Tuesday, 26 February 2008

the stress of unemployment in dogs

If Penny is getting tired of all the 'bright ideas' that I'm finding on the Internet, she hasn't told me about it yet. But maybe I've gone too far with a tip I picked up yesterday. I read a piece about the stress that dogs suffer when they have no job to do - the writer pointed out that dogs were domesticated in order to work with humans, yet many of our modern pets have nothing to do all day.

The article suggested making dogs work for their dinner. It sounded like fun. So, to Penny's surprise, instead of having to merely 'sit' for her lovely meal of kangaroo meat today, she had to wait in the house while I hid the bowl in a far corner of the yard. She bounded down the stairs and quartered the backyard, nose to the ground until she discovered her meal. By the frantic waving of her tail I think she enjoyed it.

I think she comes from a mix of breeds, one of which used to guard monasteries in Tibet and warn the monks when outsiders were approaching. So, when she leaps to her feet and lets out a startlingly loud bark at the front door, we're resolved to regard this as an example of her doing the work she was bred to do. We usually get up from what we're doing and thank her for the warning, after which she usually stops barking...usually...

Now, as to those pesky possums that hiss at her in the backyard at midnight or even later, when we go out so she can relieve herself, if only we could communicate to her that it isn't her job to bark loudly and fiercely at them!


the aphasia decoder.... said...

We've got rabbits at midnight at your house and Cooper acts the same way as Penny. Come by and see Cooper's blog sometime.

Anonymous said...

Work for my dinner? Come on!! We dogs do a great job keeping other animals out of out territory - other cats, possums, owls, rats, mice, pigeons and wild birds - in fact anything that moves gets the royal bark and a good chase.
And after taking care on my Mum all day so she has enough balls to throw, floors to wash and washing to hang out, I think I deserve a free meal. Well, actually, we dogs do like to go find our meal, it is a bit like hunting as our ancestors did.

parlance said...

Jabari, you'd deserve a free meal each day for being so pretty, anyway. Don't princesses get their meals served up just because they're special?

parlance said...

Hi,, aphasia decoder. Thanks for the visit. Coming over now to visit your blog.
Aphasia... as in 'nominal aphasia'?