Tuesday, October 03, 2006

These dogs are so polite.

I wish I could share pictures but I am hampered by having only two hands.

I had leftover chicken on my plate tonight, and per our custom, the boys were standing quietly nearby to see if they were going to score. Not begging, not making a sound, just waiting. And I cut it up and they assumed the position, side by side. And I doled it out, and Dudley got a piece, and then Murphy, and we alternated that way until it was gone. And I marveled again at how NICE they are to each other - there is no mad grab for the other guy's piece, they each eat theirs and wait while the other guy has his. They LOVE grilled chicken passionately, but they carefully take each piece from my fingers without letting a tooth touch my hand. Look around the next time you eat in a family restaurant and wonder why they allow some customers but ban dogs.

I can't get over the subtle differences in terrier personalities - they are more alike than different, both very, very smart, huge vocabularies, and an obsession with schedules that might benefit from medication. But they are different in breed characteristic ways.

Murphy naturally expects everyone to pay attention to him - he came into this world with a Paris Hilton-sized ego and sense of entitlement, and I think that may be a Yorkie trait. He's a very nice dog, loves everybody, never nasty or nippy, well behaved in general, but if you ignore him, he will "Harrumpf!" and stamp his little feet and generally make it known that he is not to be slighted in this way. It is cute because he is small and has those intelligent little eyes and gumdrop nose, so the effect is "your teddy bear having a minor snit." It is pretty much irresistable to those who don't live with him every day (those who do are over it) so it's self-reinforcing - he thinks his other name is "Oh you're so CUTE!"

Dudley will sit without moving a muscle or making a sound, and try to will that piece of chicken off your plate by the power of his mind and intense gaze. He does not harrumpf. He does not stamp. He sits very, very still and waits.

Bostons are nicknamed the American Gentleman, and the nickname is richly deserved. We didn't knock ourselves out training him, believe me. He mostly trained himself. He isn't perfect - when stressed he did eat a small throw rug - but even when he is wildly glad to see me, I can say, "No paws!" and he forces himself to calm down and not jump on me. It's hilarious to watch, because it's almost like it's physically painful for him to control himself, he quivers and frowns. But he keeps his paws off my office clothes, and that's what matters. He could use a little light polish to be the best behaved dog ever, but as it is he's fine.


Debi said...

Forgive my presumptiveness but Catherine...didn't you just buy a kick ass camera? PICTURES, Dude, PICTURES!!

KnitNana said...

We need photos of the little darlings! But I just love your descriptions...they're great! The puppies are only part of the reason I visit, I promise!

Quilting Kim said...

Your yorkie sounds just like mine - demanding attention with "Harrumpf!". My favorite is when he has to sit in the back seat of the car and he ""Harrumpf's" at whomever is sitting in the front seat, letting them know that they are sitting in his place of honor.

Amie said...

When I ask Oscar to sit, he does it... and then twitches like he was sitting on an earthquake fault line. It's SO HARD to be good, but he tries and struggles... it's so cute.

Of course, he's 60 pounds, so it's more a cute in a "I can't wait for him to mature enough to be able to sit still" (and pits mature very very slowly) kinda way, whereas for a smaller dog it would likely stay cute a lot longer.