Tobyspeak: What Is This Dog Saying?
I'm off on my quest to understand what Toby is communicating.
Sometimes I look at Toby and ask him, “What are you saying?”
He usually just cocks his head and stares at me like, “Mom, what are you saying?”
It occurred to me that Toby doesn’t speak English, and therefore can’t ask an expert to translate my words. So, it would be incumbent upon me to learn his language.
I bought a book off the New York Times Bestseller List and decided to buckle down and decode Toby’s body language.
I’m only in the first chapter of Alexandra Horowitz’s tome, “Inside of a Dog,” but I can already tell it’s going to be a long slog for me to learn Tobyspeak. Horowitz first told me to toss out all my “anthropomorphisms,” or preconceived notions about Toby communicating the same way humans do. Fabulous. I’m already bringing up the tail and I’ve just begun.
While I’m not yet sure that I’m right (and I hope to sort that out with Horowitz’s help), here are my current guesses as to what my Lab-rat is saying:
- The head tilt: “Huuuuuh? Mom, what are you talking about now?”
- The cheek turn: “I don’t feel like listening, Mom. And no more kisses!”
- The teddy bear stance: “What can I do to get that treat, Mom?”
- The morning face licks: “Love you, Mom! Wake up! I want my breakfast!”
- The evil eye: “Go away, Mom. I’m not in the mood.”
Hopefully, I’ll find out soon if I’m right about any of these actions. I’ll be reporting back as soon as I finish chapter 2.