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

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!

Where’s my doggy?

The other evening the male biped came into the room where I was relaxing and asked, “Where’s my doggy?”

I immediately leapt to my feet and rushed to him for a fuss and then I did a play bow and darted to the back door to invite him to come outside and play with me. He laughed and followed me. We had a lovely game of football and came back indoors.

I heard the female say, “It never fails to bring out the puppy in Clowie when you say that!”

They laughed about it and shared some memories of when I was a puppy. Like most puppies I wanted to leap all over them when they came home, but they didn’t think it was appropriate behaviour! They taught me to sit and wait until they told me that I could greet them.

I found it particularly difficult to do when the male biped had been away for a day or two, but he didn’t like me near his suits! He would tell me to sit before he came in through the door. He would tell me I was good and disappear to get changed. It used to seem like ages before he reappeared saying, “Where’s my doggy?”

That was my signal that I could approach him and tell him I was pleased to see him. We would have a lovely cuddle and he would take me outside so that I could bounce around and show just how excited I was. It gradually became our routine that I would have a cuddle and then dash to the back door to ask him to come outside for a game.

Playing with a puppy pal

Playing with a puppy pal

I don’t need telling to sit anymore. I go to the door when I hear them come home and stand with my tail gently wagging. I can usually tell whether my bipeds are wearing the type of clothes they don’t want me near, or if they’re carrying shopping. I watch them carefully for a slight nod of the head before I get close enough to touch them. If I don’t get a nod from them, I follow them and watch them. As soon as they’ve either put down what they were carrying or returned from changing their clothes, I’m there for a cuddle! I don’t usually mind waiting because they talk to me while I’m being so very patient and tell me how good I am.

My biped hardly ever says, “Where’s my doggy?” now, but when he does it’s a nice memory. I’m reminded of how exciting it was when I could rush up to him and have a cuddle after waiting, so I get almost as excited as I did when I was a puppy!

Are there things that remind you of when you were a youngster and bring back happy memories?

I have a piece of good news for you – Mary, aka MJ, will be going to a new home of her own soon.

See you next Wednesday!


If you have read “Communication Breakdown” you will know that I discovered that the best way to encourage my biped to prepare my meal quickly was to sit very nicely and watch her intently. She didn’t understand that I was encouraging her when I jumped up her and tapped her enthusiastically – she just stopped preparing my food and I had to find another way to encourage her.

Soon after I’d mastered sitting quietly, and oh so patiently, we started working on a new trick together. She would put a treat on the floor and I had to wait a moment. I was persuaded to do this because I would often get a second treat for waiting. But I did notice that the length of time I had to wait before being told I could take it increased!

Continue Reading