Speak! Do Dogs Talk? Understanding Dog-speak

Originally published Feb. 14, 2017

Cochise explains

When us dogs talk, most of what we say is not said vocally. Some of what we say comes through body language: the position of our head and body, how we hold our ears, the shape of our eyes, things like that. But some of us are quite expressive vocally as well, even when it comes to communicating with peoples. Many peoples don’t understand the unvocalized parts of our communications, so we have to use what they do understand to convey our desires and affections.

Buster is a funny little guy. While he was here, he didn’t bark much, but if he was lonely he’d do whale song to get our attention. When he was joyful, he’d get happy feet. He is just full of personality.

Others were not so conversational, but had their own distinctive style of verbal expression. King among these had to be Malachi. He had a unique bark that led HairyFace to poke fun at him with this video:

Rain, Rain, Go Away …

Cochise does not like rain
Cochise tells the tale

Some dogs like to play in water and even in the rain. Others do not. Blondie’s yellow Labrador side sometimes entices her to go walking in a light rain, but most of the time her Pit Bull side overrules that and she prefers to stay on the porch, in the dry, and watch from there. I am an American Bulldog. I dislike getting wet. I don’t even like getting my feet wet after a rain has stopped. But that’s partly because when I go back inside the house HairyFace will clean the mud off my feet with a towel. I don’t like that: it tickles.

I like being able to run outside anytime I need to bark at something. I like laying on the stone slabs of the porch steps in the warm sunshine. I can’t do that in the rain. Even though I have a home where I can stay dry and safe when it rains, rain keeps me from doing what I want, so I don’t like the rain.

Being a Shop Dog and Housebreaking

The Dogtor is in

Housebreaking any dog, whether a puppy or an adult dog can be a trying phase of dog ownership. Housebreaking is more than just teaching them not to urinate or defecate in the house: there are also rules concerning destruction of household items and acceptable indoor behavior. Rules will vary from family to family and may depend on the size of the dog. A pair of four pound chihuahuas running up and down the hallway is not as hazardous as a pair of 90 pound bull dogs. Some will not allow the dogs on the furniture; or only on specific pieces, others don’t care or even encourage it. Learning proper behavior at meal time, and learning to share toys and treats are all important lessons to master before getting their Really Good Dog diploma.

A Meet n Greet for Buster


Hi, Cochise here.

HairyFace has been talking to Jen at the Newport Animal Shelter about a meet & greet between Buster and Melissa. We know this because Blondie sneaks into Hairy’s computer to look at his e-mail and Facebook when he goes out to garden.

We’re not sure what a meet & greet is but we’re pretty sure it involves a truck ride. We all like truck rides. All except Boomer. He doesn’t hate them, but he could do without them quite easily.

But Buster loves truck rides, so every morning this week when Hairy takes Buster out for a walk, Buster tows Hairy over to the truck and sits by the passenger door. “No, Buster. No truck ride today.” Even this morning – except it was different: “No, Buster. No truck ride yet. Later.”

Buster’s Double Dog Dare

The Dogtor is in

Yesterday Joy O’Hare donated a narrow futon pad that she no longer wanted. She thought it might make good dog beds. I agreed, and was happy to haul it back here. I set about cutting away the excess fabric and Velcro on the back the webbing that connected the two pads but allowed them to bend and fold.

Buster tests the new dog bedThe result was two 28” x 35” x 4” thick pads with removable covers. Buster spent all afternoon enjoying the one I put down to try out. Joy was a little worried that the dogs might react to the cat fur she could not vacuum off of them. But that was of no concern to Buster.

When it was time to retire for the night, Buster was adamant that he preferred to sleep in the office on “his” new dog bed rather than in his crate. This was not an option, but it took some time to convince him of that.

This morning after The Fosters had breakfast and some yard time, Buster was again insistent on going inside and to the office. It was still a little chilly out – and Buster has been a bit jealous of the extra privileges Hercules has been getting during his final phase of house breaking – so I decided to allow it instead of insisting he go to a pen outdoors like the others.

Upon entering the office, he was horrified to find that Cochise had already claimed the new dog bed!