Canine triangulation

A parable about dogs and conserving energy. Ok not really a parable, just an observation about dogs.

In one way Cooper is bad at folk physics – he never gets that if he’s standing or lying where I’m trying to go, that means I can’t go there. He never budges over of his own accord; I have to say “mooooooove” and then he does it not because he knows that’s what I mean but because he knows I’m telling him to do something and that’s the only thing he can think of to do. It works, but it’s crude.

In another way, as Gretchen Robinson just reminded me on Facebook, he’s good at it – when we’re at the lake or the Sound and I throw the ball far out into the water, he uses his folk physics. Not, admittedly, the way Gretchen said; he doesn’t run to the point on the beach closest to where the ball hit the water. No, he plunges directly in and then aims for the ball. But on the return trip, he does aim for the shore, not for me; he takes the short route, not the long one.

But then he immediately asks for the ball to be thrown again, and bang goes all that conserved energy. He could just as well swim away from the shore for awhile and then head back.

So never ask a dog to engineer a freeway for you.


  1. latsot says

    So never ask a dog to engineer a freeway for you.

    Whenever anyone tells me not to do something, I immediately do it. I’ll let you know how it works out.

  2. Trebuchet says

    @1, Kengi: Ow! The colors on that site make my eyes hurt.

    Dogs lie in your way until you tell them to move. Cats, on the other hand actively place themselves in the path of your next step as you try to maneuver around them.

  3. says

    Well we just did go to the beach, and I find I did Cooper an injustice – sometimes he does run down the beach to swim the shortest route. Mostly though he plunges in exactly where our feet are, no matter what.

  4. says

    When I first read the headline, I thought of our new adopted triangular dog … a “tripawd” who lost one of his hind legs to injuries his previous owners didn’t treat. He was confiscated by humane and his leg had to be amputated. (The amount of suffering he must have endured sickens me.)

    I made the mistake of stopping by “Lucky Paws,” the adoption center of the new, improved animal shelter (kiill rate way down.) We already have three dogs but one is likely to go soon. Ranger is four, apparently pit bull and border collie (sweet, submissive, eager to please, intelligent, and likes our cats as well as dogs). Our friend who takes care of our dogs when we’re away and runs a grooming service says pit bull and border collie is a really good mix. Now just to find out how much exercise he needs and stick to a schedule. (Our other dogs are happy with our large yard, which includes natural desert.)

    He really is a lovely boy, and probably has some Aussie, too, as one eye is blue and one brown.

    And he does get out of the way.

  5. says

    I remember a dog I once knew named Cooper, he was a Scottish terrier from a halfway house I once went to years ago, named Meadowhaven.

    I guess I feel like I am in the past somewhere, five years ago, in a different world. I am also heavily intoxicated, I should lay down soon.

    Then Summer turned to Fall, and all the leaves are yellow here in Massachusets. I’m in a different place /passes out.

    I wish someday I could visit that world again.

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