Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Dog Training

From this . . .
To this.
Note: Please disregard the human . . .












For over thirty years, our family raised Old English Sheepdogs.
A wonderful breed.
Hairy, yes, but loyal, gentle, protective and very, very smart.
Easy to train.
Dozens of puppies left our home in those years, successfully joining other families.
All with the same amazing temperament.
Well, almost all.
There is an exception to every rule.
Apparently . . .
I received a phone call from one of my puppy people. Their puppy, at the time, was about six months old.
Her: “We are moving and won’t be able to take our dog with us.”
Me: “Oh. Well, I don’t have anyone waiting for a puppy right now . . .”
Her: “That’s all right. We don’t want any money back. We just want to drop him off.”
Me: “Ummm . . .”
Her: Click.
Now I want to mention a couple of things:
1. OESs grow to be . . . large. They need to be trained early – before they outweigh you.
2. When we placed our puppies, it was only after a quick course in ‘puppy-training’. For the new owners, not for the dogs.
3. Said owners then went home with food, instructions, toys, and an informative book. Unfortunately, whether or not they read that book was totally up to them. And:
4. Follow-up phone calls after purchase don’t necessarily disclose training problems.
All of these points were brought distinctly to our attention when said puppy showed up later that day.
Oh, dear.
For the first time, I saw what could happen to a pup when he was given little-to-nothing in the way of instruction.
And weighed in at a few ounces less than a Buick.
The owner appeared at the door.
Handed me the leash.
And disappeared.
Really.
I don’t think I’ve seen anyone move that fast.
Ever.
The dog and I regarded one another.
Then I shrugged and pulled the cretin untrained dog into the kitchen.
He proceeded to jerk the leash from my hand, dart under the living room table, and make a deposit.
Large.
Whereupon (good word) I recaptured the leash and tried to drag the monster toward the back door.
And that’s when things sort of fell apart/came together.
He growled and tried to bite me.
Have I mentioned how gentle this breed is?
Smart?
Loyal?
Protective?
Well, they are.
And it was never more apparent than at that moment.
Because my three (Yes, I had three full-grown OESs in the house. But that is another story.) attacked the newcomer.
As one.
Their coordinated effort would have been admired by special forces troops worldwide.
One had him by the back of the neck. One by the flank. And the third, by the throat.
Individually, we peeled them off.
Then checked for damage.
No blood had been spilt.
Miraculously.
But the dog that got up from the bottom of the umm . . . dog pile . . . was not the same one who had gone under in the first place.
Nope.
This dog was sweet. Gentle. Eager to please.
Everything that the OES breed is noted for.  
Huh.
He went on to a new home. A better home. And a successful adoption.
But we all learned an important lesson that day.
If you’re dealing with a difficult problem . . .

Take your pack.

11 comments:

  1. A very effective training method indeed.....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Three sets of jaws make a strong point.

      Delete
  2. Oh ya. He got the message. lol
    Dogs, especially trained dogs, train others much easier than people can.
    That's for sure.All you need is one well trained dog.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Doesn't it just make you wonder what went on in that first home, to make a dog with such a naturally good disposition act like that? ... And who, pray tell, is "the human" in the second picture? ... awesome apparel; my daughter would feel at home!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It had to be neglect and abuse - in equal doses.
      Heehee! That's my daughter. And you should see how she dresses HER daughter!!

      Delete
  4. Instant understanding of a new lesson, that's impressive.
    I'm glad the pack was there to help out.

    ReplyDelete
  5. This story makes me want to own an Oes. I love big dogs and know that it is how much time YOU invest in them that makes them good companions! This story also makes me miss my Max. Thank you for the memory.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so glad to trigger a memory, Deb! You'd make a wonderful OES owner!

      Delete
  6. This story makes me want to own an Oes. I love big dogs and know that it is how much time YOU invest in them that makes them good companions! This story also makes me miss my Max. Thank you for the memory.

    ReplyDelete

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