Today's Lesson

This has been a very busy week and things seem to be going full speed, sometime too fast as it’s hard to keep up. Sometimes, I like being busy, but this week was a challenge to keep up with everything. We are boarding 3 dogs and have company staying with us and they have a border collie too, which makes 10 adult dogs and 14 pups. All in all, things have gone smooth with just a few flair-ups but everyone is on great terms and are playing hard whenever they are out We even had two people who just wanted to talk about border collies stop by just to pick my brain, which was empty most of the time. I always tell them up-front that I’m not the expert; it’s just what works for me. Abbie had taken the sour side of life because she doesn’t want ANYONE to get in her space and this included the whole farm and it also includes any dogs that may visit. She was put into timeout several times and I just know she had on her report card “Does Not Play Well With Others”. To be the smallest dog other than Annie, she sure is bossy at times. She will even try to tell Clancy a thing or two at times, and with a very solemn look, he will look at her and his eyes will say “yeah, just try it”.

Dogs can be strange and mysterious creatures. Their behavior is amazing and they do things for many reasons that is hard for us to understand or even imagine.

One of the most interesting and disgusting thing dogs do is an obnoxious behavior and it stemmed from the practice of regurgitating food. Dogs in the wild live in packs. They hunt together and assist in feeding and caring for the young. Dogs in the wild would feed on the prey after the kill. When the dogs return to the den they would regurgitate the partially digested food to feed the young. Additionally, eating vomit and feces has something to do with hiding the traces of a dog’s presence from predators. After thousands of years of domestication, these habits still kick in. Domesticated dogs still regurgitate food to feed the puppies. Dogs are less discriminating with what they put in their mouth. No matter how well fed the dog is it, it would still forage food from the trash can every chance it could get. It is said that humans and canines are about 90% similar in genetics. The 10% would probably account for the difference in our choices of food. The insects, the dead animals, the feces and the vomit that are relished by the dogs are repulsive to humans. To my knowledge, dog are the only animal that will do this and it is even mentioned in the Bible.

Another thing that dogs do that is amazing is their heat seasons will start to adjust and will eventually be at the same time. I have noticed this over the years with our dogs. Duchess was bred and 8 days later Meg was bred and then along came Molly who may be pregnant now. This is another trait that goes back to the wild when the alpha female would breed with the alpha male to produce the best and strongest litter. In the pack, subordinate wild dog, and wolf females that have never conceived (and may never do so) sometimes undergo a “pseudo pregnancy,” developing a swollen belly and mammary glands. Then, once the alpha female’s pups are born, the non-mothers secrete milk for the alpha’s pups. By becoming a wet-nurse, a subordinate may increase her chances of being tolerated in the group. Had she given birth herself, her young might have been killed by the alpha female. The alpha female will be responsible to get the food, eat it and then bring it back to the pack and provide it to the for all to eat, thus this is where she would regurgitate it up for them. Some believe this is why some dogs will lick the mouths of each other. This is a sign of respect and a signal that they want to be fed. Dogs like to lick human skin not only for the salt from the sweat, but also as a form of greeting, such as by briefly licking a person's hand after sniffing it. Licking is also used as a social bonding analogous to primate social grooming and stroking. This can indicate intimacy. Such licking is longer and slower, as compared to the brief licking of faces during a greeting. Before we had dogs many years ago, when my brother’s dog or any other dog would lick my leg or hand, I thought it was kinda yucky. Now that I have such loving dogs, when they do it and it’s usually Clancy, I find it endearing. The dog world is a strange and wonderful place and I have learned so much, but there is a lifetime of more to come.

As far as the busy week, things will calm down and there will be peace in the world, very soon.  Ken