not only cute, but smart, too

One cutie does not want a bath.

And another cutie wants a boycott.

Thanks to David and Dharma Seeker.


johngoldfine said...

Sorry to disagree vehemently, but in my opinion that lady is just teasing Madison, and Madison clearly is unhappy and stressed and ought to be either left alone or put in the bath without further ado.

Oh, the clip is awful darn kute, but when the dog snaps at her or someone else, maybe a kid, who discovers that the word 'bath' is a trigger, she shouldn't act surprised.

Madison looks to me like an ace of a dog, patient under provocation, who just wants to be treated quietly and respectfully, which by evidence of the video, she isn't.

johngoldfine said...

The dog is doing her best to communicate and explain, and no one is hearing her. Dogs do know when they are being laughed at and, understandably, do not like it, as Madison demonstrates. God knows there are enough occasions to laugh with them and also enough times one must hide one's laughter at them--without badgering them for a few idle extra chuckles.

In 'Out of the Silent Planet' Ransome is slowly being driven mad by being asked, "Ransome?" and when he replies being told, "Nothing."

What they advise lawyers is the rule for dogowners: never ask a question unless you already know the answer. Once you get the answer, take it and be happy your dog understands, but don't ask again and again for your own amusement.

Sorry to go on so--but the subject is the one I'm tenderest on.

Dharma Seeker said...

John your point is well taken but in this respect I think it's out of context.

I didn't hear anything but affection in Madison's "mom's" voice. All dogs have quirks and most of the time it is the quirks that endear them to us. d

On one hand my hat is off to you for not implying that she'll snap because she is a pit bull, but because she appears stressed, but it's an assessment I disagree with. So if the dog isn't stressed, why would she snap? Why would her trigger threshold be so low? Because she's a pit bull? With respect I don't know you or your views on BSL, and I've seen enough of your posts to appreciate that you are a true animal lover. But what I'm reading between the lines, at least partially, is that there is some inherent danger in (verbally) playing with a dog with a square head, muscular body, and skinny, waggy tail.

By contrast, this is what a stressed pit bull (or any dog) looks like. Panting, lip licking, jumpy - all textbook signs of stress.


And she doesn't snap at anyone. Quite the opposite.

Dharma Seeker said...

One of the things that really struck me about the bath video is how nice it is to see a pit bull that is so loved and well cared for :) We don't get to see that every day.

johngoldfine said...

Aw, no, dharmaseeker, I'm a pit bull fan from way back. The first dog I ever fell in love with was my Uncle Sidney's Nipper the Victrola Dog-type American terrier. That was when I was 6 and that dog wiggling his ass as he climbed onto Uncle Sidney's lap is in my permanent store of primal memories.

I wouldn't dream of ascribing anything nasty and intrinsic to pit bulls.

But their neutral nature is all the more reason to treat dogs in a kind and quiet way: if they are upset, it's us doing the upsetting, nothing to do with their 'nature.' We have a huge responsibility, and, at least in my mind watching that video, Madison's boss was shirking it.

I guess we'll have to disagree about play. I understand that was Madison's boss's intent, but if anyone played with my dogs that way, I'd ship them right out of the house, and if I saw a stranger treating a dog that way, I'd intervene.

My experience with snapping dogs is that they do just that--snap, in the sense of suddenly reacting, as well as the sense of biting. There isn't much warning, none of the usual signs of dog aggression, anger, or stress--which signs are only attempts to avoid violence and warn off the evildoer. When they snap though, they just... do it. That's what happened the only time I've ever been bitten--by a poodle cross, who thought I might be interfering in his dinner plans.

impudent strumpet said...

My employer once had this meeting with some great big senior executive who's so far above us we never actually see it. There was a great big deal made at the beginning that this is a dialogue and they want to hear our thoughts and ideas and suggestions. Being the thoughtful, intelligent, creative sort of people we are, we had all kinds of thoughts and ideas and suggestions. All of which were promptly waved aside while Mr. Big Executive continued with his powerpoint presentation.

L-girl said...

John, I so appreciate that you care about dogs enough to critique this video in this way.

I don't see any signs of stress or unhappiness in the dog, or hear inappropriate teasing from the person.

I understand that it's possible for a dog to snap, with none of the expected warning signs or body language, but I'm not under the impression that behaviour like the one in this vid can cause that. The only stories I've heard about those cases, there was serious violence and abuse going on.

Most people with tons of experience with dogs, have either never seen it happen or perhaps have seen it once, as you did with the poodle-cross.

I'm not getting the relevance of Imp Strump's comment at all.

impudent strumpet said...

That's because blogger ate my second paragraph!

My point was that that was what Madison's human is doing to her.

L-girl said...

Ah-ha! That's analogy helps me understand the objections more.

Dharma Seeker said...

The analogy provides context but I don't see its relevance.

This is not a "dialogue", this is a learned behaviour. From Madison's point of view the word "bath" is a cue to act out behaviour you see in the video. This is not an animal that is stressed. This is an animal that is basking in the attention resulting from her endearing, silly behaviour.

Dogs are very intelligent, more than they are generally given credit for. We bring them in to our world on our terms, and they adapt. We communicate with them on our terms (verbally), and they respond.

Dogs are pack animals. They give and take (or don't take) direction. Dialogue doesn't exist in their hierarchy. Different dogs have different "currencies", toys, affection, treats. They exchange behaviours for the currency they value. Any "dialogue" that transpires is purely for human benefit. It means jack to the dog.

L-girl said...

Honestly, I was going to say the same thing as D/S when I had more time. You don't have dialogues with your dog. They don't want or need that. The Big Dog (the person) tells the dog to do and when.

I understand John's point about not wanting to see an animal teased, and as I said, I appreciate that he is so sensitive to dogs' feelings and needs. But I think Madison is having fun - I think Madison and mom are playing a game.

johngoldfine said...


I had a rescue dog once, Precious--who was terrified of being picked up and terrified of the water, both fears probably having something to do with the eight-year old devil child (and I don't mean that affectionately) who had tried flushing her down the toilet repeatedly when she was a puppy.

Every hot summer day for 12 years, I'd stand on the diving rock and ask her if she wanted me to dip her in the water. Every day I asked, she would stare at me, roundeyed, and would sit, sit so hard and fast you'd think she was drilling a hole to China with her fanny.

Question asked, question answered. Her clarity on this issue was quite amusing.

One day when she was twelve or so, a real scorcher, I asked my usual question, and instead of sitting, she walked onto the rock with me. I put my hands on her and asked her again, "Do you want to go in?"

She was trembling all over, the way she always did when she was about to be picked up. I took my hands off, gave her a chance to walk away, leaned over, put my hands on her a second time. She waited, no struggle but still shaking, so I lifted her and lowered her onto a rock she could stand on while being partially submerged.

For the rest of her life, there were summer days she wanted a douse, other summer days she plunked her butt down good, but there were never any days when she wasn't in control of what would happen.

David Cho said...

John may have a point. The dog isn't wagging his tail any more (not to say that wagging is always a good sign).

Noah always gave me that sad expression whenever I took him to a groomer. He was extremely compliant, but always gave me that forlorn look.

L-girl said...

Saying that we don't have dialogues with our dogs does not mean we don't listen to our dogs, doesn't mean that patience and gradual sensitization are not the key to overcoming fear.

Both Dharma Seeker and I have worked extensively with dogs with extreme fear and anxiety. Allan and I worked with an advanced behaviourist who specializes in precisely that.

It's that experience - with an emotionally and physically damaged pit bull who had been badly abused, possibly tortured - that leads me to enjoy this video so much.

I thought it was obvious, but I wasn't implying we force our dogs to do things they cannot bear to do. Only that dogs need clear leadership, not suggestions. John, I know you understand that better than most people.

L-girl said...

David, we interpret that look as "forlorn" but in dog terms, it doesn't mean anything. That's a human attribute we're ascribing to the dog.

Cody used that same look to get food and attention. People always thought she had sad eyes - she would put on sad eyes, because she learned it got her attention and treats.

johngoldfine said...

dogs need clear leadership, not suggestions

Yes indeed.

We're getting a rescue Lhasa Apso, 14 years old, to add to our current collection of five dogs--I'm wicked excited anticipating working with a dog who has to be integrated, who is deaf, who knows nothing of the dog/human culture here, and whose time recently has not been much fun.

L-girl said...

I'm wicked excited anticipating working with a dog who has to be integrated, who is deaf, who knows nothing of the dog/human culture here, and whose time recently has not been much fun.

That is so wonderful. I'm happy for you, and for her/him.

Allan and I were joking about the next dog we adopt, how we shouldn't go for a dog who is already being fostered and socialized in a good home, but go for a serious hard-case, because we can. Joking, or half-joking, or maybe not joking at all.

Dharma Seeker said...

If you're looking for a serious hard case there's a rescue called Tails From Greece that rescues street dogs from Greece. Not sure if you're familiar with the background on Greece and dogs but it's abysmal. I know a friend who adopted from them and the dog was so traumatized and afraid of people (learned behaviour I'm afriad) that I literally couldn't even look at him or he'd bolt. He's cool with the family and does not have separation anxiety, but I expect many of the dogs coming out of that situation will, since it's such a natural fall-back for anxious dogs to panic when they're separated from their "pack".

Separation anxiety is probably the one thing I couldn't go through again because it's so horrible to know your dog is suffering every time you walk out the door, and it can't always be remedied (as you know). Some dogs are so damaged they will never be whole. For those extreme cases (I've seen maybe four in total in my ten years as a shelter worker) it's kinder not to prolong their lives. Every waking minute is psychological torture for them. It's painful to witness.

But I digress. There are a lot of dogs that can come around, and heal,in the right homes with committed caretakers, and Tails From Greece is really, really awesome. The adoption fee is pretty reasonable, considering, and they are usually in need of foster homes. It's a GTA rescue. This is the website:


L-girl said...

Thanks, Kim. I'm not specifically looking for anything, but I'll keep it in mind.

Street dogs the world over have it very hard. Mexico, the Phillipines, Russia... it's a long list. It's a horror.