Canine at the Keyboard: It’s Not Easy Living in a Human World

Hello everyone in the blogosphere! My name is Franklin, and I will be the regular canine guest contributor to this blog.  I hope you will enjoy reading my notes.


Today, I will be sharing a few thoughts on being a canine in a human world.


Let me start by telling those of you who are human that it’s not easy being a canine in a human world.  First of all, human computer keyboards are not well designed for typing with paws.  Second, humans have odd rules about all kinds of things.  For example, they don’t seem to like the polite canine manner of greeting, which consists of sniffing the area between the legs.  Also, while humans are allowed to urinate indoors (in giant porcelain bowls), they discourage us from urinating unless we are outdoors – even if there is a tree indoors.  (I learned this a few years ago when we were visiting a friend and I urinated on her “Christmas Tree.” I just though it was indoor canine plumbing.)


What’s worse is that most humans don’t speak Dog at all, and even those who do speak Dog have only learned the basics.  No matter how many times I look away or yawn to indicate I’d like a little more space, some humans just keep invading my space.  It’s enough to make a dog crazy sometimes!


Because of all of this, I have had to become fluent at Human Body Language (HBL).  Most humans speak HBL pretty well when they aren’t thinking too hard, so I can tell what they want much of the time (especially if I keep all their odd rules in mind), but when they start talking, their HBL often gets very strange.  To make things worse, the few human words I’ve learned to recognize sometimes contradict what their HBL says.  I can’t imagine how humans manage to communicate amongst themselves, to be honest.


Fortunately, my humans seem to understand that human rules are confusing, and work very hard to communicate clearly with me.  When they want to teach me something new, they get out something called “the clicker,” the sound of which always has the same meaning – “Well done! Come get your treat.”  After they explain, with the aid of the clicker, the behavior they want me to do, they teach me what the behavior is called in HBL or human words, and I know that if they make the movement or sound they taught me, I can earn a treat by doing the behavior we practiced.


My humans are also very understanding when it comes to unpleasant situations.  For example, I have learned that rude behavior towards me from unknown humans or other animals is generally followed by treats from my humans.  My humans also generally interrupt the annoying behavior to which I am being subjected, so I’ve learned to stay still and wait for rescue and treats (or move quietly away to await my treats, if things really are too intense), in these unpleasant situations.


So all in all, while living as a canine in a human household can be tough at times, my life is pretty good.  My humans give me affection, exercise, food, and a soft place to sleep, and I give them love and entertainment.  I think if you asked them, they would say it’s a pretty good trade-off –and I agree!




Editor’s note: My husband and I do think it’s a pretty good trade-off, and are very grateful to have Franklin in our lives.

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Positively Expert: Irith Bloom

Irith Bloom has been training animals since the 1980s, when her family got its first dog and put her in charge of its education. After spending a great deal of time working professionally as a translator while pursuing her avocation of training pets on a volunteer basis for friends and family, Irith decided to begin training animals...


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