How Buddies Know Stuff
I got email from Bufford saying that he thinks he's figured out the mystery about how buddies sometimes know things dogs don't. He pointed out something I think should be emphasized--it's pretty rare. That was his first clue--whatever their source of information is, it must be something that is generally a waste of time. He says he thought about it for a while, and came up with:
Now, if you're like me, you snorted so hard you started a sneezing attack. That seemed to be obviously completely impossible, as any dog knows that buddies talk all the time and say nothing worth hearing. Every dog knows that you listen for the few important words (walk, dinner, car, squirrel, Comealong Park, ranch, Petsmart, vet) and otherwise completely tune them out.
But, Bufford pointed out that that is exactly why it's so rare. See, he thinks some buddies make the mistake of listening to each other. (He says not very many of them make this mistake--most buddies seem to listen to each other no more attentively than dogs do.) But, if they do listen to each other, given that dogs don't, buddies would--every once in a great while--communicate something important. And dogs wouldn't hear it. (Unless it involved one of the magic words.)
I have to say that I find something pretty compelling about this argument. Not compelling enough to listen more carefully, mind you--this isn't worth cutting into nap time or anything--but enough to think that maybe Bufford's on to something.