Sunday, January 01, 2006

Dog Play

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This is my dog, Kahlil on the bottom and my daughters dog, Bogie on the top. It's the type of picture you can't plan. It just happens. I press the shutter and a few second later when the camera actually takes the picture the dogs are frozen in a moment that without the camera I couldn't have even seen myself.
These two dogs are actually brothers but not littermate. They are sons of Kia and Cinnamon of Sugar Mountain Farm. Although this looks ferocious and makes some people nervous to watch, it isn't real fighting. It is play. Like children, dogs learn many things through play. For Bogie it is actually very valuable play because he's learning bite inhibition. Kahlil is re-enforcing the lessons Bogie learned from his mother and other dogs of his early puppyhood. If Bogie bites too hard Kahlil will let him know it and Bogie will learn to inhibit his bite. Dogs who never learn bite inhibition can be dangerous to humans or to other animals.
Like his littermate Baloo, Kahlil is good with puppies and children. It seems to be his nature. His is also a good watchdog and woke me up three nights ago to tell me something. I didn't know what that something was, but when I let him lead me to the door and opened it. I saw him look up at a tree and give a few deep barks. I knew then what he was trying to tell me. There was a raccoon sitting there in the tree. I checked that my flimsy chicken door was closed as tightly as possible and relunctantly brought him into the house. Leaving him out would have allowed me to sleep knowing the chickens were safe, but I knew 2am barking would not be appreciated by my neighbors. I slept restlessly that night and whenever I would wake up Kahlil was awake by the bedroom door. Very early next morning when I woke up Kahlil was asleep. When I let him out he paid no attention to the tree. I was now sure the raccoon was gone. This tree is on the opposite side of the house from the bedroom. I still wonder how he knew the raccoon was there and how he knew it was gone. Did he hear the raccoon? Did he hear some disturbed noises the chickens made? Did he hear a tree branch creak? Did he smell it? I'm not sure, but I know if I want to sleep better, I'd better tighten up the chicken door. The raccoon did not look like he was just passing through.