It has occurred to me that Sam and I speak totally different languages. I understand English for the most part and he understands some other language that I’m not familiar with completely. And so this post is the inaugural edition of “Doglish 101,” a semi-regular column here around the Ranch that’s designed to help us figure out what the devil is going on in those communications with some of the more ‘intransigent’ hounds who shall remain nameless at this point but whose initials are Yosemite Sam.
Oh sure, most of the time he gets “sit,” “stay,” simple stuff like that. But as we all know from a recent
rant post, sometimes the wires seem to get bizarrely crossed. I’ve wondered whether my dog could be hard of hearing? I know I am with certain sounds and it’s not that selective hearing thing-no, it’s probably more like listening to extra loud rock & roll music as a teenager (heck I still like like my tunes loud so in my case, it’s not all that surprising that I’m half deaf). Sam on the other hand, well I think is either (a) just plain stubborn as all get-out (b) developmentally slow or (c) in need to of learning the language spoken by this humanoid.
Take for instance, the command “up.” When I say it, at least in my mind, I mean Sam should jump up on the sofa, or bed, or whatever and land with all 4 feet on said surface. What I don’t mean however is for him to start bouncing up and down like a cotton pickin’ pogo stick and hopping up on desks with all four feet like he recently did at the hospital. That command would be “feet” where during our training sessions, I lifted his front feet up onto a surface, provided loads of praise and lots of treats to get those brain synapses to fire in his little pea brain and associate the command with the physical act. It seemed so simple, its worked many times before, and yet, what he obviously hears is “jump up on this desk and embarrass the ever-lovin dickens out of Mom.”
Then there’s that whole thing about the command “come.” Sure Sam comes on command 99% of the time. That 1%, well that gets a little tricky. It’s like he is either thinking “Pfft, yeah not in this lifetime lady, I’ve got pee-mail to read and smells to check out and I’d rather not” or “La-la-la-la-la-la, I can’t hear you with these paws in my ears.” When it suits him, he’ll come a-running, nearly crashing into me and then he turns into a silly wiggling mutt that seems to defy all possible forms of normal anatomy since it appears he has some sort of special hinge in the center of his back that vacillates back and forth like a Slinky toy. He’ll run up and then lean hard against my leg. Clearly he’s not prepared to be any kind of service dog to help out with balance issues and I have to brace myself to keep from falling over. I know I should be grateful he came, but…it’s not quite like how I pictured it in my mind and obviously a failure to understand Doglish. 😉
So tell me…is it just me not fully understanding the complexity of communication or have I entered the Twilight Zone of ‘Doglish 101?” Does it even matter?
Live, love, bark! <3