Crawling for beginners

Pippin, the cat, still keeps telling me that he isn’t speaking to me after the tale I told recently. I pointed out to him that every time he tells me that, he is in fact speaking to me – he wasn’t amused! He said that I should be doing some crawling if I want to get back into his good books.

I know he meant it in the sense of being extra nice to him and not literally, but it reminded me that I have found it very useful at times to be able to crawl. I’ve already told you about being able to crawl through the dog gates at the side of some stiles.

I’ve been meaning to explain how I learnt to crawl. I said it was quite easy, but when I thought about explaining it I realised that it was only easy once I had the idea that my biped wanted me to shuffle forwards without getting up. It was then a case of doing a tiny bit more each time for the treat, but getting started was a little harder.

My biped asked a trainer for tips on how to teach me to crawl when I was still a puppy. The advice was for her to sit on the floor with her knees raised while I was in the down position.

Stick figure seated on floor

Like this, but both knees raised

She was told to hold a treat under her knees just out of my reach. There were only two problems with this! I was already too large to wriggle under her knees without knocking her over. And it was still tricky to be on the floor with me because I didn’t yet have the good manners that I have now! My biped tried a couple of times, but it was a failure and she decided to wait a while.

We had lots of short training sessions and I learnt lots of new tricks. One of my favourites was taking a treat when told! We also fitted in all the things I found boring, such as the “down” position.

Sphinx of Hetepheres

A sphinx demonstrating the classic “down” position
Attribution: By Jon Bodsworth [see page for license], via Wikimedia Commons

She would often bend over me and touch my shoulders or my back. If I kept still I would get extra treats, but if I tried to turn it into a game by grabbing her sleeve she would take her arm away and ask me to do something else.

A few months later she did start getting on the floor with me again when I was in the “down” position. She would offer me a treat but it would be just out of reach!

Cartoon dog and bone

Down with a treat just out of reach

My first reaction was to get up to get it, but that wasn’t what she wanted – I didn’t get the treat. She would put her hand on me when she saw me about to get up. We had a number of sessions where I was trying to understand. It can be quite frustrating as a dog when you want that treat and can’t figure out what to do to get it! My biped must have been watching my body language quite carefully because as soon as I started to get frustrated she would ask me to do some easy and fun things – guaranteed treats!

The day I decided to shuffle forwards a fraction to get the treat, I hit the jackpot! After I’d eaten the treat I was given a few more. She told me how clever I was and we had a game of football – that’s my favourite game!

From then on I was keen to shuffle forwards. She gradually expected me to move a little bit farther and added the word “crawl”. It wasn’t long before I could crawl a few feet. She would stand close to me when I was crawling to encourage me. Some dogs may find it intimidating to have someone standing over them and may need to practise together to feel relaxed before trying to learn to crawl.

It isn’t difficult to crawl – the hard part is understanding what the bipeds want, but that is so often the case!

See you next Wednesday!

Zeusvision: Take all the attention

This is how Giovanni Wolfgang, CEO of Zeusvision, sums up his vision for outdoor advertising.

“Outdoor advertising is an elitist business. I want to bring the power of large-scale outdoor media within reach of the average person.”

That is a fairly straightforward statement, but I’ve never given that much thought to outdoor advertising so I didn’t really understand it and get excited about it at first. Like most dogs, I’ve been content with sniffing the advertising that is left on trees and lamp posts for me! But when I read some background material and learnt more about Zeusvision, I began to see how amazing the possibilities are.

Zeusvion logo -take all the attention

We’ve all seen the huge billboards in city centres. We only ever see names we know on them, or perhaps the latest blockbuster movie that’s being promoted. This is because it’s only the largest companies in the world that can afford this type of advertising in prime locations. It’s the same with the displays in lights on buildings. I suppose that’s why we have the saying “I would like to see my name in lights” – we think it isn’t possible for most of us.

Take a look at this short video and you will see a Zeusvision bus in action. It isn’t just any old bus – it has a huge, 31ft, LED screen on both sides. It also has a superb sound system.

I think it looks fantastic. Current clients of Zeusvision include Universal Pictures, NBC, Warner Brothers – to name just a few.

Zeusvision began a new campaign on 27th October. Their aim is to make this type of outdoor advertising affordable to a much wider market. I think that their starting price of $99 is something that most people could afford for a special occasion.

I can imagine how excited all the little bipeds I know would be to see their name with birthday greetings up on the big screen! Or, when they’re a little older, congratulations on passing an important examination. A text message is sent to you five minutes before the bus reaches the selected location, so that you can make sure that the person you sent the greetings sees the bus with their name on it.

This starting price also makes advertising in a prime location a possibility for small businesses. The buses run through trendy shopping areas and will be seen by lots of people. I had the idea that some tasty dog treats would look amazing on the big screen – that made me drool and I needed a snack!

Then I thought about all the other things that my friends create and I think that there is great potential for getting the word out. Just imagine seeing your book on the big screen – maybe you’ll be on the best seller list sooner than you thought. Some of you make things that will make bipeds drool if they see them – jewellery, paintings, pottery. I’d love to see my friends’ creativity getting the publicity it deserves.

Digital media buses currently run in New York and Los Angeles. There are plans to introduce them to other major cities next year. A Music Festival is planned for the first quarter 2015. Look out for that! I’m sure it will be exciting.

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See you next Wednesday!

P.S. I am not receiving any money from Zeusvision for this post and I wouldn’t be telling you about them if I didn’t find their ideas and vision exciting. But maybe one day, if you’re in the right place at the right time and keep your eyes open, you could see me, larger than life, smiling down at you from a bus!

Pippin, tabby cat, showing his tummy

When is a cat not a cat?

I told you last week how we discovered that there was a mouse inside the kitchen door and that the male biped had a cunning plan. Here is what happened next.

Pippin has a bit of a reputation as a fearless hunter and the male biped said he’d encourage the mouse to come out so that Pippin could catch it. He sent Mulberry and me out onto the terrace, as he said we’d get in the way! It was easy for me to look through the glass in the terrace door, but Mulberry had to stand up on his hind legs to watch.

The biped taped some cardboard over the grille on the kitchen side of the door and then closed the door. He unscrewed the grille on the other side – we still couldn’t see the mouse as the door was hollow.

The female biped said she didn’t want to watch and went to the other end of the room, while Mulberry and I pressed our noses against the glass hoping to see everything. The male biped encouraged Pippin to sit a few feet away from the door. He then put a peanut on the floor fairly close to Pippin. A moment later the mouse appeared in the hole in the door and Pippin moved forwards, which scared the mouse back into the door – not surprising really!

Peanuts

Mouse treats!

The male biped moved the peanut a little farther away from the door and told Pippin he’d have more time to catch the mouse. We didn’t have to wait long before the mouse appeared again. It ran right under Pippin’s nose, picked up the peanut and ran back towards the door. Pippin pounced, but he was too late and the mouse disappeared into the door. The male biped said that he thought it was a field mouse or a wood mouse, but not a house mouse.

Wood mouse

Wood Mouse
from Wikipedia

I decided that, as it was in the door, it was more likely to be a dormouse looking for somewhere to sleep away the winter.

Hibernating dormouse

A sleeping dormouse
Attribution: By Krzysztof Dreszer (Own work) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Mulberry said he thought it was RebelMouse – he thinks he’s hilarious!

The female biped said, “Whatever type of mouse it is, it has no reason to come out for a while now!”

The male biped agreed that the mouse would probably take a while to eat the peanut, but he put another peanut on the floor and told Pippin to keep his eyes open. The mouse really liked those peanuts – it soon appeared and scurried right under Pippin’s nose, picked up the peanut and went back into the door. Pippin opened his eyes wide and watched it every step of the way but stayed as still as a statue.

The male biped said he’d try again. The same thing happened!

The female biped said that we had the best fed mouse in the neighbourhood and that she thought she had remembered where the mousetraps were packed. The male biped asked if he could get them and she said it would be easier for her as she knew what the box looked like. She soon came back with four mousetraps.

They were the type that is a little box with a door that drops down when the mouse enters. The mouse is unharmed and can be released outside. She put a peanut in each one and arranged them in an arc on the floor below the hole in the door.

The male biped said, “That’ll scare the mouse and make it stay in the door!”

She replied, “Maybe. That’s what I thought about the cat sitting by the door, but that was before I knew that the cat was the mouse’s pet!”

Pippin, tabby cat, showing his tummy

Pippin – the mouse’s pet, allegedly!

The male biped said, “Ouch! Cover your ears Pippin!” But then he asked, “Are you a cat or a mouse? Squeak up!”

While they were busy teasing each other, the mouse came out of the door. It went across and into a trap and the little door on the trap flipped closed.

The bipeds heard that and they both smiled. Pippin just sat there. The female biped said that she’d take the mouse outside and release it, while the male biped put the door back together.

I asked Pippin if the pressure of having an audience was too much for him. He said he could have caught the mouse easily, but there was a slight communication problem. He says he thought the biped wanted to catch it! He says he gave a demonstration of the required moves and sat there giving quiet encouragement.

Pippin is still not very pleased with me about telling this tale, especially the part that answers the question in the title. When is a cat not a cat? When he is the mouse’s pet!

See you next Wednesday!

Protecting my bipeds

I really enjoyed World Smile Day last week. You all know that I was so excited about it that I couldn’t wait until the actual day to start the smiling. I was pleased to make new friends – I haven’t visited all of you yet, but I will soon! It was lovely to see so many happy, smiling faces!

Clowie, Pyrenean Mountain Dog, Great Pyrenees

I love meeting people and making them smile when I’m out and about with my bipeds. I’m always careful to sit politely and wait for the people I meet to show they want to make a fuss of me. This is because I know some people feel nervous of me as I’m large. I also enjoy making my bipeds laugh and smile at home by doing funny things, but there is something that’s even more important to me – that is to protect my bipeds.

It’s hardly surprising that protecting them is so important to me when you consider that my ancestors have honed their protective abilities for generations by looking after livestock in the mountains. Although I’m always on the alert for potential danger, I’m pleased that there have been less than a pawful of occasions when I’ve found it necessary to do anything more than give a warning woof. I’d like to tell you about one of those today.

It was late on a summer evening and it was getting dark. I was at home with the female biped. The doorbell rang and I went with her to answer the door. The hall was wide and there was a space to the side of the door where I sat. I could see clearly, but whoever was at the door would have to look sideways to see me.

My biped opened the door and there was a man there. He said he was selling manure for the garden. My biped told him that she wasn’t interested, but the man continued to talk. My biped kept repeating that she wasn’t interested, but the man just kept on talking. After a minute or two he began to move closer and closer to the front door.

My biped spoke louder than she had been, “I have said NO”, and at the same time she began closing the door.

The man placed a hand on the door and moved one of his feet onto the step, stopping my biped from closing the door. Before she could react, I gave a slight growl and stood up. My biped moved the hand closest to me slightly away from her side with the palm facing me, our silent signal for “wait” – so I stood still.

The man noticed me for the first time and a look of horror crossed his face. He leapt backwards as suddenly as a frog jumps! He landed awkwardly on the path about four feet away. His legs seemed to be a bit wobbly as he hurried away, calling back over his shoulder, “I have to go!”

Frog

I’d never seen a biped jump like a frog before!

My biped put a hand on my neck and we watched him go out of the gate before she closed the front door. Then my biped bent over and made a huge fuss of me. She told me how clever and good I am. The strange thing is that she praised me more for taking notice of her signal to “wait” than she did for scaring the nasty man away! But biped logic can be very difficult to follow – I try not to worry about it. I’m always pleased to accept praise and treats!

Even though it was funny to see a biped jump like a frog, I’m glad that I can be friends with most of the bipeds I meet!

See you next Wednesday!