Thursday, July 10, 2014

Dawg of the dead.

Dogs and jackals are both members of the order Canis, and sometimes the scavenger really comes out in your little mutt. Tralfaz recently expressed a great deal of interest in a dead bird that popped up (or plopped down) on the lawn. 

As you know, I've tried to explain to the dog that the only birds he's likely to catch will be really sick or really most sincerely dead, and that doesn't make for a healthy snack. But he doesn't listen. 

We know dogs enjoy chewing bones---one stereotype that holds absolutely true---and those bones are not acquired through outpatient surgery. They have a fascination with remains, even if there's no meat on it. I don't know if other species of scavenger are like that. Probably. I'm sure the hyenas are. And I've seen people wearing necklaces of claws and teeth.

We give the hairball pieces of elk antler, which the elk shed and which are very bonelike. They're expensive, but he chews them a lot and for a long, long, long time. It's the dog version of Call of Duty to a teenage boy. 

My first job outside the house was lawn and garden service for a neighbor with a big spread. They had a sweet little black dog who had the run of the joint. One day he turned up with a largely intact skeleton of something that had died in the woods---I think it may have been a raccoon. I don't know why the bones stuck together so well. Still some skin on it, I guess. I can still remember the look of the thing, the surprisingly light weight, the leathery feel of it, the joy on the dog's face.

I flung it into the woods. The dog was back with it within ten minutes. I flung it farther away while he was inside. Half an hour later he had it again. It was the most wonderful thing ever, and however many times and however far I chucked it, he was going to go find it. 

That's one reason why we bury the dead. I hope six feet is deep enough.

Our dog doesn't go running around without a leash, so I didn't have to bury or burn the bird. When Tralfaz was busy elsewhere I picked up the bird with a shovel and took it to the wooded area nearby and flung it toward the trees.

It hit one of the evergreens and stuck there.

Now it's an ornament.

Well, that's one way to keep the dogs off, but I don't think it will catch on as an alternative to cemeteries.

1 comment:

Kelley said...

Ever heard of the "Premack Principle?". Well to put it simply, You let your dog do something that he likes to do as a reward for doing what you want him to do. I recently talked to a woman down the street one morning who had the same problem. I the mornings when she Walks her dog in the park; They would usually find dead squirrels and other critters on the ground. As soon as her dog picks up a dead animal, she would command him to drop it. Her dog would obey and she would immediately reward him by allowing him to sniff the paw at the dead animal like he wanted to do in the first place. She said that her dog's interest in dead animals was soon a thing of past. I guess that, just like children, as soon as you allow something, it is suddenly far less attractive that it was before. I am now starting to us the Premack method to try and cure Phoebe's ungodly barking at everything that moves.

Kelley @ The Whole Hound