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Saturday, January 01, 2005

My Fav Dog

Back in the days when I used to work offshore in the diving business, I would be gone for long periods of time, up to 3 months. I was concerned about my wifes security while I was gone and so I thought a dog would be a great addition to the household. We agonized for a while over what type of dog we would get and settled on a Doberman Pinscher. Back then nothing said don't mess with me better than the appearance of a dobie next to you, never mind if the dog was actually mean, it just looked mean as hell. We bought one and decided to train it well, so we purchased several books on training that breed. This is highly recommended by the way, as most dogs have a great capacity for learning almost anything, provided you know how to teach it in a way that is creatively fun for the dog. And yes, you can teach an old dog new tricks, provided you do it correctly.

We quickly learned we had a dog with some exceptional talent for being trained and proved to be the most wonderful companion everywhere we went, even to Europe. We named her Dana, short and easy to say, making it easier for the dog to respond when called upon. Dana eventually learned about 40 different commands, including hand signals and learned a lot of them in french as well, yep my dog spoke french! She also amazingly was a lip reader, if you got her attention she would watch for you to mouth the words silently and actually do what you said for simple words like sit and stay and come. Here are some of the fun things she did:
  • She hated hats, if you put a hat of any kind on your head she treated you like you just beamed in from the planet Zylon and would bark at you like a fool, scaring you silly.
  • Roach murderer, she hated roaches with a passion and would go out of her way to destroy it. She would lie in wait for a roach out of reach on the wall and when it came close enough she would pounce on it and bite it then spit it back out. Lots of fun first thing in the morning to find half chewed roaches on the floor, eww. Very fun to watch though, and she always got her roach!
  • Restaurants in Europe allow you to bring your dog inside, and she loved to lie under our table like she was a queen, with her front legs crossed and watch quietly at everything going on. Waiters would usually bring a small bone or a small bowl of complimentary soup for her and she never failed to draw lots of admiring attention from the other patrons of the eatery. She was very dainty and never made a mess.
  • Very possessive, we walked her in the park a lot and would let her roam free but she would never get out of sight. We would "hide" behind a tree or other object when she wasn't looking and then when she looked and couldn't see us would frantically search for us. When she "found" us she would greet us like we had been gone a week, stubby tail waving and everything. She never failed to do that!
  • Crotch sniffing, the one thing she did that I never could break her from doing. She would do it so very quickly and unobtrusively so that I wouldn't have a chance to rebuff her for it. She was good at it and did it to everyone she got close enough to.
  • She scared the bejeesus out of a cop one day. He came to the front door to take a report on some items stolen from my garage and had a hat on when he knocked at the front screen door. She saw him and charged the door barking like a dog from hell with teeth snarling and he ran to safety outside the front gate, shutting it behind him. I asked him to remove the hat and suddenly he was her best friend and wouldn't stop bothering him for attention.
  • Loved alcohol, never leave an alcohol drink unattended, she would sneak some and not leave any sign that she had lapped some from your glass, she got tipsy very easily, and was fun to watch.
  • Loved to play on stairs, she would run up and down them like it was a roller coaster ride or something and was lots of fun to watch. The first time she encountered stairs though, I had to physically carry her up because she refused to try it. Never heard a dog scream in fear before, but she quickly got the hang of it and ran them so much she drove me nuts!
  • If I left any clothing laying about she would pick it up and sneak it to her bed at night and sleep on it, even dirty socks and underwear and she would get huffy if you retrieved your dirty sock or whatever she had stolen.

So now you're saying finally a post about dogs on it's a dog's life! Needless to say I miss her very much and hope to have another like that someday.

Now, tell me about some of the cool stuff your favorite pet has done!