Saturday, 29 November 2014

Just How Clever Are Dogs

Dogs are really clever, in fact, all animals are clever, but it still amazes me just how clever they are and I often wish I could get inside their heads. Jingles absolutely loves Sheila and is always with her, yet at night time, she knows that she must come to us. Sometimes she stays with Sheila until about 8pm and then comes to us. When Sheila was very ill last year and was off work, Jingles would sit by the gate every morning shivering and crying waiting for her. It is understandable that she would miss someone that is with her almost every day.

Sheila comes to work on a Monday, stays in our flatlet for the week and goes home on a Friday at around 4pm. Taxi fare was getting too expensive for her, we had an empty flatlet and she has been staying here for two or three years. That is her routine and Jingles knows it. Sometimes she has to go home during the week or she goes and visits her Aunt who lives about four blocks away or goes to the shops. When she leaves the house on any day other than a Friday, Jingles cries and cries and runs up and down to the gate and back or sits at the gate shivering. She makes this squeaky irritating noise that sounds like a mouse on steroids. Yesterday, I was at home, Chad was at a friend and Sheila went to the shops. Jingles ran up and down to the gate squealing and shivering until Sheila came back. Chad came home before Sheila and Jingles carried on with her squealing even after Chad came home. On a Friday, like today, Sheila will leave and Jingles does not run around looking for her, she does not squeal, she does not shiver. How does Jingles know the difference between Sheila leaving routinely on a Friday and leaving on a day that she is not supposed to (in her mind)?

Since I have been working from home, she has spent a lot of time with me and the other dogs, but on a 50/50 basis. I also have special ring tones for Mark, Chad and Sheila as well as recordings of their names for text messages. When Sheila arrives on a Monday morning, we don't have a bell at our gate - we do but it is broken, so Sheila sends me a please call me. Both Jingles and Miss Piggy jump up and run to the gate - they know when my phone says "Sheila" that she is at the gate. How do they know that? Mark and Chad have both sent me messages to test the dogs with me saying their names, it is my voice and they don't budge. Animals are far more clever than we think they are and I certainly did not train them to run to the door when my they hear my "Sheila" message tone.

As you can see by the above photo taken last week on Monday, Jingles and Spike are friends again after the ear ordeal. That photo was taken on the day that she had her stitches removed. That is how they always sit by me if Mark is not at home. If Mark is at home then Spike sits by him. Miss Piggy never sits by me. In hindsight, I think I blamed Spike unfairly. I actually don't even think he fought with Jingles over food - I think he grabbed her ear thinking it was biltong, which still had dire consequences. Mark is still to blame for feeding them the way he does.


Spike is our only dog that does not have food aggression and if he did, he would not allow Garfield to be so close to him whilst he ate. The photo is a bit blurred, because as I grabbed my phone to take a photo, he started to wag his tail. The photo was just to show that he is not a dangerous dog at all, contrary to what some people believe about Bull Terriers and what I also believed before we got Spike.

Someone asked me if I am sorry that we have a Bull Terrier after the ear ordeal. He is really the sweetest of all our dogs and that was an unfortunate accident.

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