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    November 12, 2007

got two got too got to

woody

sew sew sew eye half bean doing sum research on google two find out what is next on my agenda. their pretty much seams two bee a consensus that awl dogs go too heaven, where ever that is. sounds a lot like hear. as long as theirs lots of dear end knot two many squirrels, eye'll be happy. eye'm wondering if stump end tweet will bee their too, but my research suggests that that's knot at awl a dun deal. why dew humids make everything sew complicated? anyway, keep an eye on them four me. eye'm hoping two make a list of awl the chores eye'm leaving behind, butt eye'm pretty tired write now. sew if eye don't get back hear again, somebody has got two got too got to go to the post office every day end pee on the liriope. eye half done it every day four eleven years end now its somebody else's responsibility.

    December 17, 2006

People Are Not Dogs

chigger

Back in October, about 56 dog weeks ago, something named Jeff posted a comment here at your humble blog dogs web site. We were flattered, and still are, that our new friend Jeff took the time to be sociable. Dogs love sociable. We'd send him a bumper sticker, except he didn't leave a mailing address.

Anyway, I referred to Jeff as a "something" because I was confused as to whether Jeff was a dog or a people. Here's where the confusion came in. Jeff left us a link to a site, likely of his own creation, called "Dogs Are Not People." We were quite excited about that, since there's been very little scholarship on what, to us, seems a very obvious observation.

However, upon visiting Jeff's site, we were shocked, SHOCKED, to discover that he is very likely a people and that he's, well, got some issues.

So in an effort to produce some intellectual balance in advance of the holidays, we offer our point-by-point response to Jeff's "Dogs Are Not People." (This is unusual for us, since we are not pointers. That's a whole different kind of dog. But sometimes a dog's gotta do what a dog's gotta do.) We call it "People Are Not Dogs." To prevent you from having to jump back and forth, we've indicated Jeff's original points in greyed text.

Dogs Art Not People (Jeff)

People Are Not Dogs (blog dogs)

You have to clean up their shit.

They pick up turds, wrap them in plastic bags and put them in their pockets. Yeech.

If they bite someone, you're libel.

They have a breed called “lawyers” that makes all aspects of their lives miserable.

You have to groom them.

They wear clothes. Worse yet, they LIKE to wear clothes. And even worse than that, they like to put clothes on dogs. Sad.

You have to take them for a walk every day, regardless of the weather.

They’re scared to go out if the weather’s not perfect. When they do, they have to put on even MORE clothes. Basically, they just hate to walk. They’d rather sit. That’s why the get hemorrhoids.

They're expensive. The average cost of owning a dog over a lifetime of 10 years is $6,400. Wouldn't that money be better spent on your child's education, a nice vacation, a gift for your wife, self-pampering, or anything else that has true worth? And who knows what serious health-related issues will come up? They get worms and have other unpredictable—and costly—health problems. And what about obedience classes? Cha-ching!

They’re cheap. The average cost of caring for a dog over a lifetime of 10 years is about half the cost of their daily Starbucks half-caff caffé latte venti. And if you have a litter of pups and your person can’t sell them, they drive out in the country and toss them in the ditch. Try to get laid and they cut off your balls. When you get older and start relaxing, they have you “put to sleep.” Cha-cheap! I say.

They're dirty and unsanitary. Not only do they sometimes pee and shit in the house, but they also lick their own crotch, then lick you. How appetizing is that? Also, when they're peeing, they often miss and tinkle on their legs and feet, tracking significant amounts of urine into the house. Dogs are also sloppy eaters, splashing water and food everywhere, and they slobber on everything from your face to your bed pillow.

They NEVER go outside to pee or poop. Every dog knows you don’t poop where you live. (Remember, and I can't emphasize this enough, they also pick up poop in plastic bags and bring it home.) 'Nuff said.

Most dogs shed, creating a perpetual mess, with hair accumulating in virtually every crevice of the house.

Most people don’t have hair except for patches in weird places. They shed microscopic, dried, dead skin flakes all over the house, exacerbating allergies and asthma. And still, they shave off the hair they have in some parts and then rub snake oil on other parts to try to make it grow there instead.

They're loud when they bark, and they disrupt the peace of the neighborhood unless you muzzle them.

They’re loud when they yell your name, and they disrupt the peace of the neighborhood unless you come on the first call. (Of course every dog knows that people talk baby talk to you when you're alone with them, but when other people are around they scream and holler and pretend that they taught you the meaning of "GET DOWN" and "GO OUTSIDE." Huh?)

They interrupt peaceful moments.

They interrupt peaceful moments. Especially those on the couch.

They're unpredictable. No matter how friendly a dog is, it can turn on the owner and possibly injure or kill your child. And many breeds are genetically inclined to attack. Not to mention that even “nice” dogs play rough, which is a risk to small children.

They’re predictable. People love to put you together with children who are often nasty, mean and a likely source of physical harm. Genetically inclined to be overweight and hopped up on sugar, children will hit, kick and jump on you while adults look on admiringly. Any attempt to retaliate or protect yourself makes you a candidate for euthanasia. I'm telling you, it's the youth who should be in Asia.

They usually bother guests, especially if the guest doesn't like dogs or if they have an allergy to pets.

They usually bother visiting dogs. They’re totally ignorant of social conventions. They get bit because they don’t know the difference between “welcome” and “I’m going to steal your food.” And they get humped because they wear really stanky perfume. What do you think musk is for, fool?

They're a time suck. Every moment spent with a dog is a moment away from someone you love. Sure, you can include family members and significant others in dog activities. But is that really quality time spent on strengthening family and romantic relationships?

They’re always bored with each other. Even when they’re with someone they love, they sit side-by-side staring at a screen. It’s what they call “quality time.” When they pay attention to us, it's only to distract themselves from the fact that the person they usually stare at a screen with is "working late at the office" five nights a week. Face it, dogs are much more forgiving of your weak chin, your pasty complexion, your stinky feet, your whiny voice, your droopy boobs, your obsession with football, your beer gut, your lame politics, etc. than any "family member or significant other."

They don't really give you “unconditional love,” as so many people seem to think. They just act affectionate based on conditioned response. They know you're going to feed them, pet them, etc. Those are the only reasons they act as if they're your “best friend.” Again, DOGS ARE NOT PEOPLE.

People think dogs should love them regardless of how they treat them. Some fools think that shock collars, choke chains, muzzles, and the occasional whack along side the head will create an everlasting bond of friendship. Hey, fool, it didn't work with your spouse, and it's not working with us. Of course we do it for the food! Again, PEOPLE ARE NOT DOGS.

Some dogs are big and clumsy, knocking over and breaking fragile stuff.

Some people are scrawny blondes who try to carry dogs around in their purses to impress photographers. Other people pay lots of money to see those people.

They're destructive. Leave some dogs alone, and they'll trash your house or car. Remember “Turner & Hooch”?

They love to lock dogs, as well as people they disagree with, in small rooms for long periods of time. Remember “Shawshank Redemption”?

You have to transport them in your car. Why spend all that money on a good car, only to have a dog ruin the interior?

They’re physically unimpressive, and need traveling machines for all but the shortest journeys. If they could run to the store, we'd be more than happy to accompany them. But no, they gotta drive.

They're a hazard in the car. Not only do they distract you from driving (especially if they're loud and running around), but they are dangerous projectiles in an accident if they're not properly harnessed.

They tend to multitask while driving, making them a danger to each other and especially for any dogs they’ve forced to travel with them. You've never heard a dog say, "Fred, get in the car."

For some dogs, you need a fenced-in yard. Fences are expensive to install, not to mention that the dog will shit freely to its heart's content. Would you rather have a nice clean yard for your kids, or have a dog create an unsanitary shit minefield? And have you ever tried to clean up a yard filled with shit after it rains?

Because they don’t pee outside, they can’t mark their territory. Because they’re physically pathetic, they can’t defend their territory. So they have to spend tons of money on fences. This forces dogs to shit and pee in small confined areas. It creates an unsanitary shit minefield. They deserve to have to clean it up.

They're annoying. They never let you eat in peace without begging relentlessly, and some will follow you around the house no matter where you go.

They’re annoying. They insist on complete control over what you eat. Then they give you dry, colored, tasteless cardboard crap for food. They won’t give you anything decent to eat no matter how much you beg.

Rabies: All outdoor dogs have a danger of contracting this serious viral disease.

Genital Herpes. All humans that go out have a danger of contracting this serious viral disease.

Most dogs get fleas.

Most people get pimples. When they grow up, most people get hemorrhoids.

Someone has to watch the dog when you go on vacation.

You have to entertain their friends when they go on vacation.

They smell, no matter how clean you keep them.

They have no personality. And whenever they start to get one, they go take a bath.

And finally, one of our own courtesy of Woody:

People fart. So do dogs. But people try to hold onto their farts. This makes them irritable and ultimately irrational. They say and do strange things just to end a conversation and get out of the room. This has led to several wars, the merger of AOL and Time-Warner, Britney Spears’ divorce and most of Mel Gibson’s problems. It's just air! Let it go! If it really loves you, it will come back.

    November 24, 2006

The Museum of Modern Arfs

woody

All things must change, and with that brief fanfare, I announce that after more than 37 dog years of consistency and tradition, we, your humble blog dogs, have added a new category: the museum of modern arfs.

What inspired this momentous break with long-standing tradition? Why the discovery of an artist, so brilliant, so visionary, that we could no longer pretend that culture was little more than a pool of slime in a petrie dish. That artist is... (drum roll) the magnificent Pawlick!!!!!

pawlick art

If you don't like it, then you don't get it. This is not your run-of-the-mill namby-pamby art. This is high-grade, conceptual, social sculpture! Why? Well, let me tell you.

It's not the images Mr. Pawlick creates that are important. What's important is the medium: dry commercial dog food. All his art is made with those crappy, dry, tasteless, formed, colored, 100-year-shelf-life turds that humids like to call "kibble."

Why is that important? Because people are buying his stuff! This will inspire more artists to work in kibble, and more collectors to buy art made of kibble. This will drive the price of kibble through the roof and pretty soon humids will have no choice but to feed us REAL food. I LOVE ART!!!!

So today we add Pawlick to our pantheon of great artists, which includes C.M. Coolidge and little Billy Wegman. Please support Mr. Pawlick because we're concerned for his future. If he were doing well, he probably wouldn't need to contact a couple of dogs to promote his work.

    October 27, 2006

Um, Nevermind

chigger

Well, there's a chill in the air around here, and it's got nothing to do with the season. I'm apparently in the dog house (not a real dog house, but a figurative dog house - I wouldn't be caught dead in a real dog house, those are for cats) for having reported on Stump and Tweet's conversation about reptile dysfunction. Luckily, we have a house rule against waterboarding, but I perceive a cold bath and an anal-gland squeezing in my immediate future. Ouch.

As was explained to me in a series of terse and rather loud commands, not only was that conversation not for public consumption, but apparently I totally misunderstood what was being said. Stump insists that what they were actually talking about was not "reptile dysfunction," but rather "electile dysfunction."

Electile dysfunction, I was informed in carefully measured words, is a reference to "dim-witted humans who vote for neon conservatives who believe in paying the horse with a rock." Hmmm?

"Sounds like a dim-witted horse to me," I said.

"Sit, stay, shut-up," said Tweet.

If only I had listened. Instead, I blurted: "Are you suggesting that you prefer a cowardly butt-and-done immediate withdrawal strategy?"

Luckily I have wifi, because now I'm shut out of the house and writing this in the driveway with the sounds of a slamming door and shouts of "WE WERE NOT TALKING ABOUT SECTS" still ringing in my ears.

I dunno. I think I should have listened to Woody and had them both neutered when we first adopted them. But I always thought it might be fun to have a litter. Now I don't think I could handle more than two of them.

    October 11, 2006

freedom of expression is snot necessarily free

woody

WMF? WMF? WMF? sum housecleaning is inn hors d'oeuvres around hear before my hard disk explodes. four starters, theirs hour friend weiz dawg[1] who keeps sending us stuff that needs expressing. (speaking of "expressing," eye went two the vet yesterday, end she expressed my anal glands. WDTMYSP. butt judging from the disparaging comments about my cent, freedom of expression is knot high on the vet's list of constitutional writes. butt hay, eye enjoyed it and eye still support our vets.)

Will Robertson drawing

anyway, back two hour friend w-dawg. today he referred us two this site witch eye like because its easy two reed. its about humids drawing dogs. most knot sew good. yes, bad dog drawings are a bomb a nation, butt eye'm convinced that with discipline, long walks and a good shock collar ewe kin probably teach yor humid two draw well enough too send something decent to this web sight. end if that doesn't work, buy 'em this book.

How to Draw Dogs

eye hate two start humid-bashing, butt the other link w-dawg cent was about humids studying left-handed dogs. knot two put two fine a point on it, but what's the point? we mite catch if yor lucky, but we're knot going to throw. police! first of awl, we don't half hands. second of awl, we half four paws, sew any valid test wood half two consider weather a dog favors the left-front, right-front, left-rear or right-rear paw. end eye haven't even mentioned the tale witch we use for shaking and communicating, end the fact that we usually pick things up with hour mouth. lets get this strait. the only valid weigh too determine a dog's pawedness is two give a dog a really big, thick stake end note witch paw they lick last when their dun. with most dogs this requires at leased seven ore ate stakes two make an accurate extermination. axe any dog. they'll tell ewe eye'm write. end then they'll let ewe test them. sew eye can only express my anal glands on this study.

barkslopeadimage.gifend finally, last weak eye got sum email from this doggie "boutique" wanting two buy advertising space on yor humble blogdogs web sight. they said they'd send us money if we displayed a picture like the one ewe see on the right. eye mean police! ewe think hour moral integrity is four sale? don't they reed hour posts? don't they no we half the up most content for dog sweaters end dog boots end dog dresses (!!!!???$%#$%#$) end awl things dog clothing-like? end dog spas end dog baths? end especially dog holiday costumes? eye mean if eye, a dog, can type, then they, a humid, should bee able two reed. they're just lucky eye don't decide to unionize those dog mottles they use. sad what sum dogs half two due to put food on the floor.

[1] weiz dawg, or w-dawg as we refer to him, actually likes cats moor than dogs. we humor him because he lives in a conservative dog community and needs to maintain a public profile that belies his true feelings. say la vee. we won't out ewe bob.

    October 3, 2006

At war with a rock

chigger

Yesterday I overheard Stump complaining that his president has said that he'd continue his war with a rock even if the only ones who supported him were his wife and his dog Barney. That made my ears perk up, because even though Woody and I have had our well-documented differences with Barney the DOTUS, we can still discuss issues of major import when the situation warrants it. (Barney loves to discuss philosophical questions such as "if you had to choose, would you choose cat food or cat poop?" After much deliberation, he settled on poop, since, he reasoned, that way you get the cat food too. He called it a "value-added product." Smart dog that Barney. Malevolent, but smart.)

Anyway, I sent Barney a note and asked him if he supported this war with a rock. He said, "Not so much."

I don't know where that leaves Stump's president. Tweet said she thought he was caught between a rock and a hard on. Stump laughed, but if it was funny I didn't get it.

arock.jpg

    August 10, 2006

stop the violins

woody

phuque, phuque, phuque. czech this out. end jest when eye was about two have a nice day. sum bunch of humid beans half kilt 50,000 dogs. y? parent lee because they whir worried about rapid dogs. now eye don't care how fast these dogs whir, that's know excuse four killing them.

chigger tells me eye am missing the point. they didn't kill them because they whir rapid, butt rather they killed them just inn case their was a chance they mite get rapid in the future. that makes me bang my head against a tree, but chigger says that this is called the bush doctrine, witch is sum hot knew idea wear ewe kill other stuff before they figure out that they mite half a reason two kill ewe. specially if they half gas, end dogs definitely half gas.

now this is knot jest sum pigment of my imagination. Look at this pitcher:

man beats dog

that is knot sum pin-yada those humids are whacking. inn fact, that looks a lot like me. eye guess the lotion of "cruel end inhumid punishment" doesn't apply if the object is snot humid.

update: hour good friend spot is eluding two the same tapestry inn her blog. butt two make matters worst, she says their going two kill another half-a-melon dogs. due the matt. that's me and chigger times 250,000. argh.

it makes me sad that humids don't love dogs as mulch as dogs love humids.

in fact, it makes me sad that humids don't love humids as mulch as dogs love humids.

update #2: from the npr blog... "One of the many reasons for the outrage," Louisa tells us, "is the barbaric methods used for massacring the dogs. In Mouding, some were beaten to death in front of their owners. Also, in order to find dogs that were hidden by their owners, culling squads went out after darkness banging pots and pans and setting off fireworks to frighten the animals into barking -- so they could track them down and kill them."

ug.

    August 7, 2006

De-dummification

chigger

Just to be clear on a few things, I want to revisit the issue of dogs and dummies that I raised last week. After all, there are worse things than dogs for dummies, such as DOGS FOR FREAKIN' IDIOTS. IT MAKES ME WANT TO TEAR ALL MY FUR OUT AND STICK IT UP MY NOSE. ARRRRGH.

Anyway, the obvious point is that in spite of my outspoken efforts, there are some of you dogs out there who sooner or later are going to find yourselves in the company of dummies, or, if you live in Washington, DC, maybe one of the aforementioned idiots. My message to you is don't despair. With enough effort and a ton of patience, even a total idiot can be taught a rudimentary skill or two.

Take Stump and Tweet. I mean I love those two dearly (Like I have a choice. I'm a friggin' dog. It's hardwired into my DNA.) but they were never the shiniest collars in the pet store if you know what I mean. And yet now, after only ten years, I've taught them how to spell at least six words, all because I kept working at it and never gave up.

How did I do it? I'm here to tell you.

Let's take the word "walk." If you want to teach your dummy to spell you've got to show them tons of enthusiasm and shower them with affirmation. Every time Stump or Tweet would say the word "walk" I would rush to the door then back to where they were sitting and jump and down and wag my tail real hard and pant and bark and run back to the door and so on and so forth to acknowledge the fact that that was the word we were working on. Sometimes they would figure it out and we'd go for a walk, other times they wouldn't, but I never gave up. (I knew a city dog that had some success at this stage by pooping on the kitchen floor, but that's a specialized skill that should only be used by more experienced dogs.) It also helps if you have another dog around, like Woody, to increase the level of affirmative enthusiasm.

Anyway, to make a long story short, with lots of work Stump and Tweet eventually learned to spell "walk." They were tentative, and tended to be soft-spoken about it, looking furtively and saying, "Should we take the dogs for a w-a-l-k?" But they spelled it. And because they spelled it, I could just sit there quietly and relax knowing I'd done a good thing.

These days Stump and Tweet can spell also spell "treat," "food," "bone," "dog," "bath," and "vet." I'm so proud. Will they ever be able to spell well enough to write a coherent position paper on the Boxer Rebellion? Well, you know what they say about monkeys and typewriters. But hey, at least they're not total idiots, and it goes to show that with persistence you can indeed teach an old dummy new tricks.

    July 21, 2006

The good, the bad and the unthinkable

chigger

In my last post it was remiss of me to fail to acknowledge "dogma," a great web site where I first learned about the neo-fascist "kitler" movement. Dogma is a great blog because, first of all, it's got "dog" in the title. It's written by someone named Gina Spadafori, which, if I'm not mistaken, is human for "Spot," so that's what I'm going to call her, Ms. Spot.

Anyway, in addition to pointing out the kitler thing, Ms. Spot is cool because she's not a big fan of what she calls "Edison medicine" and what I call "electrocution training for dogs." Plus she lives with a parrot that only says "What are you doing?"

However, on the not-so-cool side, she tolerates cats, and she champions her own self by asking, "How many people do you know who subscribe to the Wall Street Journal and the Whole Dog Journal?" I'll not jump to judgement, but personally, I'm skeptical of a human who get her ideas from a journal that espouses a world view that only the rich and pampered can afford. And for all I know, the Wall Street Journal might be just as bad.

But what really concerns me about Ms. Spot is that she is the author of "Dogs for Dummies." Now I'm all for dogs for the blind, dogs for the deaf, dogs for the sick, dogs for the disabled, dogs for the infirm, dogs for the abused, dogs for prisoners, dogs for humans with old-timers disease and depression, dogs for treehuggers and dogs for ass-kissers, dogs for loggers and dogs for bloggers, dogs for iPods, and even dogs for dogs. There's lots of ways we can contribute if you've got enough biscuits. But when it comes to dogs for dummies, well I just have to put my paws down. It's cruel, uncouth, demeaning, inconsiderate, embarrassing, humiliating and downright rude. "Cats for Dummies," sure. "Birds for Dummies," that's a stretch. But "Dogs for Dummies"? The horror.

hiltondog.jpg


    March 3, 2004

a grave matter

woody

arg arg arg. well excuuuuuuuuuuuuuse moi. am eye knot inn the room ore what? czech out this link.

eye quote from the aforementioned linked article: "a program to pick dead animals off toronto streets may soon be roadkill because of the city's cash shortage."

eye doughnut no what peas me off moor, the faq that toronto has bean putting there dead dogs out on the curb four trash pickup, ore the faq that there upset that the program is losing funding.

ever herd of a shovel end a back yard ewe idiots? dig a whole. shed a tear. plant a flour. give a sheet. dog gone it.

just weight until this gets back two the toronto dogs. hears tomorrow's headlines, "lassie the wonder dog lets house burn, drags bodies two curb four trash pickup." ha ha ha lol.

    February 22, 2004

A Dog By Any Other Name Would Smell As Sweet

chigger

I'm becoming increasingly concerned with the issue of identity theft online, and feel compelled to express some of my concerns. If you spend much time on the web, you soon realize that there are web sites written by dogs, and web sites written by humans about the dogs they live with. And that's all fine and good. But more and more what I'm finding is web postings that are identified as written by dogs, when in reality they are written by — yes, you guessed it — humans.

Read a few of the posts on this web site and you'll see what I mean. Sure these posts are written in the first dog, but are dogs really writing them? I say no. How can you tell? I'll tell you.

For starters, dogs never refer to any human as "Mom," "Mommie," "Mum" or any other human variation on the word bitch. We don't use bizarre phrases like "T.T.ing" to refer to "taking a piss." And we certainly don't lapse into some kind of mid-20th-Century-blackface-plantation-movie-pseudo-patois as a way to suggest that we‚re not human. I quote: "Mum sez the evil vetman sez I should have a bath evvy WEEK with de medisin soap!!"

"With de medison soap?" Huh? Show me a dog that talks like that and I'll show you a bad Hollywood screenwriter in a poodle costume.

So what can you do to prevent identity theft?

Unlike your paw print, which is unique to you and cannot be given to another mammal for their use, your personal scent can be used, if it falls into the wrong hands, to personally profit at your expense.

The most important thing you have to watch out for is to not let humans sniff your butt. Once they've acquired your scent they can go out and claim territory, threaten other animal species and have relationships with the opposite sex, all using your good name.

And don't forget to eat all your turds. More than one dog has been victimized by identity theft because they left a smelly tell-tale pile of crap laying around for human identity thieves to abuse.

If you have to spend most of your time in proximity to humans that you're not sure you can trust, be sure to never poop where they want you to poop. Try to poop someplace where your scent will be contaminated by other scents, such as a kitchen or bedroom floor. Carpets are good because the texture makes it hard for humans to retrieve an uncontaminated sample.

And of course, as every dog knows, if you regularly eat cat turds it will mask the true identity of your end result.

And finally, always remember to be e-mail savvy. If you get an e-mail message with an attachment labeled "deadsquirrelguts.exe" DON'T OPEN IT. I don't know how many times I have to tell dogs that you can't send dead squirrel guts through the Internet, and the sooner you figure that out, the sooner we'll get a handle on all this spam.

* * *

On a related subject, the aforementioned issues have caused us to lose faith in our human tech support and so we have changed our tech service over to Primate Programming Inc. We expect that this will help us keep our web site more secure and shouldn't result in any change in quality to our readers.


Primate Programming Inc: The Evolution of Java and .NET Training

    July 18, 2003

legal beagles

chigger

Now that the Supreme Court has taken off for its summer recess, it's a good time for me to take a look back at the impact of various recent legal rulings. I'm not going to waste a lot of time on the High Court rulings that primarily affect humans, since they're of little consequence, but I'll reference a couple of them just for the benefit of my biped readers.

The first case revolved around some folderol about diversity in higher education and alleged resistance to said diversity. Now I'm going ignore whatever presumption it is that lets humans refer to a four-year paid vacation from reality as "higher education" and get right to the point. As long as humans make dogs go to obedience school specifically for the purpose of learning to get along with other dogs, then I say what's good for the goose is good for the gander. Without a bit of obedience training we can't take you out in public because you just start yelling at strangers.

The other court case that seemed to get everybody's panties in a bunch had something to do with a couple of people in Texas who were doing it doggie-style. You can imagine what my position is on that. At any rate, you probably know that I'm an advocate for neutering humans before they're old enough to breed, specifically because they're so infantile about sex. They all do it, but they all go bonkers when anyone else does it. They'd all be much less high-strung if they were neutered. And it also helps preserve that melodious high-pitched voice in the males.

But none of that is either here nor there. What I'm really concerned about are the cases that more directly impact our lives.

Perhaps one of most significant legal rulings in my lifetime is the one coming out of Utah that rules that cats and dogs are not the same. This gives legal weight to my long-running assertion (which is also the title of my new book, due out in October) that "Dogs are from Neptune, Cats are from Uranus."

In a decision that's both despicable and retrograde, a New York court has ruled that cutting off a dog's tail does not violate an animal anti-cruelty statute. I'm like, "say what?" I mean, when there's a rule that says that no dog's tail can be longer than four inches, I'm pretty sure we're dealing with some seriously misplaced pianist envy. As our legal champion argued, dogs use their tails to communicate. The logic that tails get tangled in the briars may be true, but I'd like to point out that if we cut the tongues off of our humans, they'd get in a lot less trouble, too. That doesn't justify the act. Sheesh. (P.S. - AKC show dogs running around in briars? Those prissies? Yeah, right. I'll believe it when I see it.)

And here's an amusing lawsuit as told from the human POV. Apparently some guy named his dog after his next door neighbor and then went around cursing the dog by name in public. What it doesn't mention is that not only did the dog initiate her own countersuit alleging slander, but she has also changed the name of her human from "bark bark" to "barf barf."

And finally, there's the issue of just how much a dog is worth. Here's a case where God says a dog is worth "$50,000" and the Court is left to decide whether or not it dares to differ with the omnipotent one. Now there's a lot to consider in this case, but I'd like to point out that the time your dog warned you that your husband was home early and coming up the driveway was probably worth $50,000 all by itself, right? And I won't even mention how many times we've had to clean out the cat box for you. So be generous.

    July 5, 2003

Post-significant signage

chigger

Well, I'm back from summer camp and sucking up all the air-conditioning I can get up my nose. I was at Camp Derryduh doing some post-doc research in semiotics, a recent hobby of mine. For those of you who are unfamiliar with semiotics, it's the study of signs and symbols and signal fires and artificial constructs, etc.

Some of my friends think that studying semiotics is dumb, but it's not, it's just French. Granted, the word itself comes to us as a bastardization of the phrase "semi-neurotic," and originally referred to ideas that were halfway stupid, but we're well past the time when there was anything halfway about it.

Grrrrr, bark, wolfWhat I've been concentrating on is trying to figure out what signs about dogs really signify. For instance, here's a sign I found posted on craphound.com (apparently not a real dog) that I've been analyzing. (click image for larger original site version.) As near as I can tell, this sign is a funny jab at women, who are more used to being told "Attention Wives: Pick up after your husbands. Thank you." Of course dogs don't leave their underwear and beer cans laying around, so the tongue-in-cheek humor is immediately evident. But I'm not interested in the human humor. Rather, I'm concerned about the second part of the sign that starts "Attention Dogs�"

Trying to figure out what this sign signifies is problematic on several levels. You know how Japanese children like to run around with t-shirts that have English phrases on them? And you laugh at how ridiculous it is? Stuff like "I love your happy watermelon" or "My homework went to the bathroom and all I got was this stupid t-shirt." But they don't know what it says. They just think it's amusing to be wearing something with English on it.

And the same thing happens with English-speaking athletes walking around with Asian character tattoos that look cool but actually say something like "My mom's hairdresser is in the very orange refrigerator."

So, I have to assume that whoever it was in the North Vancouver district who made this sign didn't actually speak dog and didn't realize that when dogs see "Grrrrr, bark, woof" it means "Did any of your father's bear turds lose this weird collar?"

Woody is of the opinion that there's a typo in this sign and what the human meant to say was "Grrr, bark, wolf" which, of course, means "Next rest stop, 23 miles, so you better go now." Possible, I guess, but if they're not willing to hire a dog proofreader, then they deserve to be ridiculed.

Anyway, if you, like me, are a big fan of semiotics, then you might be interested in my Master's Thesis: "The Semiotics of French Dog Signs" even if it is a bit technical for the casual reader.

    June 8, 2003

buy buy

woody

snarg, snarg, snaaaaarg... dam bug up my nose... oops, pardon me... anyway... eye eye eye realize that their our a lot of blogs out their, butt eye half two confess that eye dew knot reed very many of them. my mane complaint is that most blogs our buy people, and knot very mini our buy dogs. face it. people our boaring with lousy priorities. they'd rather talk about politics then deer ticks, about girls then squirrels, about corporate malfeasance rather then possum guts. and if eye, four a moment, thought sum won else's sex life was the least bit interesting, eye'd bee putting up daily posts about gilda's pathetic fantasies.

butt... and this is a big butt, people blogs often half sum thing that eye dough knot half. and that's a "wish list." that's wear a blogger has a list on amazon.com of stuff ewe can by them inn order to simulate the task/reward ritual. ore sum thymes it's about lechery. sort of a virtual come-on four blog readers in heat. (end they complain about leg-humping. two each his own, eye say.)

sew, and at any rate, in order two stay current, get sum free stuff, end facilitate yor fantasies, eye halve established my own wish list. jest by me anything ewe see on this list end eye will imagine myself dewing whatever it is ewe want me two imagine myself dewing two ewe. how cool is that? huh?

    January 29, 2003

Property is Theft

chigger

You know, sometimes I give humans a lot of grief, but the one thing I really admire about them is that they're neither greedy nor materialistic. For instance, when a human finds a really well-aged piece of raw meat, the kind of meat that makes you drool so heavy they measure it in gallons-per-minute. I mean a piece of meat so luscious you have to beat the flies off with a stick, with an aroma so fragrant that even from 100 feet away you have to take deep breaths to keep from swooning. Yes, I'm talking meat as good as it gets, and yet humans never even take a bite. Instead they share the whole thing amongst their animal friends.

Then there's Woody. Given the same opportunity, he'd suck that whole piece of meat down faster than a scared squirrel with bad gas and a tail on fire.

And the greed doesn't stop there. Woody has to have EVERYTHING. If it's bigger than a dog tag, he's gonna claim it and pee on it. He just spends all day pee-ing on things. "That's mine, and that's mine, and that's mine," he's saying. "This tree over here is mine, and this shrub is mine, and this fence is mine, and this hubcap is mine and this stick is mine and this rock is mine." Pu-leeese.

Compare that to human behavior. Humans don't seem to need to own hardly anything. Humans keep life simple. Granted, they all seem obsessed with laying claim to the big white drinking bowl in the bathroom, but other than that you only see occasional displays of materialism, and that's usually way out in the country where nobody else cares.

So what's all this got to do with us not posting for a couple of weeks? Well, it's like this. A while back I was working on a post about training humans to leave the refrigerator door open when Woody comes by and wants to post something about squirrel porno. I say, "As soon as I'm done, Woody," but Woody, being Woody, lifts his leg and says "No now. This is MY powerbook." And, well, he shorted out the monitor and fried the keyboard and it's taken two weeks to get it back from the shop.

    November 15, 2002

Sit! Stay! Yeah, right. (Training Part 4)

chigger

Have you ever noticed how humans have this tendency to just suddenly get up and leave and forget to take you along? Sometimes they just go out the door and walk out of sight. Other times they get in their automobile and drive away. They seldom realize that such behavior is not only a major breach of pack etiquette, but that they are placing themselves in grave danger.

For instance, whenever we're along in the car, and we see a dog along side the road, we immediately start screaming and barking to make sure it doesn't try to leap on the car hood, smash the windshield, tear Stump's arms off, steal all the groceries, mark on the front seat and leave. It could happen. Plain and simple, we can't do our job if our human forgets to take us along.

It would help if we knew more about why they leave, but it's hard to tell. A study by noted dog sociologist Professor Tucker suggests that this might be some kind of food-seeking behavior, noting that sometimes humans return from these trips with a fresh supply of dead cans, which they then open and make available on a sporadic basis. On more successful hunting forays they will return with these large flat round things that are covered with cheese, tomato and dead pig parts. Tucker speculates that it's some kind of road kill, but that doesn't explain the flat cardboard box. Anyway, it's good if you can scam a piece.

But regardless of the reason people leave, some dogs just tolerate it, sitting meekly while their human disappears out the door. What those dogs don't realize is that this just reinforces the subtle message that "yes, it's okay to abandon me here and consequently place yourself in grave danger." That's bad for you and it's bad for the person, so let's discuss some ways to educate your human.

For starters, you need to understand the human word "stay." Often, before they leave, humans will look at you and say "stay." Some dogs respond to this by sitting and watching, but that's a mistake. More recent studies indicate that "stay" actually means, "wait here for a moment while I try to leave, then you run as hard as you can to catch me." It's a fun game, although you'll probably get bored with it before your human will. They just keep doing it over and over again. They say "stay," they leave, you run and catch them, they bring you back, they say "stay," they leave, you run and catch them, etc., etc.

But regardless of whether or not your human is playing the "stay" game, or just leaving home without a word, you are going to have to retrain that behavior to maintain a successful relationship. Some humans are more responsive than others to this kind of training. Lots a times a dog can succeed just by chasing after their human every time they leave until they finally relent and take you along. But you have to be consistent here. Forget once or twice and the human will quickly start reverting to old behavior patterns.

Other humans aren't nearly so quick to learn. Some dogs have tried choke collars on their humans, but it's cruel and I don't think fear is a very effective training method. Rather, I prefer shame. Next time you get abandoned, try this. After your human has gone, you leave and go the other direction. Find a place to hide; in the woods, under a house, whatever. The important thing is to stay there as long as you possibly can. You might want to chow down in advance, because this could take a few days.

When your humans return they will start looking for you. They will wander the neighborhood, call your name and over time will start sounding increasingly worried and desperate. Your task is to wait as long as you can, then return home. It's best if you can return in the rain all covered with mud. Think "bedraggled." This usually convinces your human that they should never leave you home alone ever again. (Once they've cleaned you up, this is also an excellent time to push a few other boundaries, such as eating out of the cat food bowl).

Finally, there's the special case of you "partment" dogs. For those of you who don't know, partment dogs are dogs who live in human kennel facilities, large buildings that house many separate packs of humans. It's usually not possible to get away and hide when you're locked in a partment. But you can still use shame as a training tool. Here's how.

Wait until your human is gone. This usually means listening for at least two or three doors to close. Then start barking. A lot. Loud. Let the neighbors know how much pain you're in. Say things like "help, my paw is stuck in the toaster," or "there's a rabid cat hanging from the light fixture," or "I fell down and I can't get up." Then when your human comes home, the neighbors will have summoned the behavior modification people (those folks in the blue uniforms with the shiny badges). These folks will explain to your human that from now on they either take you along when they leave, or end up in the people pound. That usually does the trick.

So good luck with your training, and remember what they say, "a human without its dog is like a tree without it's bark."

    October 13, 2002

The Nose Knows (Training Part 3)

chigger

It pretty much goes without saying that humans aren't exactly the most attractive animals on the planet. Large bare patches of skin, that ungainly upright posture, glaringly white teeth and funny ears are just some of the visible characteristics that take some getting used to. But for most dogs the most ungraceful aspect of the human appearance is the nose, or, more accurately the lack of a nose. Sure we get used to it, but how many of us really understand the human nose and how it functions?

Most dogs assume that the human nose, like the dog nose, is for smelling scents. And it's possible that once upon a time that was right. But even a casual observation of human behavior indicates that they have little, if any, ability to smell. Have you ever seen one human smell another human's crotch or butt? Doesn't happen. (Well, there was that one guy, but he seemed to get hit a lot.)

Humans are so totally oblivious to the scents of other people that the only way they can tell if another human is in heat is to get the person drunk and see what happens. And they're always getting into fights because they can't smell trouble coming a mile away.

You've probably played the smell game with your human, where you take a favorite shoe or remote control device and hide it to see if the human can find it. They rarely can. And even if you play the game over and over again, they never get any better at it.

Dog scientists who study human cadavers point out that the human skull just doesn't have room for enough nasal sensors. The human nose only accommodates a nasal passage a few inches long, whereas the dog's longer nose with its convoluted nasal passages would reach nearly 1500 miles if stretched out in a straight line. (That's in dog miles.)

As humans have evolved their skulls have gotten increasingly bulbous in the area behind the eyes where it seems to have no useful purpose, while the nasal area continues to shrink. There is even evidence to suggest that humans have a tendency to ostracize other humans with large noses, refusing to breed with them or put them in the centerfolds of their magazines. They seem to want to maintain just enough nose to hold their glasses, and then go to surgeons to get the rest removed.

There is probably no way to reverse this negative development, but we can learn how to make the best of it. Here's a few tricks that can help your human get a little bit more in touch with what's left of his or her inner smell.

For starters, always remember to breathe directly in their faces. If you sit quietly at their feet, they're never going to know that you just cleaned out the cat box for them.

Humans can rarely smell anything that's not extremely close to them, so what professional trainers often do with their humans is pay careful attention to the paths they walk, and then leave large piles of do-do where humans can step in them. This way the human will carry your scent around for a while and develop a deeper understanding of just who you are and what you smell like. This is especially effective if your human wears those waffle-soled hiking boots.

And when you can't take your human to the smell, you can always bring the smell back to your human. Say you're out running around and you come across a deer carcass that's been rotting in the woods for three or four weeks. If you run back to the house and try to tell you human, you can bark and jump and roll over and beg and do everything but write "dead deer" in the mashed potatoes and he's not going to come out and look at what you've found. But if you roll around in the juicy parts of the dead deer and get the smell all over your fur (and remember, human smell is weak, so you've got to REALLY rub it in) and then go home, nine times out of ten your human is going to jump up, grab his own nose to indicate understanding and scream "Omygod, Woody found a dead deer!"

There's just nothing more rewarding than a moment like that when you've actually managed to establish direct communication with your human, however brief. It makes it all worthwhile, even the bath afterwards, and that's saying a lot.

    September 10, 2002

All Thumbs (Training Part 2)

chigger

This is my second installment on human behavior and training. Last time I talked about sweat, this time I'm going to cover thumbs. Thumbs are those opposing appendages humans have on their front legs sort of where we have dew claws. It gives humans a unique ability to grasp things. (If only they could grasp ideas as easily as they can grasp objects.)

If you think about it, dogs could easily become extremely resentful of thumbs (assuming we ever became resentful about anything) since just about every tool that exists out there requires a thumb to operate. But then again, the existence of thumbs more or less explains how humans have evolved into dog's best friend. By keeping humans and their thumbs around, we've got willing help that can open cans of food, drive cars, remove ticks, and find the animal channel using the remote.

But of course, when you combine thumb-ability with that flighty and caffeinated human personality, there's going to be a down side. And that, as we know, is that they like to pick things up and throw them. Talk to any dog over the age of 40 and they'll tell you how much of their youth was wasted picking up after humans.

If you're new to humans, here's what to look out for. You'll be chilling, just hanging out, and suddenly the human will pick up your ball or toy or your favorite stick and throw it as far as they can. You run out and pick it up, bring the toy back, and as soon as you put it where it belongs, they pick it up and throw it again. Over and over. Some days it would drive me so nuts that I'd stay up all night just barking in frustration.

But you don't have to tolerate that behavior. With a little work you can train your human to behave, it just takes a bit of tough love. Here's what you do. First of all you have to assess the value of the thrown object to the human. If they just pick up a stick, then you don't move. Just let 'em keep throwing sticks until there's none left.

If it's something the human doesn't want to lose, then you run out, pick it up, and then make them chase you to get it back. When they finally catch up with you, hang on tight and make them bribe you with a dog treat before you'll let go.

If it's something REALLY valuable to the human, say one of those silly designer dog toys that looks like a bone or a plate, but costs a lot, then you run out, pick it up and keep running until you're out of sight, then you put it down where they'll never find it. I know it's hard to do that, because nothing makes a human more depressed than losing money, but with a little bit of nuzzling they'll get over it.

You won't cure them of throwing in day, but the important thing is being consistent. Start with short sessions and gradually increase your refusal to pick up after them. When they finally stop throwing things, remember to reward them. If you've got a dead squirrel hidden away or if you can regurgitate some hot lunch, just leave it out where it will surprise them. They won't forget it.

    September 9, 2002

the orange badge of courage

woody

dam, dam, dam. sun, of, a, bitch. it's hunting season again. pee, puke, piss, poop, puss. i hate it when that happens.

what, ewe ask, is hunting season? it's the thyme of the year when humid beans, compensating four the fact that they have week eyesite, pour hearing, a lousy cents of smell and slow reflexes, put lawn chairs up in trees and use weapons of mess destruction too catch food. (some of them are sew stupid they don't even eat it after they kill it, but then again they never had to survive on canned dog food.)

redcollar.jpgsew why due i hate hunting season? because i have two where a bright orange collar four the duration and it itches like crazy. if only those fools had half a brain, they'd know the difference between a turkey and a dog and eye could get rid of this tacky outer where. it's sew knot fat. heck, if they'd just tell me what they wanted, i'd go catch it four them. it's what i due four a living.

    August 26, 2002

Shake year boot-e

woody

hay hay hay! eye got won eye got won eye got won. hear's a grate party trick when you have a human around.

first, weight until the human sits. then walk up, sit down and hold yor paw up. when ewe due that, they almost always reach out, grab your paw and say "shake." you raise and lower your paw a couple of thymes, and then put it back on the floor.

then ewe dew the hole thing all over again.

this will get the human reel excited. the human will shout at the other humans two watch. then the human will hold out it's hand and say "shake." since all his friends are watching, ewe just stare at him like he's crazy. he will say "shake" again while holding out his hand. ewe just sit there. (maybe let your paw flinch just a little bit.) pretty soon he's sitting there saying "o come on, shake, shake, shake, come on, shake, shake, shake." and just like that you've got your human singing a 70s disco song!

    August 25, 2002

Nice Pants (Training Part I)

chigger

Back when Woody and I first committed to the idea of a weblog (back when weblogs consisted of the fascinating if obsessed musing and diaristic detail spewing from the keyboards of anonymous citizens, not the daily pusillanimous political pontificating of self-proclaimed pseudo-cyber-journalists as well as becoming a desperate marketing gimmick for cash-strapped online magazines -- in other words, about two months ago, and I mean human months not dog months) one of the primary things we hoped to accomplish was to serve as an online place to inform and educate other dogs about the behavior and training of people. But since Woody is neither focused nor articulate, and totally capable of giving spell-checkers a bad name, we've been slow to start. But here's an attempt to get the ball rolling. So here's Lesson One.

The first thing a dog should know about humans is that they can't pant to dissipate heat. Sure you see them with their tongues sticking out, and their mouths are always open for one reason or another, but it's dogopomorphizing to imagine that that behavior is the same as the panting we normally do.

We're not really sure what that behavior is about in humans, although researchers Rover, Spot and Gritlips of the Second Back Yard to the South Institute note that humans are prone to imitation and what we consider panting in humans might be nothing more than mimicked behavior.

Why is this important to know? Because many dogs find themselves having to take their people for walks, out to play, hunting, etc. Some dogs are lucky enough to have people that will work along side them while they chase squirrels, bark at intruders, keep cats in line, etc., but most people are lazy and need to have a formal exercise period after you're done with the chores.

The problem is that dogs sometimes forget that, relatively speaking, people are slow and poorly conditioned and can only keep up with a dog in stride for short periods of time. (Remember that two of their legs are vestigial and useless and hang limply at their sides when they run.) But if you don't know how to recognize the warning signs of a human suffering from over-exertion, your human can suffer from increased appetite, heart attacks, flatulence and bouts of loud barking in your direction.

Ironically, if you persist, some humans are so anxious for approval that they will take a rope or strap and attach it to their hand and your collar just to help themselves keep up.

So how do you know when your human is over-exerting? Ignore the pseudo-panting and pay attention to their hide instead. When their hide starts looking very wet, sort of like they've been walking in the rain, that's an indication that their body is trying to dissipate excess heat. They call it sweating. Yes, it's smelly and disgusting, and it probably explains why they have so little hair, but hey, isn't that just one of the reasons we love them?

    August 19, 2002

all dogs go to heaven

woody

"heaven goes by favor. if it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in." �samuel clemens / mark twain

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