Tuesday, April 29, 2008

What, Lassie, what?

…HA has a fairly new dog…to her, not to the planet. A former stray. His name this time around is Jim, named after a dear friend of HA's.

…Turns out Dog Jim does not like male humans—he grabs their socks and tugs like a cartoon dog. Who knows why?

…The perfect storm will be when he does this to HA’s home owner’s insurance guy—though this has not happened.

…Nicholas Dodman, DVM, director of the Animal Behavior Clinic at Tufts, was waxing on in Parade (Apr 27, 2008) about communicating with your dog, which, let’s face it, requires some dog mind reading.

…Keep commands short and simple, Dodman says. Short words, clearly enunciated consonants. No!

…Don’t repeat it. Dogs will remember the word up to two minutes. If they don’t respond, they heard, but weren’t listening. (Fine line there.)

…Dogs cannot understand complete sentences. But they do pick up on tone of voice. Darn! That rules out logic: “When you stand right where I am going,I may fall, Jim, and then who will earn the money for the kibble?”

…Point at things if you want. Most dogs will follow down your finger to see what. They even have dogs (pointers) that specialize in denoting items. HA has found these might be better a following a pointing finger than other dogs.

…Listen for different barks. Can you tell if a stranger, friend or SWAT team is at the door without looking?

…A wag is not just a wag. Usually this means happy. Accompanied by growling, maybe not. Wagging mostly to the left—could mean the mutt is fearful.

…Rapid blinking (the dog!) is a sign of nervousness or deep thought. Or maybe being nervous about being stupid—like when you ask your dog about the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

…If the dog leans on you, he is asking protection. It’s OK to let him or her do it.

…If they pee certain places, you can see where their concerns lie. Apparently, Jim loves HA’s daughter because he regularly christens her chair on the patio.

…Now HA needs to find out how to get him not to he exactly where she steps every minute of the day. His nickname is J-LO—short for Jim Look Out.

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