Wednesday, December 5, 2012


Over the last months, we have had a lot of guests (one of the reasons I have not been posting much lately).  It is always nice to be able to welcome visitors, whether long time friends or new ones.  Hearing at first hand what is going on in other parts of the world – the dog world primarily, of course – is always fascinating and it is fun showing visitors my little corner of the world.

Habibi, however, does not share this opinion. For him, these strangers disrupt his perfectly controlled domain, interfere with the daily schedule, and worst of all, invade his household.  I can understand his point of view – once he has inspected them and sniffed the details of their own dogs, then there is nothing more of interest to him.  He is not interested in conversations. Sitting and watching my friends and me talk is boring.

He has his own ways of preventing boredom.  I am always careful to explain the rules for meeting Habibi.  Habibi likes to make an impression – a BIG impression – on newcomers. This means circling them and barking ferociously so that they will understand clearly whose house this is.  He has never tried to bite anyone, that is not the purpose of this game.  The purpose is to see the visitor react – that can be very entertaining for him.  Visitors that clearly show discomfort in their body language, back away, or on the other hand try to talk to him and hold out a hand in a friendly way (“Who are you to be friendly to me?!!! I am the one who decides on when to be friendly!!!!”) are a joy to him – action, reaction, what a great game making people jump to your bark!

Visitors are told to simply ignore him and to come in and sit down.  Experienced dog people are the best at this, they know how to control their expressions and body language, walk past him and sit down.  People with less dog experience do try – but Habibi immediately recognizes the signs of insecurity, that stiffening of the body and sideways glance.  If he was a person, he would be laughing out loud at this point.  People that are particularly unsure of themselves may end up getting a nose nudge to the posterior – that little jump away is absolutely hilarious to Habibi.

Once people sit down, he takes up his position in front of me, sitting or lying on my feet and observing the conversation.  But once a guest has chosen a seat, that is where he needs to stay.  Getting up to go to another room is not allowed, Habibi stands in front of him barking until he sits down again.  For those that Habibi has marked as the insecure, even reaching forward to pick up a coffee cup may result in a warning growl – “You are moving! Watch it!”

Guests that stay overnight are a bigger problem for him.  Once they have settled into the guest room and he sees that he can’t get rid of them so fast, he grudgingly allows them to move around the house.  However, things like getting up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom are definitely not allowed.

My last houseguest was a real dog person who spent a few days here.  Why a real dog person? Habibi decided that – from the minute she walked in the door, he approved of her. No barking! He jumped on her, solicited attention, sat on her lap on the sofa when we were chatting in the living room.  I have never seen him so unreservedly friendly to a stranger.

But even with her, there are house rules.  She was allowed to walk around the house, to go into the kitchen, take a glass of water or even make a cup of coffee – but to open the refrigerator and take something out – no!  Going into her room was fine, but bringing out odd objects, like a camera, was likely to result in barking.  And of course, getting up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom…fortunately, she was not a person that did a lot of night wandering.

At the moment, life is back to normal for Habibi, no house guests.  Sorry, though, there are still a few due to visit soon…

Who is coming????

With the holidays coming up, for those that enjoy reading my little stories, you will enjoy my book, “Tails of Shaar Hagai”, fun for all dog and animal lovers, and available from – a wonderful holiday gift.
And for those that want to know more about the very special Canaan breed, my new book, “The Israel Canaan Dog” is available from

And also – Have Laptop, Can Travel!  Illustrated lectures and seminars available on a wide variety of doggy subjects.  I have given talks in a variety of countries and events.  Inquiries are welcome.


  1. Glad to hear from you again. I was a little worried for you and your dogs, with the news from Gaza in the last month. Since my limited geographic knowledge of Israel is that it's similar in size and population density to New Jersey, and that Gaza is in the south, bordering Egypt, but the missile attacks being able to hit most of the southern half of your country, I was concerned about y'all's safety. I know I'd be more than aggravated about being under attack and being politically limited in fighting back. I pray for y'all's continued safety.

  2. Thanks for your concern. We are in a (relatively) safe place - as you said, the size of the country means there is not very far to go to get from one end to the other. But we have to date never had any problems closer than 20 or 30 kms...

  3. What a very entertaining entry. Thank you for sharing. I found myself laughing out loud at some points. Habibi is quite the dog. I just wish more people could understand their language and body language, the way you so described. Dogs really are a treasure! I too hope you all remain safe and have a wonderful holiday season.