Sunday, 9 December 2007

human behavior from a dog's point of view

Penny has learned to participate in a home where there are few routines. Her walk might happen any time from early in the morning to just before midnight. Her meals generally come twice a day, but can vary up to six or seven hours as to when. Household members disappear for days on end without warning.

When we first got her, we read a piece of advice that I think is sensible. If you have a household where schedules tend to get unpredictable at times, then don't create an artificial air of predictability for the puppy - teach her to adapt to the usual 'chaos' of the household.

Sometimes when she's waiting calmly to see what weird thing we'll do next, I'd like to read her mind. I can't do that, but I did enjoy reading an article written by ‘dog scientists’ to explain to puppies what they'll be in for if they live with humans The introduction says:
This study was developed to help puppies prepare for entering the mysterious and frightful world of the Human. By better understanding these vile creatures and the motivations behind their bizarre and unpredictable behaviors, puppies will hopefully learn to accept their fate and enjoy long and relatively happy lives in peaceful coexistence with their oppressive “masters”.
The whole article is an enlightening introduction to the world of the dog scientist, and well worth a read, but here are a couple of my favorite bits:
While accompanying Humans on “walks” outside the immediate area of the Den, the Dog frequently experiences the need to mark or eliminate. Random marking is usually tolerated by the Human, except for the marking of certain Human made objects. Some humans seem to place a great deal of value in the Dog’s eliminations, which are sometimes gathered in small, translucent containers and deposited in circular treat receptacles. It is not clear what becomes of these deposits, but Dog scientists theorize that they are re-processed to manufacture some type of food or treats for other Humans...
Dog scientists specializing in Human behavior suggest that Dogs seek out the older females with white fur on their heads for the most promising Human food sharing opportunities. Mastering eye contact from a “sit” position, with a slightly bowed head and uplifted eyes seems to be the most effective strategy to pursue. Dogs should not, however, expect Humans to offer pre-chewed food or to regurgitate partially digested food for the Dog. This perfectly normal behavior is for some reason discouraged by Alpha Humans during Human feeding rituals

A good fun read, with lots of underlying truths about the role of dogs in human households.

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