I had this conversation with my biped when she was helping me with my correspondence this week.
Biped: Someone has left a question for you, Clowie. This person asks, “Why does a Great Pyrenees, or Pyrenean Mountain Dog, always have to go through the door first?”
Clowie: We don’t!
C: I always wait politely for bipeds to go through first, unless whoever I’m with tells me to go first.
B: Yes, you do.
C: You said that as though I wasn’t always that polite.
B: Well, you did want to push through the doorway first when you were a puppy.
C: Oh, I remember now! But there was always a knee in the way when I was small and as I became bigger the door would close again so that I couldn’t go through.
B: Yes, it sometimes took a while for us to get through a doorway. But you gradually learnt to sit and wait patiently.
C: Sit was the first thing I learnt to do well. When I was a bit older and had learnt the ‘wait’ command you would say ‘wait’ to me. Now you hardly ever need to tell me.
B: Why were you so keen to get through the door first when you were a puppy?
C: I think it was a mixture of puppy enthusiasm and curiosity. It’s always nice to discover what is happening on the other side of the door. Why do you want to go first?
B: The main reason is that I don’t like being towed along! It is important for a large dog to have good manners. It is so much easier to open and close a door, or a gate, if you’re waiting patiently and not pulling.
C: Yes, I suppose it is. But you always want to see what is on the other side of a door before I do when we’re in a place we haven’t been before. I sometimes think it would be better if I saw first so that I can protect you better – I am head of security!
B: So we have another reason why Pyrenean Mountain Dogs might like to go through doorways first!
C: Yes, doorways are very important in terms of security. You may have noticed that I often choose to sleep across the door to the room you’re in.
B: It would be hard not to notice you when I have to ask you to move so that I can open the door!
C: True! But I always move straightaway.
B: Can you think of any occasions when it’s been a good thing that you’ve waited to be told to come through the door?
C: Yes, when we stayed at that hotel in the south of France where that big dog was always loose in the corridors. He didn’t like me, did he?
B: No, I don’t think he was used to seeing a dog bigger than he is. It would have been very difficult for us to protect you if you’d gone through the door first.
C: Yes, he allowed you to shoo him away if he couldn’t see me. There was also that time when we lived in that old, stone house when we first came to Spain. There were workmen resurfacing the track by the house and they’d removed the steps down from the front door, without telling us!
B: There was a drop of about four feet when we opened the front door!
C: I don’t think I would have noticed the steps had gone!
B: It isn’t every day that stone steps just vanish like that! If you had charged through the door, I would probably have fallen over the edge and landed in a heap on top of you.
C: I’m glad that didn’t happen!
B: Me too!
C: It is now perfectly natural for me to wait for you to go through a door before me. When I was a puppy, you convinced me to sit. Then we progressed to ‘wait’ when I was less pushy and didn’t need to sit. Now you never need to tell me because I’m polite!
See you next Wednesday!
P.S. I won a prize on Dakota’s Den – thank you Dakota! Do pop over and visit Dakota if you don’t already know him. And if you do know him, make sure you have his correct address now that he’s moved! It’s http://dakotasden.net/
My prize is a candy jar from DogBreedCartoon with a Great Pyrenees on it. My biped is going to use it for herbs! I’m happy about that, even though it’s really mine! If you click here you can see the design I chose – a Great Pyrenees!