Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Dog Park Rules--by Caitlin

Dog park rules are posted on the gate as you come into the dog park. No one pays any attention to them. Most people have never even read them. Here's how the dog park really works.

No new dog may enter the park without submitting to an evaluation. If you are a new dog, you and your owner will be met at the gate by a committee whose task is to surround you and impede your progress into the park until everyone who wishes has sniffed your behind to his/her satisfaction. If you show fear, you will be chased all over the park by the entire committee until 
     a) you have proved your worthiness to belong to the group or 
     b) your owner gets so intimidated that he hustles you out of the park and writes a snarky review on Yelp

If you're in the park and your owner calls you or tells you to do something, you must pretend you didn't hear. Instead, join a large pack of other dogs who are racing around the park and go with the flow.

If anyone starts barking, you bark too--and keep barking until further notice.

If a new human comes into the park, and you weigh at least 80 pounds, you must race up to her and jump up on her chest. Keep on bouncing on her until your owner comes and physically hauls you off.

Drooling must be done only when you're standing over a person. Try to place your muzzle directly over his arms or hands. Failing that, make sure you at least get enough slobber on his clothing that he must immediately get up to look for a towel.

Vigorous wrestling must always be done within 12 inches of one or more seated humans. Ideally, you should place at least one person between you and the other dog.
Too Far Away from People
If you see a wrestling match, you must do one or more of the following:
     a) leap in to join the fray
     b) hump any dog whose backside is exposed
     c) start barking as loudly as you can
     d) grab someone's collar and drag her in a random direction
Considerably Better
Chairs have been placed around the park so that you will have somewhere to mark your territory. Extra points are given for making a puddle on the seat, and you earn the coveted Golden Cataract award if you put your mark on an actual person, as well as on the seat.

One chair must always be left vacant so that Rock Star will have a place to sit.

Any running pack must skid into a sharp turn upwind and within 2 feet of the seated humans at least once during every circuit of the park. Performed effectively, this maneuver will result in a gratifyingly dense cloud of dust that envelops the humans from head to toe, reducing visibility by at least 50%.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Dogs Who Look Like Their Owners

Gas Masks for Dogs

Dogs served on both sides during World War II. And both sides apparently valued them enough to design gas masks for them. Here are some photos:

Gas masks were not just routine for adults and children during the Second World War, but for dogs too. Pictured are two dogs in breathing apparatus either side of a German infantryman in a trench
Dogs Fighting for the Germans in World War II
Dogs have historically been a valuable ally for soldiers in wars. Safety equipment was designed specifically for them
This German Shepherd fought for the British
Amazing pictures have emerged which show how common it was for dogs to be equipped with gas masks during the Second World War. These two Alsatians are about to go out on patrol with two British soldiers
British Soldiers ready to go on Patrol
The Germans apparently thought so highly of dogs that they tried to teach them to speak, read, and spell. They even set up a special school, the Hundesprechshule Asra, which existed from 1930 nearly until the end of the war.
In der Villa Viola, hier ein Blick vom Garten, befand sich die Hundesprechschule. Foto: Thomas Spanier.
The Villa in Leutenberg where "talking" dogs were trained
He talks with his paws

Monday, January 7, 2013

Protecting the Flock?

Yesterday morning, Caitlin was playing happily with a group of her friends when a new dog, one that I don't remember having seen before, came into the park.

Caitlin immediately went on the attack, barking and snapping at the dog as she raced after it.

I tried to call her off. She ignored me.

Relentless, she chased the dog around the park. I tried to distract her--without success. After several futile attempts to recall her, I said apologetically to the owner, "I guess I'll have to take her home."

I got her leash and dragged her away, still glaring back at the dog and barking ferociously.

Since we had walked to the park, I called Rob to pick me up and started walking.

I brought Caitlin back to the park again today, still a bit upset that she had behaved so badly yesterday.

As I was sitting under the pergola watching the dogs play, Max's "mother" approached me.

"Caitlin was right." she said. "You misjudged her yesterday."

I gave her a questioning look.

"After you left, a little pit bull came into the park. That dog bit his face so viciously that his whole head was covered in blood. Caitlin must have known."

I had seen the pit bull. While we were leaving the park  after hauling Caitlin out, I realized that I'd left her bag of treats at the dog park, clipped to the fence just outside the gate to the big dog area. When I returned for it, a little grey pit bull was standing by the gate, his face dripping with blood. It never occurred to me that there was any connection between him and the dog that Caitlin had tried to chase out of the park.

Had Caitlin been trying to protect her friends by running a dangerous dog out of the park? She is, after all, a border collie. Her job is to guide and protect her flock. Was that what she was doing yesterday? She can't tell me, so I guess I'll never know.