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According to the Dog
The most boring thing a human can possibly do is stare at this glowing box here. The next most boring thing is nap. Staring at the bigger glowing thing in the other room is also boring, but occasionally it makes interesting noises. Preparing and/or eating food would be interesting because food! but he usually gets bored and wanders off eventually because the humans are greedy and don't share.

The most interesting thing a human can do is get his leash. He likes that. He'll also perk up and pay attention if you're putting on shoes or getting a jacket, because then you might be going somewhere and maybe he can come? Can he come? Please?

He solicited a training session last night, which was interesting. We were trying to get him to associate being in the tub and the shower with positive things like treats so that when we get around to bathing him he will not freak completely out (this will be tricky, because based on his reaction to seeing Cathy watering some plants, he's scared of running water). So we were being enthusiastic about the tub, and then he didn't want to go in it again so we switched to being enthusiastic about the shower. He had his confused face on during most of this. Tail wagging, so he was okay with the whole process, but he clearly couldn't figure out what we were so excited about. After he got a couple treats in the shower, he wandered off a bit and play-bowed and chewed on his Nylabone a little, then did a lovely Sit and Down with no directions, and looked at us and wagged a bunch, and generally gave off the general impression that he would just love to play that game where we tell him to do things and he does them and we give him treats. So we did that for a while. He's gotten good at Touch (where he touches your fingers with his nose), and was willing to jump up to reach the fingers. He's got pretty good two-legged balance, it turns out. We will need to think of something clever to do with this that does not encourage him to put paws on the furniture or counters or people.

I wish it were as easy to explain that we would like him to ignore other humans and (especially) dogs when we are out walking as it's been to explain that we would like him to sit or lie down or touch something. Obedience class is probably useful practice in ignoring other dogs, but it would be nice to have more controlled opportunities to practice sitting quietly off to the side while another dog walks by (because if we're not moving, I can give him treats and reinforce the good behavior; if we're walking he'd rather do that than eat), or to walk quietly at a measured distance past a dog that will behave itself and not do anything particularly attention-getting like barking at him. There are a lot of dogs in the neighborhood that seem to spend a lot of time alone in their yards, and they are not being helpful. Especially that black one around the corner -- he'll bark when we're on the other side of the street.

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Ista is firmly pro-nap. If there is any way she can get one of us to nap, she is right on it. She is not pro-glowing box and will sometimes come drape herself over my lap and then try to weigh down my left hand so much that I can't type. But the other glowing box does sometimes make good noises, and also you get the monkeys to pile onto the couch with it, and that is good because the monkeys do not have sufficient understanding of how important it is for the pack to all be together.

Galen does really like for the pack to all be together. He is definitely in favor of that. Once we took him out to play in the yard with all three of us and he was like "oh boy! Playtime and EVERYONE'S HERE!"

I think Galen might be more pro-nap if he was allowed on the furniture to snuggle with us. I am trying to convince tiger_spot and mapache that, once he really understands about not just getting onto the furniture, we can let him up onto at least one piece of furniture when invited. They are not enthusiastic about this plan, because then the piece of furniture will smell like dog, they say. But I think they are wrong; everything in the house is already going to smell like dog, and besides, I have volunteered my couch, which they don't like anyway. I intend to keep lobbying for this.

Ista is a much smaller dog, but it never occurred to me not to have her on furniture. I have a dog so I can cuddle my dog on the couch. That's not all of why, but it's a big part. I don't think it makes the couch smell more of dog than the rest of the house, which does, in fact, smell like we have a small, clean dog living here, because we do.

I sort of vaguely recall something about messing with pack order when the dog is on the same level as the people, but I'm not entirely clear on the details.

Apparently "dogs in the wild" (I don't know whether this has been studied with wolves or feral dogs or domestic dogs at daycare where nobody's paying them much attention or what) value high ground, such that the more dominant dogs will be occupying the tops of large rocks or hillocks or whatever your local tall bits of terrain are. So if your dog is up on furniture and won't get down when you tell him to he thinks he's the boss of you, because he's got this nice high-ground thing and he can keep it away from pathetic ol' you, nyah nyah.

It is okay, pack order wise, if the dog only uses the high ground when you don't want it, and moves when you tell him to, because that means he knows you have the authority to occupy that space, and are only letting him do it because you feel like it. But you have to be very clear that being on the furniture is a privilege, not a right.

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