Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Ranch Trip

I think I forgot to mention our trip to the ranch. It was a little complicated this time as a result of my not having had my herbal medicine for over a week.

I had been complaining about how bad the pills taste, and George didn't believe me. I guess the whole discussion got kind of complicated and maybe even a little competitive. George said he could eat a whole bottle of the pills, and I guess I scoffed. So he did. We got them replaced only the day before going to the ranch, so I was still not up to snuff. And it was HOT.

Sometimes the water in the tank is warm, but this time it was cold. Beta buddy kept trying to get me to lie down in the mud--she kept saying that Chester swore by how good it felt on his arthritis. Granted, she's right--Chester did like that mud--but that was when it was WARM. Warm mud is okay, but cold mud is just icky feeling on the sore spots. And I really worry about getting stuck in it. George and Marquis love to get up to their elbows in it, and even roll around, but their legs don't sink in as much as mine do.

Anyway, we didn't walk as much as we usually do, and we didn't see any deer, pigs, or bunnies. George did find some cow poop in which to roll, so he was happy.

(Well, Marquis says he saw a bunny, but I'm skeptical.)

Monday, March 21, 2005

Talking Bark

I've gotten some interesting mail from dogs out there who are puzzled when their buddies try to talk Bark. One of my correspondents mentioned his buddy saying something like, "MORPHOLOGY! cat quaff hassle cenobite?" The impulse is to try to understand this, and guess at what the buddy means--perhaps the buddy is asking if a cat cenobite has a hassle trying to quaff something? Or, on the other hand, one might guess that there are issues of mispronunciation--perhaps the buddy is trying to say something that sounds like that?

I think both those impulses, while understandable, are wrong. Buddies don't listen, so they have trouble learning new languages. I think that the correct response is to be very, very encouraging. Just bark back! That's what I do when my buddies try to talk Bark--I repeat a very simple sentence, "If you run, I'll chase you!" I go into play bow, and I hope they'll get it figured out.

No luck so far, but I'm not giving up hope.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Odd Buddy Behavior (like that's different...)

I think I mentioned we had a buddy visiting, and she gave me a great back rub. She also slept in my bed, and that was a major pain. I had to sleep on the FLOOR!!!! Granted, my buddies put down a dog bed and blankets and covered my head, but, still and all, the FLOOR. I couldn't believe it.

They're also talking weird. I don't usually listen, but I was struck when they let George out of the bathroom--he says he was NOT drinking out of the toilet, but just checking it out, when he accidentally hit the door with his tail. The buddies were both gone, so he was stuck in there a few hours. Being more than a little stressed, he scratched up the door and ate some of the wall. So, the first thing alpha buddy says when he finds George is, "Oh, great, one more thing to fix before putting the house on the market." Huh?

No walk this morning--alpha buddy left super early, and beta buddy took puppy buddy to the busstop. I can't say as I was hugely dissapointed; it was rainy and icky this morning, and I'm not wild about the rain. So, lots of blogging today, and maybe some computer games. George modified some car chase game so that the goal is to run over squirrels--two tails up.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

What to Eat

Maggie is apparently confused by books. No, Maggie, don't eat books. They don't taste all that great, and some of them are pretty good to read. Just don't be fooled by the titles. Chester always complained about certain titles that, he thought, were false advertising, such as: Zen Flesh, Zen Bones; Leaves of Grass; Rule of the Bone; Bone People. While I will grant the principle that books often have misleading titles, I have to say that Zen Flesh, Zen Bones is actually pretty good. It isn't what you think it's about, but it is good.

Anyway, reading can be fun. Granted, sometimes you have to eat books, like when the buddies almost catch you reading. But, otherwise, just eat the doggie obedience books, or other things that might get you grief.

Meanwhile, another eating mystery. We've had another buddy visiting this week. I was a little freaked out, as she looks a lot like my acupuncturist, and I thought she was going to start poking me. Turned out okay, though, as she instead gave me several excellent back massages. Anyway, she bought a bunch of chocolate. I'm not a huge fan of chocolate (bad gas), but George is. So, George snuck into her room and ate all her chocolate. The buddies freak out, call the vet, AND GIVE MARQUIS THE STUFF THAT MAKES DOGS THROW UP.

Go figure.

Monday, February 28, 2005

Cats and Shoes

In the "comments" for my previous post, Maggie makes an excellent point that I hadn't considered. Peeing on shoes is a waste of a good chew, and an infallible sign that my correspondents were cats (the handle "Mr. Kitty" was a pretty good clue, too).

I hadn't thought about it as I'm not a big chewer of shoes. Not that I disapprove or anything, mind you. In fact, it's really just lack of temptation. My buddies have shoes that just don't offer much. They're either mostly some unknown substance, or a hard kind of leather. Beta buddy once brought home a pair of tasty shoes--soft leather--and I did devour them. She hasn't done that since, though; don't know why not.

As to the nipping advice, that works great when the problem is that the buddy is doing something that actively injures you at that moment. If they're putting a ribbon in your hair, or pulling you in a bad way, or something. But, if it's that they've failed to do something, it's harder.

Here's what I mean. It's a question of connecting ideas.

See, buddies aren't capable of having a lot of ideas in their heads at one time. A dog can be thinking about dinner, and how a dog marked here a while ago, and there's a rabbit nearby, and a deer passed through here within a day. A buddy--nope. You've seen it, right? One idea at a time. If that.

If they've done something bad, then they have that idea (putting ribbon in hair). You nip, and they can now connect the two ideas (putting ribbon on dog=nip). Now, granted, I don't need to do that a lot because my buddies don't really do much that's painful, and I'm just too big for them to force me to do anything against my will. But, there is a problem with their not doing things. They forget to take us on walks or give us dinner or something. There is no idea in their heads with which to connect the punishment.

And that is why punishment doesn't really work.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

When Good Buddies Do Bad Things

I've ruffled a lot of fur with my insistence that punishing buddies isn't very productive. Today I'll just publish some of the hostile mail:

Productive? PRODUCTIVE? Who cares about "productive"? I reject your metaphysics of presence in favor of a performative deontology--productive or not, peeing on their shoes is fun.


It's the isseu of principal, not consequences. Who cares if it owkrs to tach them something or not, their not really teachable after all. Its the priciple of hte thing. Theyhd did something wrong, they should be punsihed. If you dont punish them, then you set an example and then theyll be totully out of control. you have to show them whose boss.If you don't they'll just run all over you obiously your a complete wimp. Your just to weeny to stand up to your buddies.

Mr. Kitty

Don't think of it as punishment. Think of it as trying to teach them cause and effect. Cause: they behave badly; consequence: their shoes get peed on. I'm not claiming that buddies are especially bright, but I do think that sufficient repetition will work to get them to understand some very basic cause/effect relations.


I got a lot more along the same lines. While I won't reply to it right now, I will note that the "pee on the shoes" theme makes me suspect that these represent the views of my cat readers.

Monday, February 21, 2005

More on Talking

Again, it's been crazy around here, and very little time alone for blogging. I can't describe last Saturday, as I'm not at all sure what was going on or why. We did not get the walk to Comealong Park, but a whole litter of puppy buddies came over. WE WERE KEPT IN THE BEDROOM. I'm not sure if that was good or bad. It might have been a ton of fun to play with them, but, it might have been stressful. The squealing was bad enough as it was. We did get to eat two pizza boxes, and lots and lots of crust. So, not all was lost. (We failed to snag any ice cream, despite much effort.)

Meanwhile, though, I got email from Jack. He says:

I've thought a whole bunch about that talking thing, and Bufford might not be wrong. When I was a puppy, I spent a couple of days listening to that talk. You're right about their not listening to each other. But, I think they do sometimes say stuff that is important information. Like sometimes one will tell another what will be for dinner, or when they will go for a walk. Granted, it's easier just to wait till you hear the important words, like dinner or walk, and then listen, but you do sometimes miss information. For instance, if a buddy says, "We'll go to the store and then go for a walk," you suddenly realize you need to listen at the end of the statement. It's too late, then! I'm not saying you should listen all the time or anything, but it is a bummer.


I have to say that this mail has puzzled me a lot. I'm going to have to think about it more.