Sunday, May 15, 2011

Prey Driving Me Crazy

   Aww, look... She's all tuckered out from a week of torturing small, helpless baby animals. Kind of ironic that someone who loves animals as much as me ended up with a four-legged weapon of mass destruction. It's a good reminder that training can't always overcome instinct, and dogs are primitive hunters.
   As if to illustrate that point, we experienced a couple of funny things at the dog park today. First off, as usual, my dogs weren't really feeling it when it comes to playing with other dogs. They'd rather stand around and greet the people. But I take them there for two purposes: socialization with other dogs, and to wear them out. I want them to romp and play. So I was running with them a bit, but struggling to keep them going. I was commiserating with a friendly young woman whose dog was energetic but similarly uninspired.
   Enter the barn swallow. As I was standing there talking with a woman, I noticed in my peripheral vision that Aki and Taylor were zooming around the park in tight loops, crossing each other, heading off in different directions... in short, being crazy. But they weren't chasing a dog, they were chasing a small, agile barn swallow.
   The swallow could have taken off at any moment, yet kept swooping low over the ground, just out of reach of the dogs, as they wildly chased him. He was having a good time teasing them, apparently. We laughed & laughed as the chase continued for several minutes, until everyone got tired and the bird took off. When he appeared later, my guys had given up but a small cocker spaniel took off after it.
   Later on, the dogs decided to follow me, and we went racing into the woods, which finally were green and overgrown again, concealing the trails with leaves. The woman I spoke to earlier had a very large hound mix of some sort (Bloodhound, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Collie? Who knows!) named Cilantro. Cilantro was young and lanky, and she was all too excited to join the chase. I ran as fast as I could. My guys ran up ahead and disappeared into the overgrown bushes.
   Cilantro thought this was a pretty good game and kept up with me, lunging and jumping at me playfully. A couple of times she leapt up and grabbed my leashes, or my jacket, or my forearm. I had to keep holding up my palm and saying, "NO!" or "DOWN!" or "WAIT!" since I had no idea what commands she knew. She listened really well and backed down temporarily, so I wasn't a bit afraid of her rambunctiousness. Until she got really wound up again and suddenly...
   She literally leapt up and wrapped her jaws around my torso from the side, trying to pull me down. She didn't bite down as if she was trying to hurt me, just trying to win the game. I really didn't want to play the part of prey, though, so we slowed a bit and I led her back out of the woods to her waiting owner. Who thanked me for running with her. And I thought, "Yeah, well, I'm glad you didn't see what just happened!!" LOL
   So it just goes to show you that even the sweetest dogs can get carried away when instinct takes over. If you see a person roughly my size wrapped in padding and duct tape at the park, that's just me protecting myself from rampant instincts.