About domestication

On Animal Cops they show people conducting a test to see how tame or potentially adoptable a dog is. They take a stray dog or a dog that was removed from a dangerous home. The dog is usually very hungry, or even literally starving. Well, they place a bowl of food on the floor in front of the dog. The dog starts to eat the food. The term "wolf it down" comes to mind. You're watching one very determined dog. It's all about survival.

While the dog is eating his food, a human comes along and pokes at the food with a plastic hand on a stick. The dog may attack the plastic hand or growl a warning at it. The growl can mean anything from "Stop annoying me, can't you see I'm starving?" to "Get away, that's MY food, you moron!" to "I'll kill you if you come any closer!"

These responses are wrong. The correct response is to ignore the plastic hand.

I think I'd fail this domesticity test.

If you mess with my food, I might growl. If you tried to steal my food, I'd probably pretend I was going to bite you.

But my fate doesn't hang in the balance. I'm not perfect. I'm too feisty at times. And yet, I know what I can get away with and what will get me in trouble. Like Dirty Harry says, "A man's got to know his limitations."


Pavlov in Circadia

This morning we had our scoops of food and our drinks of water, same as every other morning.

We went outside to use the bathroom.

We came back in.

At that very same moment, our Man came home from work. I know this because he walked in the front door, and he was wearing his nice work clothes and The Black Shoes. Hey!!! This is great! I love you!!! I run in circles! I lick The Black Shoes because I'm so happy to see you!

What? He was only bringing in the newspaper? He's saying goodbye and going back out the door?

You'll have to excuse me for looking stunned. Someone changed the rules without telling me.




Want chocolate. Need chocolate. Do you know how good it smells? No, of course you don't; you're just a human with an inferior sense of smell. Imagine the way you chocolate smells to you, and then intensify that by 1000%.

In the morning She takes a cup of green tea and a bowl of cereal into the computer room, where she checks the news, reads email, and maybe updates her blog or argues with people in a forum. "Discusses," not argues...

OK, back to chocolate. When She finishes the tea and cereal, she gets some chocolate from a secret stash. I'm sure I would never turn down a Hershey Kiss or a Snickers, but this chocolate is different. It smells so pure and dark, you'd think it had no sugar or emulsifiers. It must be really special because she won't touch anything "under 70%."

I used to beg for some of this chocolate, but no matter how cute or pathetic I act, I'm not allowed to have any. This doesn't make sense to me-- why some foods and not others? She lets my sister and me have some scrambled eggs or small pieces of fruit, but never chocolate.

So now, instead of begging for chocolate, I just get wistful around it. And when She goes to the kitchen to rinse the tea cup and the cereal bowl, I zip over to the computer room and check the floor. Once in a while I find a tiny flake of chocolate there.



The best thing ever

The best thing in the world (besides food) is an event called the Pile. When a Pile is announced, we jump up on the king-size bed and socialize with the humans. We get lots of praise and attention. We never get tired of hearing how cute we are and what good dogs we are. Sometimes we swoon over onto our backs to get tummy rubs. Then we start competing for attention. We get called "jellybeans." That sounds suspiciously similar to the word "jealous." Probably a coincidence, but who cares, anyway? With dogs, the end ALWAYS justifies the means. I can be really persistent. I am referred to as Attention Hound or Demando Snout.

When the male human decides to host a Pile while reading a book, the event is more subdued. We have to sit around chewing a Nylabone or just acting lazy. It's called "bonding." It's better than nothing, but sometimes I get bored and start trouble.



You're not the boss of me

My sister is not the worst dog in the world, but she has some annoying habits. She thinks she can tell me what to do and she even tries to herd me around. She's part dingo or something. I'm not going to tell you her name because she thinks the internet is boring and she's too Zen to care about blogging. It's funny, she answers to a few different names anyway. This is because she came from a dubious and scattered background. At first I thought that was real shady, but then I found out she had a not-good life as a puppy and ended up in a shelter.

When the humans brought her home, I hated her immediately. I barked ferociously at this four-legged intrusion. Was I going to have to share my food? Was this dumb dog going to take attention away from me? Was my smug little world about to be shaken? I remember waking up the next morning. What? She's still here?

She likes me; I tolerate her.

Poor doggy. She didn't even know how to play with toys. We gave her those chicken things that you bite, and those vegetable things that you bite. Booda-somethings. Then after a few weeks of gnawing on those, I let her share my Nylabones. Now we spend some time chewing on "virtually indestructible" Nylabones everyday. Our humans call it "the bone factory." We have the strongest jaws in town from all that exercise. As bad as our bark is, our bite is even worse, so watch it, suckers!

She's a pretty good dog, after all. Way more well-behaved than me. I don't mind if she bosses me around sometimes. I know I'm still the prince of the universe.



How to make soup:

Take one dog or two dogs. Place outside on a very warm day. Allow dogs to bake in the sun for a minimum of 5 minutes. If you like a more pungent soup, let the dogs sunbathe a bit longer. (Never forget to let the dogs back in before they get too hot!) Bring the dogs in. My humans say, "What's that smell? Were those dogs cooking soup again? Ewww!" The human goddess says we are too aromatic and it smells like Crayola soup. Sometimes she just doesn't appreciate haute cuisine.

It's a strange phenomenon or a chemical reaction. The soup odor magically disappears in a little while. Then we smell like sweet graham-crackery dogs again, and no one can resist us.



Dinner was ten minutes late tonight

I barked extra loud just to show them how hungry I was and how neglected I was feeling. My humans had that supermarket smell on them when they finally walked in the door. What's in those bags? Nectarines. Cereal. Ice cream. Nothing for the dogs.

Dinner, when it finally came, was delicious as usual.

Remind me to tell you my recipe for soup. There are rabbits in our backyard, but don't worry, it's not that kind of soup.

Time to get some hugs and cuddling.



The importance of being vigilant

The worst thing in the world is the mailman. You should see him, he's really scary. My sister and I have to protect our people and our house from him. He sneaks up on the porch, wearing some kind of military uniform. I think sometimes he wants to steal our food, or even put a bomb or anthrax in our mailbox. But we scare him good! We bark so loud it makes him jump. We sound much bigger than we are. My sister sounds like a Rottweiler. I sound like a Doberman.
We're a good team.



In the crate

I'm a good boy, most of the time.