An alert Facebook reader sent in this video of two dogs posturing over some kibble scattered on the ground. Oh my, oh my, so much to say about what goes on here, but I’m going to hold my comments until you have had a chance to look at it.
Here’s my suggestion: Watch the entire video before reading any comments, and write down, as soon as you think you have enough information, 1) which dog is going to get the food and 2) why.
A couple of points to make before you watch it: First, I’ll tell you right off that there is no fight, so don’t worry that you are about to watch a canine snuff movie. Second, after you make your decision about who is going to win, continue to watch closely and note all the behaviors that could be communicative in nature. Then play it again (and again) to see what else you can see.
I’ll jump in with my own comments after a few days, but again, watch the video yourself before reading any of the comments. I can’t wait to hear what you have to say!
MEANWHILE, back on the farm: It is so GOOD to be back on the farm! The seminar in Chicago was great fun, thanks to all of you who came and participated, but I am so happy to be back home for awhile after being gone for much of July.
Willie continues to do well, even though we are expanding his exercise. He’s off leash all the time, but still no toys in the house and very limited outside. I have been letting him run around with a stick for a brief period (he picks them up himself in the woods) and this week I’ll go back to hiding a toy somewhere in the yard. Of course, what this means is that he is now crazed; full of energy that he can’t begin to dissipate. As all of you who have been through this know, it is much easier to keep a dog quiet who stays quiet all the time. Once you rev up the engines, even briefly… well, then, the tires begin to lay rubber. I’m thinking it is time to engage his brain and teach him some new tricks. We are still doing his daily exercises, and he loves those, but we’re working on mental exercise to burn off some of his energy given that we can only let him exercise for brief periods of time. But oh, I wish I had a video of his face the first time I took his leash off outside. I could get all damp-eyed just thinking about it.
Tootsie is a happy girl right now too. No thunderstorms for her to deal with (Or for me to work on with her; she became increasingly afraid of thunder this spring when we had storm after storm after storm.), Jim and I are back home, so there’s lots of cuddle time early in the morning and late at night, and no more noisy machines in the back yard. I’m teaching her a few new tricks, too: “Place” (Stand up with your paws on a bench beside the door to the yard), “Spin” (Needs no explaining!) and “Get Back.” She’s a fast learner, no doubt because she considers any food at all to be worth climbing Mt. Everest for.
Even better, today Tootsie passed her behavior evaluation UW Madison’s Pet Pals Program! The teams visit seriously ill children at the University of Wisconsin Children’s Hospital. We have lots of work ahead of us (volunteering at the hospital is a long, complicated process just for the people part of the team), and her final vet check won’t be until December. We won’t start in the hospital as a team until January or February, but still, I’m a tad excited and loved watching everyone at the evaluation go gooey over her. I wanted an “oxytocin pump” when I was looking for a lap dog, and I got a dog who melts hearts wherever she goes.Tootsie is as docile and sweet as any dog I’ve ever met, but she can be frightened by lots of noise. My job will be to be sure that she is enjoying herself and only works with the quietest children. In the photo here she had just been plunked on the lap of a “patient” in a wheelchair. You can see she is a tad unsure, but she remained sweet and docile and continued to wag her way into everyone’s heart. Soon she relaxed and enjoyed all the petting.