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The Dogs House Rules

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212 – March 2017

by Chris Robinson

An old friend of mine who is a retired FBI agent claims to know what dogs are thinking just by looking into their eyes or at their facial expressions and body language. No, he’s not the same guy who once frogmarched yours truly away from a protest site when I objected to his order to leave although that particular agent was also a friend of both Ray’s and mine. While I admit that I scoffed at Ray’s claim initially, there exists no solid evidence that he can’t tell what dogs are thinking.

Certainly he honed his skills divining what people were thinking through two wars – WWII and Korea – and 30 some years in law enforcement so it’s probably wrong to arbitrarily dismiss his stated ability to discern what’s on a dog’s mind. He was a serious water- fowl hunter before the infirmities of age reminded him that it prob- ably was time to give up that particular activity and he hunted with dogs so he doesn’t lack dog experience. It’s also true that his as- sessment of my dog’s mindset shortly after he arrived from sunny Florida as a baby puppy only to be greeted by a foot of snow was probably spot on. Ray took one look at the pup’s expression as he tried to navigate the foot deep snowdrifts with legs that were only about eight inches long and said, “I can tell you exactly what he’s thinking. ‘Get me the hell back to Florida.’”

So,who am I to doubt his ability to get inside the minds of dogs. It’s for sure over the years even I’ve noticed that dogs operate under a vastly different set of rules than do humans and I’ve never so much as pretended to under- stand any part of what a dog might be think- ing. Nowhere is this difference more evi- dent than in what I con- sider the house rules to be and the dogs’ per- ception of what’s in the house regulation book.

Take for example when someone comes to the door. I figure I’m perfectly capable of de- termining whether to open the door and grant admission. The dogs, however, have a much different idea as to who is really the gate- keeper. Their attitude is that they own the house and they take that job seriously. They begin the defense by seriously barking at the potential intruder instantly communicating to that individual that if they should try to get through the door without having first been invited to do so, they are toast. They make it clear that they don’t suffer fools nor do they take prisoners. When the person outside the door finally is given permission by the dogs and does enter, I can assure you I’ve never had any desire to put my nose on them and certainly not in places that the dogs find most fascinating as they conduct a complete body search.

Click here to read the complete article
212 – March 2017

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