Men Can’t Boil Eggs!

Peter is our office junior here at intelligent-dog.com. If we were human we might call him our general dogsbody, but we are dogs and do not want to give him ideas above his station. Anyway it is Peter’s birthday today. Happy Birthday, Peter! To celebrate this we are going to write a blog post on a subject which he knows intimately and his performance helps prove our point.

Boiling an egg is not rocket science or the most difficult task in the world, but it is still too difficult for most humans and probably all men. We have sat under the kitchen table listening to criticism of Peter’s efforts at boiling zillions of eggs.

“Ugh! What’s this?”

-“It’s runny!” – “You wanted it soft.” – “Only the white, surely.”

“Oh, but it’s a nice soft boiled egg with a completely hard white bit and an even harder yolk.”

Sometimes these unsuccessful eggs cannot even be eaten by a human. That is great, as dogs are more tolerant of errors and can always eat what a human turns their nose up at.

An egg (probably correctly boiled but who knows)

An egg (probably correctly boiled, but who knows)

In Mr Jeremy Paxman’s book about the British Royal Family there is a story in which he claims that Prince Charles gets seven eggs boiled for slightly different lengths of time and then chooses the best. Prince Charles claimed this was completely untrue, but who knows. We have overheard humans say that if they had the money they would also boil the seven eggs and pick the right one. All we are saying is –  Prince Charles can afford the eggs.

You have probably been waiting since you saw this headline for precise and clear instruction on how to boil an egg. For instruction that are so perfect that even a man would be able to follow them, and produce the perfect soft-boiled egg. Unfortunately we do not know how to boil an egg either. Sorry. 🙂

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!

Cat’s rules for puppies!

I know it is not a very Christmassy theme. Indeed, Sasza the cat told me I should write about this as far back as November. I even planned to do it then but every time I decided I would start writing the prospect of a walk, a treat or a snooze got in the way. What is a dog supposed to do against that sort of temptation?

Anyway, here is the blog post about this major problem.

Of course Sasza the cat loves the puppies but sometimes they are a bit too puppyish if you get my meaning. She has been telling me for some time that they need one or two basic rules which will ensures peace, harmony and most importantly a scratchless cat.

Rule 1 – What the cat says goes!

According to Sasza if dogs and in particular puppies were sensible enough to understand this basic rule the world with be a much more peaceful and beautiful place to live in.DSC_0160

Rule 2 – Four puppies should not attack one cat at the same time!

Obviously the need for rule 2 is because rule 1 has already been ignored by four very excited puppies who are rushing after the cat and doing their best to give her a little nip which in all this excitement may even be a medium or a big size nip.

Rule 3 – Four puppies should not work in cooperation with each other when attacking the cat at the same time!

Rule 3, according to Sasza gets to the very heart of the problem. If four puppies were simply chasing her then there would be an inconvenience rather than a problem. She could simply out-run or out-climb then and in a minute or two would be safe. However the puppies place two in front and two behind and with military planning worthy of Julius Caesar corner the cat. This most definitely is not allowed.

Rule 4 – The Giant Cat Heating Machine is for the cat!

Giant Cat Heating Machine

Giant Cat Heating Machine

People call it a fireplace and when lit it is very pleasant to lie in front of. Sasza calls it a Giant Cat Heating Machine and agrees that is very pleasant to lie in front of it when the fire has been lit but not so pleasant when four puppies have the same idea.

Rule 5 – If one of the staff is carrying the cat, puppies are not allowed to bite the cat’s tail even if it is within easy reach!

Sasza says that it is self-evident sometimes the cat needs to be carried from the place where she is snoozing to where she can eat and should not be disturbed during this process. Puppies on the other hand see a tail hanging down as an opportunity.

Rule 6 – The cat decides if it wants to play!

Sasza does like to play sometimes and at least once or twice a year will be in the mood where she will want to have some fun with the puppies. On these times it is permitted for an individual puppy to play with her and on special occasions maybe two puppies. However, these special occasions can end at any stage and then the puppy must stop playing and go into a corner and not disturb the cat.

Rule 7 – Puppies should follow rule 1!

Peaceful co-existence

Peaceful co-existence

Two Corgis in Transylvania or in Search of the Vampire

When we crossed the border between Hungary and Romania we thought it was just another EU country. The first surprise came when it turned out that they actually check your passports at this particular border (no Shengen or just over-cautious?). The next surprise came when we realised how remote and wild Transylvania is. The third surprise was that there are no Corgis whatsoever in Transylvania, and perhaps even in all of Romania (I found this out from a Romanian lady who kept screaming ‘Corgi’ at the top of her lungs and grabbing me every 5 minutes at the dog show and kissing my nose enthusiastically). Little did we know that there are a lot of other mythical beasts that still populate the Transylvanian countryside…. So, we encountered a number of sheep, goats, donkeys, chickens, rabbits, deer, elk etc. on the roadside and even in the middle of the road at all times – which made the going rather slow at times.

We had been in Transylvania for one day already and stayed in Cluj-Napoca when we decided to poke our Corgi noses into the vampire myth. It was dark by the time we arrived at Sighișoara. That is where he was born. Some people claim his real name was Vlad Țepeș, but this was a nickname he got after he had first impaled thousands of people and then “died”. His real name was Vlad III Dracula (Son of Dracul).

We saw signs of the Vampire’s influence everywhere we went.

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IMG_0238You won’t believe what happened as we were getting out of the car to explore. Darkness was falling over Sighișoara by then – it was cold and raining. Our people had parked the car at the foot of the Citadel where the old town is. Bonnie and I had just been taken out from the car when suddenly thousands of bats flew out of the tower and passed over our heads. Monika said it was just a flock of crows but we knew better. After all, this was Dracula’s birthplace.

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This is me outside the house where Dracula was born which now houses a restaurant

Dracula’s father, Vlda II Dracul, was a famous knight and a member of the order of the Dragon. When Dracula was five, his father became King of Wallachia. The family moved south from Transylvania and Dracula did not actually move back to Transylvania until after he “died”. Some historians say the event that shaped him, both as a man and a vampire, was the fact that he was kidnapped by the Turks at the age of 13 along with his brother Radu. Radu was a very subservient hostage and won praise from his captors for being handsome and well behaved. Vlad Dracula did not get such good references from the Turks.

Transylvania is famous for its Vampire tourism. I thought at first this meant that human tourists (with their dogs, obviously) visited the local sights because of the Dracula legend. However, I noticed there were a lot of funeral parlours in every town in Transylvania. These shops are open 24/7. I wondered why there were so many and why operated round the clock. Then it dawned on me. Their main customers were vampires who came to visit Transylvania to pay their respects to the great vampire and they obviously buy their sleeping coffins locally. We visited one of these excellent establishments and the owner was more than happy to show us all of his coffins

WP_20141016_001Dracula himself is very well organised. Throughout Transylvania there is a network of banks and ATMs called the Bank of Transylvania. At first we thought this was a regular bank but when you go to the Automated Taker of Money you can either purchase blood for money or donate blood for money.

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Dracula’s blood bank

No search for Dracula can be complete without paying a visit to Dracula’s Castle. This is also known as Bran Castle. They claim that Dracula never visited this castle when he was alive. This may be true but he definitely visits it now that he is a vampire.

IMG_0286The place was crawling with tourists from all over the world, including a lot of Japanese tourists with huge cameras. They were so busy taking pictures they completely ignored our host – Count Dracula. We had only our iPhone to take pictures with because we had foolishly forgotten to take anything else so we kept bumping into Dracula at every corner – in fact he was posing because he was doing a promo-shoot for some local TV. The tour of the castle ends in a courtyard with a medieval well in the middle. I tried to take a picture of this well when I was alone (humans are suspicious of dogs who use cameras). In spite of the fact that I though he wasn’t there at that time, when I looked at my photo afterwards there he was again, posing next to the well. The guy is obviously some publicity freak.

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So, we had a very exciting trip. We researched the Dracula business extensively (albeit using nose and iPhone), made friends with many exciting and smelly creatures, got kissed on the noses and admired by the locals, and enjoyed ourselves tremendously. We can therefore recommend Transylvania as a wonderful Corgi getaway.

 

 

Selfies for Puppies

Everything happens much faster in a dog’s life than a human’s. I am three years old and the mother of nine wonderful puppies, six of which are still living with us. Older dogs like older humans lose touch with the latest fashions. I like a nice atmospheric photograph that took someone time and energy to compose and get just right. The photographer should have to do some work to get the perfect picture.

Self-portrait by Alex

Self-portrait by Alex

The puppies on the other hand like selfies.

Like may be too weak a word. They love selfies! The idea that they can take a picture of themselves, share with everybody, talk about how good they look and then forgot they ever took the picture is something which really appeals to them.

Some puppies are not aware how easy it is to take a selfie so my kids have suggested I write about it in my blog.

Self-portrait by Amber

Self-portrait by Amber

The first thing to know about is the equipment. You need one of those smart phones which allows you to photograph yourself while at the same time look at what you are photographing. It is also extremely important to have a touch screen.

Next the puppy needs to get themselves positioned. A human is really useful for this. The puppy can sit on their lap as they position the phone. If the puppy is bored they can even give their minder a friendly nip.

Self-portrait by Aisha

Self-portrait by Aisha

It is also possible to take pictures with the phone on the ground and the puppy looking down at it.

By now you are wondering how exactly a puppy can take a selfie. Well wonder no more. When the puppy is ready for the photo they simply hit the screen with their nose and hey presto! A selfie! I hope you enjoy the selfies which my kids have done and illustrate this page.

Self-portrait by Aiden

Self-portrait by Aiden

The Intelligent Dog on Human Language

You might be surprised to learn that we do have a human working for us at intelligent-dog.com. He is called Peter and of course we obviously do not let him get near our keyboards when we are typing our clever and witty posts. Peter’s job include belly rubbing and distributing treats. It must be said that there are better humans on the treats front but he is OK with the belly-rubbing.

The other day he came into the office and said he had read a book. Bonnie and I were surprised that he did things like that and were even more surprised when he told us about the book. It was call “The Genius of Dogs” and was written by Brian Hare and Vanessa Woods. This book claimed to show: “how dogs are smarter than you think”. Obviously it was considerable interest to Bonnie and I as it seemed to cover a very interesting topic.

One of the things the authors describe is how they got a dog to fetch an object from another room. They even tried to trick the dog by teaching him the name of ten objects in the room but asking it to fetch the 11th object which they had not named. It is obvious to any dog reading this that, of course, the dog came back with the right object. It probably a bigger surprise to my canine readers that people are just discovering we are intelligent. This book seems to suggest that an intelligent dogs can learn about 1000 words. I am not so sure. I think that maybe 1000 words is about the limit of what an intelligent human can teach. If they had the capacity to teach more we would learn more.

The book did not go into human language but it is clear that a dog can learn words from a number of languages whether it be Polish or German or English or whatever. One of my humans actually translates from one human language to another. She is a bit more intelligent than Peter which accounts for her having this clever skill. Bonnie and I sometimes visit her office at MAart Agency and help with the work there. We don’t actually translate stuff for them but can help by cleaning plates after lunch if they wish and entertain the team there with our rendition of some traditional Corgi barking.

Me at work in the MAart Office

Me at work in the MAart Office

The one thing where dogs have great difficulty in is speaking in a way which humans will understand. Most of us can manage “hello” but even with that it is not always understood by our humans. Maybe those clever people who wrote the book could work on helping us improving how we speak.

An Intelligent Dog’s Guide to Business

My people were amused at first when I told them I was going to write a blog post giving advice to entrepreneurs. The idea of Cardigan Welsh Corgi, albeit a very good looking and clever Cardigan Welsh Corgi, giving advice to business people tickled them quite a lot. They then thought about it some more and took a very uncooperative view of my idea.

“Rusty, you can’t tell business people that they should sniff each other’s butts!”, they said in that alarmed pitch they use to offer each other valuable but unwanted criticism. With that my 8 tips for business people became 7 tips.

“It is hardly a good idea to tell them that if they hear an unusual noise they should bark like hell!” Again this was said that voice that was several pitches too high and my 7 tips became 6.

At the point I decided to end the consultation exercise and just start working on advice which a dog like me can offer to business people like you. I hope find it more valuable than my people thought you would.

# 1 – Love who you are

You may be the next Steve Jobs or Bill Gates. If so, that is great, stop reading this and hurry up and change the world. However you may not be the next Steve Jobs or Bill Gates and you may want to be. Well you are not them. Dogs do not spend their time thinking wouldn’t it be great to be one of the corgis living in Buckingham Palace or the Governor’s mansion in California. Well maybe occasionally we do, but most of the time we know exactly who we are and really like being that dog.

Look in the mirror and focus on the person in front of you. This is you and you are important and creative. Look at your company and what it actually does. You should love who you are and who your company is, always wanting to improve and trying to achieve more but never becoming totally unrealistic. You can imagine what it is like to have an IPO like Netscape or Facebook but you should spend far time thinking about what you and your company is going to. You should be pleased with what you are doing. You should love who you are and what you do.

# 2 – Love the hand that feeds

This is one of the big doggie things. You just have to come home after a hard day at work and the greeting you will get from your dog shows how much they love you. Among other things you are the hand that feeds and dogs love the hand that feeds. For a business, customer are the hand that feeds. You may not always agree with your customers, sometime you may not even like them and other times you might feel that they have to be “educated” so that they appreciate what you are offering. However, you should always love them. You should want to improve their lives, want to make them better users of your products, want to improve what you sell so that they get a better deal. It is a very healthy state if the head of a business is slightly obsessive about their customers and how their company can make things better for their customers.

bonnie-car

# 3 – Defend your territory

There are rules which every dog knows and every dog follows. Another dog cannot just walk into your territory without being challenged. If two dogs meet on a neutral ground there is no issue. A dog instinctively know whether territory should be defended or whether there is no threat. Business should know this too. A customer of yours may be asking a lot of questions to improve their business. This is fine. However, they may be asking questions so that they can launch a competing product. This is not fine. You need to develop dog-like instinct to know when to cooperate and when to defend. These days defending your territory can be pretty hard for a business. It is an unfortunate fact of life that if you bark your head off your competitor will not go away with its tail between its legs. You need to develop smart ways to defend your territory. If your competitor has made a mistake, take advantage of it. They will do the same so be careful about giving ammunition to the enemy.

# 4 – Sniff everything first

Dogs understand the need to act fast if an opportunity arises. If the people are eating at the table and something accidently drops most dogs will clear this off the floor very quickly. However, there are also times when a dog decides too fast to eat something and gets into problems. My advice to dogs is always to sniff first. My advice to humans is the same. Act quickly and decisively but always sniff first so you know there is every probability you are making the right decision. If you spend too long thinking your competitor will get there first. You need to sniff first and not commission PhD research.

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# 5 – Know when to stop chasing your tail

Rushing round in circles chasing your tail is actually quite enjoyable. Most dogs know this. However, if anyone sees you doing it they think you’re crazy and it achieves absolutely nothing. Humans also do a lot of chasing their own tails in business. They see an idea, run after it, forget about it for a bit, get the same idea again and run after it again. There are many thing we would love to be able to do but cant. A dog would love to be able to catch its own tail and can chase it for hours. Business too can have some goal they are not going to achieve and it would be far better to stop. There is a time to stop chasing your own tail. That time is as soon as you realize you are doing it.

# 6 – Understand the pack

The pack is the natural group for a dog. Even with a small number of dogs, each dog knows its place in the hierarchy. Dogs also see their families as a pack and like to know the hierarchy. They also do not like so much change in the pack. Many companies are very similar to a pack. If you are the CEO of a business you are similar to a pack leader. Some people think the leader in a wolf or dog pack is just the toughest. This is not true. They also have to look out for the rest of the pack. They have to lead. If you are the CEO of your company. You have to understand your company, your pack. You have to look after your pack and you have to lead it.

Moving Home

In a couple of months Bonnie, myself, our cat Sasza and our humans will be moving to our new home. Bonnie and I have been there a lot as we have had to check progress on how the house was being built. We currently have a small garden and in the new house will have a very big garden. This makes me very happy.

As you probably know from my blog I can be a bit of worrier from time to time. Everything seems to be fine with the new house. The humans talk a lot about something called money. Bonnie though that this was what the house is built of but I understand it is something which humans get for staring at computer screens from companies such as Solitaire Corporation. They then use this to buy dog food, cat food and other stuff like the stuff which is used to build houses. I will let the humans worry about this. My worry is about moving the cat.

Our new house is actually two houses. There is a big house and a garage with a flat on top. There is already one of our humans living there. On two occasions Sasza has been brought there. She hid under the bed for most of the time. This seems to be typical behaviour for a cat.

 

Giant Cat Heating Machine

Giant Cat Heating Machine

In the middle of the room there is a machine where humans burn wood and other stuff. This machine gives off heat into the room and it seems to be a very clever device. Sasza has informed Bonnie and I that this a “Giant Cat Warming Machine”. She says that this is a very good thing. Bonnie told us that there is an even bigger “Giant Cat Warming Machine” in the big house. Sasza may have been very pleased to hear this but she is a cat and pretends to be cool about everything. She just said OK. I think she will like this new house with its “Giant Cat Warming Machine” and I am bit less worried about the move.

Walks

One of the things which most people and all dogs know is that people do not get enough exercise. They really need to look after their health a bit more. I have mentioned before how they like to play sport by moving their eyes and even then they rarely move them energetically.

Dogs have to help them. We have to make them get out in the air and get some exercise. What better way to do this then a brisk walk every morning and evening. The secret to getting them out for a walk is something which most dogs know. If a human is left to their own devices they will do things like spend a lot of money on gym membership, go three times in January, once in February and be planning to go next week from then until October. We, dogs, can get them out and get them healthy.

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The secret of getting them out for regular walks is enthusiasm and making them feel as if they are doing you a big favour. If your human gets up off the chair, treat it is a signal that they are going for a walk with immediately and start yelping excitedly and try to push them to the door. If they as much as touch an item of outdoor clothing you should treat that as a definitive invitation to a walk and of course if they walk past the front door it is your job to get them on the other side of that door as a matter of urgency.

You can vary the walks as much as you like. Humans seem to like new routes. However, there is one problem with this. Humans are not very good with directions. I sometimes wonder whether they know the differences between what one path smells like and another. It is your job as the responsible dog to make sure that they do not simply go off in a particular direction they don’t now well and get lost.

If you have spent an hour walking in the evening with your human you should reward them by lying down at their feet and having a little snooze. It makes them feel great and they will probably start to snooze too.

 

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.