Doglish 101

Today’s edition revolves around the concept of motion. In my ongoing effort to learn how to speak and understand “Doglish” I’ve discovered that “Eas-y” apparently means go as fast as you can up or down stairs (rather than take the stairs slowly and safely). 🙂 I know Sam isn’t wild about stairways; we don’t have them at our house and he’s never quite sure how to maneuver up and down without moving at the speed of sound. As hospital volunteers, we must be able to navigate them as a team in the event of an emergency. Every trip to the hospital, I start out by taking at least one flight of stairs to keep Sam on his game. Practice makes perfect, right? With our last trip, there was some serious doubt we could safely handle any more than one flight. Safely being the operative word here. We started out ok, but then he suddenly seemed to realize “Egad, I’m doing something I know nothing about and must freak out and run as fast as I can to get away from these horrible stacked obstacles.” He went from zero to 60 in a nano-second! It was all I could do not to scream my head off like a school girl and just hang on to the leash for dear life. Oh Sam, I really do love you but I’m convinced you’re secretly trying to kill me every opportunity you get.

This week we needed to be re-evaluated for temperament and checked out by the vet who works with our program. Dr. Sarah is a dream. She loves all the dogs, makes time for butt and ear scratches while going through the drill, checking each dog professionally, and quite measured-read…s-l-o-w-l-y. We do this every 6 months, and we’ve been through it enough that I have never worried about it in the past. Sam adapts well and typically just stands there while the laying of hands and banging of utensils go on around him while I answer questions about him for the records. He never flinches and we’re usually in and out in a jiffy. But when we showed up the other evening, a miniature Schnauzer also in the program was there ahead of us. Sweet little Odie is about as cute as a button and was wagging the little stump of a tail nearly clean off when he saw Sam. Sam took one look at him and started doing his jack rabbit run/bounce/jump maneuver like a canine gazelle to investigate just who was this little wind-up toy. Again, it pays to be dead weight some times, because I was sure he would (a) either rip my shoulder out of the socket or (b) pull me down on my bum side. Heel or stop please help me! commands didn’t seem to affect Sam. He saw his little buddy and by golly, he was gonna go say hi…no if’s and’s or but’s about it. While it wasn’t nearly as bad as it could have been, at least I didn’t fall or injure my shoulder, but only barely. But Sam saved the best of his evening antics for Dr. Sarah. Yeah, there’s actually more.

IMG_1993 Sam burst into the office where the evals were held like a bull in a china shop and ran around the table hither and fro investigating everything and in a blink of an eye even tried to hop up onto the table to check out what was that divine odor he could smell. There were some really high value treats that completely captivated him along with the various props that are used to see if the dogs react that he just had to get his big honking nose in the middle of while the rest of us were totally wigging out at his energy level and quickness not to mention the audacity of climbing up there on the table. I was mortified, Dr. Sarah was somewhat surprised (ya think?) and the coordinator was laughing her head off and kept saying, “Dr. Sarah, this dog is almost ten years old, can you believe it?” That numskull! In his feeble brain, apparently “come” at a re-certification evaluation means run around like a crazy nut case and freak everyone out while entertaining your newest BFF, Odie. At least Odie remained cool with it all, little stub of a tail never stopping for a second. 😉

[Full disclosure, the above photo is a reenactment since I wasn’t quick enough to snap a photo at the hospital. I was too busy tripping over my jaw from the shock of seeing that doofus nearly tear the entire room apart with his excitement but fortunately Sam was more than willing to help with ‘staging’ it again. Perhaps ‘help’ in Doglish means he’ll do anything if there are treats involved.] ;)

Oh that dog! Have you mastered Doglish yet? Got any tips that I might use on this bonehead?

Live, love, bark! <3

37 thoughts on “Doglish 101

  1. I’ve been on vaca but got a chance to read today. Of course he acted silly that day…having an audience and all. Everytime cole goes down head first on stairs I thank stars I don’t have to do that. Great he passes! cole understands every word I say, and chooses when to respond if ever. LeeAnna

  2. Re Doglish. I’ve found it helpful to add the phrase “if it pleases your Majesty” to every command I give. That way, obedience or the lack thereof are equally acceptable results.

  3. OMG, I am laughing so hard I am crying! Having just visited Jessie James, who at 7lbs is enough Poodle in full “woo-hoo” mode, I can just imagine that excitement in full size bahahahaha!!!!!! Mazie is the same with the stairs, and we have always had them in our houses. She tramples me on the way up, and will bowl me over on the way down if I don’t move to the side….just don’t get it! Hope you have been well 🙂

  4. Oh dear lord, it sounds like something that would happen to me. Luckily for me Delilah does understand easy in that context, such as when we are going down a steep hill, but she doesn’t understand it when she’s taking a treat from your hand. OUCH!

    So glad you weren’t hurt, but tell me, did he pass?

    1. With flying colors. Being dumb but adorable gets the evaluator every time and the patients love him. And luckily he has the absolute softest nibble I’ve ever seen which endures him to everyone. No missing fingers from this doofas. 😉

  5. I’d rather be dragged up the stairs than down. Sounds scary either way.

    As for Sam’s shenanigans, it’s a demonstration of why he’s such a great therapy dog. He loves people, he loves dogs, and most of all, he loves life. Joy is what we’re all looking for. And Sam brings it in great abundance.

  6. Mastered Doglish????? Impossible. It seems to be based around an infinite number of temporary variables! Say “Gentle” to Ray and he takes a small treat from me without helping himself to a finger or two while he is at it. He is very good. Say “Gentle” to Ray when he is being offered a treat in a Pet Store and it’s a lightning grab! Say “Gentle” to him in the garden and any number of movements dictates a total ignore. “Easy” has even more variables, as does “Leave it”, “Sit”, Down” and “Come”. However, to really complicate things, some of Ray’s Doglish is extremely simple. “Food”, “Chow time” and “Treat Party” always means stop what I am doing and run to Colin as fast as I can. It is a challenging language!

  7. Oh boy…my arm sockets have had their fair share of wrenches…of course due to bunny sightings…i think Sam is hilarious…my two would be next to least Sam just has moments 🙂 ..if it was my table i eould be very happy to share with a ratbag pooch 🙂 hugs Bev xx

  8. It’s great that you have such a pawsome vet! and now I know why the stairs are a racetrack for Easy… it’s his name, it means full speed ahead :o) we had a crazy adventure in a howltel once, Easy refused to enter the elevator, so I used it alone with the luggage while Easy and his dad took the stairs…. we arrived at the same time (his dad in a bad condition with the tongue out).

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