Understanding your pet

Miles ready to whine, I'm sure

Miles ready to whine, I'm sure

In today’s Herald, you’ll find an Associated Press story on a poll that reveals most pets and pet owners understand each other. Click here for the full story.

According to the story, “Sixty-seven percent of pet owners say they understand their animals’ woofs, meows or other sounds, including 18 percent like King and Thibodeau who say they comprehend completely, according to an Associated Press-Petside.com poll released Wednesday. In a finding many parents of teenagers would no doubt envy, 62 percent of pet owners say that when they speak, their critter gets the message.”

I’ve written several times about my dogs — 7-year-old Jack Russell terrier Honey and 1-year-old Bernese/lab mix Miles — but I’ve never revealed that I think I can understand them. That would have sounded too weird, I suppose. But now that the media says it’s normal … here it goes:

I can understand my dogs. With Miles, he has about five different sounds. All of them unique and all of them tell me what he wants.
1. The “I want to go outside” whine is a long whine, one he usually makes while sitting next to a door. If I don’t get up to let him out immediately, the whine gets longer and louder.
2. The “Why is Honey eating food?” whine is loud and is usually followed by a bark. You see, Miles doesn’t like it when Honey eats, for whatever reason. Even if he has a perfectly good bowl of food in front of him, he does this. And as soon as Honey is done, he immediately swoops in to finish what she leaves. THEN, he eats his own food.
3. The “My toy is under the couch” whine and bark is more determined and short. When Miles plays with dog toys, he (intentionally) makes sure they get under the couch/chair/fridge/etc. It’s then our “job” to get it out for him. He will make these sounds until the toy is retrieved.
4. The “I just want to bark to annoy people” bark usually comes at 5 a.m. or 11 p.m. … hours when our neighbors may be asleep. There’s nothing vicious or intimidating about this bark. He just does it. It’s really annoying.
5. Finally, the “Predator alert” bark is loud and echoing and one that I think would truly scare an intruder. We’re glad we have Miles for this reason alone. I think if he ever had to, he would tear the crotch off an intruder.

Honey has fewer sounds, but I understand those too.
1. The “I see a squirrel” whine comes when she sees a squirrel on the other side of the fence and she can’t get to it.
2. The “I see a squirrel” scream comes when the squirrel is within her reach and one of us is holding her to prevent her from eating it. This scream is a scream. Nothing less. People think we’re beating our dog when they hear it and don’t realize she’s trying to kill something
3. The “Miles is too close” growl comes when, you guessed it, Miles is too close. It’s accompanied by the showing of teeth and a sneeze (for reasons we do not know).

The AP story made me happy that I wasn’t crazy … that I do understand my dogs. Jennifer and I enjoy the hell out of our dogs, and picking up on their little nuances. We discover something new almost daily.

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4 thoughts on “Understanding your pet

  1. Oh my gosh this made me laugh so hard. That squirrel scream is something else!

    You’re right, they are very little nuances. Miles and Honey recently stayed with friends and they said that Miles needed to make his “I’m bored and want to play outside” and his “I need to go” whines more distinctive because they couldn’t tell the difference.

    And you need to add an “I’m bored and don’t know why I’m whining” whine for Miles. He just lies on the floor whining sometimes for no apparent reason!

  2. Pingback: Can you understand your pet? « Life With Miles

  3. Yep, no doubt that each animal has its own personality and ways of expressing it verbally…. even our cats yeowwl , cry, meow, and growl in ways unique to each one that we all understand.

    And they of course understand us too, even if they pretend not to when it is convenient 🙂

    Al

  4. My dog has most of these, along with a couple others:

    The “Dammit Jon, quit being lazy. Get off the couch and let’s go outside” whine: a long, persistent, high-pitchd squeal that is ear-piercing, especially when he does it right at your ear. Usually followed by barks and/or home urination if I do not get up quick enough.

    The “I have no idea what that printer is doing, but I don’t like it” whine: lower, more melancholy. Followed by constant barks as well, but no urination.

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