The intelligent dogs’ guide to New Year’s Eve parties!

It’s New Year’s Eve. All over the world people are planning to spend a night watching TV, darn a few socks and maybe get an early night.

Well maybe a few people in Greenland are planning that, the rest of the human race is planning to have a party and the purpose of this blog post is to help us dogs enjoy the party.

Good boy!

Try and find out early whether your people are having their party in your house or going out to celebrate the New Year. If the plan is to have a party in your house then be a very well behaved dog for at least all of New Year’s Eve. If something happened on the 30th and you were told you were in trouble for a very long time do not worry. Humans have short memories and are always optimistic that a couple of good hours are an indicator of a brighter future. If the party is being held elsewhere you can do what you like as you will be locked inside when they are enjoying themselves.

Inter-species French kissing is not something which all humans appreciate!

They seem to want you to kiss them but when you try and find that morsel of a snack hidden at the back of their teeth they are very likely to scream. They will usually say something about it being disgusting and “you wouldn’t know where that dog puts its mouth”. The problem may in fact be that they do know. Anyway a polite lick is as far as you should go unless you want to spend the party in the back yard. This is particularly important advice for puppies.

Noise Annoys!

It is obvious that dogs who have found themselves “invited” to a New Year’s Eve party could find themselves quickly uninvited if they start barking or attract too much attention. However, there is another problem with New Year’s Eve and that is fireworks. I think no dog has ever figured out why humans like these incredibly noisy horrible things. Even if a New Year’s Eve party only extends to three people, a stick of celery and a glass of water there will be fireworks. Wear ear muffs and stay indoors when the people are going “Whoosh” and “Gosh” in the garden.

Beware of dancing humans!

Dogs just lie on the floor, legs upwards and sort of the scratch their back in what used to be called a groovy fashion. Pretty simple.

Humans are different. They make things complicated. They insist on dancing to music and try to look good while dancing. It is also unbelievable how much amnesia helps human dance. The last time some of them danced would have been at a Christmas party. A week ago. Despite the fact they should remember how this went, they will get up again at the New Year’s Eve party.

Dogs, be warned.

When the opportunities arises eat, drink and be merry!

The one positive things about humans dancing is that if they all get up there could be an excellent opportunity to check the food possibilities. At some stage you will probably be caught devouring someone’s sandwiches but if you make sure you are not caught until late in the evening and not caught by one of your humans then you will probably get away with it.

Happy New Year!

How to kill a good business without really trying!

In five or so years from now, when MBA students start analysing how Facebook managed to fall so low after being so successful, they will probably use the Facebook Corgi community story as the case that best highlights the beginning of the end. So, let me start off by telling you why we Corgis are annoyed with Facebook.

If you are reading this blog you probably know that I am an almost three year old Cardigan Welsh Corgi. I joined Facebook nearly two years ago when I discovered that there were other Corgis out there. It was great. I quickly became part of a vibrant and friendly Facebook community of Corgi dogs. Sometimes even their owners and friends joined in. We would exchange information on every topic, laugh and be happy at the good news, cry and be sad at the bad news, admire each others’ photos, and care for each other. We were using Facebook as a social network. This is important because this is what Facebook claims to be.

There are some who claim that these Facebook posts are being written by the owners rather than the dogs themselves. I even saw one post which said dogs don’t type. So how come you are reading this? Bark recognition software? I admit, there may have been some help from time to time but the posts were always written in the dog’s character and from the dog’s point of view. Many of the dogs are mischievous, some are coy, some have a lisp, some are religious, others are political, all love to talk about Corgis and food. Sometimes they write about the trouble they have just got into or typical dog and human problems – birth, life, illness, death. Most have a great sense of humor and an open attitude and everybody appreciates that this is a huge, online community that looks out for each other, and supports each other in good and bad times.

You would imagine this is great news but it turned out recently that Facebook has some problem with us. I am a Corgi living in Poland and I am friends with any other Corgis, other dogs, cats, and sometimes even humans on Facebook. I have nearly 2000 Facebook friends that I treat as real friends, and I feel I am part of a community that happens to use Facebook as the platform to interact. I am not sure why, but every so often Facebook would ask me whether I really knew these ‘people’. Every once in a while I would get carried away a little bit and invite a few friends at a time and I would get a warning no to be so friendly. Once Facebook even stopped me sending friend requests for a while and put me in a sort of “no new friends’ jail. All this in spite of the fact that I knew them much better than Facebook, as the majority of my friends were not ‘people’, they were dogs, and I knew them better than Facebook.

However this was a minor inconvenience. At the beginning of this year Facebook started deactivating accounts of Corgis on Facebook. I regularly looked through my friends and saw that instead of a picture of a beautiful dog there was a blank photo and info that this account was deactivated. One particularly well known Corgi, Boneaparte EvilCorgi has been deactivated and had come back twenty or thirty times already since this craziness started. Boneaparte lives in a house with many senior rescued dogs and has always said he wants puppies. In mid-April one of the dogs in his house who several vets claimed had been spayed gave birth to five pups. Boneaparte was delighted. His friends on Facebook were delighted and enjoyed the photos. Then Facebook deactivated his account again, and again, and again.

Boneaparte has been de-activated so many times but he is one of the few who fight this absurd Facebook abuse and keep reactivating their account under their previous name. It is extremely tough on him and others like him because they lose all their connections, photos, messages, and everything each time. Many have given up and just set up their individual pet pages rather than continue with accounts, and many others have just given up on Facebook entirely.

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I do not know how many other communities have been hassled and abused by Facebook in a similar way but I bet there are plenty. The real reason behind this is not the fact that Facebook believes these accounts are really pet or non-human accounts (because that would mean that Facebook thinks that Corgis and Poodles etc. own computers and pay for the Internet, which would in turn mean that Facebook is crazy) but the fact that Facebook has been changing its strategy and has in fact stopped being a proper social network but forgot to inform people of the fact. After they hit the big time on the stock-exchange and had to please all those investors and show them where the profits are, they simply lost focus and started pretending they were all sort of things, which they are not. They saw themselves as a technology giant (like Google) and a business platform (like Amazon). They started to perceive and present the users as assets that will generate future income rather than people, dogs, cats etc. From our point of view it did not matter too much what sort of bullshit they were selling their investors as long as we could continue as before and use this platform for social networking.

But then the money did not start rolling in as fast as they thought it would and they got greedy. This was interesting as they were a rich company, with employees that earned plenty, and incredibly rich owners who do not have to work ever again. Yet, they were determined to force all these small to medium sized business to start using Facebook as a business platform, and suspected everybody else of being a business but pretending to be something else (people, dogs, cats etc.). They thought these business were making a lot of money from Facebook (without there being any real business case to prove this) and not sharing this with them. The new Facebook now perceived itself as a business to consumer channel (B2C).

However, they did not tell anyone about this shift in strategy or their new paranoia, and everyone went on using it in good faith as if it was still a social network. So, they started putting the pressure on and harassing people, dogs etc. They started setting limits on ‘Friend’ requests, ‘Likes’, ‘Pokes’ etc. They suspected that businesses were pretending to be people, pet shops were pretending to be dogs, vets were pretending to be cats etc. Naturally, such things may happen but if they do then it is only a very small business where the account owners actually run their little business, sell puppies, try to find homes for cats, or raise money for dogs or kids because they are part of some charity etc. However, the algorithm for policing and deactivating these accounts also hit everybody else. People who had signed up and provided real data were deactivated and told that they can only recover their account after they send in a copy of their driver’s license or some ID. Those who refused would lose everything and if they tried reactivating they would be deactivated again in a day or two. This is what has been happening to Corgi accounts for the past six months.

However, everybody knows that to use Facebook you have to be a real person over 18 years old but Facebook did not care to enforce this when it suited them to brag that these billions of accounts were business assets and not kids, dogs, companies (who are clearly not individuals over 18 years of age) etc.

Now Facebook is not only the hypocrite but also a greedy corporation that wants to take, but does not want to give anymore. It is now so successful that it is the social Emperor and does not care what the plebs has to say about its new clothes. Facebook knew what it wanted to become, a marketing channel, a technology company, a media company. It wanted the social contribution from the community but no longer wished to stick to the deal and remain a social network where people have the right to maintain their content of their won accounts and exercise freedom of networking if they follow the generally excepted rules of social behaviors and the provisions of the law. The Emperor does not care about communities when he is busy changing the world of Fortune 500. The funny thing is that this is no great technology, and it will be relatively easy for others to build such a social platform. So, sooner or later there will be some serious contenders with enough marketing and one or two competitors will start pushing Facebook out of the picture. Facebook was right in treating the users as assets but has forgotten that these assets can move on to some other platform that will treat them better, and not try to exploit them at the same time as they are being controlled. So, if Facebook continues treating its users like they do at the moment, there will be more and more disgruntled communities like the Corgi one looking for other ‘homes’ and the competition will finally get its break.

As a Corgi with a human heart and a business mind, I can only say: go for it, the market is ripe!

Rusty

The Fine Art of Stealing Sandwiches

Rusty has already told you that we will be moving home pretty soon. We can’t wait as we will have a really big garden for Rusty, me and Sasza the cat. The cat does not know much about it yet although our people have shown her the house once or twice. However, they have not let her run around the garden yet and when the three of us are going crazy chasing each other that is when she will really like it.

There are many important things to think about when your family is building a new house. The people have to spend ages checking that everything is OK and there is enough money to pay for everything and all that sort of thing.

One thing which I believe is particularly important is builder’s sandwiches. These can be exceptionally tasty. Builders usually do pretty hard work and need a good feed so often bring really great sandwiches.

The approach of most dogs to the issue of builder’s sandwiches would be to make friends with the builder and hang around when they are eating expecting some of the sandwich to come your way. My research, and indeed the research of Rusty, indicates that this is not the best approach. It is not that they are mean and do not want to share they just get very hungry working away and end up eating the whole lot before they even notice the dog looking up at them.

You should obviously make friends with the builder. They are much less likely to report you to the proper authorities for sandwich theft if you regularly let them pet you or look excited when you see them. You should also try not to steal from the same builder all the time. This can lead to trouble.

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There are several places where builders put there sandwiches when they arrive. In our new house they often leave them on the third or fourth stair. This is perfect. You can easily snatch, run and eat with the minimum of fuss and maximum of satisfaction.

One final point on this rewarding hobby is you should never steal the sandwiches just before lunch-time. If you steal the sandwiches by 11 AM they will have plenty of time to get more before their lunch and then everybody is happy.

Photos

Today is my birthday. I am now two years old. A human would still be a baby at this age but at two year’s a dog is a young adult. In some case when a human is called a young adult they are still a baby. Don’t tell them this though.

I am going to celebrate by placing some pictures of the dogs who used to live in our house before I did.

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This is Itek. When I moved in as a young pup Itek was over fifteen years old. Itek was a very clever and beautiful Corgi dog.

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This is Rózia. She was something of a character and used to like an occasional sip of beer and a good argument. Although she died before I was born, I did inherit her chair. Rosja had the chair placed perfectly to see everything which goes on in the room.

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This is Itek and Rózia together after having a very pleasant swim in a lake. I am sure you agree that they were very good looking dogs.

Tail thumping Orchestra

I was sitting at home the other day in very good form as I often am. I started banging my tail against the floor. It struck me that the sound is not unlike the sound of some of that stuff that humans listen to from their CDs and radios. I have an idea and it is this. We could get a lot of dogs in a big room, preferably one of those rooms which makes a bark extra loud, and we could create The Tail Thumping Orchestra. There could be a few big Wolfhounds or St Bernard dogs doing the bass, the Collies and German Shepherd dogs could provide the beat and we, Corgis, would be the lead tail thumpers. Who knows we might even get some Cats in to provide harmonies.

I have even some ideas for the music The Tail Thumping Orchestra could play.

The Greeting – The idea here is to recreate the feeling when one of your humans is coming home. It would start with silence then a lone tail thumping softly. The lone tail would get strong and be joined by other tails and finally there would be a huge joyous crescendo of tails thumping widely.

Breakfast – This would start slowly but quickly get into the crescendo of banging tails before getting slower again.

Waiting for the Walk – This could be slightly longer and would have several highpoints where the dog thinks the walk is imminent only to get quieter as they realize it is not going to happen yet. There would then be a final highpoint signalling the door has opened.

Chasing the Cat – On second thoughts the section providing the harmonies might object to this.