more. Usually, if a dog doesn’t end up with the toy fairly often, he or she will lose interest in playing. Dogs are competitive by nature. Sparky is competitive with our other dog, Little Man, and doesn’t like to “lose” to him. He’s also competitive with our cat Ivy, and can’t stand it if she’s being petted and he isn’t. But when Sparky plays with me, he plays with me, not against me.

Isn’t that interesting…?

Does a dog have Buddha nature? WOOF!

Sparky during quieter times.  He's an American Eskimo Dog.
Sparky during quieter times. He's an American Eskimo Dog.


Ven. Dr. Myodo Jabo (Sandy Gougis) is a Zen Master and Priest in the Five Mountain Zen Order. She began studying Theravâdin Buddhism in 1998, adding Zen in 2003, and Vajrayana Buddhism in 2008. She currently practices in both the Zen and Tibetan traditions. Her Zen teacher is Most Ven. Wonji Dharma of the Five Mountain Zen Order, and her Tibetan guru is Lama Tsultrim Allione of Tara Mandala. In her free time, Myodo enjoys painting, jewelry making, and other creative endeavors.

One thought on “No Winning, No Losing

  1. Sparky is adorable! Yes, dogs can be buddhas, too. One of my dogs is named Bindi, but we call her Buddha Baby Bindi. Not sure how that name came about, but it suits her.

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