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the low crawl: how dogs get into places they shouldn’t

08 February 2012

Low Crawling for Fun and Profit

The US Marine Corps call it a low crawl. It’s the worming slithering that privates do in boot camp with their rifles. Basically, you get dirty by going forward on your belly. There aren’t many war movies that don’t feature the trial-by-mud passage as a grizzled staff sergeant yells obscenities.

Goldie Hawn demonstrated it in Private Benjamin, Bill Murray slithered in Stripes, and Demi Moore did it GI Jane.

I think Richard Gere, too, low crawled in an Officer and a Gentleman before really taking to Buddhism and clearly deciding to avoid characters who low crawled. (Ed Note: There was no low crawling when Gere played Lancelot in 1995’s First Knight, where he was second fiddle to Sean Connery’s Scots-accented King Arthur).

Speaking of Gere, films about dogs are notably lacking in low crawling. Hachi, his 2009 tearjerker? Not a whiff of low crawling. Didn’t see any in Marley and Me, either. Nada in Eight Below, although those dogs were stuck in Antarctica where getting muddy isn’t a real possibility. It’s probably a poor example.

Low crawling for dogs

using the low crawl technique to get low and get in.

I mention movies because in modern society, much of our learning comes from what we see. As the average American household watches 21.75 hours of TV per day, much of what we learn comes from what we see on TV.

How Dogs Learn

Dogs learn, too, by watching. Unlike us, they don’t learn from their parents, though; they’re not with Mama long enough to learn much more than how to drink from a milk-engorged nipple. And drinking from a milky nipple only takes you so far in life. I know.

Just because dogs do not learn how to low crawl from movie-watching doesn’t mean they don’t know how to. The mystery to me, though, is how they learn. I give you the example of our family as our Great Dane puppy Luna’s obviously learned how to low crawl with both stealth and purpose.

Take these pics, for example. I took them with a telephoto lens from our living room as Luna surreptitiously slipped beneath the perimeter fencing to infiltrate the lawn.

That’s a low crawl that would pass inspection during the Crucible at Parris Island Marine Corps boot camp.  As Luna might say, Semper Fi.

How then did she learn to low crawl? Cue the head scratching.

We don’t watch war movies at home. Thus, there’s no way for Luna to have learned to low crawl from Saving Private Ryan or The Longest Day. And she was asleep when we were watching the six Star Wars movies, and the Terminator, Jason Bourne and Indiana Jones series. Which leaves?

A riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma, to borrow from Winston Churchill.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. 27 April 2012 2:12 am

    This is totally opposite from what I thought she was going to do. I thought she would have gone over the top like Cassie does.

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