Wag More, Bark Less

Some of the best people I know are dogs. The girl pictured below is one of the smartest dogs I’ve ever met, and hands-down the most complex. You can practically see the wheels turning when she is confronted with a choice.

daisy_mayhem

If I had to be trapped for all eternity with just one other creature, I’d pick her over approximately 7,234,693,309 of my fellow humans. She comforts me in my sadness, shares my joys and reminds me that life doesn’t always suck.

I suspect many of us dog people understand through direct experience that our pets are complex, moral creatures. An article published in this weekend’s WaPo and brought to my attention by valued commenter TOP123 confirms our suspicions. An excerpt:

In dogs’ play, researchers see honesty and deceit, perhaps something like morality

Watch a couple of dogs play, and you’ll probably see seemingly random gestures, lots of frenetic activity and a whole lot of energy being expended. But decades of research suggest that beneath this apparently frivolous fun lies a hidden language of honesty and deceit, empathy and perhaps even a humanlike morality.

Take those two dogs. That yogalike pose is known as a “play bow,” and in the language of play it’s one of the most commonly used words. It’s an instigation and a clarification, a warning and an apology. Dogs often adopt this stance as an invitation to play right before they lunge at another dog; they also bow before they nip (“I’m going to bite you, but I’m just fooling around”) or after some particularly aggressive roughhousing (“Sorry I knocked you over; I didn’t mean it.”).

All of this suggests that dogs have a kind of moral code — one long hidden to humans until a cognitive ethologist named Marc Bekoff began to crack it.

[snip]

To enforce moral conduct, dogs must be able to experience a spectrum of emotions, from joy to indignation, guilt to jealousy. They must also be able to read these emotions in others, distinguishing accident from intent, honesty from deceit. And indeed, recent studies by other scientists have shown evidence of these abilities (confirming what many dog owners already feel about their pets).

Scientists have found, for example, that dogs trained to shake hands with humans will stop shaking if they notice that they aren’t being rewarded for the trick although a nearby dog is — a sign, the researchers suggested, that dogs can sense inequity.

Inequality — even dogs are pissed off about it!

Regarding dogs and guilt: ironically, the sweetest and most well-behaved dog I’ve ever had, a large male boxer (sadly missed to this day), was the most capable of expressing guilt. Once when my kid was still in diapers, the dog got into the diaper pail while we were out. The living room was so covered with shredded Huggies that it looked like it had snowed.

Before anyone uttered a word, the dog emerged from behind the sofa, looking like he’d just been accused of the most foul crimes imaginable. No rebuke was necessary.

That same dog was trained to stay off the sofa (we were more rigid about that sort of thing back then), but he had no qualms about lounging on the furniture when we were gone. When he was very old, he lost most of his hearing, so sometimes we’d return home and find him snoozing on the sofa, and he’d look startled and guilty as hell when he woke up and saw us standing there.

Now I regret that we didn’t let him snooze wherever he damn well pleased, dog hair on the furniture be damned. Our current mutts do. Anyway, check out the article. And feel free to share pet stories or discuss whatever.

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78 replies
  1. 1
    libarbarian says:

    Doggie! Doggie! Doggie!

    Good Doggie!

    I know this added a lot to the discussion, but for some reason that picture just brought it out of me.

  2. 2
    Roger Moore says:

    Inequality — even dogs are pissed off about it!

    When they’re the ones being shafted. I’ll be really impressed if the ones who are getting the treats stop shaking hands because they notice their neighbors are getting none.

  3. 3
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    My Labrador “purrs”. No sh!t. When I bring my wife her morning coffee (he is already on the bed) and give her her good morning kiss, he will worm his way in between us and begin to “purr” as we pet him. It sounds a lot like some really vicious dangerous growl/snarl, but it has a musical quality about it as he changes the pitch and loudness. He will do it as long as the “Woofie Sandwich” lasts. And yes, his name is “Woofie”.

  4. 4
    shelley says:

    but he had no qualms about lounging on the furniture when we were gone.

    Oh man, it’s too early in the day to get misty-eyed.
    Brought back memories of Clemmie. Unlike my present dog, who must be accompanied where ever she goes, Clemmie was quite happy to go upstairs to bed, alone, if she felt like it. So many nights, when I finally came into the darkened bedroom, to suddenly see her silhouette jump up from my bed pillows. ‘Oh, hey! Here you are. I was just keeping your bed warm for you. Sure, that’s it. Okay, I’ll go into my bed now…dum-dee-dum–dee-dum’

  5. 5
    Don K says:

    @shelley:

    One of my sister’s dogs slept with her and would do that when it was his bedtime. About 10 every night you could see him going upstairs to her bedroom to wait for her arrival.

  6. 6
    daveNYC says:

    Dogs seem perfectly capable of expressing something that we think is guilt, but considering that they’re usually more than willing to get back on the sofa or into the trash, I don’t really think they’re feeling all that guilty.

    I rather prefer the honesty of cats in that regard.

  7. 7
    Kristine says:

    When I first got Gaby, my terrier mix rescue, she was seriously underweight due to untreated IBD/food allergies. She weighed 26 pounds when she should have weighed about 37-38–when I scratched her under her chin, all I felt was windpipe. Needless to say, she was hungry all the time.

    I fed her and King, my shep-lab mix, at the same time. Gaby would wolf down her food, then sneak around the dining room table and wait for King to finish his meal. Then she would lick up whatever remained in his bowl. This went on for a week or so, no prob.

    One morning after I put down their bowls–on opposite sides of my small dining room–I realized that I forgot to add meds to Gaby’s food. So I nudged her away from the bowl and took it away. At the same time, King was in sniff-and-decide whether to eat mode. He had just backed away from his bowl when Gaby circled the table and pounced on it.

    King went after her. In a heartbeat, he had her on her back as he snarled and barked so so loudly and she whined. After he let her go, he shunned her, just like the dogs did their rough playmate in the article. For three hours, as she tried harder and harder to get his attention, he turned his back to her or stared over the top of her head as if to say “Lalalala–I don’t see you.” Finally, after the allotted shun time, he deigned to play with her. She never went near his food again.

    When Mickey was still around, he and King would mix it up every few months–I think Mickey may have been the boss in his old home, and he never really adjusted to King being in charge. After they battled, they would go to opposite ends of the yard and ignore one another for 2-3 hours. Then, gradually, they would acknowledge one another’s presence.

    We were always a one-dog family until I took in Mickey to keep King company after Dad died. It was an education.

  8. 8
    Fuzzy says:

    My Banjo is an Irish setter and golden retriever 80 lb mix who is a forever puppy. Has never growled and will run and play all day but with one strange quirk; hates being on a leash for more than short trips and will fight it even though he has many many miles and hours of training with every collar, harness, leash thingy known plus solid pro trainers. Final result, he won. Big yards and dog parks are his domain.

  9. 9
    Betty Cracker says:

    @daveNYC: I feel guilt about things I continue to do. It’s perfectly human…and canine.

  10. 10
    NorthLeft12 says:

    My wife and I are on our second dog. The first was a female yellow Lab who had epilepsy and lived for sixteen years. Our second is a male chocolate Lab and is going on five and a half.

    We learned a lot from April [our first Lab] and Gus [# 2] is benefitting from our experience. We are more tolerant, more inclusive [although April went virtually everywhere with us], and definitely getting him more exercise. We both still miss April because she was such a great, gentle, loyal dog and I for one wish that I knew then what I know now. Gus is loved, but he is such a different dog; active, intelligent, playful, rebellious, infuriating, yet still loving.

  11. 11
    raven says:

    Woof

  12. 12
    ruemara says:

    I foresee my boss blogging about this soon. Now that I work with a bunch of office dogs, I get a o learn how complicated they can be. But it won’t stop me from scratching their butts.

  13. 13
    El Caganer says:

    As soon as I get my own forever home, I’m getting another dog. Or two.

  14. 14

    huzzah. i think I also read that monkeys get pissed off at inequality.

    and so do little kids, of course.

    think of all the heavy lifting capitalism does to get us to accept it.

  15. 15
    Suffern ACE says:

    A few months ago, we were discussing the latest finding that dogs prefer to align along a north/south axis when they poop and I mentioned that I was surprised it took 12,000 years for someone to notice that. I’m still wondering, why it has taken so long to study dogs? Has there been an emotional evolution recently such that we are finally able to feel empathy with creatures who aren’t human?

  16. 16
    Trabb's Boy says:

    I love watching them at the dog park, and how they adjust their play to fit the abilities of the other dogs (once they’ve grown up). And the way they are more gentle and attentive to my son when he’s ill or sad. There’s definitely some kind of empathy there.

    Wouldn’t call it a moral code, though, seein’ as how they’ll steal your food if you blink too slow.

  17. 17
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Suffern ACE: Here’s what the article says about that:

    Two of Darwin’s contemporaries had suggested that dogs could even sniff out someone’s social status and read words. But by the time Bekoff turned his attention to canines, scientists had long deemed them unworthy of study. Because they no longer lived in their natural environment, the thinking went, their minds were corrupted and could not shed light on the bigger question, the evolution of human intelligence. The only animals worth studying were wild ones.

  18. 18
    Eric U. says:

    it’s fascinating to watch our 3 dogs interact. When my mother died in February, we ended up taking her dog. My wife finally got over the fear of having too many dogs. The dog got to wear a muzzle for a while because she couldn’t tolerate the other dogs, but now seems to be ok with them. Of course, that’s mostly the prozac.

  19. 19
    Poopyman says:

    @Trabb’s Boy: It might be a moral code, just not your moral code.

  20. 20
    maya says:

    Dogs know about inequality? Perhaps, but Buddy, tall-boy pitbull mix, knows his Entitlements: A large Vita Bone approximately 30 minutes after breakfast and, again, after late afternoon dinner. Sits by kitchen cabinet where they are kept until his Rights are exercised.

    And furthermore, all dogs know about sofas/ couches/ Davenports. Hundreds, if not thousands, of years of evolutionary adaptation there.

  21. 21
    Harold Samson says:

    Dogs are pack creatures, social animals. They’ve evolved circuitry for these things, so it’s no surprise we connect with them so well.

    Cat’s, not so much. People project human feelings onto cats.

  22. 22
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Poopyman:

    When we got our (current) oldest cat from the cat rescue, one of the terms we agreed to was something like, I understand that cats have no moral sense of right and wrong. I think you’re closer, though — dogs (and cats) don’t have a human sense of morality, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have their own.

    We’ve definitely seen feline etiquette between our cats and how mad they get if one of them breaks the rules. Annie always wants the other two cats to give her baths but refuses to reciprocate and, man, does that piss Charlotte off. You can see her thinking, That’s just rude!

  23. 23
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Harold Samson:

    Cat’s, not so much. People project human feelings onto cats.

    Not at all. Cats are different than dogs, because they’re not naturally pack animals (they don’t crave a hierarchy like dogs and some humans do), but cats have feelings and become bonded to the other cats in the household. After our kitty Natasha died and we took her to the vet for cremation, the other cat (Boris) hunted all around the house for her, meowing in the most piteous way.

  24. 24

    Our cattle dog is quite mischievous. When we come home we can tell within 10 seconds if he’s done something, though. He gives himself up by lowering his ears and slouching and then he self-punishes by going outside until we tell him to come back in.

  25. 25
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Hillary Rettig:

    You’re probably thinking of this experiment.

  26. 26
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Eric U.: I’m sorry for your loss. I also lost my mom in February. She had three dogs, but her human companion kept them, thank god. Her pack and mine didn’t gel; it was always a hassle during the holidays to keep everyone separate.

  27. 27
    Hawes says:

    We just got a new pup. Watching him interact with our current dog (BJ calendar, Miss July) is fascinating. She is more tolerant of him than I would have expected, but she’s also letting him know about certain limits. I wonder how much of canine behavior is a function of their social instincts and how much is because of instinct?

  28. 28
    Scamp Dog says:

    @Suffern ACE: I remember seeing that article, and decided to pay attention to my Border Collie’s orentation as she did her business. I came to the conclusion that her alignment mostly depended on what direction we were walking in, having seen several violations of this paper’s finding. Bottom line: I think that the authors were wrong.

  29. 29
    catclub says:

    @Harold Samson: “Cat’s, not so much. People project human feelings onto cats. ”

    Other people suggest that 30,000 years with dogs versus 4-5000 years with cats is the difference.

  30. 30
    Belafon says:

    OT: I went and looked at NewMax’s “31,072 Scientists Agree Climate Change ‘Unsettled'”. Guess what:

    Over 9,000 of the petition’s signatories have a Ph.D. in a scientific field.

    Over 9,000 dentists agree that you aren’t having a heart attack.

  31. 31
    hitchhiker says:

    My dog was lost, or abandoned for some unknown time before a good guy farmer fed him and trapped him and took him to the shelter. I know this about whoever had him before me:
    1. they trained him to walk on a leash, on the left, never to lunge no matter what, and to stop and wait when the leash-holder does.
    2. they trained him to never go on furniture of any kind, because he just refuses, and if I pick him up and set him next to me, he trembles until I let him down.
    3. it’s just impossible that they would have willingly let him go, especially into the wild. Half the people I meet when I’m out with him want to take him home, and they mean it.

    I’ve lived with other dogs before, but this is the first one that ever bonded with me. I just had no idea what that could be like. I love him.

  32. 32
    Karen in GA says:

    My husband way play-wrestling with Iggy, and Iggy stopped and looked past my husband’s shoulder. My husband stopped and turned around to see what Iggy was looking at. The second my husband did this, Iggy jumped on him. Deceit indeed.

    And he decided yesterday that he would nap with a ukulele on his head. (Iggy, not my husband.)

  33. 33
    shelley says:

    @Belafon:

    The one thing NewsMax and I can agree on is that Gov. Christie is a dick.

  34. 34
    scuffletuffle says:

    @Mnemosyne: My cats (I have had up to seventeen) are definitely pack animals in the sense that they prefer my house with many cats to living alone at a neighbor’s. Yes, I am that lady. While they may not need a hierarchy, they definitely have one and it is frequently tested and reinforced. That said, I’ve lost many cats to the grim reaper over the years, but never noticed any of my cats indicating that they noticed the loss, even of a sibling. It’s a puzzlement.

  35. 35
    Eric U. says:

    @Betty Cracker: thanks Betty. Condolences on your loss as well. I feel lucky in a way, my mom worked all day, sat down to watch the Olympics, and just never got up again. OTOH, she left a lot of loose ends. Her dog is a joy, I’m glad we are keeping her.

    @Belafon: I think the training you get with a Ph.D. should include not making statements that you aren’t qualified to make. Many of us get schooled on this after the fact. I wonder if the scientists that signed the petition included engineers, a lot of people don’t make the distinction.

  36. 36
    Betty Cracker says:

    @hitchhiker: It does seem unlikely that someone would train a dog so well and then just abandon him. At any rate, it’s good that you found each other.

    @Karen in GA: Nice dog. And sweet uke!

  37. 37
    scuffletuffle says:

    @Karen in GA: That is just adorable!

  38. 38
    Fuzzy says:

    @Suffern ACE: After watching mine and others at the dog park, with compass in hand, this north south pooping thing utter bullshit, at least in northern CA.

  39. 39
    scav says:

    @Belafon: How many Liberty and Bryan College graduates are there?

  40. 40
    Pogonip says:

    @Fuzzy: Don’t you mean utter dogshit?

  41. 41
    scav says:

    @Betty Cracker: Circumstances change — consider how bad things probably have to be for people like that wherein they probably feel pushed into abandoning their dog. Granted, that abandonment could probably have been better handled, which is what you no doubt mean. But people can make horrid and uncharacteristic choices under stress.

  42. 42
    Schlemizel says:

    Wife’s brother had a pair of rots, litter mates. We were over at their place and playing fetch with them. One took the ball away from the other so my wife took the ball and gave it back to the one that had it. The thief looked directly at my wife & pee’ed on the carpet, something they never did.

    I think I know what she was trying to say.

  43. 43
    Schlemizel says:

    @Belafon:
    Also some of them have been dead for more than 10 years so their evaluation of current data my be a bit of a problem.
    Note: Edward Teller is one of the dead signators – so we know neither death nor amorality could against you

  44. 44
    Roger Moore says:

    @catclub:

    Other people suggest that 30,000 years with dogs versus 4-5000 years with cats is the difference.

    It’s more like 10,000 years with cats. They’ve found a cat skeleton buried with a human about that old. People seem to have needed hunters of vermin about the same time we adopted agriculture, and cats came along to fill the need.

  45. 45
    Betty Cracker says:

    I once subjected my aforementioned male boxer to wearing fake reindeer antlers at Christmas. We went outside so I could get a better picture, and he shook the fake antlers off and pissed on them. Message received!

  46. 46
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Betty Cracker: Woofie was the same way, very well trained (4 hunting) and abandoned. If he had been lost, he would have had a collar. Oh well. Our good luck that I went to the pound that day.

    ps, funny thing, his 6×8 cage was absolutely spotless. When the animal control cop let him out so I could meet him, he went right past me out the door and over behind a sign where he shat and peed nonstop for at least 5 mins.

  47. 47
    shelley says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    On her first vet visit , after I’d adopted Clemmie, they found belly stitches from being neutered. (She’d been in the shelter for three weeks and nobody’d noticed!) So who would go thru the expense of surgery and then abandon the dog?
    For awhile I was afraid that pointed to her running off on her own, and for a month was so afraid I was gonna get a phone call….

  48. 48
    Botsplainer says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    I once subjected my aforementioned male boxer to wearing fake reindeer antlers at Christmas. We went outside so I could get a better picture, and he shook the fake antlers off and pissed on them. Message received!

    Best dog stories I ever heard come from a lawyer in my office about her now deceased lab.

    She’s Bosnian, married to a Bosnian man (a doctor). Because he’s Bosnian (according to her), he’s got a bug up his ass about not neutering male dogs, which caused her much eye rolling consternation. He also liked to let the dog roam around freely, making puppies.

    One fall, they get a call from a neighbor down the street. He had dutifully raked and bagged a lot of leaves, and this dog viewed the bags as objects of sexual attraction, and had shredded every damn one trying to make it with the bags.

    Fast forward to Christmas. A neighbor called and said “get down to leaf guy’s yard, pronto, before he comes out and sees it”. Apparently, leaf guy loves his Christmas decorations, which included simulacra of lab sized reindeer and a sleigh. The lab had taken a real shine to Rudolph, and was merrily hunching away while destroying it in the process.

  49. 49
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Betty Cracker: I read of a Lab that was not at all fond of his owners new wife. Battled with her for months. Finally, one day while she was at work, he went into her closet, found her favorite sweater, and tore it to shreds. Then he lay down with it between his paws and waited for her to come home. When she saw what he had done, he just looked at her as if to say, “What are you going to do about it?”

    IIRC, she had a heart to heart with her husband, who then had a heart to heart with the dog, and they had no more problems.

  50. 50
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Botsplainer: I have now had laugh for the day. Thanx!!

  51. 51
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Botsplainer:
    That must have been one frustrated dog.

  52. 52
    shelley says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    Now that would make a good Christmas card.

  53. 53
    Botsplainer says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    Not so much frustrated; he was like Brewster Rooster (there’s an old joke that ends with the punch line “shhhh. The buzzards are circling”).

  54. 54
    bemused says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Our two littermate cats will share a moth to play with. One will have possession of the moth for awhile, then drop it in front of her sister and watch quietly until sis gives it back.

  55. 55
    dexwood says:

    In 1975, I had a wonderful dog, a German Shepherd, Hogan, who absolutely loved Linda Ronstadt’s singing. Put on one of her albums and he’d come running, settle himself on the floor between the big ass speakers, and sing along while wagging furiously. As her voice rose, so did his. As her voice descended, so did his. When she stopped singing so did he. He was really fond of Love Has No Pride matching her emotion and intensity and staying right with her. When the album ended, he’d turn, look at his audience, wag some more, then go about his business. Friends would come over just to see this. They’d bring other friends on later visits. He had quite a fan club. This month’s BJ calendar page, that’s one of my pack, Woody, bottom right-hand corner. A great and noble beast.

  56. 56
    Karen in GA says:

    @Betty Cracker: Yep. Basic dolphin uke, with Aquila strings and a decent setup. It sings.

    @scuffletuffle: I’d say thanks, but I had nothing to do with it. It’s all Iggy.

  57. 57
    Amir Khalid says:

    @dexwood:
    I’m listening to Linda doing that song right now. Hogan had good taste.

  58. 58
    Eric U. says:

    we have two rescues. We know the history of one, horrible neglect, owner and roommate were arrested. The other is a mystery. He apparently knows about shock collars, because the invisible fence is very effective. Otherwise, no evidence of training at all. My daughter thinks he wore one of those collars that shocks when the dog barks, he doesn’t bark much.

  59. 59
    Bugboy says:

    “Scientists have found, for example, that dogs trained to shake hands with humans will stop shaking if they notice that they aren’t being rewarded for the trick although a nearby dog is — a sign, the researchers suggested, that dogs can sense inequity.”

    Seems like humans ought to be capable of doing the same: Are you paying attention, blue collar Republicans? NO TREATS FOR YOU!

  60. 60
    raven says:

    Our dogs are our life. The actual reason we are building our ill-fated addition is that the current house doesn’t have enough room for a bed that we can all fit it.

  61. 61
    dexwood says:

    @Amir Khalid:
    Yes, he did. I was dating a lot then and he never really warmed up to any of the women who visited until the woman who is my wife came over for dinner one night. Love at first sight for him. He stayed by her side the entire time, couldn’t get enough of her. Fortunately, I was smart enough to pay attention and “listen” to him.

  62. 62
    skerry says:

    One of our cats, Roxy, died earlier this year. The other cat, Zoey, is still searching for her sister. Goes to Roxy’s favorite places, cries and rolls around like she is collecting scent or something. It’s heartbreaking. Zoey also had a week or so where she wouldn’t use the litterbox. Thankfully, that is back to normal. Grief sucks.

  63. 63
    Seanly says:

    My wife & I are on our 3rd dog right now.

    Ginnie – found her at a gas station along an interstate in VA while going to visit her folks in Nashville. The one good thing I’ve done in my life was remember the exit number so we could pick her up on the way back. I could’ve easily feigned that I forgot it (wife has terrible memory & no sense of direction). Turned out the skinny Chow/Shepherd mix was pregnant.
    She was very loving to us, but aloof. She was smart & mischievous – queen of all she surveyed, a consumate counter-surfer even at 80 lbs with short legs and a dumpster diver (she seemed to have acquired a taste for garbage from her time on the road). She once pulled a garbage can out of cabinet bin & got the bag out of the can. She was my girl – long story behind that. We had her from December 2001 until April 2010 – we had to put her down due to multiple liver issues.

    In 2012, I was driving over to our home inspection and saw a guy walking a dog that was Ginnie’s doppleganger (though without a dark saddle she had). I’m very shy, but I had to stop and pet her. I almost started crying since the dog looked so much like my Ginnie.

    Duncan – one of Ginnie’s 7 pups which we kept. He was whatever mix Ginnie was plus maybe Golden Retriever. He was a trouble maker as a pup, but was the most loving & gentle dog. If you’d yell at the computer, he come up & nose your elbow for some petting. Ginnie assigned him to remind us to wake up at 7 AM everyday for dinner – he’d flap his ears & nudge us with his wet nose. He was a little over 100 lbs in his prime. He had knee trouble after his mother died and never really recovered from the surgery. In November of last year, he started limping & not using his bad back leg. Vet saw some indication of cancer in a chest xray she took while examining his leg. His bad leg was soon unusable and his spine was twisting as he tried to compensate. We had him from the night he was born on Jan 22, 2002 until his last day on Nov 30, 2013. Duncan was my wife’s dog and bolstered her spirits when she went through her Hodgkin’s Lymphoma treatment in 2010 (just after we lost Ginnie). We wish he was still around to be here for her now with her ALL treatment.

    From Ginnie & Duncan, I learned so much about patience, acceptance & unconditional love. I’m getting choked up now thinking about those 2 wonderful dogs.

    Our current dog is the Queen of Gas. Her name is Chula – she was surrendered to ASPCA (and then returned at least twice). An 8 or 9 year old Lab mix with bad teeth. She’s much more playful. We got her to be a companion to Duncan but he never really played with her much. She likes to parade around with a toy in her mouth and let you just about grab it before she turns her hear. She loves chasing balls at the dog park. Her tail is thin & hard and makes lots of knocking sounds in the narrow hallway in our house (yes, we only have one hallway in our current house). She’s a sweet girl and she’s ours forever, but she’s more of just a dog whereas Ginnie & Duncan were seemingly much more.

  64. 64
    Patricia Kayden says:

    “Now I regret that we didn’t let him snooze wherever he damn well pleased”

    That teared me up. Our Boxer and Boxer mix have free reign of the house except for the nice couches in the living room and our beds. And I agree that I love them much more than some animals who walk upright on two legs. Very nice post and love the photo of that contemplative pooch.

  65. 65

    If anyone remembers Lucy, who had been trapped in a flood channel – I took Chucky and Juno to Trader Joe’s the other night, and behind me in line was a lady with her little daughter. I thought she might like the dogs so I dawdled a bit untying them so I would still be there when they came out. Not too surprisingly, they had been playing with Chucky and Juno on their way in. Turns out she is the lady who runs Much Love rescue, and she told me that Lucy is a wonderful sweet doggy and is having a great old time in her permanent home.

  66. 66
    tim holder says:

    I just lost my Vizsla of 12 yrs. to kidney failure.He was the best dog I have ever known.Rest in peace Ryder,you were loved by everyone!

  67. 67
    cckids says:

    @Don K:

    One of my sister’s dogs slept with her and would do that when it was his bedtime. About 10 every night you could see him going upstairs to her bedroom to wait for her arrival.

    If my dog decides I’m staying up too late, he’ll go upstairs (where the bedroom is), stand at the top of the stairs & bark for me. He’s been trying for 14 years to train me to go to bed by 11, but it still hasn’t taken.

  68. 68
    Paul in KY says:

    Over the weekend, while I was attending Hangout festival, my oldest (17 years) cat was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease, as well as another unrelated infection.

    I had the vet euthanaise her & she is currently in my freezer waiting burial.

    Katie was a fine maincoon-mix. Very friendly, although never a lap cat.

    Will be a sad backyard dig this afternoon.

  69. 69
    cckids says:

    @Botsplainer:

    Best dog stories I ever heard come from a lawyer in my office about her now deceased lab.

    For fun dog stories, I highly recommend Farley Mowat’s “The Dog that Wouldn’t Be”

    It is laugh-out-loud funny, thoughtful and, of course, sad ending, like all true animal stories. If you are a dog person, you will love it.

  70. 70
    cckids says:

    @Botsplainer:

    Best dog stories I ever heard come from a lawyer in my office about her now deceased lab.

    For fun dog stories, I highly recommend Farley Mowat’s “The Dog that Wouldn’t Be”

    It is laugh-out-loud funny, thoughtful and, of course, sad ending, like all true animal stories. If you are a dog person, you will love it.

  71. 71
    cckids says:

    @cckids: Urg, FYWP. Sorry for the double.

  72. 72
    tim holder says:

    I will get another vizsla puppy ,and I am thinking about starting him out on a raw food diet,anyone tried this?

  73. 73
    hitchhiker says:

    Does anybody else have a dog that creates a stash for himself? Utah will, if left alone in the kitchen for too long, help himself to whatever he can tall-dog off the counters. He brings it over to the bed we made for him under an old desk and hides it in the back corner where he can enjoy it at his leisure later on.

    Once I found some mail, a ziplock bag of pretzels, his brush, and a few other odds and ends back there.

    My theory about him — because it’s impossible that someone just abandoned him on purpose — is that he was in a car crash in which his owner was injured, probably at night. He’s very skittish with strangers unless I’m near, in which case he’s calm and patient and sweet — a perfect therapy dog. I still can’t believe I get to have him all the time.

  74. 74
    MattR says:

    @cckids: Absolutely love that book. Have probably read it a dozen times since I was a kid and I laugh out loud every time. The only downside is that I have gotten older, I have become more aware of how poorly Mowat and Mutt treat some of the other animals in the neighborhood.

    @hitchhiker: My dog hides treats. She will eat jerky type treats right away, but if you give her a biscuit/cookie she will take it and bury it someplace in the apartment. (I usually have to move at least one treat before getting into bed and some of her attempted hiding place are hilarious, such as a random empty corner of a room). Every couple of months she will go through the apartment, dig out each treat one by one and bring it into the living room where she eats it.

  75. 75
    Kristine says:

    @tim holder: I am very sorry.

  76. 76
    Kristine says:

    @tim holder: I put Gaby on a commercial raw diet from Nature’s Variety. She loves it, and her GI issues–gas, noisy gut–have diminished to practically nothing.

    My knock against commercial raw diets is that they’re bloody expensive. If I ever got a big dog again, I would look into making food from scratch.

  77. 77
    Dick Woodcock says:

    “Regarding dogs and guilt: ironically, the sweetest and most well-behaved dog I’ve ever had, a large male boxer (sadly missed to this day), was the most capable of expressing guilt. ”
    Ha! We have a boxer that does the same thing. We can always tell if she did something wrong, because she’ll get her guilty look on her face, and put herself into her kennel. It’s so hilarious.

    “That same dog was trained to stay off the sofa (we were more rigid about that sort of thing back then), but he had no qualms about lounging on the furniture when we were gone.”
    I had a Sheppard/Lab mix growing up that thought he was pretty smart about the furniture. He knew he wasn’t supposed to sleep on the couch at night. When my dad would come down to use the bathroom in the middle of the night, he’d always hear the dog move around as he was coming down the stairs, but it seemed like he was sleeping on the floor when he got down there. Dad would check the couch, and find that it was warm from where he would sleep on it. The dog would keep an ear out when he was sleeping, and get off of the couch when someone was coming.
    A tape recorder rigged to a mat fixed that. When the dog would get on the couch, it would power up the recorder with my dad saying “Get off the couch!” over and over on it. The dog actually quit sleeping on the couch after that.

  78. 78
    another Mildred says:

    Best amusement: watching my Newfy & my sister’s Rat Terriorist compete for toys. The toys live in a cloth basket in my living room, and mostly, Rox the Newf, ignores them. When Sam the JRT comes to visit he systematically collects all the toys in the house, hoards them under the chair when his mother sits knitting, and growls protectively at anyone who happens to walk by, canine or human.

    The Newfy has a whole different strategy. Now that her toys are interesting again, she gets sneaky. Ever watch a 120 lb. black furry dog get sneaky? It’s pretty funny. But she always manages to sneak some of the (her) toys away from the JRT, who gets mightily pissed off at the infraction. (The rules are, all the toys are belong to him.)

    This can go on for hours. Tons of fun for the humans (and the dogs too, I suspect.)

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