Monday, June 14, 2010

Dog Days

We made another visit to the local farmpark for the working dog weekend. I'm determined that Lo shall learn to love animals, but for now he seems fairly ambivalent about them. Observe his boredom in the poodle video. That poodle has now become my dream dog, btw. Breed an apricot with a chocolate and you get...chocolate cherry! Such a gorgeous auburn color. The dog "works" at a preschool. Other working dogs we got to meet included the lab that is "ears" for her owner; seeing eye guide dogs, Newfoundland water rescue dogs, a police dog, sheep dogs in all their variety, and too many others to count. There were lots of demonstrations, but this terrier one ended up being my favorite: 1. Start with an unassuming largish white rat.

2. Put it at the end of a tunnel.

3. Let dogs loose in the tunnel, and cheer while they "work" the rat.

I couldn't believe how intense these dogs got. They get points for speed and how much they attack the rat at the end. PETA calm down, the rat stays safely inside his wire cage during the "attack." =)And he didn't even seem anxious about the whole thing. Watching these dogs reminded me of my childhood doggy Chrisha. The neighbors called her "rat dog," because I suppose she was a little ratty looking with wirey-coat and scrawny legs. But she also had some literal "rat dog" terrier blood in her, and more than once murdered my pet rabbits when I left them in her reach. Can't blame instinct. I blame myself for being careless.

This notion of instinct was evident when we watched all the different breeds doing what they were bred to do. For instance, the labs trembled with joyous anticipation waiting to be allowed to do their water acrobatics, but the terriers were totally oblivious to the pond beside them. On the other hand, the terriers/dachsunds/etc. went crazy when they caught sight of this rat, but when the red poodle (in video below) came to visit the terrier/rat crowd, she looked more interested in the people around her than any ol' critter.

We are really enjoying our membership to the farmpark. Coming up next month: a woolfest and an ice cream celebration! Any locals care to join us?

(The reason the terrier wasn't filmed at the end is that he ran through the tunnel so quickly, our camera man didn't realize the dog had already passed the glass viewing point). But just imagine the dog biting that wire rat cage so viciously it would give ya nightmares...)


Valerie said...

It's nice to read about Chrisha --good write!

Leila said...

It might take some time for Little to show interest in animals. Cora didn't much attention to them until a couple months ago (she's 10 months now). Now she gets absolutely transfixed by them. We went to a pond to feed ducks today, and she was just staring and staring. It was really cute!