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.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Dull Days

It's been very, very dull and somewhat irritating around Chez Buddy lately. Puppy buddy got sick again, staying home from school, thereby preventing our doing much blogging or surfing. He had a cough so bad it was almost an impressive bark. No walks, no nuffin. Then, beta buddy leaves for a few days, and shuts down her computer. Since I can't get my paw around back of the thing, I can't turn it back on. I tried to talk Winston into doing it, but he would agree only if I taught him how to spam the dog newsgroups, and I refused. So, we're left hanging out on the couch and watching bad movies. (Not a single Scooby Doo movie among them.)

Puppy buddy is back in school, and beta buddy is home, so things should get back to normal in a few days. In the meanwhile, I've got to catch up on email and stuff before I can do much blogging.

Friday, February 04, 2005

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.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Back to the Bus

The puppy buddy has been home for several days. He wasn't sick, so I'm not entirely clear why, but I think it's because the bus never came for him. Today, though, we were back to our normal schedule, and walked him to the bus. I don't know how he knew the bus would come today and wasn't going to come on those other days, but he did.

Sometimes the buddies seem to know things that dogs don't, and I can't figure out why. It can't be that they've sensed it, as they can't smell a squirrel that's almost over their heads, and they can't hear a pig just a little bit into the brush. And it certainly can't be that they figure stuff out, as they have all the intelligence of a newborn puppy. Odd.

Having him home wasn't all that much fun, as the weather was pretty crummy. So, he and I spent a lot of time sitting on the couch watching movies. I enjoyed the ones about Buddy the dog (who plays football and soccer and stuff), and I always love _Scooby-Doo Two_, but a couple of the others didn't have a single dog in them. You know how that goes--you sit there waiting for the movie to get interesting, thinking, "Hmmm...well, maybe there'll be a dog in the movie soon..." but no go. I don't understand why they even make movies like that.