Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Waaa - HOOOOO!! Puppy Alerted to a Beeper!

It was like a miracle.

This morning, as usual, I got up and let dogs out, staggered into the kitchen a groped around in my usual, uncoordinated attempt to make coffee. Somehow, I managed. Brought dogs in. It usually takes a while for their "swirling" to dissipate, then everyone calms down and occupies themselves with their secret doggie thoughts and other pursuits.

Such was the routine today. Petey was ballistic this morning, launching himself at me like a bank of heat-seeking missiles - such is the way cowdog puppies share their love. He tried this not only with me, but with several of the adult dogs, who gruffed at him as only a dog can do, until I became the last remaining target. I told him NO. I told him "Knock it off!" I gave him a couple of mock hand-bites. I even growled at him - as low and deep a growl as I could muster - but he continuted his launching. I tried the growl again, but missed that low pitch, voice cracking into an uncharacteristically high-pitched "Arrrrgggggg...."

Bam! Pete hit the ground and rolled over on his back. Wow. A hands-free "alpha roll!" I thought, gee... dog language must have a component like Chinese, in which the pitch of the word portrays a meaning as well as the sound. One would think, in a human way, that lower is more menacing, but here I have proof positive that it just ain't so. I found myself wishing I had perfect pitch - that ability to identify the note musicians associate with a pitch. I had a musician friend who had it and it was amazing. We were strolling around an outdoor concert site once. A nearby car honked its horn. My friend looked up in the air, holding up an extended index finger, and announced, "That's a G!" Arrgghh... such talent. I'd love to be able to reproduce that magically-pitched growl that pastes puppies to the ground. Wouldn't that be a fun trick in puppy class? Forget labeling myself as a "dog whisperer" - I could be the "dog growler!" LOL... Lovely thought, but I'll just bet the pitch is different for different dogs. Still, I'd like to know if Pete's magic pitch is a G or a B or an E-flat.

(As an aside, my perfect-pitch friend told me that the different pitches sound like different colors look. I guess I hear in black and white, and I've secretly grieved my lack of musical perception ever since.)

Pete, after recovering from his belly-up groveling, found a toy to chew on as the entire group settled down. All was quiet and relaxed. Then the coffeemaker finished it's job, announcing itself with a soft beep - beep - beep - beep. Petey perked up, ears pricked forward, and charged into the kitchen! Holy moley... I was so surprised that it took me a moment to realize a.) what he had just done, and b.) the training opportunity.

"Pete, TOUCH!!" He charged back into the living room and nudged his nose in my palm. "Pete, PAWS!" He clawed at my hand and at my thighs. Good dog! I added one he doesn't know yet - "Pete, WHERE?" and I ran with him into the kitchen, grabbed a treat, placed both hands on the coffee pot and pretended to take the treat from that spot, repeating "WHERE? WHERE?" and tapping on the counter, "PAWS!" When he put his paws on the cabinet under the coffee pot, I said "YES!" and gave him the treat.

Meanwile, the other dogs were entirely non-plussed by this sudden flurry of activity. The two deafies missed the entire first part, but picked up on the rising energy level. Piglet trotted around the house on alert, looking for some trigger while Sugar Baby grabbed and attacked her teaser ball - her answer to most any excitement. My two energetic hearing hearing boys (Max and Nugget) swirled around Petey and me as he nudged and pawed at me, and appeared on the scene at the coffee pot, bracketing Petey like spring-loaded bookends, hoping that whatever it was that caused the excitement would involve treat-dispensing. Rodney the basset, I suppose, was lounging somewhere, appearing in the background only at treat-giving time. He springs into action only for the doorbell - coffee pots are not in his repertoire.

No question that Pete is the right dog for the job. I'm truly impressed.

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