Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Things Mac Taught Me About Respect

While on our walk today.

There are multiple ways to earn respect. Here are some ways that Mac has helped me identify:

#1: Lead by example. Mac respects his uncle Mole, although Uncle Mole is approximately 1/8th his size and weight. (Mole is the bigger small dog, the one not totally obscured by Mac's head. I estimate he's smaller than said noggin.)

Running With Dogs have discussed the family dynamics in our house (I hesitate to call them pack dynamics because I question the "pack" thing and also because our dogs don't really run together except when we're on walks or other occasions like in the car) at length. Basically, Uncle Mole is the captain of the ship, while weighing in at a mighty 9 pounds or so. And it's always been that way, from the moment Mac and Mole met. Although Mac and Mole both like to do doggy things like pee on stuff, Mole always gets to pee first. In fact, if they go to sniff the same things, Mac backs off. The humans don't do anything to encourage this, it just is. Although I appreciate this behavior- Mac's head is awfully big to be engaging in any other behavior with Mole- it's just how it is. Mole is Uncle Mole. He walks around like he knows he is Uncle Mole and Mac walks around like the doofy nephew, respecting the Man of The House.

#2 Rule by Fear. Mac has quite serious prey drive. He would like to eat squirrels, pigeons, and most especially cats. His prey drive progressed pretty much in that order: as a young'un, he was very interested in squirrels, then moved on to pigeons, who jumped satisfyingly into the air when he lunged, and now he's pretty much a cat man. He'll give the occasional half-hearted leap at a pigeon if they do something really tempting like walk in his face, but the only thing that really sets him off is a cat. And they *really* set him off. The only thing that he absolutely positively respects, however, and will look at and look away from, is a Canada goose.


If Mac was faced with this picture, rather than lunging like an out of control freak on a leash, I think he might actually tuck tail or piss himself, or look to me for an answer (good boy!). Today, we were faced with about 10 geese. They didn't move at first. They honked, and hissed, as these nasty Canada geese do. I hate these creatures, by the way. My theory about Canada geese and their foul infestation of California can wait for another day. He looked at them and started to get "the look" that means trouble is coming. I barely even whispered "leave it." He seemed to shake it off, like "Oh, it's THOSE birds." He has never in his life looked twice at a Canada goose. We have walked by so close that they could be nose to nose, closer than we could with a strange dog, and Mac won't even look at them. I swear, he averts his eyes, and if he could talk would say "lalalala, I don't see that scary thing over there, it's not there, right? Is it gone? Oh, phew!" Rule by fear. Respect by fear. Wouldn't you fear a bird the size of you when you're normally the biggest living non-human thing on the block? That's willing to bite? And probably has teeth?

OK that's all the lessons for today. You didn't think Mac grew a brain, did you?