You guys…

Dog, or super-intelligent alien?

I am beginning to think that my dogs are more closely related to an alien race of highly intelligent sponges than wolves. The sheer amount of information adsorbed via their proximity to me and my inane chatter can only be described as an osmotic wonder and truly otherworldly.

With an early onset of summer-like weather here in the Smokies, I’ve decided to be a bit frugal and use the fans as much as I can in lieu of working up a nice fat energy bill. As I finished making lunch the other day I noticed it was getting close to about 87 degrees inside the house. Annie was lying on the floor next to the couch panting and I asked her “Is it too hot for you guys?” I was somewhat surprised to see that not only was Annie looking at me inquisitively, but Gavin and Elbee had popped into the room to look at me as well.

So what was it that got their attention so quickly? Had they all been sitting around thinking “Man I wish he’d turn the air conditioning on!”? Or, more likely, have they learned own their own that the phrase “you guys” almost always has some goodies attached to the other end of the leash?

“You guys” has become standard and accepted shorthand around our house to gather all the dogs into one place. In doggy parlance “you guys” is a prefix for some really neat stuff like…

  • wanna eat?
  • wanna go outside?
  • wanna go for a ride?
  • want some popcorn?
  • wanna play ball?

Now there are rare occasions where “you guys” is followed by something not highly prized by my dogs, such as “wanna bath?” or “want your nails clipped?” Of course when that happens, they switch from osmosis to diffusion and disappear into the ether.

If you have a more than one dog, it’s a very good idea to have a group attention getter like this to help you get all your dogs gathered in one place should the need arise. Your dogs probably already know what it is; you just have to figure it out for yourself.

We’d love to hear some of the phrases and cues that your dogs have learned on their own. Only by pooling our collective knowledge will we be able to overcome their alien osmotic abilities and remind them that our opposable thumbs trump superior intelligence every time!

Cheers,

Kevin

3 thoughts on “You guys…

  1. I only have one dog. However Victoria Stillwell on one of her shows taught an owner of 3 small dogs to give the command “All dogs come” to summon all to him at once. He basically just handed out treats upon their arrival and they caught on very quick. This was to get them away from the window where they tended to bark in unison at anything passing on the sidewalk.
    If we could standardize a phrase, I can see where it would be very useful in a random group. I think they teach something like this in advanced obedience. All the dogs sit/wait in a line, then can be called individually or all at once.

  2. I use “Girls” or “Puppies” as my group cue.
    As a rescue dog with a dubious past, Jessie was a slow learner about verbal cues but now that we have Lucy (who is more of a verbal whiz), she’s more quickly picking up words (possibly because she is more relaxed and able to listen instead of watching for any little physical cue that she might need to attend to-as a formerly fearful dog). Everything from my name, hubby’s name, other dog buddies names. Fun things we do-car, find it etc. We are also working on things like ‘find the car’ when we go away from home.

  3. “Doggies” is my collective for my two. Most frequently used for “Doggies: outside!” I really should use it more often though, it would be faster than giving individual commands like “Wait” or “Stop”.

    Thor is our 8 month German Shepherd. He’s picked up some words very quickly if they relate to things he likes. We call the laser pointer game “magic dot”. One day he mis-heard “get your duck” as “get your dot” and ran over to the microwave (where we keep the laser pointer!) “Get it” will make him look for either the “magic dot” if we’re indoors, or his soccer ball of we’re outdoors. Totally unintentional, it’s what my husband says when he plays with him.

    “Park” and “Walk” send them running to where we keep the leashes. (So do me putting on sneakers and/or my baseball hat!)

    “Do you want…?” my older girl has realized this is always followed by: breakfast, dinner, treat. She always perks up.

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