Saturday, August 12, 2006

A dogscomment

Oh allright, will try. The calls (language) of canines in the wild are actually quite different to the calls of the canines in suburbia. Doesn't matter where you live. Go out into the backyard one night after midnight when the lights are out, sit quietly for a long time.

Tune out of the sirens, screeches and wails of suburbia, and listen for the dogs (oh, all right, will refer to them as such – but 'dog' and 'bitch' have acquired unfortunate connotations these days). They talk to (communicate with) each other over long distances. If you listen carefully, it's a fascinating exercise. A sort of 'doggie' Internet.

Don't quote me as an “expert” on this. Spent some time in Queensland some time ago - back in the days where anyone who could string more than three words of two syllables together in one sentence was considered a “poofta” - and there were many nights when went home (translation:”thrown out”) from the pub at midnight, and would sit in the backyard until 3 or 4 in the morning just listening to the dogs.

Some nights I'd howl and “bark” back to them, tell them all my troubles. No humans ever “located” me on those nights, as men in white (or blue) coats never turned up - thank providence.

It's possible to pick out the bored, the angry, the frustrated, and also the happy; simply by the variations of tone. Dogs apparently communicate by tone (which is why I call them songs). They also understand 'tone' as an indication of 'size'. The deeper the tone, the bigger the dog.

Tried an experiment one night. Had been listening to one particular dog away in the distance that sounded somewhat annoyed about something. I have access within the body to more and larger “resonators” than dogs, so directed a very deep “Augh!” “Augh!” “Arroohoooagh” (my version of Oy! Oy! Sharrup!) toward it.

Every dog within earshot fell silent for just over an hour. Would love to anthropomorphise it and think that all the dogs thought 'shit! Who's this new berk on the territory. Sounds bigger than a bloody elephant!' - but really have no idea what they “thought”.

They can, however, be “habituated” to understand certain words. “sit”, “stay”, “drop”, “come” are the most common, “you naughty doggie” means precisely nothing unless it is said in such a way as to convey a meaning that is relative to the dog's understanding of tone.

Canines also have what is diagnosed in humans as ADD or ADHD.(um, how come males get the "disorder", and females only have "syndromes"? Curious.)

Um, dunno why am rabbiting on about this. Probably as some sort of attempt to explain a peculiar 'comment' that I made elsewhere .. but it never ceases to amuse me to see (some) little old ladies trying to control their yappie little lap dogs with big grins, wagging fingers and “You naughty doggie,”said in such a tone that denotes affection.

Of course the bloody thing will continue to piss on the carpet and tear up the furniture.

Buuut, am generalising. One of my customers has an enormous German Shepherd that looks like Death On Legs, but is actually one of the soppiest dogs that have come across. Another has two Chihuahuas that I have to fight off with steel toed boots.


Link said...

Very interesting. I can't stand to hear dogs who sound (or look) sad and I think you're quite right, you can tell what state a dog is in by the sound of its bark. I have no problem getting through to any animal with intonation, cept of course my horse 'cos he's a bit deaf.

Davo said...

Ahhh, link, horse whispering. I cannot tell you the sequence of events that led up to me be able to put my hand in the mouth of that german Sheprd. But now we rollick.

Davo said...

(um, me and the german shepherd, in case there was some misunderstanding.)

Davo said...

Link, animals are not stupid. as a general rule, actions speak louder than words. whisper to them, tell them you care. they know. bite, or hurt them, they will find ways of biting back. it's a simple rule, been around for many years. as long as people live in - and listen to - technology, it will continue to destroy them.

i wish i had better ways of expressing my anger.

Link said...

Anger expression eh? In the past I've been known (to myself) to go out into the bush, and finding a longish manageable branch beating a tree with it, with ALL my MIGHT. Arggghhh thwack, Argggghhh thwack, argghhh thwack. I then started to feel pretty sorry for the tree, so, I found myself a metal sign post--"LOOKOUT" it said. Too bloody right, problem was when thrashed it made a sort of'ting' noise which was a bit too zen for my state. But I persisted. Sometimes (but not for some time,), anger has become a physical reality that I need to get out with all my might, no desire whatsoever to bash anything living, too dangerous to do it with the blockbuster . . . .