Our dog is dumb. It’s a sad fact. Don’t get me wrong, I love her. But she’s dense.
Our first Lab was an alpha female field Lab—the most stubborn animal ever created (once she got angry at me and peed on my feet to assert her dominance), but she was smart. Okay, maybe not so smart because after the peeing incident, I got angry and made her spend the rest of the day outside. But she knew who and what was a threat. She had four levels of intruder alert.
Level One, nothing. Not a threat, no barking.
Level Two, intruder nearing our property, possible security violation. Initiate rumbling growl.
Level Three, intruder has crossed the threshold of our territory and doesn’t appear to be bringing us a package. Begin deep, threatening bark.
Level Four, intruder is trying to come into the house without proper authorization from the master (or the woman who thinks she’s the alpha female). Let loose with I-eat-human-flesh-for-breakfast-because-I-am-a-creature-from-the-pit-of-nightmares.
Perfect. This is what an intelligent dog does.
Our current black Lab has no idea.
In all fairness to her, she’s not a heavy barker. And she doesn’t bark because she’s bored. She barks because she feels it’s her duty to protect us. And I understand how she can be confused about the Pomeranian who sometimes prances past the house. Is it a dog? Or a cat with pretentions? Or a rat who’s poorly disguised?
And I understand that she’s got to let the Dobermans know when they’ve violated her turf. (They’re nice dogs who escape their yard on a regular basis and come to visit me. I pet them and wait until their owner noticed they're gone.)
But no matter how many times I tell the dog that the little old lady across the street with a walker is NOT a threat, she still has to bark like she’s a fiend from Hades. And the toddler holding his mother’s hand—he’s NOT going to come and steal the dog food.
On the other hand, I appreciate knowing when the UPS truck arrives. But I knew he was a afraid of the dog because he'd just slide the package onto the porch and hightail it back to his truck. Once time I caught him as he was making a delivery. I told him, “Really, she’s a nice dog. Her name is Jezebel.” He gave me a fake smile and backed away. Slowly. Now he just throws the package at our door from the sidewalk.
Hmm. Maybe we should name our next dog Tinkerbell.