The Real Time Canine II

After spending 2 years writing the Real Time Canine, the adventure continues with The Real Time Canine II. Read along as I look for just the right puppy to continue the experience. After false starts with Tim and Jed, I am currently training young Tam, and Spot, which are both off to a strong start. Please visit the RTC II to read about training sessions as they occur.

Friday, October 8, 2010


There are books piled high on nighstands beside my bed. One was written about the behavior of dogs, and the insights were amazing. I have 5 dogs at the moment and you would think I might know a thing or two. The fact is that I do, but I don't. All my boys, 10 year old Price, 7 year old Mirk, 2 year old Star, 5 month old Jed, and 2 year old Dexter, are constantly teaching me further intricacies of life as a dog. I am often struck by how much I don't know.

While out working yesterday, Star exhibited some odd behavior, and for the life of me, I have absolutely no idea what he was thinking. Given that situation, the very best I could do was walk away, purposefully release my frustration, call him to me, and pet him.

Because of training priorities, and limited space, Price has been getting left home quite a bit when I load up and haul off my property to work dogs. I hate it. He hates it. I feel terrible. He becomes frantic in his kennel as we're leaving. I wear my guilt like a shroud for a while, and what I want to know is whether he's capable of sadness.

Little Jedi is just a young pup. His priority is play, play, play. I love him, I sit with him, I pet him, I walk him, I talk to him, I riffle his coat and kiss his head. But, is it enough? Can there ever be enough when you are youthful, bright, athletic, engaged, bouyant, joyful, and energetic? I think not.

Mirk is my stoic big dog. Through it all he remains steadfast beside me, always with his head near my palm or standing in my path just to say "I'm right here whenever you want me."  Then he trots off to watch me and wait. I know what he's waiting for, but do I give him enough? How would I know? He never, ever complains about anything. The main focus of my training remains on him. He only tries harder. Imported from Wales, he lived in sheepdog heaven before I snatched him up, and moved him to the desert. Was it selfish? Does he hate it here? I'll never know, because he never, ever complains.

Dexter only wants to be wherever I am. He will sacrifice his own well being to be near me. He would rather ride in a sweltering truck than lounge at home in air conditioning. While the other dogs easily trot through tall grass on our walks, Dexie has to hop, skip and jump to stay up with me. I have to be careful not to step on him, and then I carry him. He painstakingly makes deep, warm nests in the rooms where I am, then immediately abandons them if I leave. He repeats the process wherever I go, and hops in my lap every chance he gets. Is that his purpose? What else does he want from life? Simply to put a smile on my face and lower my blood pressure?

The book explained how dogs see the world. That they can smell time, and their vision may not be as good as ours. The author suggested plausible reasons for common dog actions, like marking, and barking at the mailman. I have incorporated some of the ideas into my training methods, but more than anything, the author confirmed what I already knew, that there's more to the dog than meets the eye. And, we are so blessed to have them.


  1. Amen to that!
    I believe I have read the same book your reading.
    Having a horse background does not hurt us either.

  2. What's the name of the book? I feel much the same as you do. My dogs love being with us; don't need much more than that or do they?