One of my favorite blogging buddies, Nala’s Dog Days, (another Havachon blog!! Woohoo!!) recently did a post called Learning By Doing, where she talks about the ways her adorable Havachon, Nala, has learned things without any training.
This got me thinking about the unspoken signals we give our dogs, and the way they’re always paying attention even when we think they’re not (just like kids!).
My last dog used to respond to “Do you….” at the start of any sentence because she knew it preceded “….want to go OUT?” Similarly, the word “out” raised her ears and got her all excited. So we started avoiding the “do you” phrase and spelling “out” anytime we used it: “Could you take the dinner plates o-u-t?” Well that only worked for a couple of months, because she then recognized the spelling of the word, since we began saying, “Are you ready to take Mugsie o-u-t?” We then started saying it in French, but realized in short order that she’d pick up on it even if we said it in Martian, as long as we said it right before taking her o-u-t. 🙂
Daisy knows the nap signal – when I sit down at my computer in the morning, it’s time for Daisy to hit Big Blue or the couch with the fleece throws. She knows I’ll be busy working for a while, so she settles in for a cozy morning snooze.
Then there’s the unspoken dinner signal – when Daisy hears the evening news come on, she jumps up and stares holes in me, pacing expectantly.
In the kitchen, we have a few different unspoken signals. Early in the morning, when Daisy sees me push in the end chair, she knows I’m going to open the blinds to her Window on the World (the sliding glass doors). The minute I put my hand on that chair, she trots quickly to the edge of the doors, ears perked in anticipation of the Grand Opening. 😉
On the other hand, when she sees me put my hand on the oven door, her ears go down and she runs into the next room – this is a throwback to the Great Scone Incident. Never will she ever forget the havoc she caused, and the oven door opening still signals d-a-n-g-e-r to her.
Now we have the Snack Signal – when Daisy hears me peeling carrots for our dinner salad, she trots expectantly into the kitchen….she knows that a small chunk of carrot has her name on it! 🙂
And, of course, there’s the Bath Signal, when DH struts into the room and says “OK” in a particular tone, then follows it with a rhetorical “Where’s Daisy”. That’s her signal to look maniacally for a hiding place, and if there isn’t one, to roll submissively onto her back, ears down, eyes open to their widest, and little licks with her tongue. It pathetically screams, “Please, please, please NO BATH!!”
Have you noticed any unspoken signals that your dog responds to?
We’ll be a bit scarce next week – we have family staying with us all week from out of state (Daisy will be thrilled!). We’ll try to pop in and visit our blogging buddies whenever we can, otherwise we’ll see you May 1!