The “Inner Dog”?

The following Post was originally published here in February 2015. I was reading it recently and thought it worth repeating because nothing has changed, except that he seems to be getting in touch with his “inner dog” more frequently. He even seems to be doing it (see Post below) regularly in the garden! The Post has had some chronological adjustments:

When Ray rings the bell on the back door, or when he just stands staring at the back door, I of course open it for him. Usually, he immediately goes out, down the steps, and into the garden where he takes care of his bodily needs. Sometimes he may follow some recent squirrel scents, or he simply does a garden perimeter check. It is probably fair to say that, on many occasions, he does all those things! 

Since he adjusted to our home and routines however, he has taken to going through the back door and simply standing there at the top of the steps. Following his apparent line of sight is….. nothing ….. at least that I can see! He is staring at the neighbors’ back garden and patio, but there is nobody around. Is he confused?

Of course there could be any number of reasons why he is so focused, many of which cannot be picked up by my senses. Perhaps a rabbit recently hopped by, or squirrels were out in the neighbors garden trying to remember where they had buried whatever it was they had buried! A few hours later, Ray would no doubt still be picking up all the scents from their activities.

I’ve known Ray for six years now and feel that I do have a little insight into his “inner workings”! Assuming that some of my thought processes may have rubbed off on him, I think that when he goes through the back door and comes to an immediate stop, he may well be thinking “What did I come out here for?”

Ray spends a very significant amount of time simply “chilling” so perhaps he is really into analyzing past events. Perhaps he is so comfortable in this stress free environment that he gives himself the luxury of time to meditate and get in touch with his inner dog. Perhaps when he is standing on the back porch just staring off into space, he is really contemplating life and all its inherent idiosyncrasies.

Ray is a Shepherd/Rottweiler X but I see him as a predominantly Shepherd body with a Rotti head. His personality tends to lead me to Rotti, so there may be a Rotti brain controlling a Shepherd body. On some dog IQ charts, the Shepherd is just behind the Rotti however, in training ability, the Shepherd is apparently ahead of the Rotti. Ray could justify being totally confused!

The next time he wanders out and comes to a total stop on the back porch, or in the garden, I think I’ll stop speculating and let him work out whatever it is he is trying to work out. There are some things that I simply cannot ever know, so I’ll just assume that he is either confused…………………. or getting in touch with his inner dog!

Postscript – Looking at his face on the book cover of “Who Said I was up for Adoption?”, he clearly has a “getting in touch with my inner dog” personality!

12 thoughts on “The “Inner Dog”?

  1. Colin, I’m delighted that you let Ray do dog things, and try to understand life from his point of view. How can a dog have a happy life if he isn’t permitted to do dog things? Yard behavior is highly individualized. One of my dogs was a perimeter walker. One was a sunbather. One uses the yard only to poop, and does it behind a stand of sea grass we planted (he is very private). One runs along the fenceline, barking at the neighbor dog Rox until Rox’s mom makes him come inside. I’m on Dog #3 and #4 now. Dog #3 is male Pit/Black Lab, Dog #4 is female Pit/Boxer (I think). After scolding Dog #1 and #2 endlessly for not adhering to human standards and getting nowhere, I decided to work smarter, not harder. I allow #3 and #4 to do dog things, like hide bones beneath the couch cushions, dump their dry food on the floor so they can “forage” for it, dawdle on walks (one licks my car’s exhaust pipe, sniffs sewer grates, and flops down in the grass to chew on sticks he finds), bathe themselves, and sleep in our bed (one is a burrower, one can’t stand being covered.) Why should I step in and micromanage every aspect of their day? I think autonomy has made them happier and more even-tempered than the first pair. I have to sacrifice a bit in the clean and tidy department, but I’m not very clean and tidy to begin with, so the sacrifice is a small one. 🙂

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    • I can never understand people who get a dog, and then frustrate themselves trying to make it adapt to a human lifestyle! It’s a dog! It worked far better with Ray by simply making the effort to see the world from his perspective. We’re all happier as a result. 🙂

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  2. My two fur kids do this-I just chalk it up to surveying their kingdom. Sometimes it seems as if they’re taking in scents to then act on whatever info they provide. I suspect Ray could be doing something like that. Then again, he could just be checking on your powers of observation.

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