Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Command Shrapnel and the Collateral Damage Dog

Admit it.  Most dogs are badly trained.

Actually I should say that most if not almost all owners are badly trained and their dogs show it as a result.

Walking around the neighborhood, I see far too many stereotypes of small dogs.  Yapping, barking, straining at the leash.  The owner is apologizing, or worse.  Whispering comments of "No, Dear" does not instill any confidence.  The three pound bedroom slipper had decided a long time ago that this clown at the other end of the leash is not the leader, so I will be.


If you think it's only yappers that do that, you're mistaken.

See, I don't normally worry about the middle of the pack.  The comfortable 40 to 50 pound dogs.  For some reason people see them as the sweet spot.  Not consciously, but in how they treat them.  It is rare that I see a midsized dog acting stupidly untrained as a bedroom slipper.  But it does happen, rarely.

However, you get to the big boys and now you have a different problem.  The Loaded Gun.  Somehow that 70 plus pound dog realizes that Mr Owner is not quite where he could be.  Mrs Owner is trying to walk a 100 pound beast and the pup knows that she can get pulled down.  So they're sly and wait.  There will come a chance when they can have a little bit of freedom.  They may be runners, or barkers, or worse.

What happens in any of those cases? 

I'm learning that Rack is learning.  We know that the easiest thing that you can do with a Herding Breed dog is to get them out and keep their minds busy.  Long walks.  Very long walks.  It helps that I am up before 5AM every day for the most part.  At 5AM the neighborhood is quiet.  Trucks are just starting to refuel the businesses for the next day.  The bus lines are beginning to get moving.  But not like another hour later when everyone is rushing for the office.

So, walk we do.  That first walk is usually around a mile and a half.  Helps keep the weight off both of us.  I'm rather happy not to be a stereotype of the fat dude sitting polishing a chair all day with his butt.

The good thing is it also keeps Rack happy.  He gets going and it requires a lot of management.  Lots of Come On, and Good Boy, and Lets Go, and This Way.

Where it gets amusing is when Command Shrapnel hits my dog and causes him to become Collateral Damage.

We'll be walking along and I'm doing basically what boils down to Threat Assessment. 

You hear barking first. 
Then you spot the dog.
It's already seen you, but you knew that.
Rack's tail had been wagging, then it stopped. 
Now the tail is hanging behind him.
Ears were perked, but have been flicking nervously.

I start to hear the commands.
The other person is saying things like "quiet" or "down".

Then a "Sit!"
Rack Sits.

The other owner gets confused.
He barks another order.  "Come here!".

While his dog is being insane about the presence of another person and heaven forfend, another dog, on its planet, he is firing off a volley of commands to his dog.

None of them work.  He simply does not have any kind of control over his relationship with the dog, the environment, and basically life.

What he has done is to give us a lot of information among the firing range approach of commanding a dog.

Not that it works, mind you.

But what he has done was to inform us that he has no idea what he is doing with his own dog. 

He's also amazed.  Rack Sat.  "How did you do that?" 

He's a McNab dog.  If you can't train a McNab, you can't train a dog.  I say "I didn't, he listens."

"He's collateral damage.  He was listening to you, decided this was for the best."

I'm getting a really confused look at this point from the other owner. 

"Rack?"  I get brown eyes in a field of black with a white stripe looking up at me.  A Smile on Canine lips.
"Rack, come on, lets go!"

Rack happily agrees and we plod on our way.

He's learning.  While other dogs can be fun, the crazed leaping of a greeting is only to be reserved for friends.  He is also part Mountain Goat, especially where D. O. G. is involved.

D. O. G. is one of two Rottweilers in my area.  For a while, they were the dog-weapon of choice.  Now they moved onto Pit Bulls and have ruined that breed's reputation.  D. O. G. is just a sweet pile of 165 pounds of love inside a big block of a head.

So much so that he will whine when he's out front of his house so that I will come over to visit.  Now mind you, the entire time, I'm firing off my own Command Barrage.  Rack DOES listen, but when he's excited there's a limit to that.   D. O. G. is one of his favorite "people".  He will actually whine at my front door when he spots him through the glass.  His owner makes Rack forget just about all training and become a stupid wiggly puppy goofball love sponge that doesn't understand how to follow the rules until he blows off some energy.

I'll hold him back to burn some of that off and let Kirby, D. O. G.'s Owner approach at his own speed.

Yes "Deeohgee".  Or "Dio".  Or giant love sponge.  You choose.

At this point the leaping goes nova and Rack is climbing higher to get closer to Kirby who he has been casting googoo eyes at through the glass all day.  Every time Kirby's car or motorcycle starts, Rack does his ground hog impression and peeks at him through the window. 

Yes. Rack has jumped on top of D. O. G.'s back.  And Dio is just too sweet to stop him.  Kirby pets Rack a bit, then helps him off or I help him off Dio's back, I forget exactly which. 

But yes, even well trained dogs have their stupid moments.  Luckily for me, my own Omega, Rack the McNab SuperDog (TM) is  not snapping at others.

He just ends up being Collateral Damage from Shrapnel in a Command Barrage.

It even happens when watching TV.  He's "Come Here" to the TV.  "Sit" to Cesar.  Even "Roll Over" to other shows. 

I didn't know he knew that and it didn't happen often.

But what do you expect?  After all, he knows how to say "Yes" by nodding his head when you ask him if he wants to go out, or even in, or for a ride.

That's a McNab.  They sometimes even train themselves.

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