“Had a grope,” said Merlin. “A drunken grope and stopped. And do you know why I stopped?” Merlin asked, suddenly in Arthur’s face. “Because I had Mr Gorgeous in bed and I couldn’t stop thinking of you.”
Until two years ago, Merlin was a starvation/heartworms backyard neglect case. He likes being a housepet now, but he’s always watching Yvaine to see what he’s supposed to be doing. She’s a social cues helper dog ;)
By watching what Yvaine is doing, Merlin can work out when he’s just going outside to potty, or going out on Sniff Patrol, or going to the car, or going to feed the Big Doggies. He can tell when I want their attention to do tricks. He can tell when we’re all settling down in one spot for a while. He can’t figure this out from watching me; it seems he just doesn’t have the context. But whatever we’re doing, I see him look at Yvaine, check for cues, then participate.
He’s iffy on words–starting to learn verbal commands at age 8 or so did not help at all. He does better with hand gestures. But sometimes he gets so fatigued, or excited, or agitated that he just can’t process them. Even then, he can still check to see what Yvaine is doing, and go from there.
She helps him be more secure, just by being there.