Tuesday, November 13, 2007

My Pretty Lady

I suppose at this point its fair to make an assesment of Bonita. So where to start?

First of all, as I've said many times before she's far more gentle than I ever expected. She's extremely good with our kids and the neighbors. She plays just as well with 6 pound dachsunds as 100 pound rottweilers... though she takes longer to sort things out with aggressive male dogs.

Right.. but what about the training?

Indeed. If you've ever been around service animals... seeing-eye dogs for example... then you know how Bonita behaves in public. She's just like that. She doesn't sniff. She doesn't bark. She's at work. She's a real treat to take out with you... trouble is... here in Pristine America... dogs aren't much allowed in public. It gets frustrating. Bonita is a trained canine bodyguard. She's specificly trained to deal with all kinds of attacks... including home invasions... car jacking... and parking lot attacks.

She does have a bite command and is starting to respond to it... but there is extreme trust involved for all parties conscerned and that takes time and work. However... its not necessary to give the command for the dog to protect you.

I suppose pretty much everyone just assumes we adopted a really well behaved GSD. If you didn't know what to look for... you'd think the same thing. But there are subtle hints if you watch her. While other dogs loll in the sun... often she sits at attention... like she's marking a potential threat.

I've used the guard command "wache" now several times with her... and he response is satisfactory. Basicly she sets up a perimeter around whatever you've told her to guard... and non shall pass. Again... even this is easy to miss. I once had Jeb outside playing... and needed to go inside... so I told her to watch him.. then went in to see what she did. She sat down at attention.... watching him... watching the tree line.. watching the gate.... then ever 5 to 10 minutes or so... she would patrol this invisible circle.. she'd walk around the area Jeb was playing in... then go right back to sitting at attention.

You have no idea what type of affection this sort of thing creates in the heart of a father.

See... I don't think Bonita would protect me kids. I know it. I don't think she is scary... I don't think she is capable. I know it.

Criminals and evil men deal with dogs all the time. They know how to handle them. The vast majority of untrained dogs can be dealt with effectively in seconds. House has a dog? bring a raw steak. Dog barks... toss the steak... dog goes and eats the steak... not only can you rob the house... you've made a friend.

Thats not a made up situation. That's a real tactic that criminals use.. and it works.

It doesn't work on protection dogs. it doesn't work on Schultzhund. See.. it goes back to their training. Food is never used as a reward. The reward for good behavior or appropriatly responding to a command... is a bite! They get to bite something if they do what they are told.

Situationally Bonita's been trained to deal with those types of tricks and tactics. Unlike a titled Schultzhund... she won't respond to commands from strangers. Obediance is reserved for trust pack leades. She responds very well to me... and she now responds very well to DrWho. But a would be attacker shouting "no" would like just result in a more impressive display of force.

She's everything we expected and more. She's the sweetest dog I've ever been around. She's affectionate and calm. She's extremely clever... and yet somehow patient. She asks permission to go outside... and then she lets herself in the back door. Its still amusing to watch her open doors. She's the most dangerous dog I've ever owned... and yet cannot reasonably be described as a liability in anyway.

Now if we could just do something about the shedding...

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