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Friday, 30 November 2012

Dogs are like elephants

Well not exactly of course.

But you know the way they teach elephants not to run away by tying a rope round their leg attached to a post when they are young and when they get older as long as they have a piece of rope round their leg it doesn’t have to be tied to anything because they think they can’t escape anyway. 

Funny thing the brain and association!

Well our two little dogs will be 3 yrs old in February and they have a similar quirk.

Our back garden (yard to my American friends) is safe and secure because we had a dog before which we sadly lost to liver disease.  But when we first brought our two little urchins home it was OK during the day but the first evening we realised that we could not see the black one when she was out of the range of the patio light, so we couldn’t keep an eye on her the same as we could the little cream one.

So the next day we did a major construction on the lawn with bamboo canes and chicken wire folded in half lengthways so that it was about 2’ high and we could still step over it but it would keep the pups in a smaller area of the lawn and patio which was lit by the patio light.

We did have to make major changes a month or so later when one of them kept managing to climb up the fence and over.  So we unrolled all the wire again and tried to flatten it out again as best we could to its full 4’ height so that she could not climb over it.  Of course this meant that we had to build a make-shift gate to get through as we could no longer get over the fence either.

Well this fence stayed up for the rest of that summer and all of the next too but early this year we took it down as we now felt it would be safe for them to roam the garden and not eat everything in sight.

Now here’s the fun bit – they still go round the outside circle of where the fence used to be. 

It’s not that they ever went outside the fence so never really took that route as they were always inside it.  But now they have the whole garden they still seem to go round the imaginary fence.  The do go “through” the imaginary fence but not before they have run round the outside to get to the back of the garden and then they walk on to what was “their” area.  But then they go back out of “their” area to run back round the imaginary fence again to come back indoors. 

It is so funny to watch.  OK the grass is a lot better round the outside part of the lawn as it hasn’t been used as a female dog toilet or been dug up by playful puppies but it is not so noticeable for them to go round the outside.  At first they even made a pathway in the lawn just around the outside of the old enclosure but now they don’t necessarily go quite so close to the imaginary fence so the “path” is not quite so noticeable.

Dogs always seem to get used to a routine if you have one but our dogs seem to be really bad at having a definite routine, as they know our habits I suppose.  When I have been alone in the house upstairs on the computer they have been scratching at the lounge door in the evening because they know they are usually in there by that time even though there is no-one in there. 

Also they are used to me taking them down last thing at night to go to bed in the kitchen and the only times that I haven’t been the one to take them down they just wouldn’t settle and kept scratching the door to come back upstairs again as they couldn’t believe it was bedtime if I didn’t take them down.

If they hear a word that sounds remotely like “brush” their heads whip round as they think a treat is in store because they usually get one after their brush.  There are many little habits / expectations like this too.

And like all dogs of course, they always try to tell us when it is walk time, dinner time and treat time.


1 comment:

  1. Oh, they are so cute!

    I've never figured out who trains whom?

    Do we train our pets or do they train us?

    Great article! :)