Ollie and his guests

Ever since he was a tiny pup, Ollie has always loved to greet a guest to the house. He learned the word ‘guest’ very quickly, and even if there are none, just mention the word, and he will go off in search of them. He believes everyone to be a guest, from the daily visit of the postman, to deliveries from Amazon, they all qualify in his book.

We have discovered that he can also differentiate between certain guests. When our grandson Kayton first came to visit, we told Ollie that he was ‘baby guest’. Ollie took his toys to show the baby, and went to see him every time he cried, or gurgled. Now if we say ‘baby guest’, he rushes over to where we keep Kayton’s bean bag, or baby seat, and sniffs them excitedly.

The heating engineer is also one of our fellow dog-walkers, and has a Rhodesian Ridgeback called Spike. Ollie and Spike always play rough over at The Meadows, so Ollie remembers his owner all too well. As a result, he is very excited to see Richard when he comes to fix the heating, and brings him a succession of soft toys to inspect. This morning, oblivious to the need for his guest to have his head in a cupboard, changing valves, he kept appearing with a large stuffed tortoise, offering it for play. When there were no takers for his tortoise, he amused himself instead by carefully sniffing all of the tools in the toolbox, as well as the discarded packaging of the new valve.

There are some special guests he really looks forward to seeing. If anyone who has ever taken him overnight arrives, he rewards them by jumping up to them, something he never does otherwise. The young woman who bred him, and still owns his Mum, gets special attention, with him squeaking excitedly, as he is so pleased to see his first ‘parent’. If any of the family arrive to stop over, he will always be sure to be ready to rush into the spare room when they get up, making sure that his ‘guests’ are suitably acknowledged; and that they are still there of course.

Once all the guests or visitors have departed, he will occasionally do a short tour of the rooms in the house, just to make certain that everyone has left. I have always been someone who believed that dog owners tend to treat their dogs too much like humans, and I have little truck with the claims that they understand things that are said to them. I have always believed that they take more from the tone of voice, or your expressions, and calculate things based on habit and previous experience.

But as far as understanding what ‘guest’ means, I’ve had to eat my words.

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33 thoughts on “Ollie and his guests

    1. It’s great to have one V but you have to donate a lot of time to them, to make it work properly. They also stop you from doing some things, and just spontaneously going off somewhere too. In my situation though, he is the ideal companion.
      Best wishes, Pete.

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        1. I guessed that you were in America. When I wrote ‘to see you over here in England’, it was by virtue of you appearing on this blog. I didn’t make it clear…Please visit one day; it’s a small place, with a lot going for it! Best wishes, Pete.

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          1. I know what you meant. 😉 the closest I’ve gotten to see it is hgtv house hunters! Hahaha. That and documentaries. It’s on my to do list. Hopefully sooner than later! 🙂

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  1. I have four pups and they do pick up on a mix of tone and words. One shih-tzu named Herbie seems to known when to anticipate guests – is our home cleaner than usual? Does the menu smell better? Is he just reading our own anticipation? He will watch out the window, somehow sensing that someone’s arrival is imminent. He’s also got a good sense of time and knows when myself or my partner should be home from work.

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    1. Thanks Jay. They have a great sense of time indeed. Ollie always knows when it is time for his midday treat, even when the clocks go back and forward. And he also knows what time my wife gets home from work, and waits to hear her car almost at the exact moment. They are great fun, there’s no doubt about that.
      Best wishes from Norfolk. Pete.

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    1. I know what you mean Eddy. Polish and English, and they still do what they’re told. That’s why I hold to the tone and expression theory, but I am being proved wrong on occasion.
      Cheers mate. Pete.

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  2. What a lovely story, I love hearing about your Ollie so much.. I’ve always been a dog owner as far back as I can remember, many many decades. I agree the tone in our voices and how we say certain words, do play a big part in our pets understanding us. But, since I’ve always spoken to my pets just like I would speak to humans, I do believe they know what we’re saying, perhaps in a small category list. They live their lives to please and will always love you no matter what. Unconditional love between human and pets should be posted on bill boards and perhaps, humans to humans could learn a lesson ~ with a treat to follow ~ A happier life..

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    1. I am beginning to realise that they definitely do understand some words. They still pick up a lot on moods too, and know when you are not well, or fed up about something. They could teach us all a great deal about loyalty, that’s for sure.
      Thanks Laura.

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      1. Years ago, we had an Old English Sheepdog. He loved milk, and had mastered the word. You could insert “milk” into any sentence, and he would bark, run to the refrigerator, and wait patiently. One day, during a conversation that had nothing to do with dogs, a person in the family said, “Should we give you-know-who some m-i-l-k?” I suppose the verbal spelling is close enough in pronunciation to the actual word, but still… Anyway, he barked joyously and dashed to the kitchen, where he was promptly rewarded.

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  3. One of my favorite dog moments is in The Mask. Stanley Ipkiss (Jim Carrey) is in jail. Once Milo, his Jack Russell terrier, is inside the jailhouse, Stanley tries to get his dog to fetch the keys from the guard, who has fallen asleep at his meal. Milo, however, initially misunderstands. “No Milo, not the cheese… The keys!”

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    1. I haven’t seen it David, though I understand it’s about a mask that transforms the wearer. Not so fond of Mr Carrey unfortunately…
      Might have to watch it next time though, if there’s good dog stuff in it.
      Best wishes, Pete.

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      1. Pete, I first saw the film in Paris back in 1994. Most of the humor is visual, and the French laughed, as was to be expected. But some of the humor was in wordplay (“Je t’adore. Je t’window. I don’t care!”), as in the jailhouse scene described above. The French simply didn’t get the “cheese”/”keys” joke. It was lost in the translation. The film has been described as a “fantasy slapstick action comedy film” based on Chuck Jones characters. It’s silly, but also very funny. And, yes, there are some fun moments with Milo, the Jack Russell terrier. As an aside, I’ve noticed that Jack Russell terriers are often used in TV and film.

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