Archive for the ‘dogs’ Category

Busyness, water fear

We’ve had lots going on this week.  My sister Deb has been here to work on her website with me (and blab and shop and eat and go sailing with our brother and hang around with our sister Priscilla), we had a stunning dinner made by Erin of With Vanilla and Honey fame, friends came through on their way home to Minnesota from a summer trip to New Mexico, Monday was B’s 21st birthday, and I can’t even think what else.

It has also been a million degrees in the shade.  Yesterday when we took Buster for a walk he leaned over into the pond for a drink and fell right in.  He hauled himself out and shook off.

Now this is a dog with severe fear of water.  Last year A threw him off the dock to see if he’d figure out that water was OK.  Buster broke all Olympic speed records getting back to shore and wouldn’t come near the dock for the rest of the summer.

Tonight when we took him for a walk, even though he normally takes a drink from the pond, he avoided it completely.  We sat on the cabin porch for a while, and I gave him some water in a pan.  He guzzled it all right down.  My guess is that he won’t be drinking from the pond for a while.  God forbid  he should fall in again.

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Frog wrangling

Have I already mentioned this? I feel it’s a good idea to temper rants about plastic with a little humor.

But first I do want to comment on the excellent question sialias asked about where we recycle the stuff made from recycled plastic. Where indeed? With each successive recycle of plastic the “quality” of the plastic degrades, and it’s no longer recyclable. At least glass, aluminum, and tin can be reclaimed as almost the same level of quality.

Back to the fun. It’s frog-wrangling season! Every day we take a walk around our land with Buster. It’s a way for all of us to get a little exercise and fresh air. We have two ponds, an old round cow pond, and a new pretty one carved out of a ravine. The old pond is perfect, we’ve discovered, for frogs to sit in the sun. Even on a 55 degree day, a few are sitting around the edge getting a nice green tan.  Last year we discovered that Buster enjoyed running around the pond making the frogs leap back into the pond ahead of him.

Now when we approach the old pond, we say “Buster!  Go wrangle!” and he runs down and starts racing around the pond, around and around and around, getting the constant feedback of frogs leaping into the water right in front of him.

It reminds me of that great scene in the movie “The Man Who Knew Too Little” where Bill Murray is driving a stolen car around a roundabout flipping one orange cone after another into the middle.

I might add that Buster never goes into the water as part of this spectacle.  Never.  He hates the water.  Last year we threw him in the new pond and he set the Olympic  Dog Paddle record for dock-to-shore sprints.

Yesterday we had some visitors here from England.  We went for a walk with them and showed off Buster’s wrangling skills at the old pond.  Then we walked over to the new pond.  One of the guests said “Buster, are you going to bojangle now?  So now we have a nice new verb.

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Dang dog

That Buster, we just love him.  But he has been rambling off on his own lately.  He still won’t go outside by himself, but when you take him out, he’s off like a shot.  Last week we found out one reason why:  He killed and brought home one of our neighbor’s chickens.  Amazingly, A got him to sit and stay, and then took it away from him.  Too late, though.

He’s intent on finding his way out of the fence, and if that doesn’t work, heading out the driveway.  He becomes deaf, totally focused on hanging with his pals across the road.  I’m sure they put him up to the chicken killing.

Several people have suggested that the cure for that is to hang the dead chicken around the dog’s neck.  I’m not doing it.  For one thing, I’m hoping he won’t kill any more, and for another thing, he’s an indoor dog.  We’d have all-night barking to come in with his chicken necklace.  For another thing, it seems inhumane.  For another thing, nobody has ever said “We did this.”  Instead, people tell you that they’ve heard of that as a cure, or that their cousin did it.  I want first-hand evidence, please.

We, who have made huge efforts to use only positive training methods (and with good results), may possibly try a shock collar.  The electronic fence isn’t practical for us because there’s too much area to fence in.  He never goes out alone, though, so I think it might work.  There we’ll be, walking along, and Buster will start heading off towards the road.  If he knows we have hamburger or cheese in our pockets, he’ll respond to calls.  If not, he’s deaf.  A little zap just as he’s cresting the hill might work.  It seems horrible, but perhaps worth it if it prevents him from being shot by a farmer.  (Our chicken-owning neighbor would never shoot him.)

Tonight we discussed the idea of getting another dog so he could have a pal.  There was a yellow lab pup listed in today’s paper.  It doesn’t seem like the right time.  We ought to cure him of this bad behavior before we get another dog he could teach it to.

Any good ideas out there?

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Guest dog

We are taking care of Bailey, who belongs to our friends down the road. She’s very large, maybe part chow, part shepherd, who knows what else. Definitely part beefcake. She’s happy and friendly. It’s fun to have another dog in the house. She and Buster have been doing lots of horsing around, inside and out. Her presence has greatly reduced Buster’s crazy 10 minutes a day, because they can crazy around together and not jump and bark at us.

Good things about having another dog: Less Buster pressure (playwithme, playwithme, playwithme!), more entertainment. Bad things about having another dog: More mud, more dog hair, more slobber, more noise at night. We won’t mind when she leaves, but we could also have her come back, easy.

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Silly dog

Buster just hates to go outside by himself. He can be dancing up and down because he has to pee so badly, but he won’t go out alone. If you try to grab his collar he ducks away. In the bedroom he makes an immediate dive under the bed.

Yesterday A and Buster came in to the kitchen. Rick said something to me about going outside and at the same time leaned down to pat the dog on the head. Buster threw himself to the floor and tried to get under the refrigerator. Yes, he thought he might work his way into that inch between the floor and the fridge.

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