Sunday, January 31, 2010

"Go see!"

I'm trying to teach Emma to be a "responsive" watch-dog. It's not going very well.

But fortunately it's mostly just a game, and not of any real significance since she's already an excellent, alert watch-dog that lets almost nothing get by her here on the place.

But even though she's a good warner, she hasn't the instinct for the whole job that my Rotties did. Murphy, my last one, is a good example. Wherever I happened to be in the house, if I told Murph to "Go see!" he would go briskly to the front door, or the front window if the door was closed. If all was well and nothing in sight he would come back and let me know.

"Who is it?" was also a phrase that jolted him into action, inspiring a similar response wherever we were. If we were outside, it got a slow and careful 360° scan before he would stand down. I never taught any of the Rotties these phrases. They just seemed to know what was expected, especially Murphy who was the smartest critter I have ever known.

None of my Rottweilers (I've owned three males) were really what would be termed aggressive, but they all took the profession seriously. Their profession, as they saw it, was to oversee and protect their domain and, more specifically, me. They were good at their work, too. Yes, yes, I know all the media baloney about these vicious, ravening beasts. And baloney it is. None of the three ever bit anybody or ate any children, but all three were into their "work" 24/7. I may tell stories about that at some later point.

Emma, on the other hand is more of a generalist when it comes to being security director. Her drives and her specific intelligence just don't go in that direction. I'm not complaining. If we're afield and I say "Where's the bird?" she's off in search and there's no mistaking what she's after. When she looks at me at fifty yards, as if awaiting instructions, all I have to do is point at where she should go and she is there and working almost instantly. Despite the "Go see!" game, I am more than happy with that.

Like people, dogs have their mind-sets and their foibles. Mags, for instance, believes that security is somebody else's job. If Emma barks she will jump up on the couch and look out the front window, but she herself never barks. Unless Emma steps on her or otherwise transgresses.

I guess these differences are part of why I find dogs so satisfyingly interesting. And why I don't really care if Emma never gets "Go see!"


Sharon said...

Ain't dogs the coolest. The two I currently have are a lot of company, plus I feel safe with them around. The cats could care less, but my dogs protect me and this property.

Rio Arriba said...

Sharon, Thanks for your comment. Yes, dogs are the "coolest." I've had dogs (or they've had me!) literally all my life. They have been a great blessing and some of my best friends. They have taught me much. Like the man said "The more people I meet, the more I like my dogs."

Sven said...

We lost our fine Collie, Nate, after 12 grand years. He loved to herd and protect his "flock". Which could mean anyone in his yard. Yessir, they are the "coolest".

Story here:

Kansas Scout said...

Nice post. I would enjoy reading more dog tales on security.

Rio Arriba said...

Losing a beloved dog is among the very hardest things we ever experience.

KS, Thanks. I've been thinking about writing more about the dogs in my life. And there's a guy on death row right now who met one of my furry friends one time. Kind of interesting story. I'm convinced that my ex is alive today because of him and his unswerving love for her. I've been trying to write that for a while now. Maybe soon.

theotherryan said...

I don't think Rots are all murderous man eaters by any means. If anything most statistics show the common biters are yipping type little dogs. However if a Rot (or a pit, etc) decided to do harm to somebody it is a serious problem for them.

Some breeds are more dangerous than average but then again nice guns and fast cars are dangerous also. Just another risk I guess.

Kansas Scout said...

I know of at least one would be thief who entered a gas station window back in the 60's and never left that building alive. The gore was unreal. German Shephard. After that most Gas Stations had them for night duty. I worked at one that had a huge Shep. Scariest dog I ever knew.
and yes, nothing could be worse than to part with an old friend who happens to be a dog.