Monday, November 29, 2010

Confident Deer vs. Stupid Dog

Dixie "The Urinator"
About 2 years ago, we adopted dog named Dixie.  Prior to Dixie, we had two small (like 5lb small) dogs which, while loved, were pretty much useless.  One of the problems with small dogs is they linger on..... forever.  Abby (one-eyed, arthritic, bag-of-bones with skin spray-painted over them) finally went toes up and was promptly double-bagged and put in the freezer awaiting a good sale on trees.  The kids wanted to plant her under a tree which is now, surprisingly, called Abby's Tree (Yes, they are a creative bunch).  I look forward to Abby's Tree growing and taking out the garage in a high wind!  (Obviously, I was upset about her passing). 

Something to keep in mind, when you are looking to adopt a dog (which honestly, I wish more people would do), you need to learn a new vocabulary.  "Spirited" or "High energy"  means "crazy and will likely tear through the sheet rock to get outside after seeing a squirrel".  "Doing pretty well with potty training" means the animal will relieve itself on the carpet only 78% of the time.  "Does not do well with children" means the dog is a nearly rabid, feral and has mauled at least one family after its initial adoption.  (How do you think they found out it "does not do well with children"?)  "The dog weighs 30lbs" means "we know if we share the true or projected weight of this animal, it will scare off some good families but honestly, you should anticipate the dog being AT LEAST 50% heavier than 30lbs".

Luckily, we avoided all of these traps other than the weight issue (a fact my loving wife frequently points out).  Dixie is an intelligent, healthy, happy, potty-trained, crate-trained 30(45)lb lovable mutt who quickly became a loved member of the family.

Determined to not repeat the errors of my past with marginally trained, useless, tiny dogs, we trained Dixie with a variety of helpful commands such as "sit", "stay", "down", "drag your sphincter on the floor", etc.  Per the books and videos we watched on the subject, these were all combined with hand signals so, when the dog becomes deaf, they will still respond to your desired instructions. 

I also wanted a dog who could go out and be trusted "off leash" so early on, we started to experiment with longer leads and more off-leash time in controlled environments.  About 3 months after adoption, Dixie was doing extremely well off-leash and I was become increasingly confident about letting her walk outside with me without walking or running off. 

One day in the early summer, I let Dixie out in the front yard about 2PM.  As soon as the garage door was up 18", I knew something was up.  She flew under the door and took off after something.  I assumed it was a squirrel or perhaps a dreaded neighborhood cat.  I was wrong.  When the garage door raised to the point I could see, there, standing in the side yard was a LARGE doe with two fawns, each running in 2 different directions at the same time.  (Our neighborhood backs up to some large tracts of woods and seeing deer is quite common.  Seeing them in the middle of the afternoon is, however, quite uncommon.)

Dixie started barking ferociously and closed the gap on the doe to about 15 feet before she stopped.  To my combined humor and horror, the doe casually lowered her head and just stood there, staring down the dog.  The two fawns were running every which way and momma was just standing there, calm as a cucumber.  Dixie approached, very curious about what this "thing" was and the doe, more calmly than before, rears back and literally jumps on my dog.  With a common goal in mind, Dixie started yelping and I started yelling, trying to get them separated.  Dixie was able to get away back to her 15' comfort zone but, being stupid, decided to give it another try and started to move in on the Ice Queen doe again.

Now keep in mind, the entire reason I let the dog out was for her to urinate.  Upon the next Matrix-like, flying, kicking attack, the doe connects with Dixie who is now, on her back, yelping and urinating all over herself like a lawn sprinkler with a cracked washer.  NOW I'm worried my dog is about to get killed and I start yelling louder and clapping my hands.  The doe looks at me and Dixie makes a break for it, charges into the still open garage, and, despite lacking opposable thumbs, practically picks the lock trying to get back inside the house.

The next night, there were 3 deer across the street in a neighbor's yard.  Dixie took extreme interest in a pill bug on the ground.

No comments:

Post a Comment