Thursday, February 4, 2010

Pavlov Would Be Proud

I have two Airedales, Sister and the Hairy Fiend. They're both of the Oorang strain, i.e., they're both much larger than a standard Airedale. As large dogs, they not only take up more space, eat more food, etc., they just do everything bigger.

Sister decided tonight that the optimum place to pant is about four inches from my ear. She's on the couch right now, doing just that. It sounds like a steam locomotive, and it's about that warm to boot.

Hairy's usual sound is a combination of the jingle of his tags and his ears flapping as he flips his head from side to side- think of a girl tossing her hair and mentally add the sound.

I've exacerbated this noise by using Poochie Bells, "The Original Doggie Doorbell". These things are two sets of sleigh bells on a yard-long grosgrain ribbon with a loop at one end for the doorknob. You train the dog to go up and nose the ribbon to give you a sound cue to let them out. Airedales, however, are highly intelligent, so mine have been working on modifying my behavior through the magic of strategic bell-ringing.

Sister rings the bells for one of three reasons: she's thirsty, she's hungry, or she wants out. Hairy rings the bells if he's bored or wants to go outside, whether it's to go potty or simply investigate what's going on in the yard (e.g., if the cats from next door). I can also tell who's ringing from the technique: Sister gently noses the bells, while Hairy wraps them around his head and keeps slinging them in circles around the doorknob.

Poochie Bells are a pretty good thing, since I couldn't hear when they used to nose the doorknob. Variously, my parents' dogs have scratched the door, nosed the doorknob, or, in the case of our Wire Fox Terrier, stood there and groaned plaintively until someone let them out. Unfortunately, we're on our second set of Poochie Bells because the bells on the first one rusted from dog snot. They're in constant use, if nothing else.

Anyway, I have to sign off for now. The bells are currently in orbit, which means Hairy probably wants something. Who knew I was that trainable?

1 comment:

Poochie-Bells said...

Your friends at Poochie-Bells enjoyed your post :)