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!

Not the dog for everyone

It’s still so hot that the lizards need to cool off in the shade, so take care! This lizard was lurking on the windowsill on the shady side of the house yesterday.

Just chilling in the shade

Just cooling down in the shade

We’ve been having very loud thunderstorms almost every evening. I hear that my friends in England are getting a lot of storms and rain as well. We’ll all need these soon!

Webbed feet From Wikimedia Commons

Webbed feet
From Wikimedia Commons

The thunder has been so loud some of the time that you can feel the sound vibrating through you. That’s when the cats come and sit really close to me, if the bipeds are busy. The cats know I’ll look after them and protect them. I look after everyone in the household – I am the chief of security. My ancestors were bred to protect flocks in the mountains, so it’s my heritage.

My friend Flea at Jones Natural Chews wrote about the Great Pyrenees, or Pyrenean Mountain Dog, last week and she gave lots of good information and concluded, quite rightly, that we are not the dog for everyone. So I thought I’d tell you a little more about some of the things that mean we’re not right for everyone.

We’re often accused of having selective hearing and a very unreliable recall. I have to admit that’s true for a lot of us! It isn’t naughtiness, it’s a case of priorities. However well-trained a Pyrenean Mountain Dog is, our priority is to protect you, so if we hear a strange noise we’ll be off to investigate. We’ll do all that other obedience stuff to please you, when we’re not too busy!

We’re also accused of being escape artists, especially during adolescence. If we’re alone in the garden for even a few minutes, it needs to have a strong fence at least 5 feet high. If we can get over, or through, the fence we’ll probably take the opportunity to check out the surrounding area and make sure there are no threats. I took advantage of the gate being left open for a few seconds once – I didn’t get very far, but that’s another story! Dogs who are always taken in the car to the park and never walked from the house are particularly determined to explore the neighbourhood.

Flea mentioned how important socialisation is for us. It’s a crucial part of our development because it’s what helps us to be relaxed and calm as adults. The more experiences we have, the better able we are to make sensible decisions.

My bipeds say that I could be like Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde as a puppy during training sessions. I quickly became bored, if we were only doing things I thought I already knew how to do. And when I was bored I wasn’t very nice to know! My bipeds spiced up the sessions with new tricks to keep my interest and they became better at noticing the first signs of boredom. A Great Pyrenees doesn’t do something just because you say so. We need to feel it’s worthwhile and I don’t just mean treats – we don’t tend to be as motivated by food as a lot of dogs are.

There were days when I would put a lot of effort into trying to find ways of not doing what I was asked to do. On the odd occasion I avoided doing something, I thought I didn’t have to do anything I was asked to do. I would lead them a merry dance for days! I certainly did my best to keep my bipeds on their toes, while I was growing up. They say that there were times when they were pulling their hair out, but I’m much nicer to know now!

See you next Wednesday!

My favourite indoor games

It’s still very hot, so I’m spending a lot of time indoors in the cool. I spend part of the day taking a nap, as the heat can be very tiring. I can’t play any of my favourite outdoor games during the day, so it’s nice to play a quiet game indoors with the cats or my bipeds.

Sometimes we play hide and seek, but mostly we play games that I can play without moving. Most games that require me to move very much have been declared outdoor games by my bipeds anyway! I’ll tell you more about some of those another time.

A quiet game of cards From Wikimedia Commons

A quiet game of cards
From Wikimedia Commons

Mulberry, the cat, comes and plays with my tail sometimes. He’s always gentle, so I swish it back and forth for him. Occasionally he plays with my rope tug toy. I will take one end in my mouth and move it about for him to chase. He looks so cute doing that! We always stop if we see the bipeds pick up a camera, it’s really funny!

My bipeds sometimes balance treats on my nose or my paws and I wait until they say that I can take the treat. They also put treats near me in a pattern and tell me which one I can take – I always get them all in the end!

We play a game where I’m lying on the floor and they try to catch my front paws. I can move my paws around really quickly and sometimes I tuck them underneath me, so that they can’t touch them – that makes them laugh! If they touch my paws, they put both hands on top and we play a silly game where we pull the hand or paw out from the bottom of the pile of paws and hands and put it on the top. That means a different  paw or hand is on the bottom and needs moving to the top. We move our hands and paws faster and faster until the bipeds laugh and give me a hug.

Another game they play with me is to hold both hands out in front of them, closed in a fist, with a treat in one of them and say, “Which hand?” I sniff their hands and nudge the one that has the treat. I was quite a young puppy when we first played this. The first time we played, one of the bipeds put a piece of liver cake in one hand and held out both hands so that I couldn’t see which hand the treat was in. I didn’t know what I needed to do to get the treat, but the smell of the liver cake was enticing so I nudged the hand that held it to make it clear I wanted the treat.

I know that the first few times we played, they always made sure their hands were clean and they’d only touched the treat with the hand it was hidden in and it was always a treat with a strong smell. This made it easy for me to smell the treat and learn what they wanted me to do. They now try to make it much more difficult by handling the treat with both hands, but I always get it right. Although, it does become more difficult if we play for a while – they get more and more treat smell on their hands and I need to sniff both hands carefully to get it right. I really enjoy this game!

I’ve updated last week’s post about being safe in the heat so that some of the important points made in the comments don’t get missed.

See you next Wednesday!

Hot hot hot

Summer has arrived in the northern hemisphere. I know this because our cats are now seeking the shade in the middle of the day. They even appreciate the tiled floor at this time of year and stretch out on it to cool down. The rest of the year they take the shortest route across it that they can because they think it feels cold on their paws!

I just need a few minutes in the shade!

Sometimes I like to be in the shade!

We have a heat wave that is forecast to last for the next week or two. I’m taking my walks very early and I enjoy having a splash in a cool stream to cool down. I’ve written before about the ways I stay cool – Wise Up, Cool Down.

I hardly get to go in the car at all in the hot weather, but I hear that some people still leave dogs and young children in the car when it’s hot. Some of them have died. The car heats up very quickly and becomes unbearably hot. Veterinarian Dr Ernie Ward closed himself in a car with the windows slightly open and made a YouTube video showing how quickly it became unbearably hot – you can see it here. It was a hot day when Dr Ward did this, but even at moderate temperatures of 22°C/72°F the temperature inside the car can soar to 47°C/117°F in under an hour.

Heatstroke can be fatal. Some warning signs of heatstroke are:

  • heavy panting
  • profuse salivation
  • a rapid pulse
  • very red gums/tongue
  • lethargy
  • lack of coordination
  • reluctance or inability to rise after collapsing
  • vomiting
  • diarrhoea
  • loss of consciousness in extreme circumstances.

If a dog is showing signs of heatstroke, it is important to get the dog into a cool place. Here is some advice from the RSPCA about first aid to cool the dog down. It is important to do this and take the dog to a veterinary surgery as, even if the dog appears recovered, there could be complications later.

Puppies are more at risk of getting heatstroke than adult dogs, so it’s important to keep an eye on them. Don’t let them keep tearing around in the heat, calm them down and get them to sit in the cool.

My guinea pig friends at Hutch A Good Life have written some excellent advice about keeping our smaller furry friends safe in the hot weather. Our little grass-munching buddies just need a few simple precautions to protect them, so that they can enjoy being outside.

I’ve been very serious this week, but just remember that even lizards get too hot and move out of the sun! Be safe and enjoy the summer!

See you next Wednesday!

Update: Some really important points that shouldn’t be missed were made in the comments.

Ann “Paws” Staub took her own temperature after a hot car journey and her temperature was high, so we need to be aware that animals can overheat while we are on the move.

Animalcouriers reminded us that the ground can be very hot and burn paws badly.

Piranhabanana raised the point that some rooms, such as garages, can get very hot. It depends on the design of the house, be aware which rooms get too hot and don’t close animals in them.

Cody posted a link to an infographic giving signs of heatstroke in cats, while his brother Dakota posted about what you can do to help if you see a dog in a hot car.

Flea told us that our feathered friends, such as chickens and ducks, need plenty of water and shady spots.

My favourite outdoor games

I told you that I’m not a big fan of the game fetch. Since then I have been asked: What games do you like to play? I have also been asked: What games do Pyrenean Mountain Dogs (or Great Pyrenees) like to play?

I enjoy playing hide and seek – I’m usually doing the seeking. It’s usually very easy for me to find the biped, or cat, that I’m looking for because I make it my business to know where they are all the time. It’s important to me to know where they are so that I can protect them if necessary.

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