Saturday, July 9, 2016

Critter freeze.

One of the odd things I've seen while walking about with Big Huge Dog is the reaction of prey species to my hairy galoot. We urban boys are used to things that scurry when confronted---rats, pigeons, cockroaches, stray cats, and the like. But out here in suburbia, they get very still.

Bunny? What bunny?

Nobody here but us lawn ornaments.
And the most confounding thing to me is, it works.

It baffled me, because I know ol' Supernose had to be able to pick up the scent of these animals, critters he would normally want to chase. But as long as they just stood still, he kept sniffing around as if there nothing interesting. And yet, I'd bet what he was sniffing was them.

Scott Linden, in What the Dogs Taught Me, says that dog's eyes "are built to detect moving objects more quickly. It's logical. Moving things equal prey. Motionless things are usually inedible." So it's a great advantage for them to be able to pick up the slightest motion, which is why my dog always spots the joggers before I do (and wants to go after them). Dogs can see things roughly 25 percent faster than we do.

On the other hand, when you see the dog snorting the grass in full hunt mode and the squirrel is just standing there, it gives people the idea that dogs are dumb, "Yo, Einstein! Right about ten feet in front of you!"

And the squirrel's thinking, Shut UP! It took us a million years to learn this trick and you're gonna BLOW IT!!

To date, my dog Tralfaz has not successfully killed anything, and I'd like to keep it that way. He tried very hard to kill skunks, but that did not work out as planned. The skunk, like the porcupine, does not need to stand motionless for self-defense. The skunk, like the porcupine, has just one trick, but it's dynamite.
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