“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.
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.
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.
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?
Other posts including Buster are: