Doglish 101 ~ July 16, 2015

I'm a what?!

In the complicated world of communication between humans and canines, it’s apparent I pretty much don’t know jack. As in nada, nein, nyeht, zilch and this fact is constantly reminding me of that given the looks I receive whenever I speak to Sam. Anyone who’s been a parent to a pouty hormone laden teenager knows THAT look.

  • Exhibit A: In our household, the command for “let’s step on it and move” is “chop, chop.”  In Sam’s brain, ‘chop, chop’ apparently means “ooh, look, a butterfly, I should check this out more closely” or more frequently it will mean, “I’ll do it in my own sweet time when I feel like it.” More often than not, it’s when I’m in a hurry or trying to balance sacks of groceries while maneuvering the door with a knee and making sure he gets inside so I don’t trip over him, kill myself in the process and spill everything all over the floor. Sam apparently views this time as open season to aggravate the parental unit judging by his slow-mo reaction.
  • Exhibit B: Let me set the stage here. There is a split rail fence around our front yard garden and we’re on a corner lot so there’s lots of real estate. “Stay in the yard” apparently means, “well only if you really, really want to” because no sooner than the command is spoken, I see Sam sauntering down the street on some scent trail or to say hi to a neighbor out walking past. When I holler at him to “get back in your yard” he gives me such a look of disdain I’ve not seen since I first grounded my kids when they were teenagers. After giving me the stink-eye, he ever so casually walks back into the yard with more disdainful looks over the shoulder, not even pretending to feel any kind of remorse.
  • Exhibit C:  “Off” can be a wonderful command (in theory) that can be used to keep pets off furniture, people, and lovely flowering plants. The other day I said “OFF!” to Sam as he gave me that hither may come look over his shoulder whereby he turned his head in the opposite direction and promptly lifted his leg on a peony bush. Argh!!! What part of “OFF” do you not understand dog?!

I wholeheartedly agree with the idea that dogs can be bi-lingual. I’ve witnessed dogs who understand commands in German, English and Spanish. I’ve also come to the conclusion that something clearly gets lost in translation where Sam is concerned. It tends to revolve around what his agenda is, not so much what I want him to do or not do. I’ve joked about Sam being the ‘simple dog’ over the years, but as I reflect on his behavior I think he’s far more stubborn than he is dumb. And because of that, I need to find a translator because currently, Sam isn’t interested in learning English. Anyone know of a dog translater up for the task? I’ll even grant that I may be part of the problem, but as this hound gets older, he becomes more and more challenging. I’m beginning to wonder if he’s really a Standard Poodle or a more likely a substandard poodle. 😉

Live, love, bark! <3

32 thoughts on “Doglish 101 ~ July 16, 2015

  1. Sampson has suddenly become hearing selective. He certainly hears, “Do you want your dinner” when it’s said in a whisper, but some how, “Come here!” on our wood walks, despite being spoken quite loudly, is indiscernible.

  2. we learned that one word thing, where you make up a word, for us is OTT!
    What you got here is the standard problem with standard poodles. They think, make up their own minds and decide if the command is real or not. Will the human get over it? The stories are waaaay too familiar…LeeAnna

  3. We know more words that we admit to. It is just better that way. If hoomans knew what we REALLY understood it would freak them out BOL!

    Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley

  4. I hear you, dealing with my two is exasperating. The good (lazy) one completely blows us off, probably because we’re always disciplining or worried about the other one. The bad (schizo) one is extremely attentive and will literally jump through hoops for us … UNTIL there’s another dog in her crosshairs at which point she instantly transforms into a weapon of mass destruction. If I could enroll these punks in remedial school I would! Maybe Sam just needs a refresher training class … or two. 🙂

  5. All these challenges and more can be overcome by presenting a treat when making the command. Otherwise, give it up, it’s a lost cause. Max ignores us in both English and jJpanese but is 100% obedient when food is involved. He’s a money player.

  6. Seem my two have a similar affliction. After I give a command they like to give me time to reconsider whether I really, really meant to say that to them.

  7. Believe me, I’m not one to talk either. I’ve been baby-talking Ducky since she joined our happy little family. BUT over the last few (as in just under 3, not somewhere between 3 and 9) weeks, I have been trying to curb the baby talk as much as possible. And, when necessary I calmly but firmly tell her “knock it off.” And it’s paying off. She’s listening to me – and doing/not doing what she’s told – on a much more consistent basis. And her confidence level is improving, too. I have been really proud of her lately. Maybe you just need to be firmer with Sam? Let him know that YOU are in charge, not him? I’m not saying be “mean”, with an aggravated tone in your voice. Just be calmly firm with him. Get his attention with a “Hey!” or a “Knock it off!” said in the firmest tone necessary. Like I said, I’m not one to talk about letting the dog get away with murder. But gentle, kind discipline really works wonders with dogs, as well as kids (maybe better than with kids). I still spoil the girls, too; but I try to make them earn it by not running roughshod over us and each other in the house.

    1. Oh trust me I’m in charge; but it’s like having a teenager all over again. They’ll eventually do it, they just act like you’re killing them in the process. 😉 Good job with Ducky!

      1. Ah, a “knucklehead”! LOL. That’s what one of my girlfriends calls her 3 hooligans. I guess I should consider myself lucky that Callie and Shadow are so well-behaved! Yeah, they had their teenage years, but they were even easy then. 🙂

        1. A sweet and selective knucklehead which is why he’s so like a teen! But I couldn’t ask for a sweeter dog and the patients completely love him. Guess I have to accept the warts too with that sweetness. 😉

  8. Loved it! Doglish is clearly a very complex language – at least based on Ray’s understanding of it. “Off” often means (to him) just stand still wherever he is. Any sound relating to food = charge past me, and possibly knocking me over, as he races for the kitchen. “C’mon pee buddy” = wander around the garden prior to laying down. “C’mon poop buddy” = find a nice plant and pee on it. “Come!” means who knows what but has something to do with squirrels. “Easy buddy” (intended for up/down steps) = charge up/jump down as the leash allows. “Good boy buddy” = tilt head to one side;look cute; await treat!

    1. Nice to know others endure suffer the same fate as me with canine communication. That whole stairs thing flummoxes Sam too. We don’t have them at home but need to be able to navigate them at the hospital so whenever we’re there we practice a couple times. I need to tie an anchor to him because he dashes like a Mad Hatter up and down the stairs. Elevators also wig him out, but he’s getting better being distracted with treats. 😉

  9. I once got a video from a dog whisperer who felt sorry as he saw our punched clothes and skin… I’ve learnt that you should use only one word for dangerous situations instead of stop or off , no matter if you use a real word or a fictional thingy and it should be a word you rarely use. we picked “rashapullo” and after some weeks as Easy tried to eat my arm again… I couldn’t remember the darned word, uhoh! I replaced it with “keckdafidux” and it really worked and it works till today… not always but mostly. Maybe Sam prefers an imaginary language too? or how about esperanto? that could be the solution :o)

    1. 🙂 Maybe I should try getting the Harry Potter Wizard’s Dictionary and see if he responses better to that. I’d be like you and forget the word and Sam would look at me like I’ve totally lost it.

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