September 27, 2003

Alpha Male ~ Month Three

image copyright Fred First

We call it "porpoising". The grass in the pasture is just a bit higher than Tsuga's back, and when he runs in it, he appears and disappears as he leaps and lunges like a rollicking dolphin. With his mouth gaping, by the time he clears the tall grass (captured here in mid-lunge) there is a good bit of rye grass raked into his open toothy mouth as he plunges and plows his way towards us like a demented herbivorous tiger.

I've tried a couple of times to take 'moving pictures' of the dog (snapshots of him in action) and realize something now. I remember those pictures of the early pre-astronauts training for space, sitting in the big centrifuge, spinning around at several "G"s; and we've all seen the distorted jowls of high-speed runners or jumpers... the unflattering effect that motion has on the plastic tissues of the face. And so it is with dogs. Motion turns Tsuga into his own cartoon character, as you see here. He has allowed me to show this one of him in somewhat unflattering countenance only if I promise to show you some more noble images next week. I have signed papers to this effect.

Today is the pup's three month birthday and this is the week Tsuga began to 'get it'. He has made the connection between scolding or withdrawal of attention with the offending behavior. He understands and shows signs of wanting to comply but is still under considerable control from his inner Wolf. It is as if someone flipped some switches on that were off since we brought him home. And indeed, this is literally true, in a sense. Pups or baby humans aren't capable of certain age-related degrees of coordination, learning or 'thinking' until fields of synapses connect up with other fields in the brain. When that happens, and two and two computes for the first time, voila! A little personality grows by leaps and bounds. Memory and learning happens in pup and it's human as they grow together. And the bonds of companionship begin to take shape, each molding the other to become best friends.

Previous posts about the struggle to be the Alpha Male around here...

Posted by fred1st at September 27, 2003 06:15 AM | TrackBack

In this uncharacteristically unflattering photo, Chewga looks like one of those claymation figures that British guy makes, I forget his name. But it reminds us how handsome he REALLY is.

If only I could get the 9th -graders' synapses to connect in the mode you describe. . . .

Posted by: Doc Rock at September 28, 2003 12:03 PM

I've spent a good bit of time dipping into your writings here and enjoyed them very much. This description of your dog seemed a good place to stop and speak.

I'll be back.

Posted by: Only Connect at September 29, 2003 05:36 PM

Nick Park!

Posted by: Ian at September 30, 2003 08:06 AM

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