Friday, July 24, 2009

Entry/Exit rules for dogs

Not counting windows, there are 4 points of entry/exit to our house. I won't say what or where they are (and if you're thinking of tracking me down and breaking in here, good luck running the gauntlet of dogs), just that 2 of those locations are accessible to the 5 outside dogs. Months ago, Mr. P. announced that we should only let the dogs in and out at Point A, never Point B or C. I honestly don't remember why - there may have been a good reason, but I forgot it.

Every time I have broken this rule, he has chided me, "I thought we agreed that the dogs would only go in and out of (Point A)." To which I usually reply, "And how am I supposed to control 270 lbs of dog when they're flinging themselves at (Point B)?" Then we talk about the benefits of consistent training, etc. etc.

The other day when it was pouring rain outside, all 7 dogs were inside and I had to get 4 of them out of the house so that I could take 1 of them to the vet and leave Polly & Georgie inside. Cruel to send them out into the rain, but they can take shelter in their house or in a covered walkway. I did my best to drive the herd out of Point A, but they weren't having it. So I flung some popcorn out of Point B (forbidden, but more sheltered), and off they went.

For some reason I felt the need to confess this to Mr. P. later that evening. He conceded that I did the right thing in the circumstances, and revised the Entry/Exit rule as follows: It is OK for the dogs to go out at Point B, but not to come in at Point B.

I said, "How are they supposed to understand why it's OK to go out there but not come in?" And got another lecture about consistent training.

According to something called Cuvier's fraction, the ratio of brain weight (E) to body weight (S) in some well-known critters is:


Human 1/40

Cat 1/100

Dog 1/125

Frog 1/172

Dog intelligence advocates will tell you that dogs are very smart despite their 2-ounce brain size (smarter than a frog, anyway). But I want you to tell me how my dogs are supposed to understand Mr. P.'s Entry/Exit rules with brains 1/3 the size of mine if I can't understand those rules?

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