The Housedog’s Handbook – Ch. 7

Housedogs’ Handbook

Chapter 7 – Movement in the House

Definition of Movement

For the purposes of this discussion, “movement” refers to the following:

  • all actions that cause you to transfer your presence from one location to the next
  • any form of physical activity or exertion within the house
  • the lack of motion, when in the best of interest of all involved

Why Movement is Important

The Human Owner Person (HOP) is a twitchy beast. It moves around the house a lot. Since we have decided to be the guardians and companions to the HOPs, it is imperative to know the proper ways to engage in suitable co-movement activities. For ease of reference, we will break the discussion into the following categories: movement across the floor, movement on stairs, room to room movement, physical exertion (yours and the HOPs) and lack of movement.

Movement Across the Floor

HOPs have a tendency to move about with little announcement, so it is important to always be alert. They may stand and begin crossing a room without giving you any indication at all. Always be prepared, therefore, to jump up as soon as they begin to rise. The best method is to wait until they are stepping over you. In this way, it is possible for you to slow their progress. Do not be alarmed if this necessary action causes the HOP to sit on the floor or make loud expostulations. They are simply overwhelmed by your ability to sense their need for you and your immediate response. As the HOP moves across the floor, you should make every effort to get directly in front of them; after all, it is your job to protect and you never know what dangers might lie on the other side of the living room. If you are uncertain where the HOP is trying to go, do not be alarmed. Just be sure to walk several steps slower so they can touch your backend with their feet or legs. It is their way of guiding you. Ignore all expostulations from HOP at this time: they get easily excited. If you feel there is any danger, be sure to stop the HOP from continuing. Do not be fooled: bones, squeaky toys and dust bunnies are all perfectly reasonable threats. Effective methods of hindering forward motion include turning your body and standing still (this is a little different from the “lack of motion” we will discuss later) or backing up into the HOP’s legs. The latter method may result in the HOP sitting on the floor again. In this case, licking of the face is recommended.

Movement on Stairs

Not all houses are equipped with stairs, so this section may not be applicable to all housedogs. You may skip this section if there are no stairs in your house, but we recommend reading as it is likely you will experience stairs at some point in your life. Mastering stairs can be a tricky business, as discussed in Chapter 2 – Learning Your House. Once mastered, however, it is vital to exercise proper protocol when utilizing stairs. There are three acceptable methods to utilizing the stairs.

The first is to stay directly in front of the HOP. This is much like the movement across the floor. It is essential to take it slowly, very slowly indeed, when going up or down the stairs in front of the HOP. There is no telling what lies beyond the final step. Yes, you have been there before, but that doesn’t mean things haven’t drastically changed.

The next acceptable method is to go up or down the stairs directly beneath the feet of the HOP. This is for their own safety. Balancing on stairs can be difficult to a two-footed creature. If you try this method, you will quickly see just how prone to stumbling and loss of balance the HOP is.

The final method is “racing”. This is especially fun, and you can generally hear the shouts of happiness from the HOP if this method is used. To engage in “racing”, wait at the top (or bottom) of the stairs until the HOP is at the halfway point (it is acceptable to place your paws on the first step and isn’t considered cheating). At the halfway point you hurry down (or up), trying to beat the HOP. Be sure to bump them with your side as you go by so they can’t miss the fact that you are winning.

Room to Room Movement

As mentioned previously, HOPs are prone to frequent and seemingly meaningless movement. They will often leave one room just to take up a position in the next. Regardless of whether you can see into the other room from your current position, it is essential that you move with the HOP. It is best if you can be in front of them (as previously discussed) but if it is not possible, following is acceptable. However, it is imperative that you do not allow an HOP to move to a new room unaccompanied. On occasion, the HOP will, for reasons unknown, place a barrier that prevents you from accompanying them. As is common in the Feline persuasion, HOPs are, unfortunately, curious and reckless beings who want to try their hand at survival without us, even if only for a few moments. If the barrier is in place (doors, gates, etc.) it is incumbent on you to sit or lie just beyond the barrier and wait for the HOP to come to their senses and remove the barrier. At times, gentle reminders like whining or scratching are acceptable, as long as used in moderation.

Physical Exertion

The house is a great place for physical exertion. This is especially true if there is more than one housedog to a house. Follow the leader, toy-taunting, chase and wrestling are all acceptable examples of the physical exertion movement. At times, the HOP, confused by this truth, may think your movement is a cue that you need to go outside. If the HOP puts you out “to play”, do not be alarmed. Simply stand still and stare at the HOP until they realize their mistake and allow you back in. Immediately resume physical exertion activities as if nothing happened.

There are times when the HOP will engage in physical exertion as well. They use strange terms for such exertion: “sit-up” (we all know what a sit-up really looks like), “push-up”, “yoga” (not to be confused with “yogurt” which comes in cups to be licked), etc. Your job at this point is to offer the encouragement the HOP rarely offers us during our physical exertion. Be sure to get right in the HOPs face. Nuzzling and licking is encouraged. It may at times be necessary to sit, lie or stand on or underneath the HOP to ensure they know you are there for them.

Lack of Motion

Though technically not “movement”, we felt this category fit in best with the movement discussion. This rule is best applied when the HOP is moving around a lot in a contained area, such as in the kitchen preparing food. At these times, it is best to find what seems to be the center or most frequented position in the HOP’s space and lie down there. Now you are sure to have an accurate view of the HOP and what they are doing. They may try to encourage you to move, but you know your mandate. Resist their suggestions and stay put. It is essential you are there in the middle of things to make sure they are safe.

Other times lack of motion is an acceptable policy include when the HOP wants to get up and you are where their feet need to go, and when the HOP is trying to leave and wants you to do something. In the first case, you know it is best for all involved if the HOP simply stays in position. This ploy does not always work, however, and it may become necessary to jump up under the HOP as they try to step over you (refer back to section “Movement Across the Room”). In the second scenario, we all know the dangers of the HOP going anywhere without us. All tactics to delay their leaving are acceptable when they are trying to escape the house without our protection. Lack of movement is only one of these. We must, at all costs, protect them from themselves!

~ S.D. Bullard

*Thanks to Vala and Deeks for their invaluable input on this article



~ by sdbullard on August 11, 2014.

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