CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Cotswold Life today CLICK HERE

Adam Edwards: Ah, if only they could speak

PUBLISHED: 12:41 28 August 2018

Nestling its nose in the crutch of a pair of corduroys is Black Lab speak for “

Nestling its nose in the crutch of a pair of corduroys is Black Lab speak for “"I’'m not going for a walk with you in those red trousers”." (c) MorePixels


A querulous head is dog chat for “You’re bonkers if you think I’m going to jump over that dry stone wall”

This is dog country. If there is a single creature that personifies our hills (with the obvious exception of the sheep) it is the mutt. It can be found on every ramble and in every rural household. It is the idle ruler of the Cotswold roost, a cur that is waited on by courtiers who tickle and toilet it. Above all it is above criticism, as any visitor to a house with dogs will attest. It will bark, jump, push its nose in your crutch, trip you, lick you and dominate the conversation and yet no censure of it is allowed. It is, like the Queen and Harry Kane, above impeachment.

This despotism by the barking to those of us without a Rover is trying in the extreme. A dog, say the dog-less, should be at the bottom not the top of the food chain. It should not have special treatment, special food or in particular a special seat with an embroidered cushion that reads “If you want the best seat in the house just ask the dog to move”. (My friend Christopher, for example, recently bought a Maserati and then swapped the car a month later for a four-door model, losing many thousands of pounds in the process, because he didn’t think the back seat in the sports variety luxurious enough for his aging black Labrador.)

Now there is worse news for those of who believe that the dog is already too tyrannical. Scientists have found ‘strong evidence’ that dogs ‘talk’. Researchers at the University of Salford in Greater Manchester have spent months filming scores of dogs with their owners to find out what the pooches’ signals and gestures actually mean and concluded that dogs have “cross-species communication; a lexicon devised purely for the communication with humans”.

You may be surprised to learn that that the academics have discovered that a dog rolling on its back “is asking for its tummy to be scratched” and that if it rushes to where its lead hangs “it is asking to be taken for a walk”. The scientists also ferreted out the information that jumping, turning its head, lifting a paw, rubbing a nose, licking and flicking a toy in front of people is dog speak for “I’m hungry”. The research, which was published in the journal Animal Cognition, surmised “It appears that most of the time the object of interest was their food bowl”.

This study, despite having all the worth of a turd on a freshly mown lawn, does not, in my opinion, go far enough. After all if dogs can ‘speak’ with human beings, presumably they can also embrace regional variations in cross-communication. So, for example, a Geordie whippet that widdles on a pair of trainers may not, in fact, be taken short but rather be asking to go to the flapping track, while the whine of Mayfair Chihuahua may be less an indication that it has had enough filet mignon and more that it wishes to lounge in its mistress’s crocodile skin Birkin handbag.

This being the case I have decided, despite not having a PHD in animal behaviour from the University of Salford, to conduct my own extensive study of the spoiled Cotswold dog and taken the black Labrador as my specimen animal. I have after many years of research come to the following conclusions. Jumping up on its hind legs to greet a visitor is its way of explaining to which social drawer the guest belongs (the higher the grander). Nestling its nose in the crutch of a pair of corduroys is Black Lab speak for “I’m not going for a walk with you in those red trousers”. Lifting its leg against the rear wheel of a brand new black Range Rover says “I’d prefer to travel in a white Nissan Navara pick-up” while a querulous head is chat for “you must be bonkers if you think I’m going to jump over that dry stone wall”. Disappearing during a shoot is its way of saying “bloody human”, while running off in the opposite direction while barking means “you shoot birds I chase rabbits”. Rolling over on the hearth is an indication that it would like another log on the open fire. A paw tap on an owner’s knee during lunch is a request to slip the mutt another organic Daylesford sausage, while following a host around with a wagging tail during a drinks party says “bung us a Waitrose nibble”. Meanwhile, lying on the sofa with closed eyes and farting for England is, quite simply, dog speak for “sod off”.

For more from Adam Edwards, follow him on Twitter! @cotswoldhack


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Cotswold Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Cotswold Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Cotswold Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Out & about

I send this postcard from Cirencester, complete with the discoveries and viewpoints from four members of my family – both the young and not so young

Read more
Tue, 11:05

Of all the castles in the region, none have seen as much war, romance and royalty as Sudeley over its dramatic 1,000-year history. And with such a colourful and eventful past, it is easy to see why some people believe there could be spirits from bygone eras which still wander the halls and corridors to this day

Read more

What started as a business ploy by one Cotswold firm has developed into an inspirational garden

Read more
Thursday, October 11, 2018

It’s that wonderful time of year again when we warm ourselves by roaring bonfires and enjoy dazzling firework displays that light up the skies. Gather your loved ones, wrap up warm and enjoy an evening of Guy Fawkes celebrations in the Cotswolds

Read more
Monday, October 8, 2018

If a bit of English eccentricity is your thing, spend an enjoyable afternoon exploring the delightful follies of Faringdon

Read more
Monday, October 8, 2018

From an all-boy, all boarding prep school for just 30 pupils, to the quietly trailblazing yet still traditional school it is today – here is a snapshot of Beaudesert over its 110-year history

Read more
Wednesday, October 3, 2018

After something to entertain the kids during half-term? Or are you counting down the days to enjoy the thrills and spills of Halloween? Here are 20 ways to celebrate the spookiest time of year in the Cotswolds

Read more
Monday, October 1, 2018

Visitors to the village of Bourton-on-the-Water can now escape the well-trodden tourist trail at Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust’s beautiful Greystones nature reserve and its newly opened visitor centre

Read more
Thursday, September 27, 2018

Stephen Roberts walks in the footsteps of the Oxford scholar who enjoyed attending parties dressed as a polar bear, and once chased a neighbour while dressed as an axe-wielding Anglo-Saxon

Read more
Thursday, September 27, 2018

If you’re looking for things to do in the Cotswolds this month, we have gathered plenty of events for you to pop in your diary

Read more
Tuesday, September 25, 2018

No pain, no gain? Walking, cycling and horse riding make getting fit a lot more enjoyable than that

Read more
Tuesday, September 25, 2018

On a crisp, autumnal day, there is nothing better than gathering the family for a stroll amongst some of the most colourful woodland and countryside the Cotswolds has to offer. We’ve accumulated a list of our favourite places to catch the majority of this season’s golden hues

Read more
Tuesday, September 25, 2018

‘For me, Wick Court is a special place because it marks the beginning of the Henson family journey in rare breeds conservation’

Read more
Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Tracy Spiers takes Emily, daughter number two, who shares her love for anything historical, to this vibrant place and get lost in a heady mix of wild bears, Middle Age punishing devices, timber-framed buildings and live bees

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Latest Competitions & Offers

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory A+ Education

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search