Tuesday, May 09, 2006

If they all came out, they all have to go back in.

Putting the dogs back in their kennels after a playtime is a complicated little dance. It is quite similar to the begging, cajoling, bribing and threatening that it takes to get my kids to leave a friend’s house.

There are the dogs that you just call and open the gate. But for every one of those you get, you get two of the ‘I’m not going and you can’t make me' breed. That would be when the begging, cajoling, bribing and threatening comes in. There really is an art form to the entire process and you just have to know what kind of dog you have to get it to work.

There is Tessie who has to be the last one out and the first one put back in. If you mess this up, she will whip into every kennel to grab a toy or a mouthful of food.

There is the kennel pile up. This is when too many dogs cluster around the kennel that invariably belongs to a timid dog that is now cowering behind the crowd at his door. Poor Emmy is suffering from this. She wants to be the first one to go in, but can't cut through to her door.

There are ones that will only go in if I stand inside their runs. This can be tricky for me to get out with them remaining inside. Smokey suffers from this problem, which is aggravated by the fact that he has a giant rawhide in his kennel that every other dog wants. So in his case, every dog but him will leap into his run.

There are the ones that only listen if they are on a lease. Also tricky to get the lease out and keep the dog in. Daisy was pulling this stunt for a while, but now she has the hang of our routine.

The Make Me’s are the most trying of all. There are the itty bitty dogs that no one teaches to come. Those you have to chase and grab and place in the run. Big Make Me’s are another story. You can get behind them and try to shove. You can get in front of them and try to pull. This when I usually pull out a milkbone; we are not above bribery here at the ranch.

Then there are the Last’s. The dogs that have to be the very last one in or they won’t go in. This is a huge problem when you have two Last’s. They will stay and run and play forever as you yell yourself hoarse trying to get their attentions. The foolproof way to break up this fun is to let A get in B’s kennel and vise versa. Never underestimate a dog’s conviction that the other dog has it better than him. This tends to lead to both eating the other’s dinner, but that is a risk I am willing to take to get them all put away. I have a number of Last's this week: BB, Daisy, Smoky, and Roxy. Playtime has ended up a lot longer than usual this week.

There are the Bouncer's. These are the dogs that like to bounce me off the fencing. You absolutely must let these ones out or in last, or they will nail you while you are looking at the other dog. My biggest fear is that one of the Bouncer's will nail me and the gate will squish a dog. That why we have the ‘little ones first’ rule here at the Ranch. Smokey, BB, and Daisy are all Bouncer's. They are killing me, especially since it has gotten warm and I don't have a jacket to defend myself with. I have taken to carrying the pooper scooper around with me the entire playtime. If I have a tool in my hand, they seem to leave me alone. I thought it was just that they don't want to be near the dirty things, but it works for a shovel and a rake as well. I look like that American Gothic painting, I don't go anywhere in the play yard without a shovel in my hand.

1 comment:

Dachsies Rule said...

We usually listen unless we are barking at the neighbor dog. Mom's solution is to carry a squirt bottle of water. It doesn't hurt us but we don't like it so we run to the house as soon as we see her heading for us carry that darn bottle!

Roxie, Sammy & Andy