Bad Boy Buster, Temptation and Dog Whispering

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Handsome Buster loves DH and going after cats, deer, racoons and rabbits.

“Buster doesn’t chase,” says DH, “he’s part Australian Shepherd. He herds.”

DH talks about the time he saw Buster “herd” 23 deer. According to DH, Buster  flat-out ran after them yipping his deer yip and drove them into our woods.

“I wish I had a camera,” DH says. “Buster was so proud.”

Unfortunately, Buster could someday pay a price for his happiest moments.

Neither Buster, or our other dog, Abby always come when called. Deer, rabbits and squirrels are too enticing. Interesting trails are also irresistable.

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Temptation…notice the deer tracks on the trail in our woods.

Sometimes it’s a long time before the dogs come back.  We worry. There are nearby roads and neighbors protecting livestock.  In the fall there is hunting season and hunters.

Oh, and the smell. Our dogs roll in deer poop. They eat horse poop. Smelly marsh muck clings to feet, legs and bellies. Which makes their indiscretion all the better. The dogs practically smile as they pant.

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Buster and Abby run through the willows.

Buster is not only a hunter, he is also a natural herder. Part lab, with a little border collie and a lot of Australian shepherd, Buster often does the snaking neck and goes into a herding crouch. His  “stare down” is intimidating. As jealous as the most suspicious wife Buster guards DH. His “look” effectively keeps rivals out of the same room.

“Buster…noooooo,” I say, gathering up a cowering Abby or cat wanting to be with us.  Buster retreats still sneaking in his glares.

“Mom, why does Buster act so nervous around you?” my daughter asked on her last visit.

“Because, I’m training him. He’s learning to walk on a leash,” I told her. Which didn’t adequately describe the experience of a gagging, gasping and squealing Buster trying to escape.

“Awwwwww, poor Buster, you’re choking him,” said DH.

“Don’t say awwwwww in front of him. We need to act like this is no big deal. Maybe if he can’t see you…”

Miraculously, that worked.

 Soon after DH went into the house Buster  was walking at my side in a way that if it wouldn’t make Cesar proud, was at least respectable. 

Our other dog, Abby, took to the leash as if  she had gone through obedience school as a pup. Even when visiting the vet, she prances and her tail wags. 

Sadly, more often than not, snap on a leash and Buster’s head goes down, along with his ears and tail. His eyes are mournful and sad. He looks at DH pleadingly.

“What have I done to deserve this abuse?”

I have had to compromise on leashes.

The dogs are tethered by our voices during the day on walks. After dusk, when the deer and rabbits are out, DH says we will use leashes. He also agreed to leashes during hunting season.

Admittedly, my insistance that we  use leashes in the veterinary office makes them more horrendous for Buster. He hates the vet. Before leash training, Buster once got away from DH and crawled under our jeep in the veterinary parking lot.

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DH, Abby, Buster, our woods and our trails.

Today, on our walk, temptation again won out over training. We hadn’t gone far before the dogs smelled something and took off.

Fortunately, Abby wasn’t gone long. And DH had an idea.

Instead of calling and calling for Buster, and then going into the woods trying to find him,  DH turned the other way and headed toward the house.

As he walked, he praised Abby, “Good girl, Abby. Good dog, Abby.” he said loudly, ” What a good Abby…I like Abby best.”

Guess who came running?

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“Beautiful Buster”

Other posts including Buster are:

http://jolynna.wordpress.com/2007/07/09/the-cat-ladder/

http://jolynna.wordpress.com/2007/06/10/the-cat-box/

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  1. paperseedblog’s avatar

    Great story. My dog still pulls on the leash during the first half of our walks. I pretty much despair that I’ll ever break him of that habit, but I haven’t given up hope.

    Reply

  2. jolynna’s avatar

    Thanks, paperseedblog.

    There are just so tempting things to sniff on walks… but good for you for hanging in there and not giving up!

    Reply

  3. Simply Marvelous’s avatar

    “I like Abby best”. How clever !

    Reply

  4. Daniel’s avatar

    Hi,

    Very interesting story. Dogs are wonderful beings.They are social beings.There training had to be started from there tender age. At that age they get learn the things easily and grasp them. The training has to be started from the basics like to sit ,stand etc, then they can easily obey our directions. I came to know a site which has more information on Dog Obedience Training. log into it for more information.

    Reply

  5. Bala’s avatar

    Hi Jolynna, Thats smart of DH. We can get our little bird Nikko to do things, as he is like Buster – has to be the center of attention! Good luck on the leash training. We are also thinking of starteing a formal training for Amy – she is great on walks without leashes, but once you put them on, its like she has to pull!

    Reply

  6. healingmagichands’s avatar

    I loved this story. I live in town, so perforce Ruby learned to walk on a leash at a very young age. I think the clue to Happily Leashed Canine is to put it on them when they are really little and don’t know any better and tell them how wonderful and smart they are. Then they learn to like it.

    You should count your blessings that there is no heron poop for your dogs to roll in. You think horse and cow stuff is bad. . . Think rotting fish.

    Reply

  7. merrimerri’s avatar

    Sounds like the reverse psychology works on dogs too..that is smart!
    LOL at I like Abby best…

    Reply

  8. jolynna’s avatar

    Thanks for your input, Simply Marvelous, Bala, healingmagichands and merrimerri.

    Simply Marvelous and Merrimerri,

    DH did use reverse psychology! It is amazing how animals can be doing one thing and STILL know about something going on in another room (or part of the woods) and show up out of nowhere so as not to miss out.

    Open a potato chip bag or cheesies at our house and we are immediately surrounded by both dogs and two of the cats. They have magic ears, I think.

    Bala,

    I never would have imagined a bird being jealous. That must be something to see. With your two dogs and that jealous bird, it sounds like it is never boring at your house!

    Healingmagichands,

    I think you are right and that it is best when dogs learn to walk on a leash at a young age. DH never had them on a leash before he married me, so the poor things had to adjust to a new stepmom’s rules.

    Ohhhh….I cannot imagine heron poop! I’d be on the dog’s bad list for sure if they rolled in that. B-word (bath) time. We have to spell or say B-word because the dogs can’t be caught if they hear the word bath.

    Reply

  9. jolynna’s avatar

    Hi Daniel,

    You and healingmagichands are right in that it is important to start training dogs when they are puppies.

    Thanks for your link.

    Reply

  10. imagineannie’s avatar

    This story (particularly the end, when Buster’s behavior was modified by ample praise for his “sister) proved my long held supposition that dogs are in many ways like children – eager to please and be loved, but requiring firm guidance and repetition. I’ve done much better with my children than with my dogs, though…..

    Reply

  11. barngoddess’s avatar

    what a good story! The photos are great too.

    Im glad Buster is trying to ‘reform’. Hopefully, he’ll stick with his good behavior and get praised like Abby

    Reply

  12. letters’s avatar

    Hi,
    I’m sorry to have to be the bearer of bad news, but I’m trying to get a blogging thief in China to stop stealing content from WordPress bloggers.

    I am one of them, and now I see that you are too.

    Your post in china:
    http://www.booknn.cn/index.php/life/48426/birthday-girl

    Please contact this blogger asap and tell him that he has no right to steal your material and to take it down immediately.

    Also please contact google adsense, as he has google ads draping the stolen material.

    regards,
    ian in hamburg
    ps: for more info please go to the wordpress.com forums and search under “stolen” or check recent posts on my blog.

    Reply

  13. jolynna’s avatar

    Hi Imagineannie,

    You don’t usually think of animals having emotions like jealousy that are usually associated with people. But, Buster definitely didn’t want to be left out of getting the praise Abby was getting.

    I think you are right in that they are very much like children.

    Reply

  14. jolynna’s avatar

    Thank you, Barngoddess.

    I hope Buster will stay reformed, too. He is really loving. And his face is so expressive, he can be hard to resist. I don’t want anything to happen to him.

    Reply

  15. jolynna’s avatar

    Thanks for your help, Letters.

    I am a newbie blogger and had no idea this went on. Your site has a lot of information about the problem and how to handle it.

    http://lettershometoyou.wordpress.com/2007/08/07/please-help-me-get-google-to-pull-their-ads-from-a-blogging-thief/

    Thanks again.

    Reply

  16. rockyroadoflove’s avatar

    What wonderful dogs! It sounds like a great life, except for the hunting part. We have two dogs in town in a fenced-in backyard. But they still hunt shrews and squirrels and possum and garden snakes. We don’t mind the occasional dead shrew, squirrel, or possum, but we hate for them kill the snakes.

    Reply

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