Sunday, 1 July 2012

Your favourite Bouncing Boffin returns!

I am aware that I have in the last few months been rather quiet on the science front.

Time, I think, to remedy this sorry state of affairs. I fear that, as Olympic fever takes hold of Blogville, there is a danger that more cerebral matters are being neglected...

Now I know that many of my friends do not share my good fortune in living in a scientific household. Well I am a helpful sort of a chap, and would like you to benefit too from some of the advantages of I enjoy.

The topic I plan to tackle next in my world famous Canine Science series is a particularly challenging one, namely the science of human behaviour. This is, I admit, a change of direction for me - I have hitherto tended toward natural science subjects, physics, geology etc. - but not to worry, I am sure it will be no problem as I am young enough still to believe I can tackle anything!

The world is awash with books written by humans, endeavouring to explain the psychology of us dogs, but I fear that the reverse is not true.  When it comes to material aimed at clarifying, in a canine-relevant manner, how members of the species Homo sapiens think and behave, the shelves are bare.

Do the humans in your orbit exhibit any strange and disturbing quirks of behaviour that you are at a loss to understand? Do they act in ways that seem to you wholly illogical and deeply worrying?

If so, I would like you to tell me all about it, by leaving a comment on this post. If you are worried about confidentiality, then just include the words 'TOP SECRET', and no-one will know*. I am in no doubt that you will provide me with much fascinating material to chew over.

In a week or so (exact timing depending on the volume and nature of the issues you raise) I shall attempt to put your minds at ease by providing a rational, evidence-based and dog-friendly explanation for everything that your human does, however apparently bizarre.

Oh you can rest assured there will be no recourse to quackery and pseudo-scientific hocus pocus in this blog!

*Gail is a bit concerned that this protocol will not pass the ethics committee, but hey....


  1. Thanks for the invitation to contribute to your worthiness. Susie-Belle would like to ask (I do anything, anything at all for her, including asking this on her behalf): "why, when I'm happily snoozing on my bed, will my new mummy come and lay down next to me, squeeze me tight, and put her lips on my head and make a sloppy smacking sucking sound? And sometimes, if she's acting really oddly, she'll even pick me up off my comfy bed and hug her tightly for a few seconds and then put me back where I was. What on earth is this behaviour all about?"

    Susie-Belle said she's a very patient girl and awaits your considered response with great patience.

  2. Bertie, I am so grateful for this post. I have so many things to ask my head is swimming. The most important right now is why does my Mommy just disappear on the other side of the door, she goes out, closes the door and she is gone for like 87 years at least. She does come back eventually, but what happens to her when she closes that magic door, where does she go??? Do you know?? Why would she leave me?? She does often come back with foodables, which I am grateful for, but why does it take so long to find them? This is a mystery I have pondered for quite some time, perhaps you can shed some light on it.

    Thanks and Loveys Sasha

  3. I'll tell you what's odd. In fact bl**dy annoying. You know how long it takes to get your bed smelling just right? Ages. Mine was just about perfect, so what has Mum done this morning? Washed the lot. It now STINKS of orange blossom and pomegranate. WTF?! Deccy x

  4. Great idea Bertie. My human has so many quirks and annoying habits that if I tried to list them all we would be here all day. Most annoying is the ingratitude I am met with when I do my early morning alarm call getty upppy thingiy. Why does my human always tries and ignore me when I have very important things to do and need to seize the day? Ungrateful I say. Help me Doc Bertie!
    Best wishes Molly

  5. TOP SECRET - - Thank you for this post. I have TONS of questions too. The main one is - - why do THEY wake me up EARLY 5 days out of the week and then GET ANNOYED when I wake them up the other 2?!?!? I don't understand AT ALL. Sheesh. By the way, I usually wake them up at 5:30 am. Perfect time for eating, eh?

  6. My Mom does what she calls sewwing. She gets what she calls a project and keeps at it for hours and days. Hours and days of which I get little or no attention. She does remember to feed me and if I approach her, she talks very sweetly to me, but for the most part her mind is on her sewwing. So what should I do to get more attention from her? Pull the plug on her sewwing machine? Awaiting advice, Stella who really never thought to be seeking advice from you, Bertie!

  7. Oh fun you look so smart in those glasses! We Finn's question too but my biggest question why do the humans spend so much time on the computer? You cant eat it, you cant chew it or chase it so what the heck is the appeal?

    urban hounds

  8. Oh wow, this will be so helpful! The others have asked some really great questions. I guess my biggest question would have to be, "Why does Momma go to some weird place called a 'gym' and come back all hot and sweaty, but then she says she's too tired to take a longer walk??"

  9. TOP SECRET........ Bertie this is just Brilliant... here is just ONE of the like 87 bazillion thingys that I wonder about..
    WHY do THEY keep all the GRRRRRREAT Foodables... Fur themselves? THEY are SOOOO stingy... just a tiny Squirrel sized SPECK left on Bowls and Plates... fur LICKING... NOT enough fur a GOOD Tummy Filling????
    PEE S.... I really Do need your Snail Mail Addy... I just sent a new email about it. I'm just sayin...

  10. Hey Buddy.... I just got your Email/Snail Mail thingy... BUTT I did send you another special email... Let me Know. THANKS

  11. Lets ask the question why do they go into the little room and use the same place to do their business on what they call the commode when they can be out in the fresh air letting the stink blow away and why do they waste tissue, I don't need to, I could be playing with the roll.
    Sweet William The Scot

  12. This is a little embarassing but can you pls explain to my pets AND my stupid bf why I am very moody once a month and what they can do to ease the pain.

  13. You look very intelligent in those glasses Bertie. Moms always have excuses for not posting, bla, bla, bla
    Benny & Lily

  14. Bertie, we don't even know where to start...sometimes SHE is completely unfathomable. Reading, for one thing, when we should be out exploring the river. Or that bath thing...
    Being stingy with treats....Or, SHE's always cold and whatever little hair SHE has covering HER, SHE shaves off.....crazy!!!

    If you can work them out Bertie, we think there's a Nobel Peace Prize in it for you.

    XXXOOO Daisy, Bella & Roxy

  15. This is great Bertie.
    First, I do need to say that you look terrific in your glasses.
    I do wonder how can they be so slow to keep the food/water bowl filled at all times. You would think that for my health, this would be top priority.
    Also why is that when I go outside, and just doing my job and protecting my yards from the tree rats and I have to verbally let them know to get out of my yard that I, Jazzi get yelled at!! They are not very appreciative one bit.


  16. Bert you look so handsome on your pictures, You loo so brave while wearing that cool eye glass :D

    Dog Shock Collar | Puppy Bond

  17. Hey Bertie Bud,
    I'm a golden retriever - so I accept ALL humans with all their quirks. But sometimes my human doesn't understand other humans (that, in itself is a question), but there's one thing, in particular, that bothers her:
    "Why do men pick their noses in traffic"
    My most of these questions: "Because they can!"
    What do you think?

  18. We've mostly got mama pretty well trained. She knows how to get out of bed on command, even in the middle of the night, and is responsive to cues that it is feeding time twice a day. She is pretty good about opening the door and letting us in and out - and in and out and in and out - although she does grumble about it sometimes. And if she gets too involved watching the picture box, she does respond and get out of her chair to tend to our needs when Jed sits right in front of her and blocks the screen.

    Guess our major question is why she yells at us for doing some of our jobs [digging for rodents, snatching birds out of the air - which we have both successfully done] and praises us for doing our other jobs, like guarding the estate. Do you think this inconsistency can be cured with additional training? Also, we would like more outings and less of the Cone of Shame just because Jed is fond of chewing holes in his legs. Any suggestions for achieving these goals would be greatly appreciated. Please do not suggest destroying the Cone; Jed has done this several times and mama just drags in another one.

    Thank you, Professor Boffin. We eagerly anticipate your thoughtful advice.

    Jed & Abby

  19. Bertie, thanks so much for taking up this project. I think it's an excellent idea.

    How about this: they walk me and walk me and walk me some more, and they have the nerve to also keep me on an ultra-strict Swiss-German diet. My explanation is that they lack a basic understanding of canine metabolism. Sure, before I joined this family I used to be twice my current weight and had gotten so sick I had to have surgery, but those are just details, really.

    1. But Tootise, surely a Swiss-German diet must be fondue, spätzli, wurst and Rivella. Where's the problem?

    2. No, Bertie. It's 'Swiss-German' as in 'extremely strict'. I do like your take, though :)

      I'm sorry you felt threatened by yesterday's billboard. No worries, you're safe! Just ignore the line about pets and focus on the part about weird human friends and relatives :)

      Keep on wagging,

  20. TOP SECRET. Bertie, thank goodness for the return of the boffin. Now, I know you will be swamped with questions, many of which, I have to say, are similar to many I wanted to ask so I'm going for a different one, one that has bothered me for some time - why is it that two (relatively) normal two legged ones become noisy, cuss a fair bit and rather over-excited when they watch a game on TV involving two teams, a rectangular pitch, an oval shaped ball (something they refer to as a rugby ball??), 30 he two legged ones, 15 of each wearing the same 'jerseys' (whatever they are) and there's always one poor two legged one, who runs up and down the pitch, a lot, who She yells at at lot - She calls him things like 'stupid', 'blind' and a few more unrepetables. They become very excited during times called Heineken Cup and Six Nations. What on EARTH is this about Mr BBB?



  21. THANK DOG someone is willing to tackle the human behavior mystery. Where do I begin ...

    1. Why does my assistant insist on dressing me up in silly costumes

    2. Why does she go to work (and leave me behind) each day when she clearly doesn't care for it much?

    3. Why am I not allowed to eat cheeseburgers all day long?

    I will be back with more questions.

    Your pal, Pip

  22. Oh Bertie. What important and interesting work you do. Of course there be lots of things. Like why do staring really hard at whatever peoples is eating make TNP and Grandpaw give me stuff, but not Mum? I has a theory about greediness on that one, but I is sure you can help.

    Also, I see some others have mentioned similar... when that thing called football on TV I really does not understand what to do. TMP gets very distressed but wont let me comfort him. Only sometimes he gets really excited and jumps up and down and I jump up and down with him, only, I doesn't know why.

    Why is it not acceptable to bark at childrens/the gas delivery man/bin man/postman etc.

  23. why can't i eat 3 meals a day like humans

    why can't i attack the postman.

    why can't i kill my annoying brother.


  24. Glad to see you back to your Boffin ways Bertie, frankly I think everything my humans do is bizarre, and I look forward to hearing your diagnosis'.

    Love and licks, Winnie x

  25. Gosh-
    you must have studied somewhere very important to be so educated! You have so much knowledge stored into your body.
    I don't understand why barking in my household is a problem. I need to talk too.

  26. hey Bertie,

    TOP SECRET!!!! CLASSIFIED!!!! FYEO!!!!!! {for your eyes only}

    Pawsome glasses! You look like such an intellect I am actually a bit intimidated!

    O.K., I came up with three pressing questions:

    1. Why did humans design fire hydrants to look just like dog urinals? Since it was not meant to be a dog urinal they should not have designed it as such. Very confusing.

    2. Why does my human, K, talk to me at times like I am a 6-month old baby? She uses a high-pitched baby voice when talking to me and calls me goofy names that rhyme with my name, Suka. This especially occurs if I do something she deems appropriate or if she has not seen me in a while. This can be rather embarrassing at times.

    2. Where does my poop go? I have noticed a very disturbing pattern that when I poop my human collects it and it disappears. What is going on?! Where is it going?! Is my poop magic to humans?! I don't know if I should be honored or very afraid.

    I do hope you can shed some light on these questions. Thank you in advance for your responses.


  27. Hi Bertie,

    I want to know how my human’s world has changed from “42” to “Higgs” when everything seems just the same to me while she looks so perplexed by this piece of news. Am I missing something truly important or is this just a small matter of no particular importance?