Bark Border Terrier on High
Some might say Bark, my second Border Terrier, acts like a cat.
Others would say he has visions of grandeur. That he’s a dominant dog who thinks he’s the King of the Castle. But Bark isn’t dominant and the longer I live with dogs the more I think the Dominance Model is…irrelevant. And sometimes dangerous–especially when there are terriers involved. Coming to this realization has helped me solve a host of issues with my pups, too. [The more we can change, the more our dogs can change.]
Bark is just happier up high. As are many cats.
When Bark goes to Grammy’s house to visit, he climbs the tall staircase and sleeps on the sunny patch of carpet atop the landing. There he can hang off the edge and can gaze out the little port window at the neighbouring roof-tops. At home, he favours the back of the sofa even though windowed doors come right to the ground. A boy up high can see the rabbits and birds and other critters that a ground floor dog never can. And he can stay out of the way of a bossy sister. Sounds like a good plan to me.
Where does your Terrier like to hang out?
My next post will be other behaviours shared between Border Terriers and cats.
Hunting is a terrier’s real purpose. “Hunt until you drop.” That’s Terrier Logic # 2. Before we ‘own’ a terrier we read all about these cute, non-shedding dogs and how independent, persistent and plucky they are. How endearing, we think. So feisty. We think we ‘get it’. But I don’t think we really do. Then some of us struggle mightily against these personality traits.
I read it–but didn’t really get it–until I got involved in Earthdog
work and saw what comes naturally to these breeds. Only after this did I truly understand my Bossy Border Terrier and her intensity. The hunt for small and not-so-small furries defines her, along with other terriers.
Dughall, the Cairn Terrier, parades his stuffed rat reward after succeeding at an Intro to Quarry Earthdog Test. (Photo courtesy of C. Mair.)
Terriers have hunted for us for centuries, protecting food stores from destruction by vermin and reducing disease by keeping rodent populations in check. A local, Ontario mill owner I know still prefers a good working terrier to a cat to keep the mice down around his feeds and seeds. We really need to remember this working history of our terriers and find ways to channel their instincts. When we can’t do what we’re meant to do part of us becomes unstable and unhealthy. Same, too, for our dogs. When we stick them in a leisurely, quiet life and never let them follow their noses and hunting instincts, they become neurotic. Like rebels without a cause.
If you have a terrier in your life and haven’t heard about Earthdog
trials, been to one as an observer or participated in one with your dog, you’re missing out on a controlled opportunity to let your terrier do his life’s work–without harm coming to the quarry
arthdog work (and practice) helps our dogs exercise their real purpose and helps us bond with them on a deeper level. Check it out..