Cues, Context, Experience

Cues, Context, Experience

Doctor Disco here. Yesterday I had an appointment with the foot doctor for yet another shot in my foot. I was gathering my things, getting ready to go, and I mentioned to my husband that I knew the doctor wouldn’t release me to go for a run today, but that I hoped he might. Before I could finish the sentence, Straxi had run into the room (she was napping in her bed in our bedroom) and was smiling up at me, and the thought bubble was practically visible above her head: OMG you DIDN’T forget how to run! We’re going to run?

Telling her no and that she had to stay and watch the house while I left was terribly depressing. 

However! The doctor did tell me that I could do anything low impact, so this morning I woke up early (I couldn’t help it, I was excited) and I took Straxi for a long walk – 3 miles. Not a super long walk in the grand scheme of things, but holy cow, it was so incredibly wonderful to get back outside and experience the beauty of the world with my running buddy. 

Somehow, though, Straxi knew we were going out. I have no idea how she knew that. Maybe she saw me pull one of my running bras out of the drawer? Maybe she can read my mind?

I made it a point not to pick up my running belt until I was ready to go, but she still knew we were headed out before the coffee was even done. She’s got to be psychic. 

This article explains that there are three things dogs employ to be mind readers of their people:  cues, context, and experience. We haven’t been for a run in a very long time (it seems, anyway – since April) and you would think that she would forget some of those cues, like where I keep my running clothes. 

I mean, think about it. My dog knows what drawer my running bras go into.

My next step should be to teach her how to put the laundry away. 

But she was ready to go, before I even had clothes on – I was still in my robe, and she was dancing around. I believe her to be the most brilliant dog currently on the planet. But that’s just me. 

I suppose that the context of the beginning of the day is important, too. Now that it’s summer, I’m not about to take Straxi out in the heat of the day to run. She’s a shiny black dog, so she gets really hot out in the sun. So maybe she’s remembering all those early morning runs we did last summer – I don’t know. But she definitely knew we were going out for a lengthy walk – she has her own pattern of behavior surrounding our preparation to go walking or running. 

She won’t leave my side, for instance. She is under my feet, because she clearly is worried I will forget she exists and will leave without her. Pfft. As if. I think she would fling her body in front of the door and physically bar me from doing so, to be honest. 

But we’ve gone our three miles, and it was incredibly humid, but it was wonderful to be out there again, enjoying the world with my best, most loyal, friend ever. 

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