dog science

Crowd-sourced science tells us something useful:

A surprising link turned up between empathy in dogs and deception. The dogs that are most bonded to their owners turn out to be most likely to observe their owner in order to steal food.

It’s possible that by “useful” I mean “something that makes me feel better about myself.”

Corgi disaster

The end of Harper’s Weekly Review is usually entertaining.

Queen Elizabeth II’s corgis, Holly, Monty, and Willow, and her dorgis, Candy, Cider, and Vulcan, attacked Princess Margaret’s Norfolk terrier Max at Balmoral Castle. “Unfortunately the dog boy lost control,” said a witness. “There was blood everywhere.”

I assume they’ve executed the dog boy.

puppy open house

We feel like we’ve been hosting a party in the backyard that’s spanned three weekends, so all our friends can come meet the puppies and see us (since we are housebound with those puppies). It’s been terrific. Yesterday we had some repeat visitors, who had also seen the pups the very first day we brought them home and could appreciate how enormous they’ve already become.

Thanks for visiting, dear friends.

Johanna and Dan
Johanna and Dan were among our very first visitors.

Merilin, Bryan, Thijs, Laurel
Last weekend a few rounds of folks cycled through the yard. A lovely day.


Andrew, Kalia, Doug, Bryan
Clare took this great shot of three dudes with three puppies.


Sophie, Max, Leslie
Max correctly identified the pups as “woofs.”

The pups may make their facebook debut courtesy of Arielle.


I don’t know how we’re ever going to separate these two.

Although it does sometimes seem like we’re running a little Flowers In The Attic operation over here.


lit review

Today’s puppy post is another excerpt from our favorite dog book, Culture Clash. I find this table, describing the differing perspectives of humans vs dogs, enormously comforting when the puppies are trying to chew on my pant leg for the thousandth time.

[table id=3 /]


We’ve decided to foster a couple of puppies for the next 6 weeks, with the idea we’ll adopt one permanently at the end of that time. So, hey! Big news for us. Obviously we’re ready to get moving on all the life changing. Expect profuse puppy posts.

Anyway, this decision has had us pouring over our substantial collection of dog-training books. I’ve been reading up on Culture Clash, which we enjoyed so much the first time around that our copy sports large wine stains. I wanted to share this paragraph from the introduction, describing why it’s silly to think that dogs are going to behave the way you want just to please you:

My dogs’ brains are continuously and expertly checking out the behavior of humans, working out to eight decimal places the probability at any given second of cookies, walks, attention, Frisbee and endless hours of deliriously orgasmic games with the latex hedgehog. They appear devoted to me because I throw a mean Frisbee and have opposable thumbs that open cans. Not to say we don’t have a bond. We are both bonding species. But they don’t worship me. I’m not sure they have a concept of worship. Their love is also not grounds for doing whatever I say. It is, in fact, irrelevant to training. To control their behavior, I must constantly manipulate the consequences of their actions and the order and intensity of important stimuli.

In addition to being right on, as far as I’m concerned, this reminds me how similar I found dog training and managing a classroom full of 8th graders to be.