Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays’ take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘Belgian Tervuren Shepherd

Hello Snow

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Well, that was fast. Monday was awkwardly warm for December, but we knew what was coming. After dark, it started to rain, so we headed down to the barn to bring the horses inside for the night.

We’d hardly shut out the lights for the night when the pinging on the bedroom window reflected an obvious transition from raindrops to ice crystals. By morning, the landscape had flipped to an unmistakable winter scene.

What’s not to love?

Cyndie captured some views on her walk with Delilah yesterday morning.


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Written by johnwhays

December 6, 2017 at 7:00 am

Dog Speak

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John is out of town for the weekend and has asked the animals to fill in for him for a few days. Today, Delilah gets a chance to “bark,” and to do so without John or Cyndie hollering, “NO!” at her every time she does.

I Didn’t Mean To…

First, I just need to say, that joke about, “Squirrel!!,” …it’s really getting old. I’m sorry if we canines have a heightened sense of chase instinct. Other than that, hello! and consider this my face-wash of a happy dog greeting! There is so much to tell you about now that John has given me this unprecedented access to his blog thingie.

Did you know he asked the cat, Pequenita, to write for today before he asked me? I think he was just trying to be nice to her, because he sees how smitten she is with him. He absolutely knows I totally own her. That’s why he always feeds her first, trying to show me how high and mighty the little meow machine is around here. I see right through him. I can drape my paw over her back any time I want to and she just sits there with a stupid cat expression on her face.

She thinks she’s all that because she gets to roam free all night when I am imprisoned in my crate. Whatever.

What can I say? Dogs and cats. We are what we are.

Now, dogs and chickens… That’s another thing altogether. I didn’t mean to end that chicken’s life when I raced up and grabbed her with the soft grip I’m so practiced at using. When I do that to the baby rabbits around here, they never seem to have a problem with it.

I think the bird probably had a weak heart and couldn’t survive the excitement of seeing me up close. I’m a lot to handle, I know. I get that.

Hold on a second, I need to go bark at the window again. There’s nothing out there, but I still need to do this regularly to make a good impression. I mean, what if there was a rabbit/bird/squirrel/deer/cat/another rabbit/raccoon in the yard and I missed it? What would that do to my reputation?

I’m sorry if I’m panting too much. It gets to be a habit in the summer, between this thick coat I wear all the time and the pent up energy from confinement. Yeah, I brought that full-time leash rule on myself. I admit it.

A girl’s gotta run, you know. And when you’ve got legs like these… combined with my nose! Oy! I don’t blame John & Cyndie for their precaution. <yawn>

Squirrel!!

Dammit. Pretend you didn’t just see that.

I was doing so good for a while there, too. You should know, it’s taken all I can muster to paw out these human-like word sentence things and not just type, “Are they home yet, are they home yet, are they home yet…”

It’s a dog’s life, I tell ya. <bark! bark, bark!>

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Written by johnwhays

July 22, 2017 at 6:00 am

Trying Hard

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Our wonderfully sweet and incredibly carnivorous Belgian Tervuren Shepherd, Delilah, was trying so hard to be a good cooperator yesterday for Cyndie. There is currently nothing more enticing to her than the scent of chicken manure and she has quickly figured out there is a really good supply of it around the chicken coop.

I suppose the presence of flittery feathered figures darting about enhances the allure quite a bit, but honestly, she seems almost more interested in the scent they leave behind. (I wish.)

In attempt to train her to better control her urges, Cyndie restrained Delilah a short distance from the coop while the chickens were romping in their courtyard and Cyndie was cleaning the coop. Delilah’s job was to practice staying calm while observing the action.

I think maybe she was closing her eyes in attempt to overcome the powerful drive revving inside her.

Sounds like it went well for a little while, but over time the urge would become unbearable. Delilah would get all wound up and let out a yelp. Next would come the nervous yawn.

After a little calm assurance from Cyndie, the exercise would resume for another round.

We are hoping to keep up a regular dose of exposure to the chickens for Delilah, while closely supervising her state of increasing excitement. In time, if we last long enough, she should become bored with the situation. When that happens, we ratchet up the exercise to bring her another step closer to the chickens while working to help her maintain a state of calm submission.

I am inclined to think we will get bored before she will, but I think the only alternative involves risks to the chickens that we don’t want to take.

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Written by johnwhays

May 11, 2017 at 6:00 am

Delilah’s Dilemma

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Delilah must have rolled into some sap. Cyndie thinks it might have been bugging Delilah for a few days. Our poor dog was biting at it, pulling her hair out, and licking obsessively, which eventually created a sore spot of raw skin.

When I got home from the day-job, Cyndie was working her way through an escalating series of interventions to dissuade Delilah from messing with the sore. She had yet to find a method that achieved her goal.

Poor Delilah didn’t realize her lack of cooperation was the cause for the increasingly intrusive control methods being hoisted upon her.

dscn5873eFinally, out came the pad and cling wrap. Cyndie started applying it while Delilah was lying down on her side, and I was getting ready for the chaos that was about to happen when Cyndie tried getting the cling around Delilah’s body. Then she told Delilah to stand up, and the dog responded perfectly, allowing Cyndie to complete the wrap.

It wasn’t very tight, so after a couple of hours it had slid down off the sore spot, but it did help Delilah stop fixating on the wound for a little while.

Before the end of the night, Cyndie had reached the point where she was willing to try the “cone of shame” around Delilah’s head. It wasn’t a full effort, stopping short of threading her collar through loops on the cone as directed, so it didn’t last long. It didn’t really matter. Delilah’s obvious misery was so extreme, to the point of not wanting to move a step while tucking her tail and ignoring any offering of treats, it led to the swift removal of the psychological torture.

It was such a sorry sight, I didn’t have the heart to violate her indignity with a photo recording the moment.

img_1948eWe prefer to remember her in her better days, like the time this weekend when Cyndie grabbed a pillow off the couch and set it on the floor in front of the fireplace to lay on. In a flash of milliseconds after the pillow landed, Delilah dove in for a pin-point landing  before Cyndie could lean back.

The dog had arrived with her fangs wrapped around a precious morsel of bone and went about her business with a feigned obliviousness to the intrusion she had brilliantly executed. When Cyndie turned to question the violation of space, she got the well-known universal dog expression. The look that says, “What’d I do?”

Puppy eyes. Twist of the head.

“Whaa~aaat?”

She knew exactly what she’d done. I don’t buy that act for a minute.

Yesterday, shortly after my photos of disappearing snow posted, we got a fresh new (temporary) inch of white stuff covering everything. Cyndie cleaned off the upper parking pad of the driveway.

Delilah was granted some leash-free time to watch. I think the snow probably felt good on her sore spot. She makes for such a noble looking sentry, doesn’t she?

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Written by johnwhays

March 2, 2017 at 7:00 am

Dog Days

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dscn5662eIt might be the dead of winter, with sub-zero wind-chills, but I am enjoying some dog days lately while filling in for Cyndie on dog walking duties. Delilah has slowly adapted to my increased role, showing signs of gaining renewed respect for my authority, and choosing my company when she’s longing to play.

This means a lot to me, occurring soon after we intensified an effort to re-establish alpha status over her in our pack after she stole my dinner off the counter. She has responded well for the most part, and then not as well between some of those moments.

I have noticed her occasionally becoming obsessed with the flavor of our covered waste basket in the kitchen. When not that, we might find her licking the hand towels hanging on the handle of the oven door.

I think it is her way of recalibrating that uncontrollable urge which led to her making it all the way up to the counter where she could reach my dinner off the plate. She now aims a little lower.dscn5689e

Of course, I would have it that she respect our kitchen so much that the most she would dare do is assure there are no specks of food remaining on the floor, and only doing so after all human activity in the kitchen has been completed.

A guy can dream.

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Written by johnwhays

January 9, 2017 at 7:00 am

Morning Walk

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I recorded a portion of yesterday’s walk, capturing Delilah’s routine of pouncing the snow in search of a snack. No critters were harmed in the making of this movie.

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Written by johnwhays

January 23, 2016 at 7:00 am

Chilly Chillin’

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When I got home from work yesterday, Cyndie wasn’t back from an errand to Hudson, so it became my responsibility to take Delilah for a walk. Cyndie anticipated her arrival would be shortly thereafter and that she could tend to the horses.

Fine with me. Ms. Canine greeted me at the door, sweet as could be, and appeared perfectly thrilled over the opportunity to get outside, regardless the ongoing deep freeze we were experiencing.

DSCN4377eIt was an agenda-free stroll. We just hung out together.

I started with a little bush-whacking through undisturbed snow along one of our trails that hadn’t been traveled for a long time. Delilah loved it. There were plenty of fresh scents from critters for her to investigate, and several opportunities for her very fox-like “pounce.” She cocks her head to listen and then leaps straight up with all 4 paws, so that her nose-down landing, deep into the snow, will be a total surprise attack.

Cute as heck, but she very rarely seems to be on the right track. Makes me wonder what spawns the sudden dramatic maneuvers, either sound or scent. Maybe both. She obviously shows signs of listening, but I am never sure whether that is because she smelled something first, or not.

We made our way over toward the horses in the large paddock. They all seemed to be biding their time until they could get inside to the bedding of wood shavings in their stalls for some long winter naps. Even a thin metal roof overhead is good enough to offer a noticeable buffer from the bitter cold that seems to fall directly from outer space. They show signs of being keenly aware of that advantage when the nighttime temperatures head into double digits below zero.DSCN4378e

I glanced toward the orange glow of the setting sun and spotted a nice view of the steam that rises off the cooking compost pile. With the air so bitter cold, it is all the more fascinating that the microorganisms breaking down the pile of sullied bedding generate temperatures to 140° (F) and beyond.

The pile gets a thick version of hoarfrost from the steam, which provides a nice touch of drama on top of the otherwise unsavory mound.

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Written by johnwhays

January 19, 2016 at 7:00 am