Thursday, May 16, 2013

How Rack Found His Lost Voice

For an 8 month old dog to be silent, there has to be a reason.

In the case of Rack, the Ridiculously Photogenic McNab Dog, it was his history.

Rack was an owner surrender at around 6 months.  He was bounced around between some shelters that seemed more like concentration camps by description.

He then wound up at The Dog Liberator, an excellent rescue specializing in Herding Breeds in Deltona, Florida where Giselle began to repair the damage to his psyche.

That was where I came in.

For two weeks there was not a single sound out of this dog.  Not even that weird grunting that some dogs do when sleeping was heard.

After being told by some breeders of McNabs out in California, that no this isn't normal, but not to worry he'll start to relax, he did exactly that.

Walking Rack, we noticed that he liked other dogs.  By that, I mean REALLY likes other dogs.  He sees them and started to wag his tail, and then start to dance, then finally made a sound.   A plaintive little whine with his mouth open in a full yawn.

Silent no more.

This got more and more intense as the third week went on.   He met The Girls, two Samoyeds around the block who have the reputation of being two of the most playful and bouncy dogs you could meet. 

Men, cover yourself, the girls are here... OOF!

Rack met other dogs and unless they were acting grumpy toward him, he would always become very excited.   Not every dog liked a bouncy black and white puppy bounding towards them, so I remembered that I really do have control over this and started watching closely what the other dog's owner did in response. 

For the most part, walks were exciting places where other dogs were until we hit the chaos and noise of Wilton Drive.   He'd cringe as trucks would pass, try extreme avoidance tactics over noisy grates, and walking past the bars meant my arm was stretched out to the limit as he tried to avoid the front doors and any patrons inside.

We're avoiding the bars directly, people aren't his favorite, and frankly I don't care about your dog you left behind in Ohio or Colorado, bring them next time.

The whole while, my house was in uproar.   We had a massive line of thunderstorms come through and ruin the water heater.  The repairs took two solid days of drilling and workers in the house.

Rack was not amused, he made himself scarce by running into the back bedroom and hiding in his crate, or just curling into a DogBall (TM) between the coffee table and the couch.   I guess the little guy just wanted a den.

Finally the chaos was too much.

Eric the plumber wanted to talk to us after coming and going a couple times.  He needed to run out to the big box stores just a mile away for supply and approached the front door. 

A soft knock and... BARKBARKBARKBARK!

Yes, four strong barks from a voice stilled by abandonment and trauma. 

Our little boy is healing!

Just four.  It wasn't excessive, someone had stepped inside HIS house and he was warning his dads that this was happening.

The look on our faces as well as Rack's was shock and a little confusion.   Even he didn't know he could do that. 

Sheepishly, the shepherd dog looked at us for approval as we both were laughing.  I guess it's OK to use my voice.

This repeated itself about 4 hours later when Eric stuck his head in the door after a quiet tapping on the door.  BarkBarkBarkBarkWOOWOOWOOWOO!

OK, boy, I get it!  You can talk now!

Sure, it will be a training issue, but our boy is relaxing.  He's home.  His home, and home is a good thing.

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