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1. Back in 2000, I started getting a real education in dog behavior/training, once I had acquired a 3 year old Husky which had never been properly disciplined or trained, and had been allowed to do as he pleased. One morning he slipped his training collar and took off. I chased and hunted for him for around 3 hours or more, while he played hide and seek. I finally intercepted his path as he was about 60 yards away and coming towards me, but not yet noticing me. Since he had cornered a little girl earlier and growled at her, as well as having growled at a few other people that morning, my mind was made up, and the dog was about to use up his last chance, having obtained quite a reputation during the month or two I had owned him. I was wondering if he hadn't just went beserk, though he hadn't bitten anyone.
I aimed my rifle at his head and said to myself, under my breath, "either he quits roaming now, or he's done". I had no sooner said that, when he stopped dead in his tracks, looked at me for a moment, turned around and headed for the house. He was there when I got back, and turned out to be a manageable, obedient and loyal dog. It was with this dog that I decided that force training alone wasn't enough, and started mixing other methods in with force training.
I'm almost appalled nowadays, that I would have shot my dog, but I really thought that he had gone beserk or something. I grew up around primarily farmers & hunters, and the mindset sometimes is, that shooting a wild dog is merely a distasteful chore. As stated elsewhere, I've learned a lot about dog handling/management during the past ten years or so, and am still learning something nearly every day. (Todd Slee)
2. I was working 2nd shift in 2006 when my Dad died, and though he died quite peacefully, and the temperature on the day of his funeral was 70 degrees, on January 12th, a few days after the funeral I started getting depressed. There were several times during the next 3-4 weeks that I slept thru the alarm clock, and really didn't care if I got up at all. But my Black Lab Whopper, who had always slept at my side or somewhere close, would root his nose under my head, and then under my chest, giving me no choice but to get up, which enabled me to get to work on time. (Todd Slee)
3. Our first family dog, a heinz 57 named Lady, was lying around on the porch one day, being pestered by a kitten, just continuously. Dad had trained her to not kill the cats some time back, but she was having a hard time refraining. This had gone on for probably 45 minutes or so, and so finally, she picked the kitten up by the scruff of the neck, such as the mother carries them, walked out into the yard with it, dropped it into the grass, then walked back onto the porch and laid down. (Todd Slee, about 1976)
4. I had a 110 pound Doberman at one time, and he was behaved pretty good. But my wife had this one friend who never liked the dog and always snubbed him, and the dog resented that, especially since she was over at the house all the time. One night while my wife, her friend and I were sitting around talking, the dog walked in the living room, jumped up on the friend's lap, turned around and passed gas right in her face, jumped back down, and went back to his bed. I had never seen anything so funny in all my life. (Wayne-Peru, IN)
5. When I was a kid, around 9 or 10, a neighbor down the road had a rather large German Shepherd, whom guarded his master's premises, being a business. His name was Sam, whom just loved kids, but whom also took his job as guard quite seriously, and was king of the domain, second only to Dick, his master. Sam would never hurt a kid, although if kids were around and up to mischief, he certainly would become a bit stern, and herd them away without harming them. An adult, I'd never advise trying to steal from there. Anyway, around that time Dick got another German Shepherd, and named him George, whom didn't differentiate between large or small humans, seeing only intruder or guest. Some of us kids didn't help the matter, seeing as how we would kick at him when he chased us on our bikes, having been scared of him. One day while my sister, my cousin and myself were walking past, George ran out like he was on fire, right toward us, no holds barred. It just so happened that Sam was nearby, sensed/seen what was going on, and stood on George, herding him back to the house. I think that's the time I learned to not tease/antaganize a dog. (Todd Slee, around 1975, dogs owned by Dick, Roann, IN. That act was probably not taught to Sam, but being a German Shepherd, they do have the herding instinct in them, originally being bred to guard & herd sheep).
6.Jon Paul & his family had raised several different Dobermans while he was growing up, and at this time had one whom someone had dumped off one winter, well into adulthood. They named him Sam, and he was a very jealous protector of their domain. If you pulled in, Sam was loose and nobody was home, it was wise to remain in your vehicle, unless you were brave and a fast runner. But Sam listened to the family, and was well behaved, especially considering that he had likely been seriously abused by whomever dumped him. Jon and me had a game we played. When I went there, I'd walk to the corner of the house, and Jon would have Sam by the collar, at the door, about 20 feet from the corner. As soon as I poked my head around the corner, Jon would let Sam go. I'd run around the house, or jump up a tree on one of Sam's really fast days, and I could get into the door just as Sam would be nipping at my heels. After a partial summer of that, weekly or more, we did it again, and just as I rounded the far corner of the house, there Sam stood. I came to an abrupt halt, and Sam's low, throaty growl penetrated clear down to my soul. At sixteen and pretty rough, not much phased me, but Sam did. I sort of tiptoed around him while holding my breath and praying, and that old Dobe got the biggest, toothiest smile I have ever seen on a dog. He was THE GUARD of that property, was quite able, let you know who had the real attitude, and enjoyed flaunting it on occasion. (Todd Slee, around 1981. Sam owned by Paul, Roann, IN. This dog was a credit to his breed, and to guard dogs everywhere. He never really bit anyone except a family friend whom tried to be a bully one time, and then it was just a momentary clamp.)
7. As an extension to #6, I only ever petted Sam twice; once at Jon's insistence, one stroke on his head, before being snapped at, and one other time for a couple of minutes, after being home on leave after completing US Army basic training, at Sam's bidding. It was as though he understood, and honored me, noting the difference between a rowdy, sixteen year old farm hand full of piss & vinegar, and a lot of mischief, and a conditioned soldier, able and ready to go fight and die. (Todd Slee, around 1984. Sam owned by Paul , Roann, IN)
8. A part boxer named Magic, used to be quite an escape artist, always throwing his collar. Finally, the owner bought a harness which was specifically designed to keep a dog from getting loose, and actually even guaranteed that no dog could get loose. But Magic did. He would twist his body a certain way, and flip the whole thing off. It was quite interesting to watch, according to Dennis. (Magic owned by Jon, Lagro, IN)
9. When Dennis lived in Wabash near Container Corporation, he drove a truck. There are trucks coming and going constantly in and out of Container, hardly ever a letup. When Dennis would go home, he would park his truck a little over a block away from the house, which was a block away from container. As soon as the airbrakes button was pulled on Dennis's truck, his Sheltie, Jojo, would prick up his ears and start running around and barking, knowing that Dennis'd soon be walking into the door. (Jojo owned by Dennis , Roann, IN)
10. Lady, our first family dog, having some Labrador, some Spaniel, and who knows what else, had excellent sound differentiation also. We lived on a gravel road, which was lined with trees, blocking the view of the road until the last 1/8th mile. The house was 1/2 mile from a paved road. Any number of cars could turn and come past, the tires on gravel audible shortly after turning onto the gravel, and Lady hardly noticed. But once Mom or Dad's vehicle turned onto the gravel, Lady would race around frantically, knowing that they were headed home. (Todd Slee, around 1972-1982)
11. Halle, a German Shepherd living on the outskirts of town, used to be an escape artist. She has a plenty big back yard to run in, which is surrounded by a 6 feet tall, chain link and wooden fence. But as she used to love to roam, she wood climb both the wooden and chain link fence. Not only that, but her owner has caught her climbing over the chain link gate, which is topped by two strands of barbed wire, spaced about a foot apart, making the gate around 7 1/2 feet tall. That is a rather notable feat, especially since many dogs won't climb unless they're taught to. (Halle, named after the actor Halle Berry, owned by Jerry & Becky, Roann, IN)
12. Duchess, a Golden Retriever living out in the country, has a funny habit. There are several neighbors within 1/4 mile, a couple of which put table scraps outside for cats and coons. Duchess likes to not only eat the scraps, but she also seems to consider taking the empty bowls back to her owner a required table duty. Her owner ends up with a varied collection of pots, pans and plates, which she washes and eventually gets back to her neighbors. (Duchess owned by Joy, Roann, IN)
13. Mike has two dogs, a Collie/Lab mix and a Collie/Chow Chow mix, which have an interesting habit or two. When it's raining while he's fed, the one will pick his bowl up and carry it into the barn to eat. When he's done eating, he will not only carry it back outside, but will flip it over so that the inside of the bowl stays dry. The other one will dump his food into a hole that he lies in, eat what he wants, and leave the rest of it for later, lying on top of it to protect it from the weather. (Mike Hettsmanberger-Roann, IN)
14. Todd H. has an Airedale on his farm, which came back from the woods one morning all tore up after tangling with a pack of coyotes. After a few weeks of totally recovery, Todd told me that 2 or 3 mornings per week, there would be a dead coyote on the doorstep or in the yard, and that once he seen the dog coming in from the woods dragging one. That dog waged war on that pack for awhile. (Todd H.-Wabash, IN)
15. Leroy used to have a Chow with a unique habit, which seemed to contradict a normal habit. His normal habit when needing to go outside was to go to the door and stand there, never barking to go outside, then he would bark just once to come back in. Leroy's sons liked to shoot guns, but the dog didn't like guns because he had been shot before by someone or another. One day when they were target shooting, the dog, from inside the house, kept barking, and would only stop when Leroy stepped inside, only to start up again soon as Leroy went back outside. After several times of that, Leroy stepped inside and stayed inside, whereupon the dog barked no more. Apparently that Chow was worried that Leroy would get shot.
(Leroy-Miami County, IN)
16. When Josh was growing up, they had a Rat Terrier/Chiuaua mix, which would crawl into bed with anyone whom was sick, until they fell asleep, then go lay down in her bed. When she got to be 14 years old and pretty decrepit, and it looked like she wasn't long for this world, so Josh's Dad dug a hole, in preparation for ending the beloved pet's suffering. A couple of days later, Princess was found to have crawled into the hole and died. Sad, of course, but synonymous with the sixth sense of man's best friend. (Josh-Roann, IN) (Posted 8-27-2010)
17. Ronna had a dog named Dumbbell, which when given a bowl of mashed potatoes to eat, promptly buried them, and a day or two later, dug holes all around them, apparently looking for them to eat, unless there's some reason for that behavior which we do not understand. (Ronna-Roann, IN) (Posted 8-27-2010)
18. Dale has a dog which recently accomplished a noteworthy feat. While on the chain tie off, he managed to catch not only a rabbit, but a possum as well, both in the same night. (Dale West-Roann, IN) (Posted 11-07-2010)
19. When Jeff had a walking post office route up north, there was a Border Collie which followed along with him every day on the 15 mile long mail delivery trek. (Jeff-Roann, IN)
20. Josh & Kate have a young Black Lab which is quite smart. They had called the paper to complain about not getting one for a week or two. They came to find out that the dog would go out to the paper box, jump up and keep bumping the box with his head, until the paper scooted close enough to the opening for him to grab it, and take off with it and tear it to shreds. (Josh Hemingway-Roann, IN)
21. When Bill ran a mail route, Hank had a Doberman that was quite protective and one which didn't care for many visitors (typical Dobe), so Bill would pull up to the door and honk, whereupon someone would walk out and get the mail. One day, when the Mrs. came out to get the mail, a grandchild (toddler) followed her out, unknown to her or Bill. She went back in, and as Bill started to back up, the Doberman started barking and jumping up and down, right behind the car. Bill didn't want to run over him, so he stopped and pondered what to do, when all of a sudden the Mrs. ran out and grabbed the toddler whom was right behind the car. So that Dobe saved the toddler's life. (Bill Hetzler-Urbana, IN)
22. Randy, in his upper middle age, tells us that when he was a teenager and dating, that the family dog would bite every girl he ever took home, right on the cheek of the butt, not hard, but just enough to let the recipient know that he was there, as soon as she put her hand on the doorknob to leave. However, his wife of many years, never once got bit. Apparently that dog knew whom the best choice was for a wife for Randy-Randy, Silver Lake, IN
23. Dennis has a Black Lab whom disappeared for 2 weeks some time ago, then came home and lay around for 2 weeks. He had been hit by a car. This goes to show that dogs do know, due to instinct, when to take it easy. Dennis B.-Roann, IN
24. Thurm and his wife have a daughter with a Wemareiner that saved her life a few years ago. She and her husband were sleeping, and it was an hour or two before time to get up. The dog woke them up due to barking and growling, being all excited. They knew something was wrong, and upon looking around they discovered a gas leak. Normally, she smoked a cigarette upon getting up in the morning, and if not for the dog, once getting up for work, she would likely have been blown up.-Thurm, Roann, IN (posted 10-2011)
25. Vonell had a dog, a German Shepherd/Saint Bernard mix, which would always bark when someone pulled into the driveway. Nothing out of the ordinary, and quite expected from a guard dog. However, he learned something on his own: when a car was yet a ways off and had the turn signal on, he would bark when the car was still a distance off. Vonell K-Roann, IN
Todd A. Slee
9750 S 450 W
South Whitley, IN 46787
This is a section devoted to spontaneous and occasional, rare or once in a lifetime deeds that a dog does, which thing they have never been taught by a human. It can be in conjunction with a task which they have been taught, or in line with an inherited instinct, but the main act is something which could be called either an act of God or just one of those strange and rare occurrances.
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