Communication Breakdown

I was three months old. I could only just reach the worktop in the kitchen with my front paws. One of my bipeds was getting my lunch ready for me. I was really pleased about that. I thought that I would show my appreciation and maybe get her to do it a little bit faster. I started bouncing about and jumped up and put my paws on her waist and tapped her enthusiastically.

She put the things she was using down on the worktop and told me to sit. I pawed at her more enthusiastically and made some noises so that she would understand that I was in a hurry for my lunch. She turned away from me and went to the other side of the room and sat down. I hurried across and tapped her with my paw. She told me to sit. I tapped her leg harder and she again told me to sit. I didn’t want to sit, I was trying to tell her that I was in a hurry to get my lunch. I decided she might work it out if I nipped her knee. She got up and walked out of the room, closing the door behind her. I still hadn’t had my lunch!

She came back in the room after what seemed like an eternity. I heard her say later that it was just a few minutes. She went over to where my bowl was on the worktop and began preparing my lunch again. I jumped up again to show how pleased I was, hoping that she would hurry up. This time she just turned away from me and went to sit down and picked up a book. Oh dear! I laid down and put on my sad face while I thought about this.

I was still thinking about it when she got up again. This was hopeful! She told me to sit, which I did. She then started preparing my food again. I jumped up and started tapping her enthusiastically. She immediately stopped and went and sat down and picked up that book again and took no notice of me. I was having déjà vu – all over again! She just didn’t understand what I wanted at all, this was obvious. I would have to try something else! She sat there ignoring me for what seemed like ages this time.

She got up again and told me to sit. I sat, I was still thinking about what to do to get her to understand. She started preparing my food again. This was good, but what should I do to let her know I was pleased? She looked at me and said, “You’re being a good girl.”

This was confusing, all I was doing was sitting quietly. I hadn’t done anything to show how much I appreciated her getting my lunch! I sat there thinking about this and she finished preparing my lunch in no time at all. I was really pleased to get my lunch, I had quite an appetite by then.

We repeated a shortened version of this over the next couple of days. I worked out that the way to get the best response was to sit nicely with a very intent look upon my face. Bipeds sometimes don’t understand very direct and obvious communication, it’s strange. Communication with them requires a very subtle approach. If in doubt, I always try my prettiest sit with the most soulful expression I can manage.

See you next Wednesday!


  1. Ah Miss Clowie…you are training the bipeds well! Paw pats Savannah

  2. Funny aren’t they. Beloved is just the same. Sometimes you just can’t behave like a dog around them, you have to try and get inside their heads and think like a human.
    I always sit on my mat when I wait for lunch or a treat. It is something I have done so that Beloved knows I am ready to receive it.
    Sometimes if she has put cream on a sore or had to clean my ears I will go and sit on my mat to let her know that I now expect a treat! She understands so I have trained her well 🙂
    She tells me I am ‘assuming the position’. Sometimes Beloved is strange, but she’s my Beloved so I’m used to her funny little ways.

  3. Very clever, your biped…. glad to hear you have such a nice sit 🙂

  4. Hello, Clowie – what a smart girl you are! I learned early on with my Humans that there are two places in the house I don’t go: the bathroom and the kitchen. I soon got used to the bathroom rule, as there is a door, but the kitchen took me a bit longer to work out, as it’s sort of connected to the dining room. Now I know that, where the floor tiles change, that’s the line I’m not expected to cross. I don’t really know why, but it keeps them happy. I have a bed nicely positioned so that I can see what’s happening in the kitchen anyway, so I’m happy. 🙂

    Big WOOFS from Solo 🙂

  5. Yes, I’ve learnt about the change of the floor in the doorway. I’ll stand with my paws just behind the line!

  6. All dis sittin stuff…day just don’t get it do they !!! I’ms glad yoz eventually got ya lunch…yoz could of starved to death 🙂 Don’t forget ya photies.. 🙂
    Have a great day. xx

  7. Clowie you need great patience to train your biped but you will get there. Have a wonderful Wednesday.
    Best wishes Molly

  8. Mom likes me to sit when she makes my food, too! Then I have to keep sitting when she puts the bowl on the floor. Even though my brain is tiny, I learned this because I love food SO MUCH!

    Hugs and cuddles,

  9. Never happy are they?! You give them clear cues as to your needs and they just ignore! I hope you have improved their training since then? You will get there eventually!!

    O and I was just reading a wonderful blog by Pamela and she recommends keeping a progress chart so you can see how much they have improved – it may help you!

  10. Atta girl! You figured out what your biped WANTED you to do pretty quickly and it’s worked out ever since…..But I can’t blame you for being enthusiastic about FOOD – I think we all get a little crazy over the possibilities of yummies!

    Kitty Hugs, Sammy

  11. Poor Clowie. Your person is trying to teach you impulse control. It means feeling ok even when you don’t get what you want right away.

    You’re such a clever pup that you’re already learning it. And soon, your dinner will be coming sooner than ever.

    Keep up the good work!

  12. The humans are so slow to understand, it is boring at times :-/

  13. Clowie we love this story. It is true that the humans seem to appreciate a muted form for communication. Sitting pretty with your best expression sounds like a good way to get your kibble quickly. We bet you look gorgeous doing that!

    Bella and DiDi

  14. woof Clowie, just popped in to see how your summer was go’n. you still are a good look[‘n lady….. U..U jesse

  15. Look at you – you figured out how to communicate with humans all by yourself. Humans need books to figure out how to communicate with you. Very clever indeed!

  16. What a very good girl you are Clowie 🙂 Sometimes we bipeds just can’t take a hint 😉

  17. That is so sweet of you sweet Clowie to want to show your biped you appreciate her fixing your dinner. Hugs and nose kisses

  18. Clowie, it’s frustrating isn’t it, I know bipeds are stuborn aren’t they. You know human’s like to think they’re in control, play along, it will make them really happy and you get a nice lunch…it’s a win/win.

    • Yes, you’re absolutely right! Things go much more smoothly when they think they’re in charge and they can be even more stubborn than a Pyrenean – which is saying a lot.

  19. Hi Clowie,

    I’m with you, sometimes humans don’t get the obvious communication techniques, but I’ve also found the ‘sit’ is super effective!!

    Hope you enjoyed your lunch,

    Your pal Snoopy 🙂

  20. Clowie, just remember Mama knows best and life will be so much nicer when you follow her lead.. Especially at dinner time! Yay for you for being such a smart one (with such a pretty ‘sit’!)

  21. Clowie you are still very young here maybe Mom doesn’t know Pyres talk with their feet yet. But you need to start listening to Mom!!

    • I think she was a bit surprised about how much I used my paws – and my teeth! But she was determined I’d have good manners before I was big. As soon as I’d given up leaping on her while she was making my food, I had to start waiting until told I could take it. I discovered I got my food faster if I behaved.

      • That is usually the case with us humans, but were trying to make you good mannered so everyone will like you. also makes it easier to live with humans;)

        • Yes, I’m very gentle with everyone now. I’ve discovered that I get more attention from people who don’t know me and might be a little nervous if I sit nicely and quietly – so I’ll often do it before I’m asked.

  22. Actually Clowie your bipeds remind me of how I have to be with the pack! Alpha’s always eat first and get the best bits no matter how hungry the pack is! The pups in the pack in particular have no manners at all and always need dinner in a hurry and let you know in no uncertain terms 🙂 I’m not quite so understanding as your bipeds though…quick clip round the ear ‘ole and a sharp nip accompanied by a ferocious snarl usually does the trick!! I can see I would have a huge problem with your table manners!! 🙂

    • My table manners are a lot better than that now. I wait until I’m told I can take my food and I always wait patiently. I was a very determined puppy – but they were even more determined that I would have some manners before I was too heavy. She’d be in big trouble now if I jumped all over her!

  23. you must’ve been the cutest of puppies, Clowie.

    And yes, humans are very weird. We tell them very clearly what we want and they still don’t understand

  24. Clowie! I’m impressed. My humans made me sit and stare every time. Now I have to sit, wait and ”look at me” … I’m getting further and further away from the food and my humans when they’re preparing it. The other day, I sat and waited outside the door. Sometimes the smell is too much for me, but if I’m waiting in another room all I have to do is wait for her to call me and ”look at me” … my human is confused by this, but I think I’m doing a good job. *wag wag wag*

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