Friday, January 23, 2009

612 Months

It occurred to me yesterday, after 15 minutes of chasing Bear around and around the property,(he with a live rooster in his mouth ... me with a belly full of chili and tollhouse cookies), that dieing of a heart attack while chasing a caninsanine on my last day of being 50 would be a stupid way to go.
I imagined explaining my demise to Saint Peter and waiting for him to stop laughing at my stupidity ...

So, I slowed down and drank in great gulps of cold winter air. (We were in the teens for our low temp!)

Bear slowed too, still keeping his distance. He stared at me with a look that said, "Come on! Keep chasing me! This chicken isn't getting any younger!"

Me neither dog.

"Bear! Bad Dog, Bad Dog!"

I was so angry with him. He was being stubborn and disobedient, plus, I had my doubts about the chicken's health after at least 15 minutes in a Lab mouth. He usually handles the chickens with a soft grip, but I couldn't be sure that Bear had not messed up and squeezed a little too tight.

We stared at each other ... human, dog, and upside down chicken ... waiting for someone to flinch.

I was starting to feel a little reoxygenated by then and was about to try a sly, slow, happy voice approach, but then Bear must have relaxed his grip just a bit.

The impasse was broken.

Sensing it was now or never the rooster lept from Bear's jaws. He hit the ground running and scooted under the JEEP with Bear a tail feather away.

Bear circled the JEEP, head under, butt up, totally focused on the chicken and I saw my chance.

I covered the 30 feet between us quickly while he was distracted, grabbed handfuls of fur and collar and tossed him down like a rodeo bovine wrestler.

Ladies and gentlemen, at that point, there was a spanking and a good "talking to".

Sorry if that shocks you, but it worked on my kids (they do not chase chickens anymore) and it works on dogs too.

Then I towed Bear, still panting with chicken lust, (Bear not me) into the house by his collar, where he immediately went and hid under the 4-poster bed. He stayed there a while.

Later, all was forgiven and I could shake my head and chuckle a little at those precious minutes spent running in circles, the stubbornness of the adolescent Lab, the resiliency of the chicken body, the wonder of instinctive traits such as the 'soft mouth" grip of Lab on bird, and the need for me to do more aerobic type exercise.

Eventually, Bear came out from under the bed and curled his body into mine as I sat on the fireplace hearth. When I spoke to him and rubbed his head, he oozed up on to me, paws on my shoulder, massive head even with mine and proceeded to cover me with doggy kisses.

At that point, it was hard to remember being sooooo angry with him earlier...
... but that could just be a symptom of my advancing age.


threecollie said...

I wish you every kind of luck with the chicken aversion therapy. We never had a chicken carter like Bear, but several chicken serial killers. A decent dog will quit when you tie the victim (deceased victim that is) to his collar and let him wear it for a bit.
Sadie, our current chicken nemesis, just eats them off and looks for the next one. So she and poultry must be kept quite separate.

kathy a. said...

happy birthday!

Cathy S. said...

For a few years of insanity, we switched from Dobermans to Vizslas. Like labs, they are bird dogs and ours became chicken dogs. I had many a chase like yours trying to keep those birds out of the soft Vizsla mouths. Eventually, something with more malice picked off our flock. Good luck in teaching Bear that feathered chicken are off limits and only fried chicken begged from the table is okay. And a second Happy Birthday! We are having a birthday celebration at our house today as well. Twenty three years ago today, oldest son was born and seventy six years ago today my mom was born.

TROLL said...

Happy Birthday. It's unwise to stay mad at a dog. And prolly nearly impossible to stay mad at Bear.

Kittikity said...

I know a lot of people think shock collars are cruel.. But properly used they can be quite effective.. I've heard of many people curing their dogs of chicken lust in a matter of minutes.. Don't even let them look without a little shock.. Go in the house and watch out the window.. Shock them while you're inside and they'll learn that they can't get away with it while you're gone..

I have a chicken killing dog that will then eat the whole chicken.. The only reason I haven't tried a shock collar yet is because they're a bit pricey.. Too bad you can't just rent one..

Happy Birthday!

Dani said...

My favorite picture is with Bear and the chicken in his mouth. Hysterical!!!

Beau said...

Happy Birthday! Leaving 50 behind... sounds like a good idea. On the rare occasions that I express displeasure or impatience (okay, not so rare) with my yellow lab, he just stands about 50 yards away, looking at me like- "I'm not coming over there until you get over whatever's bothering you!" Eventually I laugh and shake my head, he wanders over and we just look at each other. With a knowing look in his eyes, he reminds me of the old Texas saying: "Don't get mad at someone smarter than you- it ain't their fault."

Sandcastle Momma said...

I wish I could have seen that chase LOL
I hope you have a wonderful birthday!

jojo said...

LOL.. someone needs some training. and it ain't the dog. haha...

me thinks what you should get for your birthday is a lead line. and keep it on bear till he's trained. before you do drop.

didn't you guys go to obedience school? LOL

51 wow!! how's it look from up there?

Happy Birthday FC!!!!!

Arkansas Patti said...

Happy, happy Birthday FC. I must have missed your BDay last year for I would have taken you for being in the low 40's. Just remember, to someone my age, you are still as much a puppy as Bear.
Have you checked with the Dog Whisperer? He may have some chicken chasing episodes and the man is a god training dogs. Good luck.

Deb said...

A well written tale, as usual.

Counting months instead of years gives a different perspective. I'm 502.

Sayre said...

Revan can't leave the catfood alone (not as exciting as a live chicken but there you have it). Even after being banished for the crime of inhaling CF, the second he comes in, he's back at it. It's like an addiction, I swear. And catfood is darned expensive.

SO the last time he did it, I grabbed his head and did a throw-down, holding on to the sides of his head. Darling Man was aghast but Revan doesn't DARE do more than look longingly at the CF in my presence anymore.

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday FC!!!

I used to have a dog that loved to chew books. ONLY books. I did what 3C did. Tied the eaten book around his collar for a few hours. He had trouble walking, eating, and laying down. Never ate another book! Told a friend how well it worked and she did the same to her dog who ate shoes. Worked there too. Bad Bear! Good luck.



tsiya said...

Happy birthday!
You're doing fine, hardly out of your youth!

robin andrea said...

For your birthday I found a site that generated your astrological chart. If I had the exact time you were born, it would be even MORE accurate (can you imagine that?). I wish I could include a photo of the chart in this comment. I'll trying to find someplace on our local ISP where I can upload it.

Happy birthday, you Aquarian, you. Ha!

robin andrea said...

I just remembered I have a Flickr account. Here's your chart.

Kimberlee said...

Great won the battle, anyway. :)

I hope you have a VERY happy birthday! I remember when 40 sounded ancient to me. Then I came to my senses! :)

Enjoy your day, you 'ole spring chicken, you!!!

edifice rex said...

Happy Birthday FC! I would suspect you are still in plenty good shape. Hope you had a great day.

If you can get hold of a dead chicken, an effective deterrent can be made with it and a simple hot wire. Dangle the dead, hot chicken and...zap! They learn real quick.

ImagineMel said...

Happy Birthday! Should I ready the chocolate baking area? ;)

bluebird of paradise said...

You know a simple distraction (like a piece of cooked chicken) might have distracted Bear long enough for the rooster to scoot.I'm glad it ended well and hope you have a wonderful birthday.

ChrisC and JonJ said...

Aahhh-the wonder of a Lab.We still miss our's and to this day,talk of of her stunts.Bestest dog we've ever had!!!
You ain't gettin' older-you're gettin' better.Like fine wine.
And Happy Birthday!

kathy a. said...

i've not got much about training dogs and/or chickens, being a city girl and cat person, and being married to someone who refers to junior dog as "my sweet baby" ever since daughter went off to college. however, i will point out that even the scardiest of the housecats can put fear in the heart of junior dog, who otherwise fancies herself quite the huntress.

therefore, i suggest cats. of course, you'd have to keep the chickens in the house for the housecats to effectively guard them, but that's nothing new at your place. ;)

Ericka said...

happy birthday! i hope you have a great day!

*sigh* bad bear. where i grew up, dogs that went after livestock didn't survive for long. i hope you can train him otherwise!

Sharon said...

I with ya, brother! A good swat never damaged any of my kids OR my dogs :) And no, I don't think it's old age, it's dog love. Hope you have a wonderful birthday, here's to the next 50! :)

Islagringo said...

Happy Birthday! Nicey-nice over. There is NEVER a reason to hit an animal. Especially out of anger. They just don't understand that as a punishment. You have to talk "dog" to them. Either put them on the ground and get in their face and yell or grab the back of their neck (like their Mom used to do) and shake them from side to side. Maybe time for step two of obedience training??

Floridacracker said...

Thank you for all the good wishes!
I've heard of that one, but he never kills the chicken.

Kathy A,
LOL! It was one of the living room babies that he had in his mouth ... all grown up of course.

Cathy S,
Ditto birthday wishes to yours!!

That's wisdom right there. :)

That very idea crossed my mind while chasing him.

He is a hysterical life form!

I like that last line!

It was like that one I filmed awhile back only much longer!

I have been expelled from too many obedience schools to count.

You win! Thanks for that 40 comment!

The month thing just popped into my head this morning when I sat down. You don't look a month over 400. :)


I'm picturing BEAR festooned with bras, underpants, shoes, shirts, tv remotes, and chickens.

Thanks pal!

Heehee! Thank you! I'm going to the flicker site when I get home.

Springchicken ... you know how Bear feels about chickens? LOL!

I work pretty hard at getting older but not weaker. Definitely could use some aerobic time tho.

Let the chocolate begin.

I tried treats but he was into the game!

I know what you mean. Luckily he's under supervision all the time and it's only our tree chickens who are at risk.

Chris and Jon,
Thanks, wish that were true! Labs do burn themselves into your memory circuits dont they?

We call those swats "reminders".

We disagree whole heartedly. But you should understand that Bear received a few disciplinary swats on his well muscled hind quarters. He wasn't beaten in anger.
It's no different from being cuffed hard by a dominant wolf in the pack.
Sorry dude, but you're wrong.

rick said...

Happy BD Im right behind you and Kevin

Doug Taron said...

Happy birthday. Just like last year, I'm still 2 months older than you.

tsiya said...

My ex BIL bought a male Great Dane. The dog was running the whole show, just flat kicking my BILs butt. He came to visit one day, the dog was dragging him all over my yard, I grabbed the dog, knocked it over on it's side, and just held it down until it stopped trying to get up. When I let the dog up it wouldn't even take a step until it looked at me for approval first. BIL said he would feel like a damn fool laying on a dog in the front yard, I said I would feel like a damn fool if a dog was dragging me all over the place. You cannot train a dog unless you use a communication medium that the dog can understand. They are pack animals, and you must be the Alpha pack leader, or prepare to be ignored!

Robert V. Sobczak said...

That's one troublesome Bear. I'm still on the young side of 40, but I am getting a taste for the need to slow down and take things easy. An upside for you is that Bear is aging in dog years, so eventually he will catch up to you, you just have to be patient.

edifice rex said...

Hey, I did not mean to suggest, you know, shocking the hell out of Bear; electric fence wire can be adjusted to only deliver a mild shock. It just gives them, literally, a bad taste in their mouth.

Floridacracker said...

I knew that :) You don't strike me as the dog torturer! :)

I'm ahead of you! Is that good?

I hear ya.

No rush for Bear to catch up with me.
Trust me I am more than patient.

Anonymous said...

Happy birthday! The first 50 years are the hardest., but you never have to repeat them :)

I'm glad your chickens are sleeping easier at night now.

Floridacracker said...

I started THIS morning by prying the same chicken out of his mouth so ... situation normal!!

Miz S said...

I am so late to your birthday party! Many happy returns, dear FC. May you live long and prosper. Oh wait. You're a teacher. Scratch the "prosper."

Julie Zickefoose said...

Someone should alert wolves and dogs that they must never use corporal punishment on each other. It's inhumane. Oh, wait. They're dogs. Indogane?

Sorry, but if you were to raise a Lab without laying a finger on it to show it what's right or wrong you'd have the world's worst dog, and then you could... parlay that into a zillion-selling book... and the next thing you know Owen Wilson is playing you and Jennifer Aniston is Mrs. FC.

Jeez, FC, stop spanking Bear already. Riches await.


Bill said...

Happy Birthday!
My lab Brownie, picked up our oldest cat and shook it like a tamborine. We found the cat dead under the neighbors car the next day. Do what you need to in order to make Bear behave. My wife still calls the dog "killer". The cat was very old...



amarkonmywall said...

Happy Birthday, FC! And it will all come back to you today, when he grabs the chicken again...

Best wishes for a happy, healthy and interesting 51st year! Technically, I guess it's your 52nd year since we start at zero? Now I'm confused. Advancing age and all. Any way, many happy returns of the day.

elpbulls said...

Yes I recall all of those "reminders". It was difficult for getting reminded for the same thing twice, it doesnt mean we didnt find other things to do but it sure drove home the point lol. And look how wonderful we turned out ;). Love ya bunches!!

Alan said...

You know, the Kinder Major once asked me how to catch a chicken after she'd spent five minutes exhausting herself chasing one all over the pasture. I told her "you have to be smarter than the chicken" then showed her how to build a trap to catch it with.

So to you I'll say "you have to be smarter than a dog" and bait him in with a treat like the other poster said. {laughing!}

Then you can sit on him and tell him "bad dog!" which won't do a bit of good because a Lab is not going to learn anyway...