Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The best laid plans of yellow dogs...

I’m almost finished reading a new book about animal emotions. That’s a topic that greatly interests me, but I’m disappointed because there aren’t many anecdotal examples in the book, and the ones that are there don’t pull my heartstrings as much as the ones I read on your blogs or see in my own home.

Kadi, especially, shows her emotions. After looking online to try to find exactly the right word to explain her manipulative behavior this past Saturday, I've had to settle for "lust"(in a non-sexual context).

Just for background information, let me explain two parts of our regular routine:

1. When I’m planning to take only one dog in the car, I send both of them outside first to do their doggy business. When the first one comes back in, I lure that one into the living room, then close the gate that blocks off the living room from the kitchen. My goal is to separate them so I can put the leash on the dog that’s going with me. Otherwise, Kadi and Butch fight about who gets the leash, and it’s a struggle to get them apart and get out the door with just one dog.

2. When I let both dogs outside, Butch is almost always the first one to come back and scratch on the door to come back inside. (He’s a house dog and doesn’t want to take any chances that someone might think otherwise.) On the rare occasions when Kadi comes in first, it’s usually because she was closer to the door when I opened it to check on them. If that happens, and if Butch is at the other end of the yard, I tell Kadi, “Go get your brother.” She does it. She runs to wherever Butch is, nudges him with her nose, then runs back toward the house with Butch trotting along behind her.

Kadi knows the ropes well, and on Saturday she used her knowledge to her advantage.

She was sitting beside me on the sofa Saturday afternoon when I announced to her that I needed to go vote. (Yes, I talk to the dogs.) I changed my clothes, then said, “Who needs to go outside?” Both dogs went out the door, but Kadi was back in about ten seconds, bumping the door urgently with her nose, demanding to come back inside. Now! Her face and her body language screamed her anticipation of going somewhere with me.

I let her in, then leaned out the door and called Butch. He didn’t come. I called a couple more times, and he still didn’t come. I couldn’t see him from the doorway, so I stepped outside and saw him standing like a statue at the far side of the yard. It was obvious he was listening to me call him, but he wouldn’t budge. I walked closer to him and said, “Come on, Butchie, let’s go in the house.” He quickly moved farther away.

I went back to the doorway, held the door open wide, and said, “Kadi, go get your brother.” Kadi stretched her body out low to the ground and raced as fast as she could, not slowing down a bit as she approached Butch. She smashed into his chest, knocking him back about three more feet, then whirled around and raced back in the house. Inside, she looked at me expectantly, as if to say, “He isn’t coming, so let’s go, okay?” I gave up temporarily and found something else to do, during which Kadi didn't leave my side. Half an hour later, Butch came back to the door on his own.

That was the first time in many months that Butch refused to come in when I called him, and I’m blaming Kadi. Frankly, I think she must have told him something. I can just hear her saying in dog-speak, “Butch, if she catches you, she’ll take you to the doctor, so you stay far away and I’ll go instead of you.”

As I left the house later to go by myself to vote, Butch was resting comfortably on the futon. Kadi, on the other hand, hung her head low and looked at me with big, sad eyes.


  1. I read this while watching the Westminster Dog Show (okay, it was a commercial). It's funny how she totally set him up! Bless them. Cheyenne pulls that "I can't hear you" routine at least once a week.

  2. Yep, I think Kadi told him he was going to the vet. ;-)

    Spot knows the word "go", so maybe when you said you had to go and vote, she heard "go" and thought she was going with you!

    This was a great dog story!

  3. Yep, Butch was set up! That author needs to read our blogs! It's pretty easy to "read" a dog you live with and just know they're up to something! LOL!

    I posted on your election blog... but it disappeared... weird.

  4. This reminds me of the 2 dogs my daughtter had (one has since passed)..Maggie and Millie. Maggie was part lab, part ? and Millie is part lab, part Rottie. Maggie was a runner and very independent, Millie is a stick close to home type. When Maggie wouldn't come in, my daughter would tell Millie to "go get Maggie" and Millie would run out and grab Maggie's collar in her teeth and lead her back inside. Dogs are so smart! And YES...I do believe Kadi set Butch up. She wanted you and the car ride all to herself. LOL

  5. Duly Inspired, it's usually Kadi, not Butch, who ignores me when it's time to come in. Fortunately, she's so sweet when she DOES finally come in that it's hard to be annoyed with her.

    Janet, Holly and Val, thank you for interpreting it the same way I did. Having personally experienced manipulation (from both ends, I'm ashamed to say), I was pretty sure I recognized it.

  6. Naughty Kadi!
    I'm dogsitting a neighbours dog, Elmo, for a week. Poor Elmo, when I let him out into the back yard to do what comes naturally, the snow is so deep and his legs are so short, that he's having great difficulty! In his own back yard the snow is all trampled down.

  7. Funny, we were just talking this morning about how manipulative Ellie is. When she wants something, she will lie there giving you 'the look'...ears folded back, batting her white eyelashes at you till you can just see the tears welling up. Pups! Carmon


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