by Baxter Black
On the Edge of Common Sense
I’ve got a year-old Australian Shepherd dog. I don’t intend to use him for livestock; his job will be barker. We live in a rural area. The dogs are penned at night and released during the day into a three-acre house and barn lot surrounded by shock collar wire.
We have regular invasions of coyotes and javelina that can make short work of barn cats and outside dogs. Barking is a good deterrent and alarm for intruders.
Back to Rudy, the new dog. From the beginning he was a boisterous, happy, destructive puppy. It was cute when he was three months old, but now it’s a pain! I thought he was genetically goofy but Mr. Jeb, the dog trainer, met Rudy and convinced me the dog was smart, he just needed better training.
After a year has passed, I’ve contained his exuberance and he minds well, but he still gets excited when company comes.
The issue I’m still dealing with is his destructive tendencies. One dare not leave a bag, jacket, pillow, piece of Styrofoam, 69 Ford instruction manual, set of reins, saddle blankets, turkey wrapped in tin foil, pruning shears with wooden handles or electrical wire within his grasp. He is a universal shredder.
He has eaten four of our screw-on pistol spray guns. Other objects that have been wrecked in his wake: placemats, rugs, water jugs, buckets, lamp shades, gloves and a plastic hub cap. I know he knows better. While tearing down an 8 ft. shed made of canvas, I caught him in the act. I chastised him firmly, rolling him in the ragged canvas and shouting, “No! Bad dog!” To this day all I have to do is point to the canvas and he slinks off.
This week he has chewed completely through two of my good heavy-duty fifty foot 7/8 inch rubber hoses and another plastic 30 footer that was rolled up in one of the holders.
I gave him the “Bad Dog!” and spanked him with the hose. To show how well my lesson worked, I left the chewed hose in plain view. The next morning I found it in the other side of the corral.
I called him. He came loping over and saw me holding the hose. I didn’t even have to speak to him. He cowered shamelessly and said, “I didn’t mean to do it! I forgot! It was just there! I was cleaning up the yard! I was going to fix it later! The barn cat made me do it! The coyotes must have moved it! I was going to put it back! It was terrorists! Blame it on the Minute Men, Obamacare, George Bush, illegal immigrants, the Miami Heat, the Catholics, the Baptists, the Mormons . . .” then he paused and said, “What difference does it make anyway?”
Looks like I’m gonna have to restrict his cable television habits.