Are Dogs Too Dumb to Get Bored?

Here’s a breakdown of an average day in the life of Andy (Black Lips Houlihan, Snoop Manny Mann), our border collie with the curious curled tail:

— Sleeps all night on a blanket beside our bed, always with his legs pointed out, his back to the platform.  If I’m working he’ll come downstairs when I get home at 2:15 am, go outside and serve up a piping hot batch of yard crullers, then return to the blanket, sigh, and go back to sleep.

— While Toney is making everybody’s lunches in the morning, he comes downstairs and clickclacks his toenails on the kitchen floor, and attempts to extort lunchmeat from her, using persistence and an unblinking stare that can melt steel.

Sometimes I’m awakened by my wife shouting, “Stop looking at me, you dumbass dog!”

— After the turkey and ham is put away, Andy returns to the bedroom, jumps up on the bed, and gets a couple more hours of shut-eye.  You know, because he’s always exhausted from his busy schedule.

— If there’s no more wrapper-rattling, he’ll sleep near me for an hour or so, and wander downstairs to assume his waiting-for-the-mailman posture.  He sits on a certain corner of the loveseat, way up high like a cat, unmoving and resembling a ceramic doodad.

As Zero Hour approaches (the mail is usually delivered at 10:30 am or thereabouts), our hound turns into a rock-hard, tightly-coiled hunk of tension.  He just sits there… staring out the window… anticipating…

— Then all hell breaks loose.  The hair on Andy’s back sticks straight-up, like a razorback hog, he begins barking and snarling, and threatening to go through the glass.  Then he runs to the front door and starts scratching it with his two front feet.

That last part was added to the repertoire when he spent a couple of weeks with my Mom and Dad in 2008, while we were in England.  My parents’ dog Pepper likes to scratch frantically at a door. Andy obviously appreciated the technique, and has adopted it as well.

— Following the mail delivery (the undisputed highlight of the day) Andy will come to the bunker, and start staring at me.  This means, “Mail’s here, time for me to go outside again!”  Usually he’s quite wound-up at this point, still aglow with delivery personnel fever, so I generally let him run around the backyard for a while.

There’s less trouble out back, you see.  In the front yard he might flip out and “attack” someone who’s walking past our house.  He never bites, but he sure acts like he will.  We’ve tried to break him of this, but all bets are off during “the glow.”

— Then he sleeps on one of the couches until the boys get home from school.  He attempts to extort some of their snacks, using persistence and an unblinking stare that can melt steel.

— During the preparation of dinner he also tries to extort, until Toney or I yell at him to get the hell out of the kitchen.

— And while we’re eating dinner, Andy is always there:  smiling, wagging his tail, trying to charm an entree out of us, and funking the place up with his Pier 39 breath.  Sometimes I can feel my right thigh start to get warm, I smell fish, and know Black Lips is on he case.

The boys usually leave stuff on their plates, and depending on what it is, I’ll scrape it into Andy’s bowl.  He devours it within seconds, and returns for more.

— After dinner we might take the dog for a walk, and he never stops pulling on the leash.  Never.  He pees on everything that’s upright, communicating with his “associates” via pmail, and usually deposits a giant pyramid on High Neck’s lawn.  Which we always clean up, by the way…

— Then he lays around on couches for the rest of the night, sometimes on his back, with his feet sticking straight up in the air.  When Toney goes to bed, he goes up there with her, and flops down on his blanket.

And the cycle starts all over again…  Every day, with few exceptions, for nine years.  I mean, seriously.  The guy doesn’t have any hobbies, he never reads or watches television.  He had a friend at one point, but he’s no longer around… on account of the tumor.

I’d blow my freakin’ brains out.

Now playing in the bunker

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  1. WB in OH says

    I don’t know, sounds pretty damned good to me. I’d take the gig if you threw in a couple of craft beers every once in a while.

  2. says

    He doesn’t have to worry about his hair not laying right so he can go out on a moments notice.
    He doesn’t have to worry about having a clean shirt or socks.
    He doesn’t have to vacuum or pick up when company is coming.
    Someone always fixes his meals and snacks and lets him out to play and pee.
    He doesn’t need pockets because he doesn’t need money.
    All he has to do is love you and keep you safe from the USPS hoards that might strike at any moment.
    Sounds good to me.

  3. says

    Excellent question. I’d like to hear the answer, perhaps on the next podcast.

    Anyway- Why not give him something to do. Get him some sheep to herd, he’ll have a blast. If you’re not zoned for sheep or just to lazy to shear them once a year, go down to the pound and buy him a pre-owned (used) dog.

    We got a used dog from some friends who moved to Australia for our Primary Dog. The Auxillary dog has taught our a few bad habits, but all in all they keep each other company all the time. Each one is kind of like the others sitter.

    If they could open doors themsleves or be trusted with free access to the food I’d never have to do anything for them.

  4. Knucklehead says

    Funny – now that I know what you sound like I find myself hearing you reading the updates. Strange.

    Your dog has a much more interesting life than the Beast. After his 2 hour off leash run in the morning, he lays on the bed and sucks on his blanket until Mr. Knucklehead gets home. Then it’s the squeaking hedgehog for an hour, dinner, then to bed on his own Tempurpedic mattress next to ours.

    Happy Tuesday, Surfers!

  5. Swami Bologna says

    Uh-oh, Andy’s nine already? There’re gonna be some sad WVSR updates within the next cuppa-two-tree years, I’m afraid.

  6. hot fuzz says

    Our two scheisse hunts (Schnauzers are German) belong to the same Union as Andy.

    Actually, listen…. did you just hear them?….how about now?…. they’re that loud and they’re only miniature ones? It’s like some weird fractal chaos theory math when they both bark – it sounds like 5 or 6 not just 2. And they’ll bark at moisture, the color blue, a piece of string, a book bag, an unfinished thought, solar radiation, time – just perfect if you’re deep in to a nap and they toggle to full on bat shit crazy.

  7. says

    Good Afternoon Surf Reporters……

    Ah yes, the life of a hound. Sounds almost exactly like my Arlo, the gray muzzle dog, but with one exception. Arlo can’t call the day complete unless he’s sniffed the cat’s ass at least 2 or 3 times.

    My dog has a weird relationship with the indoor cat( I have 2, but the other is an outdoor most of the time cat, plus he’s a certified killer and would fuck my dog up in a heartbeat if Arlo ever tried to pull any shit). One minute the dog & cat are best of friends, pals for life, even to the point where the cat will curl up against him as they snooze. Other times, Arlo catches one glimpse of the rotund fat cat and barks, growls, snarls and basically tries to behead or disembowel the poor kitty. It’s really quite bizarre.

  8. Tyrosine says

    I’ve only had one dog. As a child I begged and begged until finally I was given the green light when I was about 8. I can’t remember his name, but he was a big black lab given to me by some family associates. He was used to living in the country and had never been leashed (or restrained in any way apparently), but we were town and leases were a must. He also liked to chase cars, which caused some problems. One day he burst through the screen door at the front of the house and took after some poor guy driving down our street. The dog didn’t get hurt, but he did damage the car, which my mom had to pay for. Thus ended my week long experiment in dog ownership and he was returned to the country home from whence he came.

    I was a naive kid at 8 so it took me a few years to realize that the “Great Dog Ownership Experiment” was designed to fail from the start. While mom was out a couple hundred bucks for car and screen repairs I never again even suggested getting a dog.

  9. bikerchick says

    Our mutts have quite the good life as well. We have two Pugs…Stella, 11 yrs old; Bruno 9 yrs old, and a retarded American Bulldog, 2 yrs old. And let me just tell you…..Stella, the diva, rules the school. A ‘no bullshit’ little brute with “one’s-goin-huntin-one’s-goin-fishin” eyeballs that puts the other two in their place on a daily basis. Even though she is losing control over her hind legs like a runaway caboose…arthritis, hip dysplasia…she still let’s us know who’s boss. And if/when anything ever happens to her, I will be devastated. She’s my little sweetheart with personality plus.

  10. mi2tall says

    Great update!
    Duke is a 3 year old coonhound mix that likes to howl at anyone that comes near the house and loves to dig up the yard. Bingo is a 15 year old chow/shepherd mix that still calls the shots and could probably still take down a burglar if needed.

  11. pnjcofield says

    I have been reading the WVSR for a few years, but this is my first comment! I love reading about Andy’s exploits. Then general of our house, Grant, has much the same schedule. There are quite a few dogs that get walked by out house each day. Luckily we are kept safe from them due to the barking and craziness of Grant.

  12. bumblebee says

    I’m not commenting, you’ve already made fun of my dog for wearing sweaters in the winter.

  13. says

    Skeeter the Dog (AKA: STD, Shut up, Damn dog) is a slightly zaftig, slightly neurotic Aussie who has experienced a recent jump in QoL due to the addition of 2 kittens to the household. These things tear ass around the house on an every-2-hour schedule that gets the shepard in Skeeter all abuzz, so much so that she doesn’t need the daily 30-minute tennis ball chasing sessions so much anymore. Sweeeeeet.

    Oh, and the mailman? He comes every.frigging.DAY and yet she must snap and snarl at him like he’s going at one of us with a hatchet. WTH IS is about mailfolk?

    And now, you know.

  14. Lee Harvey Ramone says

    The other day I was talking to my dog, and she said: “Woof Woof Arf Woof”

    Funny dog

  15. Eve says

    Andy doesn’t see you as the pack leader, Jeff. You need to start watching “The Dog Whisperer”.

  16. says

    Knucklehead, you took the exact words out of my mouth when you said what you said about hearing Jeff’s voice. that’s some weird shit, maannnn – I heard him all the way through this update.

    Our dog, Sugar, a chihuahua/terrier mix from the pound, is not moving around like before. We estimate she’s about 16-17 yrs old and only has 5 teeth. Her ‘knees’ pop out and back in quite often now but she keeps going. and she can sing, too, but not as vigorously as in her glory days.

  17. Carla says

    My dogs Beau and Bridgette are Rat Terriers by breed but Squirrel Nazis by choice. We live in the country and our fenced back yard is heavily treed. My two dogs spend all day trying to climb the trees and eat the squirrels. The squirrels are obviously way smarted and faster than the dogs, so it usually ends up like the Road Runner and Wile E Coyote. The Squirrels will sit in a tree just out of reach and taunt the dogs. It keeps ’em busy all day til we get home and let them in the house. The squirrels have actually come up on the back patio and eaten from the dogs bowl just to torment and harass them. The dogs usually go ape shit. The dogs used to have to hide from the big owls that live near us, but have gotten big enough that they (the owls) leave them alone now. Every now and then a bunny rabbit will make the mistake of coming in the yard and Beau eats them ass first and leaves the head and front feet on the porch, not exactly a fun present to find. We try to avoid all people food due to the amount of farts that two dogs can produce. They will lay there on their pillow and fart, then get up and go lay somewhere else. Leaving a stink trail through the house. They have a really tough life.

  18. says

    I don’t have a dog, I have a cat. A long haired white and gray assmunch I call Werewolf. Even though technically if werewolves were real, they would be in the dog category, but that’s ok.

    I call him werewolf because he has very sharp claws that’s he’s constantly using to claw up our couch, box spring, carpet and arms.

    His daily routine consists of promptly waking my boyfriend and I up at 4 am by clawing the shit out of box spring. Laying on my feet in the morning while I go to the bathroom. Watching the water bead down the shower curtain. Very effortlessly pulling open our magnetized cabinets and exploring the wonders of the pots and pans universe, then jumping out from the dark cabinet in the dark kitchen and giving me a heart attack, making an extravagant toilet paper trail from the upstairs bathroom down to the first floor, chirping at birds out the window, eating bugs, pooping, eating, sleeping and pooping some more. He took such a bad crap the other day that I smelled it two rooms away and had no choice but clean the box earlier than normal and douse the whole house with brazilian carnival febreze…

    I know this is about dogs…but I think our cat is a cat, dog and child combined.

  19. says

    My dog has specific nap times; morning, mid-morning, afternoon, early afternoon, late afternoon, evening. I think he has developed these times to be awake at the most exciting times in the day, such as when the humans return and around dinner time.

    I think dogs are very bored. For goodness sakes, have you ever been so bored you decided to eat your own shit? Have you ever been so bored you’ve licked a hole in your own tounge, or chewed your skin off? Have you ever thought that the best part of the day was moving from the couch to the chair?

    I do not envy the life of a dog.

  20. Melissa says

    I sure wouldn’t mind living the life of the loved dog. Free food, free bed, kisses and backrubs and naps all day long. No worries about bills, or mortgages, or clothes. Awesome!

    I have four dogs & they sure enjoy their lives. I thought one of our dogs was dying because the little guy likes to sleep all day. And I’m not kiddin’. He goes to bed with me around 10:30 & sometimes won’t get up until my boyfriend wakes up the next day around 10. 12 hours of nonstop sleeping. Then he’d be taken outside (has to be carried cuz he cries if we expect him to…you know…WALK) then hoists himself on a lawn chair and sleeps for another 3-4 hours. It is then that he will get up to pee & crap, but then that proves to be too much & naptime ensues. I took him to the doctor and they said everything checked out on him just fine ($400 later!) but he was just a very relaxed, spoiled, lazy dog.
    I love the picture of Andy staring at the burger btw. Just keep onions, chocolate, grapes and raisins away. Bad news for dogs. Peanut butter is accepted and funny though!

  21. Melissa says

    @bumblebee: Do not be ashamed of putting sweaters on your dog. My Sumo (sleeper from above) is a short haired Jack Russell Terrier/Chihuahua mix who I always put a sweater on. We live in Southern California, yet I am convinced he is freezing once temps hit below 60 degrees, so the sweater goes on.
    I tried dressing my other dogs up (they are all about 12 lbs each) but the others would have none of it and would run when they’d see me carrying the goofy outfits. It’s a good thing Sumo is so lazy because I can nab him and get his sweaters on no problem. 😉

  22. TILLY says

    my dog Henry has nearly the same rough schedule as Andy. He barks wildly at anything though not just the mailman. His barking is wildly inappropriate.

  23. Gretchen says

    Aw, all these stories are making me miss my dog something fierce! I want to get another one, but my husband hates dogs. :(

    My dog was a Lhasa Apso-Tibetan Terrier mix and quite intelligent. One of my favorite stories is the time she was taken to another family member’s house for Thanksgiving and barricaded in the kitchen with two labrador retrievers so there would be no aggressive begging at the table. This must have been a very undignified situation for her. She probably felt she had more self control than a couple of slobbering labs.

    The labs decided the barricade was insurmountable and lay down in surrender. My dog looked at them, snorted in disgust, then stormed over to the barricade and knocked it down. The labs reportedly looked at one another in astonishment. That’s my dog!

  24. Amy says

    We had a sign placed in our yard by a mayoral candidate. iI took a day or so for her to notice, but evidently the puppy won’t be voting for him as she HATES that thing and barks at it non-stop

  25. zazu the pitts says

    I have a corgi lab mix (don’t ask me how) who when he hears thunder goes and beats up on the washing machine??

  26. Lori in OH says

    I just want to say all of you who comment are the best bunch of people I ever come across in interweb land.. I have been reading Jeff’s ‘zine for a couple years now and I look forward to the comments as much as the update. I have only commented about 3 times cause I am shy and not as witty as you all. I’ve often wondered how many people read your updates Jeff that never comment.. The Great Unheard.. Hey Jeff, maybe you can take roll call one day.. haha

    Oh yeah, I lost my sweet DeeDee in the divorce.. She’s a Boston Terrier and the best dog.. I miss her terribly but she is happy with the ex in country.. sorry for the mushy post… must be a full moon.. I’m going to go read more of the archives.. I can’t get enough of Jeff’s writing..

  27. Swami Bologna says

    Carla, your post was as entertaining as a short story by a literary master. Very descriptive, engaging, and fun to read. I was disappointed when it ended. I salute you!

  28. Fifi LaRoux says

    @JCIII – No shit!! My dog is named Arlo! Well, we just fucked up the space-time continuum.

  29. Rip the jacker says

    My dog bob was struck by lightning as a puppy. She inherited a white stripe down her back because of it. No lie. She is a Boston Chowperd, but I think also part skunk because aside from the white stripe, when she breaks the wind she smells like someone got sprayed. It is charming. My other dog cleo is old and has some kind of growth on her back that she licks and bites all the time. It’s like she is reproducing by cell separation. Cleo is a Doberman Beagwiler. This is also a fun fact… dogs become deaf and incontinent when they get old just like us. YEAAAY!

  30. says

    Went today to ‘the Kroger’ to get Butterfinger ice cream. the tub was 48 ounces. And the price was the same as it was when it was 64 ounces. The hell is up with that? Last I checked a half-gallon was still 64 ounces.

    I’m pissed.

  31. bumblebee says

    Melissa, Thank you. Teddy is a 11 lb Mulit Poo (Multise-Poodle). When he gets cold he goes and gets his sweater and brings it to me.

    I have even had him in a couple of the pet parades here in New Orleans. I didn’t post parade pictures of him on facebook because Jeff, and some others would make fun of him.

    I got rid of the husband and got a dog, best investment I ever made!!