Friday, May 30, 2008

woof woof

Andrea is...not the one woofing

This is the sound Amos, my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, is currently making. For a little street with only 4 houses, we have a lot of traffic. And a lot of dogs. So a lot of barking. Today there are 6 dogs between the four of us!

I came home from work to be reminded that we are dog-sitting for the weekend. It was getting dark-ish because I'd left work late, and I found Amos in the yard. The Land Cruiser was gone (nobody home) and they don't usually leave Amos out, so this was unusual. Then another dog emerged from the shadows. Oh, that's right.

So no one is home (strange, because I'm meant to be babysitting Oscar in an hour,but he's not here) and I don't even know what this dog is called. It obeys when I tell it to sit though (after a few gos). And it is ball obsessed. I remember being told this.

At the parks in Brunswick and the beaches in WA I have marveled at the ball-obsessed dogs while Amos is being distracted by everything that moves. I have often pointed the dogs out to him and asked him why he can't be like them (poor parenting, I know!). He ignores his balls (even the squeaky one) when we are out of the house, but is much devoted to them at home. Often even I no longer exist as he tears 100m up the beach after a bird. So these dogs for whom it is all about the ball fascinate me. They show such patience and concentration, their eyes glued to the ball and its every movement, salivating at the thought of a chase.

One woman in Brunswick didn't really need to walk her border collie, she just had to throw the ball in front of her as she walked. Other owners didn't even need to exercise - they just stood and threw.

So I always thought having a dog like this would be cool (especially since Amos will not relinquish the toy once he has fetched it. He loves chasing it, but then wants you to chase him. Not my idea of fun though it is a great way to keep small children amused!).

So now there's this dog in the yard. With the ball. At the door in fact. As I walk around the house, he appears within seconds at the other doors. At the front the back the laundry door...With the ball.

I have spent some time throwing it to him, but he brings it back so quickly that after a few minutes my arm is sore. Meanwhile, in the time it takes Amos to find his ball (which funnily enough, he is very interested in tonight) bring it back, do his lap(s) of honour and eventually put the bloody thing down (or get close enough so I can snatch it off him!), I have thrown the other dog's ball 6 times!

Amos, Casey's ball and Casey lying in wait-->

But I have learned this: It gets old very quickly. Plus the garden is a mess because she (I just checked) tears through everything. Were those palm trunks on the ground this morning? Surely the dog couldn't do that - must have been 'Cyclone' Oscar (the 4 year old) again. But it's hard to resist those expectant looks and sad eyes at the door. Think my arm is going to get a work-out this weekend.

I think Amos is feeling a bit forgotten. I hope he can learn from this dog how to give the ball/toy back, but not how to be so obsessed!

Does anyone know how I can stop him from barking???! Especially when I leave the house at 5am for work? Any suggestions would be most appreciated by the people I am living with and the neighbours!


RennyBA said...

I'm so sorry, but I have no experience with dogs in this situation - as much as I would love to give you some good advices, I cant :-(

Btw: Here from an SU from your Mom. You really have a great blog - keep up the good work - hello from Norway!

Jayne said...

Only thing I can think of is to keep him occupied with a Kong toy - the sort you stuff with dried food treats and he's distracted by it for ages trying to get the goodies out.