Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Learning to Speak Dog: The Play Bow

© photo copyright 2009 Carrie Boyko
Oliver Demonstrates a Play Bow


One of the first recognizable doggie communications we all see in our pups is called the Play Bow. Named for the front legs dropping to the elbows, while the rear stays up, the play bow is an invitation, doggie style, to play.

The Play Bow can be used with people, dogs and other pets. Dogs do not discriminate. Before Marc took his rabbit back to Virginia, Oliver often invited Robby to play. I never managed to catch one of those play bows on camera, much to my chagrin. Oliver still invites our cat, Patches, to play. Unfortunately for Oliver, Patches has outgrown her playing days, and would prefer to smack him in the nose when approached with his juvenile enthusiasm. Her response is something akin to "Get out my face, you dawg!"

Despite Oliver's diminutive size (tipping the scale at 8.2 pounds), the cutest Play Bow in our family is still Xena. She may be nearing 90, but she still enjoys a good wrestling match--generally with Tanner, whose size matches hers much better. At her age, she's not really interested in learning how to wrestle with a peanut sized sparring partner like Oliver. Really! What's the point? She's going to win simply by her size alone. No contest.

Racing would not be much different. Although Oliver could easily keep up with her, dogs generally wrestle at the end of a race, so that's that. Why bother?

No matter who offers the play bow, it is always a pleasure to see--cute and innocent--let's have fun! We should all be so lucky as to have life be so simple.
Want to learn more about your dog's language? Check out this book:

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