Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Curious Case of the Dog that Always Barks


We had a neighbor long ago that kept a female Boxer. She was a beautiful dog, but even then I noticed she was exceptionally high-strung. I didn't give it much thought. The woman had a reputation as a party animal, and the marriage didn't seem especially happy. I thought perhaps the dog picked up on the mood of the abode.

That was my opinion until we offered Daisy a place to stay. Daisy barks. Barks. Barks Barks. I've tried discipline. I've tried lots of petting and reassurance. But Daisy barks. Daisy sometimes doesn't even bother to get off the couch to bark. She barks at the neighbors, at the UPS and FedEx people, and especially at the mail delivery person.

I've never understood the root of her neurosis. She is a nervous young girl, certainly, but she's never been mistreated or neglected here. I suppose it could be treated with anxiety medicine, but we've not pursued that. 

It's too small a sample to believe nervousness is breed-specific, especially since we've met two or three male Boxers who not hyper-alert to every noise and movement. Perhaps Boxers are hypervigilant watch dogs. But I've been around enough dogs to know that certain breeds require an owner who will allow their innate characteristics to flourish. Neither do I think it is intelligence, for Daisy seems smart enough.

It's interesting to contemplate. We have two dogs now. There's an elderly Boston terrier. And there's Daisy. I chose the Boston, and my wife chose Daisy. Now my wife is offering hints that the next dog will be a standard Poodle. I have no special quarrel with that. I like dogs, and I know Poodles are extraordinarily intelligent.

And it won't be me who will be taking the Poodle for regular grooming.
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