Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Doggy Idioms


I unintentionally made a bunch of people very angry when I commented elsewhere that either of my dogs is more a "person" than an embryo is. On reflection it was kind of predictable, but to me personhood has nothing to do with abortion laws so it didn't immediately register that I was about to get whacked with a 'pro-life' hammer. I'm just really impressed by my dogs f(^_^; I wondered afterwards if some of the ire directed toward me was caused by the negative use of dogs in English: "I wouldn't treat a dog like that/ treated worse than a dog/ not fit for a dog." 

We have many dog-related idioms, most of which don't give dogs a great deal of respect: bitch fight, work like a dog, dog's life, in the dog house, treated like a dog, every dog has his day, sick as a dog, hair of the dog, dog tired, dog eat dog, dog's breakfast, fight like cats and dogs, raining cats and dogs, see a man about a dog, wag the dog, the dog days of summer, let sleeping dogs lie, dog day afternoon, like a dog with its tail between its legs, and like a dog with a bone.

In Japanese idioms, dogs get a mostly negative treatment as well:
犬も食わない (not even a dog would eat it), 犬と猿/犬猿の仲 (dogs and monkeys, basically the same as cats and dogs in English), 負け犬 (a looser), 犬死する (die in vein), and 犬も歩けば棒に当たる (similar to every dog has his day but with more of a connotation that good things will come if you take action). 

I'd love to hear from speakers of other languages. How do dogs fare in idioms around the world?
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Friday, 18 December 2015

Dog Obedience Training Guide (Shiba Inu)

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Obedience training is vital to maintaining a happy home life, and anyone can do it~ all you need is patience and consistency. The most important thing to remember, though, is that no matter how intelligent your human may seem, he or she does not innately know what you expect of him/her, and you must explicitly teach any skill you want the human to master. Before we go into specific commands, I need to mention hierarchies. Human society is deeply stratified, and your human will feel happier and more secure knowing that YOU are in charge. Humans generally display their social status by exchanging small rectangles of cardboard, and consequently it is vital that you immediately destroy any cardboard you find the human bringing into the house. This lets them know that you are the head of the household.

This is what the hierarchy looks like
Choosing a good time is important- set your human up for success! Ideal times are when the baby has just gone to sleep, during a work related phone call or while they are watching a movie with a complex plot. First, make it clear to your human that you are interested in playing with something. It works best if the item is heavy or rattles or is in some other way loud and annoying. Drop the item near your human, loudly. Then stare intently at the item and bark furiously. If your human ignores you you may need to repeat the dropping a few times. It works well to drop something from an elevated position like over the back of the couch to maximize noise. When your human eventually retrieves the item and hands it to you, reward them by blanking them and licking your bum. Then repeat again from the beginning.

I'm gonna wake this baby, oooohhh yes I am
Open the Door
Again, timing is important. When a heater or air conditioner is running is ideal. Find a closed door and bark at it. If barking doesn't work, remind your human it is a rental and then scratch it violently. When your human opens the door you have two options- ignore the open door and settle in for a nap, or, walk through the door and once it is closed repeat the process from the other side of the door. Do whichever takes your fancy, or switch between both throughout the day.

Mastering these basics will give both you and your human extra confidence. Have a shiba day!
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