A couple of days ago I was quietly working at my computer when Riley went into (sigh) Guard Dog Mode. This is a job he bestowed upon himself when he was about a year old and is a job that no matter what I do, he refuses to relinquish this self-appointed position. In his mind it’s his and his alone and he ain’t giving it up!
Guarding their property is a common job for a German Shepherds and is as much a part of Riley as is his prey drive. As annoying as it can be these two things are just something that as owners of the breed, many of us deal with every day. I absolutely love him to death but I could do very nicely without these over-the-top responses to people walking by our house and every day mail delivery. This is not just a simple “Mom, someone’s here!” alert bark but an ear-splitting booming super-charged bark and race from window to door and back again (several times!) that never ceases to startle the living crap out of me to the point I literally jump in my seat and from which I then need to be peeled off the ceiling.
This time he performed his duty planted firmly at my office window and so I assumed it was the mail man. After my butt landed back in my chair I got up to look …. hmmm … no mailman. Oh yeah, Labor Day so no mail and no one on the deck. Ok, so what in the world was all the commotion about? Who did he see that was going to break into our house to burglarize it and then murder us today? There was nothing out there!
And then I saw it … standing on our deck just a few feet from the window was this tiny black furball watching Riley go berzerk! If there was five pounds of cat there I’d be surprised. He(?) was maybe 10-12 months old with very pretty white markings on his head and paws. Definitely something a critter lover like me would love to cuddle with. Riley’s seen cats before but only from a safe distance. We don’t let him get close to small furry things because we know his prey drive. He just stood there watching us while Riley continued his tirade and wasn’t phased one bit by the growling, barking and gnashing of teeth going on on the other side of the glass.
As cute as this kitty was I really just wanted him off my deck so that Riley would calm down, but this little guy seemed to be enthralled by Riley’s stellar Guard Dog performance and in no hurry to go away. What a little tease! About the time my thoughts went to “Kitty, you better be real happy that there’s glass between you and this dog or you’d be nothing more than a snack!” kitty decides to race to the window and swat at Riley’s nose! His tiny paw thumped the screen exactly where Riley’s nose was and after a split-millisecond of surprise, this caused Riley to hit an even higher level of excitement.
We learned a few months ago that Riley has no qualms about putting his head through screens and so the inside glass windows are all locked down to allow only about four inches of space which is just enough so that he can only stick his muzzle out under the glass window as far as the screen.
When kitty thumped that screen I thought it was all over and that I’d be replacing an entire window. I tried to get between Riley and the window but he wasn’t having any of that and dodged me right and left. Did you know that 80 pounds of dog can move as fast as greased lightning? Well let me tell ya, this Gramma just can’t dance that fast! My attempts to block him from a visual on kitty were absolutely useless and decided that now would be a good time to close the window.
As if that wasn’t enough, kitty backed up and sat down to watch the action on the other side of the window! I swear he had a grin as big as the Cheshire Cat on his face! The little furball sure seemed to be enjoying the show! Apparently this just wasn’t enough to entertain kitty because it was just a few seconds later he ran up and thumped the window again, backed off and came back for a third try and this time he held his tiny paw on the screen for a few moments. Riley was beside himself and forgot I’d closed the window because he smacked the glass with his nose in his attempt to get nose to screen again. I didn’t dare try to open the door to go out and chase kitty off because I didn’t want to give Riley even a glimmer of a chance to bolt by me (probably knocking me over and breaking the door) to go after that kitty.
After a few minutes of patiently waiting for yet another chance to swat at Riley’s nose, kitty apparently figured the show was finally over and slowly wandered off my deck (making a few backwards looks at the window) and out of Riley’s view. I’m no mind reader but kitty’s body language as he calmly walked away sure seemed to be saying “Eh, that was fun while it lasted but I got more important things to do.”
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