Mabel's level of communication never ceases to amaze me. Maybe it's the fact that we are together nearly 24/7, but she gets me. And I get her.
I've often impressed our hiking buddies with my ability to "read" Mabel's body language and know what she's after. While I don't think I could put it into words, she has different postures for cat, rat, lizard, squirrel, ground squirrel, bird, deer and coyote. Possums and coons share a similar posture but are different from the rest. And there is an extra delightful body language for balls with tennis balls getting special recognition. I once saw Mabel go into her tennis ball posture at a round pile of rocks. I thought this was exceptionally strange; how could a tennis ball be in a pile of rocks? I moved a few rocks and... tennis ball!
While I am limited to reading body language, Miss Mabel "reads" my colorful and varied language! This dog is smart, I tell you. Scary smart!
After retrieving her from the middle of our street yesterday and having a meltdown, I jokingly informed her that there would be no creek for her. After all she put me through, she didn't deserve it. I also told her I would be taking Bart instead.
I left her home alone for my trip to physical therapy and returned hours later, NOT smelling of the creek or Bart. Not wanting to take any chances, Mabel decided to jump into the jeep and wait while I packed orders - for two hours!
I had to take Bart anyway as his people were really busy yesterday. I picked him up and explained all about how Mabel did not deserve a trip to the creek. Bart was not impressed; he has his own free range car issues. In all of the craziness of just getting there, I forgot to demand my "payment" for the trip. I have both dogs trained to give me "kisses for the creek."
Shortly after we all arrived at the creek, Mabel stopped and held out her left hind paw. She had stepped on something sharp. I ran to her - it was a sticker and I removed it and seized my opportunity.
Me: What? No kiss for that? I remove your owie and I don't get a kiss?
Mabel: Eye roll.
Me: Come to think of it, I didn't get a kiss for the creek. You know, I think I deserve THREE kisses: one for the creek, one for the owie and one for saving your dumb a$$ life from the middle of the road.
Mabel was just up the hill from me. She turned and licked the wind!
Me: NO!!! AIR KISSES DO NOT COUNT!! You have to make contact for them to count!
Mabel: GROUND SQUIRREL!
Later, after Mabel had a swim in Dirty Creek, she came over for some lovin'.
Me: Hey, where's my THREE kisses????
Mabel kissed me.
Me: That's IT? I need TWO more. One for the owie and one for saving your dumb a$$.
Mabel kissed me a second time and started to walk away.
Me: HEY! I think the kiss for saving your dumb a$$ ought to be REALLY big. Pay up Missy!
She gave me thorough face "cleaning!"
You will never convince me that this girl doesn't understand what I say. But I swear, knowing how smart she is really ticks me off. The reason? If she understands, then all those times I give a command and she shoots me that sidelong go-to-hell look, she's CHOOSING not to obey! Brat!