Communicating With Pets

This week has been beyond crazy. We know, we’re a bit behind! We’re sorry! A combination of unexpectedly hectic work, and expected things at work being unexpectedly time-consuming or draining, have us both reeling a bit. But, regular service resumes – with some make-up posts coming, too.

Another thing that’s conspired against me this week as been a few broken nights thanks to a certain agitated, whiny husky.


Not pictured: agitation and/or whining.

But it serves to illustrate a point we’ve found ourselves talking about recently – how pets ‘talk’ to us, and how sometimes they train us as much as we train them.

Kooks has never been very open about things that bother him – unless it’s really bothering him. He has the characteristic husky tendency to whiiiiiiiiiinnneeee quietly or yelp loudly at us if he really needs to go out to use the washroom, or if he’s really hungry, or if he just wants attention.

But, now that he’s on steroids long-term, needing to go out is much more common – something he’s not used to. He knows from our time together that he gets to go out first thing in the morning, before we leave for work, as soon as we get back from work, for his afternoon walk, and right before bed.

So when we found accidents in the kitchen (he’s very good about only going on tile instead of hardwood or carpet. Good boy.) when we were home and could have let him out, it was surprising and a bit frustrating at first. But we realized that he was probably just as confused as us – he’d gotten used to a routine that wasn’t cutting it any more, and when he didn’t fuss or limp obviously when he got a piece of glass in his paw soon after we got him, it was probably inevitable that he wouldn’t bother us for something as simple as needing to go.

Lesson learned – any time we see him pacing or he comes over for attention, give him scratches and affection, but also see if he needs out into the front yard. We trained him, now he’s training us. He does communicate with us- with the pacing, how he approaches us or just stares from the doorway – we just had to learn the language.

Caitlin had the same experience with her cat Mini – she’s usually quiet, but she’s not afraid to meow for attention when she really wants it. At some point recently, she realized that if she came over to Caitlin and meowed constantly, eventually she’d get her way – unlimited cuddles, pretty much no matter what my wife was planning to do at the time… so she made it a very frequent habit.

Eventually, Caitlin had to put her foot down and just ignore her, as much as it tugged on the heart strings, until Mini learned that yes, mommy will love you and give you lots of affection, but sometimes she has to do some actual work around the place, too. After just a couple times, she got the message.

We train pets, and they train us, and on rare occasion we even get the last word – even with cats.


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