After you

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!

B: Okay…

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!

They had taken away the step and dug away a lot of the track.

The finished version – they had taken away the step and removed a lot of soil where the track had been

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!

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126 thoughts on “After you

  1. “Wait” at doorways is one of the best thing I have ever taught my dogs, Clowie. And I had never thought before about why Huxley always “guards” the doorway. Thanks!

    • I’m glad that Huxley keeps an eye on the doorway for you. I think bipeds are generally too relaxed about security concerns – but that’s just one reason why you need dogs!

  2. That must have been almost surreal, going to leave the house and there were no steps! A cartoon moment 😉 very lucky you’re the polite and well behaved girl you are Clowie.

    • Yes, it was rather surprising – to say the least! When my bipeds called to the workmen to say we couldn’t get out they put a sturdy plank for us to walk up and down. It was quite an adventure getting in and out of the house for a few days!

  3. You are a great interviewee too, Clowie. I think I fell in love with your front door, though; I miss Spain 😦

    • Thank you! There are some fascinating old buildings in this area. I love the doorways with stone arches over them and some of the chimneys are beautiful.

      • You are so fortunate to live there and get to see all of that. I miss it. I especially miss being able to have tortilla de patata every day if I feel like it! Yum!

        • Tortilla de patata is apparently such a simple dish, but it’s one of those dishes that is more than the sum of its parts. It’s amazing how different it can taste, but even a bad one is good!

  4. Clowie you are a well behaved furend. Congratulations on your prize. Have a wonderful Wednesday.
    Best wishes Molly

  5. Clowie you are so clever. I never really thought about doors and you are so polite about it. I usually go through at the same time as my pawrents. Except elevators, I seem to go in first, but that is something we trained for in school…. that is why I am not afraid. WOOF!

    • There isn’t usually room for me to go through the door at the same time as a person – I guess there are some advantages to being small! I’ve only been in an elevator a couple of times – it didn’t worry me, but it did feel strange!

  6. Clowie, you are a polite and clever dog … // Yarri 🙂

  7. I am sure you will know this, but some people think it is a dominance thing to go through the door first?!

    • Yes, it’s one of the things taught by people who believe in dominance theories. For us, it’s a purely practical matter because I’m a big dog. When we come home from a day out, I will often be sent indoors first while they unpack the car. We pick and choose the things that work for us.

  8. Clowie what a good girl you are and boy having vanishing steps can be a bit dangerous! congrats on the cookie jar they look great and Dakota must be thrilled to get you one of your mum 🙂 Hugs Fozziemum x

  9. Oh Clowie you’re ever so smart and polite ALWAYS and how very way cool you won cookies from Dakota! Bravo!

    Kitty Hugs, Sammy

  10. Mom taught me to wait at our front door when I first came here, but then there was an incident. I waited, she opened the door and went through, I got scared and didn’t follow as quickly as I should’ve, and the door closed on my tail. Now Mom is afraid to go first. Because of our automatic-closing door, she gets me out first, then when she’s sure my long monkey-tail has cleared the door, she comes the rest of the way out. I never pull or run ahead because I am always afraid there are things trying to kill me out there. I need a Pyrenean Mountain Dog to protect ME!!

    • Getting your tail caught in the door sounds really painful! It soounds as though your new way of going first suits your situation better. It was difficult for me to learn not to pull ahead – I’m so keen to see everything that’s going on. I wish I could go for a walk with you, I’m sure you’d feel safe with me around!

  11. Congratulations on your prize! My Kuvasz sister always wanted to go through the door first and she would always lay in doorways so Mom had to step over her. We learned that this is a form of asserting dominance, so Mom said she stopped that behavior (that was years ago) and Katie turned out to be a proper lady 🙂

    • Thank you! I think I would have a lot of fun comparing notes with your sister Katie. Yes, we are both members of very confident breeds so we think we could run the show – if allowed. We both turned out well, but made it as difficult as we could for our bipeds while we were young.

  12. I try and push my way through first, but I’m always slung back and told to sit.. I pawsonally can’t see the big deal of the Humom having to go first..BOL ..Catch ya next Wednesday, Oh well done on winning a prize 🙂 xx0xx

    Mollie and Alfie

  13. Slow to learn, but fast to be courteous – you deserved to win that lovely doggie cookie jar. 🙂 Bravo!

  14. It definitely sounds like the waiting at the doorways for the people to go first has been beneficial. Neither tumbling down a big step or surprising an apprehensive dog sound ideal! 🙂

  15. Kudos for your patience!

  16. I think the humans should go as the first – you never know what kind of things are waiting inside of a house or behind a door. And if there is a monster, then… you know what I mean LOL have a great wednesday and congratulations to your new cookie jar. May it always be filled with tasty treats.

    • You could be right, Easy! I always think there’s going to be something interesting and exciting on the other side of the door, but it isn’t always the case.

  17. Clowie, I really loved reading your conversation! 🙂

  18. Doorway manners are so important, and we’re glad to be reminded again by this great Q & A. wag wag, Max & Bella

  19. I’m still in the midst of teaching Kirby to wait, that was one thing I definetly forgot to take seriously when he was a puppy…. Wish Clowie could show him her good example

    • They had to be serious about it when I was a puppy because I would have towed them along otherwise. I’m sure Kirby will learn quite quickly. He’ll look very cute being polite.

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