Saturday, August 2, 2008

Dogs and laptops

(I gotta take some new pics.)

All right, so I like the new computer, but I don’t love jumping between laptops. It seems like whenever I want to work on one story or another, already something I need is in the other laptop. So it’s down (or up) the stairs I go with my trusty travel drive. And saving everything between Vista and XP so each one can read the other is annoying. But, hey, at least I’m not working on a typewriter still. That would really keep Dad up at night and freak the dog out. As if Zippy doesn’t have enough paranoid behaviors. Today it was the fly swatter. Usually it’s the vacuum, me on a horse, or the hay rake. Sometimes it’s waving a stick in the air.

My dog has issues.

Speaking of animal behavior, I took a test for Zip awhile back that was supposed to give insights into his personality. It was right on too, like high energy, high neuroses, but easily chilled back out, easy going, but ready to go when he needs to. It was Stanley Coren’s book on dog personality and after taking the quiz, an exhaustive listing of dog breeds in the back of the book made it easy to see how your dog lined up with traits for its particular breed. (Zippy is more laid back and affectionate than normal heelers, but we knew that.)

I plug Stanley Coren’s work with dogs a lot just because it’s the best work I’ve found that deals with dogs as a species. They are not wolves. They are not humans. They are not sterile samples in a lab. They are a living, breathing animal in a dynamic world, reacting to their environment in various ways that work on instinct, experience, and individuality. Coren is the only author of books on dogs who treats them in this manner. It’s either a veterinary manual or the ABC guide to training the perfect dog. There’s no such thing as the perfect dog. And I don’t relate to my dog in a lab. I want to understand why my dog, and by extension why I, act the way we do and how we can be a better team. I may be dominant, but Zip and I are partners in our daily life. I think that’s what pack is about. And reading Coren’s work helps me be a better pack member.

Gee, and I wonder why I get along better with dogs than with people. The effort I put into it maybe? :-)