Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Incoming Dog? What the Heck?

Incoming Dog?  What the Heck?

When you adopt a dog, you know you're going to have an interesting time of it.  There are things done right, some things done wrong.  I have always had great luck with herding dogs. 

Lettie was a "Mostly McNab cross with Probably Border Collie" and she was all Dog Of A Lifetime.  But a Dog Of A Lifetime is never born, but built.

Enough with the alliteration, the point is that while Lettie was initially fearful, we were able to meet in the middle and she became so closely bonded to us that she would anticipate our needs and exceed them every time.  I did have to teach her not to try to herd busses and joggers, but she taught me that she could be trusted just about anywhere.

Rack, my McNab SuperDog (TM) I knew was going to be a handful.  He's highly fearful, even now after having him for three years.

Wow, has it been that long?

The first walk that I had with him here he flattened out on the street that late night when we got him home.  There was an airplane making an approach to Fort Lauderdale airport and he didn't like that it was overhead. 

He's not afraid of airplanes any more, but the 50 bus and him are not exactly friends. If he's in the car when a diesel truck is next to our car, he is flattened out under the seat in the foot well.

All those triggers you hear about?  Yep, he's got them.  Any kind of bang and he jumps.  Loud percussive sounds are horrible for him.  Forget the Fourth of July!

So the other Thursday night when I heard a trash can lid slam, I looked down at him to see how he managed it.  His Place is on his mat next to my chair.  My chair being one of those bouncy Ikea Poang Chairs, it is low and "rightsized" to my 6 foot 4 inch frame.  It also allows me to look directly at the TV across the room at exactly the right height.  I had moved back to it because the big green recliner was too high and I found my neck sore after a movie too many.

Tall people?  Try one of those Poangs.  If not new, you can find yours at a thrift store like I did for a song.  I upgraded mine to leather seat covers a while back so it looks much more "Living Room" instead of "Dorm Room".

But we had a while to go before The Last Walk of the Day. I forgot about the slam next door. 

He hadn't.

I got up to brush my teeth before the walk, and came wandering out to the Living Room.  I was told that he was relocating himself in an eye-blink.

Rack, being a McNab SuperDog (TM) has a habit of doing everything quickly.  As long as it involves him going from one place to another, he moves quite fast.  He will run around my suburban backyard so fast that when he corners around the big palm tree, he is just millimeters from the turf.  Lets call it 89.9 degrees from vertical.  Slide a piece of paper in there between him and the grass.  Then he will run past me in a black and white blur into the wormhole that is behind the shed and visit his other family in the alternate dimension where dogs vanish to when they're enjoying themselves with a bit of a romp.

Coming back into our dimension, he'll run around tearing up the turf, sliding past me in a time shifting vortex, and generally disproving that theory that the speed of light is the ultimate speed limit.  It isn't, Rack readily runs faster than the speed of light.

Or so it seems.

In this case though, he wasn't running.  He was perched on my Poang.

Mind you, a Poang is not proportioned for a mid-sized dog.  They lean backwards, the bottom part of the seat isn't flat, and the back is at a good reclining angle.  They also bounce easily.

Rack was bouncing.  Having just got there, he was settling in and the chair's bentwood frame was flexing with his effort.   He bounced.  I realized that it was actually bouncing to his panting.  He was still fearful, still afraid.

The psychology as I see it was simple.  I'm the Alpha dog here.  He's a weak Beta, or even an Omega dog.  What ever baggage he had from his first seven months of life were still there and I have worked with him to get rid of some of it.  He's down to a steamer trunk, a large piece of baggage nonetheless.

We struggled to get his leash and harness on him once I finished my own rituals, and then told him "Let's Go Walk!".

I got the dog equivalent of "Nope.".  He sat there panting and bouncing staring at me with wide open eyes.

How to do this, gently?  I said out loud "I wonder if there is a storm incoming?".

On the word Incoming, Rack became Radar from M*A*S*H.  Or more likely, the entire 4077th.  He snapped to action and flew out of the Poang chair and vaulted to the door moofing the entire way.

I had forgot.  We inadvertently trained him to think "Incoming" was someone at the door.  As "Oh look, someone is Incoming up the driveway and I the Dog have to announce my presence".

Being an Omega, he was moofing unsteadily but doing his job telling us that someone was there.

There wasn't and we still had to get him outside.

It turned out that there was a happy coincidence, Kirby.  My neighbor.

Rack has his favorite people, and Kirby is one of them.  He was going out with his own dog named "D.O.G."  who is a 165 pound Rottweiler crossed with Love Sponge and both of them had made it to the middle of their driveway across the street.  When Rack saw that, the fear vanished and he was in overexcited goofy puppy mode, bouncing and yipping at his long lost friends.

We did manage to spend a bit of time together, and joy of all joys, Rack, and the pack were able to walk together the quarter mile to the far side of the block here. 

How about that.  Sometimes a boom is just a precursor to a really great walk. 

Silly dog!

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