Everyday Adventures in Havachon Heaven

The Good, Crazy, & Adorable Life of One Havachon Puppy

Unspoken Signals

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.

It's only 9 AM and I've accomplished so much already - stretching, eating, playing, jumping, racing - I think I deserve a nap.

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.

Dinner time dinner time dinner time dinner time----

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. 😉

Look! There's my squirrel buddy! I wonder who else will be paying me a visit? 🙂

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.

Are you opening any time soon? I need to know so I can run away....

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!!”

Ahahahaha! You can't reach me when I'm in my cave!

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!

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Daisy’s New Water Signal :)

When Daisy wants something, everyone knows it.

From the first day we brought her home, Daisy made it perfectly clear when she wanted something she couldn’t get for herself.

If she wanted attention, she’d pull her Brat Yap on us – that shrill, bratty-sounding repetitive yap that pierces right through your eardrums. (Thanks to Jan Fennell’s book, we put a quick end to that…)

If she wanted to play, she’d race to find just the right toy and race back to us with it, play-growling up a pint-sized storm, thrusting it into our hand and pulling it away again. (She still does that!)

If she wanted to go for a ride, she’d sit by her travel crate and whine, staring holes in us. (She doesn’t even fit in the travel crate anymore!)

But when it came to wanting water, her signals have changed 3 times in 10 months. First she started a life-or-death barking campaign, but since she just bounced around the floor while she was barking, we never knew what she wanted!

Eventually someone will notice I'm standing here.... Hellooo-ooo!

She then revised that signal and started scratching madly at the bottom of her water bowl as if she would strike a gusher at any moment. That was a GREAT signal – we always knew what she wanted. Trouble was, she abused it and started scratching like a maniac at the bottom of her food bowl too, but she was just being a little piggy and we never fed her on demand.

That made her mad, so she decided that her bowls were chew toys and, when we said “No” to her food demands, she took her bratty frustration out on the food bowl.  My blog buddies know what that means – when the Destructo-Pup side of her personality emerges, nothing survives. I was NOT going to buy a new food bowl every other day! So when she’d treat her food bowl like a chew toy, she was put in the naughty room. It took a few weeks to break her of that habit (she even tried to chew the plastic mat underneath her bowls, dumping water everywhere!), but we finally won that battle.

Now she’s developed a new signal. She just sits or stands quietly next to her empty water bowl with a funny look on her face. Just sits there….staring. If we’re not in the room, she’s out of luck until someone happens to come along and sees her there. Sitting. Just sitting.

Quieter, yes, but not very effective. Funny dog, this little Daisy of ours! I have a feeling we’re in for many years of quirky, funny, silly little behaviors! I love it! 🙂

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