TITLE: Tale Waggers - Dog Humor   GRAPHIC: Close-up of dog tongue coming at ya!


The ill-informed will tell you
there is no humor in the canine world.

Those of us who live with dogs know better…

The humans are watching television, eating popcorn, unaware of their fate. Suddenly, dog wind hits them. Gassed again! The offending dog then rises up off the couch, rolls his eyes in mock disgust, snorts, and leaves the room. His people are left gasping, eyes watering, cursing his name. The dogs all gather in the kitchen for a chuckle.
Dog humor strikes again!

Mama is working hard in the yard, digging a huge hole for a tree. Mama finishes, and drags the hefty tree over to the waiting hole, praying there is enough momentum to roll the monster into place with one last shove.
Unfortunately, there is now a dog curled up in the hole - laughing.

Papa is just out of the shower and running late. As he bends to put on his underwear, a pup appears on the bed with a glint in her eye and applies her tongue to his backside, making him jump and hit his head on the dresser.
This is high comedy for dogs.

Oh they may look innocent, but these beasts are masters of comedy - both subtle and slapstick…

A running gag is "selective hearing". A dog that can hear the word "treat" whispered softly 100 yards away will go suddenly deaf when you call. The dog is wandering around the yard, giggling to himself, while mama stands at the door in a nightgown, freezing. The punch line is the surprised expression on the innocent canine’s face when he suddenly looks up, "sees" that he’s being called, then scuttles inside like the obedient creature he is. Arthur played this joke for so long, and so often, that we didn’t realize he actually had gone deaf somewhere along the way! So we set about teaching him to respond to hand signals by day and a flashlight at night. But Arthur would not be deprived of his fun. Now he has "selective sight"!

They start young. Our precious Emma perfected a basic puppy gag into an art form. It goes something like this…The pup first applies an irresistibly sweet expression in order to be picked up and brought close to a human face. Then, as the human gushes sweet praise on this adorable creature, the set-up is complete. With pinpoint comedic timing, the pup lets loose a belch from deep, deep inside. It lasts about 5 minutes. Once done, the irresistibly sweet expression is reapplied for that final touch.

A favorite gag of young and old is a little number we call the "rectum salute" or "butts to you". The humans are reading, watching TV, or just lounging about. Sitting or lying down - it makes no difference. Some humorous canine, with a bit of careful positioning, makes sure all they can see is a birds-eye view of a dog butt. Dogs will balance on the back of the sofa, on your shoulder, whatever it takes to achieve the full effect.

Another time honored classic is the "cry wolf" gag. Any dog worth his fur knows how it's done. Pick a rainy, miserable day. Wait until the humans are doing something that would suffer from constant interruption. Ask to go out. Stay out long enough to get muddy and wet. Ask to come in. Repeat this process every 1/2 hour or so...for hours. Make a big fuss. Demand a biscuit reward each time. Track in mud. Wear them down. Eventually they will ignore your requests. Now leave a steaming dogpile on the floor near the door. It must be near the door so the humans know how you tried and tried to do the right thing. Giggle merrily to yourself as they clean it up - unable to yell at you, because it was "their fault".

But sometimes there is justice…

As a victim of years of dog humor, I was pleased to find that parrots also possess a fine sense of humor. If you are plagued with canine comics, I highly recommend a parrot to even the odds.

The basic parrot gag goes like this:
Bark like a dog
The real dogs are alerted and run to the door barking furiously
The real dogs are then yelled at for making a racket
Riotous laughter from the bird cage.

The alternate gag:
The dogs tear out the back door and into the yard.
Before the door shuts, the parrot whistles the "come in" whistle.
Dogs whirl around and hit their heads on the closed door.

The ultimate gag:
"BAD DOG, BAD DOG, BAD DOG" coming from the birdcage
while the dogs run in frantic circles trying to figure out who’s been bad and where to hide.

Yes, humor is rampant in the animal world.
Dogs, in particular, constantly plot little amusements - entertaining themselves at our expense.
Don't say I didn't warn you...



Copyright 1997 Elizabeth Cusulas
Tale Waggers - Stories for Dog People
All Rights Reserved
Reproduction without written permission is expressly forbidden