Saturday, April 25, 2009

A Tale of Two Dogs or A Tale of Two Owners

I've been thinking about two incidents that just happened and wonder if I will ever be able to understand. Somehow my suspicion is that if I can just even manage to find a tiny clink in the mud that holds the wall up, than maybe I'll actually understand a way to tear that wall down and stomp the individual stones into sand.

First Dog

This dog is a German Shepherd Dog(GSD) that is about 7 or so years of age. She has been raised on a farm. She has received no real training, either obedience, manners or farm skills. For the most part she is allowed to do pretty much as she pleases. Ask her owner to tell you about this dog and you will hear all about how wonderful she is. She runs, plays, chases, and has ever so much fun just playing with the other dogs. One of the other dogs lives with her and the rest come and go with their owners.

If you were to push her owner, you might learn that sometimes she gets a little over excited. When that happens she can be just a little rough with the other dogs. But she is a good dog since she doesn't run away from home, eats her meals, refrains from soiling in the house. There is just one small problem.

She is a dog killer. Of course, you will be told, it was all an accident. She was just over excited and being really playful. Too bad the little dog she killed didn't agree.

Second Dog

This dog is as Doberman. She will soon turn 4 years of age. She was raised in a rather unique dog day care and training environment. She has been in training learning new skills, polishing previously learned skills, finding new ways to apply the skills she has. Her obedience, manners and and work skills are at a good level for a dog of her age and breed. She has many responsibilities around the yard and in the house. She has even more responsibilities when she travels away from home with her owner. Not running away from home, eating her meals and refraining from soiling in the house are considered to be just ordinary, everyday things that aren't even worth commenting on or thinking about.

Some of the dogs that come to her yard are her friends. Some of the dogs that come to her yard are of little to no interest to her at all. A few of the dogs that come to her yard are dogs she can just barely tolerate. No matter what category these dogs fall in, she is mannerly and polite. This politeness is not something that came easily to her. It is a skill she must work hard to maintain and work she does.

This day, just three days before her fourth birthday she took another huge step forward in her areas of responsibility. This is what happened.

Two small crate pads had to be washed and dried and put back in the crates they came from. No big deal and certainly not something to make an issue over or tell a story about. Once out of the dryer and still not totally dry they were hung on the outside clothesline to finish drying. Still not a big deal until one of them slipped the cloths pin holding it and fell to the porch floor. Along came on of the dogs that falls in the tolerate category. He stole the pad and carried it off to a hidden spot in the yard.

When it was time to bring the pads in there was only one. So the Doberman was called and told to "find it". Giving a puzzled look she dutifully went down the steps and in a slow, methodically manner checked around the ground close to the porch. After all, normally when she is called to retrieve an object from that location, it was dropped and can be found right at the base of the porch. There was nothing.

Again, she was told to "find it". So she widened her search and checked the entire side yard. Nothing. Her quizzical look earn yet another "find it" with a wide sweep of an arm. So she moved her search further out into the yard. On her fifth pass she spotted a something. A something that didn't belong in the yard. It was hidden on the far side of the parked truck and had fallen or been pushed sort of under/behind the left front tire. Not sure that was what she was supposed to be finding she continued around the truck.

Again she heard "find it" and saw the wide sweep of the arm. So she turned around, went back to the something that didn't belong, picked up up and carried it to the back of the truck. As she looked up for further instructions she heard "YESSSSSSSS". Just the information needed and with no further prompting or help she brought the pad back, up the steps, into the house and straight to the crate where it belonged. Her pride in being able to successfully complete the job had her smiling, doing a little hop/skip victory dance and just generally getting some pretty intense pleasure from the challenge and the victory.

Now comes my puzzlement. Why do so many dog owners seem to feel that the first dog is happy and joyful and the second dog is sad and cheated out of critical praise?

Yes, before you ask, the second dog is Sanity and I am sort of glowing over her latest display of understanding, her acceptance of responsibility AND the obvious pride she takes in doing each job she is assigned.

Yes, I also know who the first dog is and no I won't name her since she doesn't belong to me. What I will say is that she is not a happy, relaxed, confident dog. She is not a dog that is secure with her place in life, she is not trained, much less well trained. She is rude and she is very dangerous. How is it that even after killing another dog, her owner continues to remain clueless?

Meanwhile, Sanity really ROCKS!

1 comment:

  1. Farm dogs are a whole other realm of dogs. So long as they don't shit on the rug, most rural people could care less what the dog does, and quite often, they end up as a roadpizza somewhere. I would not classify them as happy dogs, so much as unfettered and nearly feral. They do what they want, and often have no boundries but not being allowed in the house when they're muddy. While I would enjoy living on acreage with dogs, I doubt I would have "farm dogs" as I see them when I visit family.