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June 7, 2023

Worthy to Print Column | Dog Gone It

Do you own a dog? You know, a little puppy to make you smile or a dog that was bred for another reason than to just be your pet. I am not speaking about the wonderful people that spent a lot of their money and time to just make sure that the animal has a decent life.

I own a couple of dogs. These are what might be called big dogs. That is, they aren’t a little Boston terrier like my son has or an English bulldog, which seems to be the dog du jour in my neighborhood. My dogs are a mix between  border collie and Australian shepherd. My dogs, which are far superior to your dogs, have just enough of the good things from their breeds to make them just about perfect.

They are excellent watchdogs and will let us know if a stranger steps on our driveway and especially when they come up to the door. The mailman and UPS carriers know our dogs and understand that they bark. That doesn’t mean that they bend down and pet them. In fact, we don’t encourage our dogs to make friends with everyone that comes to the door. 

We keep them inside the house while we are at home because they are part of our family. They go outside into the backyard when someone is visiting. We don’t have to do this. They wouldn’t do anything to a visitor, but they are so sweet they can disrupt the conversation. They are very obedient, and if you ask my bride she might say they are more obedient than I am. Of course that’s not true. I mind her just as much and will do as she wants so I might get a treat.

I just wanted to tell you that our dogs will bark if a stranger is around. They know what our car sounds like, so they don’t bother if they know we are home. I say that because I am about to go crazy about dogs. I think that every person in our subdivision must own one and that very few know how to train their dogs. 

Dogs are special, they are tamest of all animals that have descended from the days of cave men. Wolf packs had to be dealt with as they were just about the fastest animals that were living then. Those wolves were taller than a man and competed for food in those days. It’s kind of amazing that the dogs that are descended from those wolves that can do all sorts of tricks and still will fit in your pocket. 

Dogs are incredibly loyal and will stay with a person even if they are treated harshly. They love their masters as much as anyone could. However, they get bored easily unless you exercise them and play with them. When dogs get bored they will tell you in the noisiest manner, they do that by barking. They bark if you leave them and bark when you get home unless you acknowledge them. They know what your car sounds like and can tell what you had for lunch. Their senses are so acute it is difficult to fathom. 

They simply ask for a little attention. Again, they will bark for any good reason. Such as a stranger in the yard or another dog crying their eyes out because even their masters do not play with them. Dogs love to go for a walk or chase a ball, thrown by their master. They pretty much will do anything to get the attention of their master. Once one of your dogs hear others barking, they want to let everyone know they live where their master does, more barking. 

Sometimes I wonder how some folks do it. I have a neighbor who lives near me that will be at home while their dogs are wailing to let everyone know where they are. This can be fixed if the master just spends a little time with their pets. All they ask is you let them know when you are leaving and leave something for them to play with. They have to know that there is going to be a time when you will not be with them. 

There is one thing we were taught that has worked for us for years. Never strike your dog for any reason. They have long memories and cannot understand corporal punishment. If they are not responding as you think they should, just make a little game with the prize for obedience is a little treat. Always use the same words for specific responses. 

If you ask if dogs can talk, I would say no, but if you ask if they understand us, then I have to say they can understand words. You know dogs are the only animals that can follow hand signals with only a few lessons. They all want to please you. When Lorraine and I take “Dirt” and “Kodak” for a walk, we try to do something different each time. Often we will tell them to sit at a corner and walk across the street expecting them to stay until we call them. This is just a little game, but they love it.

The only thing that bothers me more than a dog barking is one that is running loose on the street. I may be mistaken about them running loose. Many times they are out of their yard because someone bought or were given a puppy. The puppy will grow as time goes by and then the owner will decide they require a little work from their owners. Since time is the only thing they require, the owner may decide the dog will be better off running loose. 

My page mate, Lucy, will be happy to disabuse you of that thought. Through her nonprofit SCAR she sees a lot of dogs running loose. Many of these dogs will have to be put down if they are creating a nuisance, which they will invariably do; the future will not look bright. 

While my main complaint is the barking, it is not so different from the other things I have pointed out. I have spoken with lots of people that live here and in other locations and they all are flummoxed when they see dogs out of containment. They have no pleasant words for the former or present owners. I just wish they would quit barking.

God Bless.

George Worthy
Gonzales Columnist


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