Looking for Dogs

The National Poetry Month Challenge #6 Write a poem about dogs was a little difficult for me. I was all set to do a fun poem about a favorite dog but I was abruptly reminded of the not so positive aspects of the less than domesticated or socialized canine…

There are two sides to every coin
What’s good and bad conjoin
The cattle dog nips at the heel
Good for cows but makes kids squeal
A Rottweiler can pull a cannon’s weight
But on the leash is an undesirable trait
Border collies have a quick mind
That leaves a slow owner far behind
A working breed is hard pressed as a pet
With no mission from the owner set
A shredded cushion or ravaged rug
Boredom’s symptom from Poodle to Pug
Left alone for hours on end
Dogs into bad behavior descend
Incessant barking or the prolonged howl
Poor socialization and at all persons growl
Digging holes or jumping the fence
Running amok at the owner’s expense
Who is to blame for canine villains?
What the cost – thousands or millions?
For every good trait in dogs we praise
There are equal bad ones we can appraise
Consider wisely when selecting a dog
Avoid an Animal Control dialogue!

I’ve seen many good dogs. The good ones far outweigh the rotten ones. But the bad dogs are the ones that make a lasting impression. Working in the Veterinary field I’ve been on the receiving end of some nasty behavior. Many dogs do not enjoy the veterinary setting and they are quick to let you know. Others are on their best behavior. The dogs that earn a place on the “naughty list” are the ones that do not tell you where you stand in their opinion or they deceive you. Case in point, a cocker spaniel would wag his little stump of a tail and act excited to see you. As soon as you were within striking distance the dog would lunge and try to take a chunk of flesh from your body. Some others had a hair trigger. They would be fine one minute and as soon as some stimulus (unknown/unseen) was sensed by the dog they would go into a rage and attack whatever or whoever was handy. Sadly this behavior is so very dangerous and these dogs can never be trusted. Some dogs are just plain untrained. It is usually a tiny dog. The owners think that a 5 pound dog doesn’t need to be trained to sit or stay. They are not taught manners and will jump up and scratch and claw at people, growl and bite at ankles or hands. The owners laugh it off – until the dog injures someone. Even then they announce “How bad can it be? She is only 5 (10, 15) pounds. She was just playing a little rough. You scared her…”

37 thoughts on “Looking for Dogs

  1. I understand your take on the dogs and you are so correct. Heel nipping is not funny. Neither is a bite in the backside when your back is turned. I was on our city’s Animal Control Advisory Board years ago.what I learned either saddened me or angered me.

    Like the poem.

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    1. Some breeds are more easily trained than others but that doesn’t get you off the hook. All dogs (from the teacup poodle to the Borzoi) need to be properly trained and socialized. It really makes the dog a joy and of course reduces the chance of running amok with neighbors, other dogs, and the law!

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  2. I am a staunch dog lover, but you are 100% right about how a trait that is desirable in a working dog can be undesirable in a pet. The one I regularly walk is a big fella, 65 lbs, and strong as an ox. If I didn’t train him to obey commands, I would be covered in mud and/or road rash. He requires lots of heavy-duty chew toys. He’s very people-friendly, but if you touch a sore spot (which the vet and staff often have to do with his bad knee) he might snap. I think even the best-behaved dogs have their limits. And think about it from the dog’s point of view, how much they are expected to give up in order to be a pet. Here’s an older poem of mine, where the established house dog imparts his wisdom to the newbie:

    GIVE AND TAKE

    Your Alpha days are past, kid
    the humans run the show
    You’ll learn their lingo fast, kid
    like SIT and STAY and NO!
    Just eat what’s in your dish, kid
    Don’t tango with the cat
    It’s collar, tag, and leash, kid
    and now and then, a bath

    Still, you’ve got it made, kid
    Wholeheartedly, I’ll vouch
    You’ll wake up in their bed, kid
    and nap upon their couch
    A life of lavish toys and treats,
    long walks and belly rubs
    Domestication’s awful-sweet
    That’s the paradox of love

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          1. Thanks, Muri. As a kid, I always wanted to do things my own way, sitting scissor-legged instead of Indian-style in story circle, playing 45’s on 78 so every song sounded like Alvin and The Chipmunks were singing it, learning the alphabet in reverse. As an adult, I worked as a nurse in a military setting for 8 years, then a DOD clinic for 16 more. There, one had to color inside the lines, check every box, dot i’s and cross t’s. Poetry has been a refreshing change from all that, like being five again, but with fifty years of insight. 🙂

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    1. I love cats but with all the allergic folks in the family I’m resigned to petting other people’s pets. I’ve seen a wide range of good and bad in dogs AND cats!

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  3. Some people should never be allowed to have a dog. Dogs take time and patience to train and one has to be consistent. Excellent poetry!

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    1. Many thanks for the compliment! I think the prevailing idea is that pets are a necessity but they really are a luxury. If you own a pet you need to provide care and training and housing and affection – for the life of the pet. Too many think that pets are disposable.

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  4. Love your post. I have a cattle dog that does not nip. We get compliments on our boys all the time. They behave pretty well around strangers but when it’s just mom and dad somedays they test the boundaries.

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          1. We get compliments often. Secret compared to so many of our family members is we trained our dogs past the potty training stage but never took them to obedience. I am sure Cinch would be a good agility dog.

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                    1. That’s great. Our first dog would do anything for a pat on the head and praise. Our second was deaf and would completely ignore you if there wasn’t a food reward involved…

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                    2. Also motivation for Cinch to behave is Rex getting to go with us while Cinch is left behind when we are at home on the weekends. That causes him to straighten up. When they are in the dog house they dont get attention for a while 4 or 5 hours. This kills Rex and he straightens right up.

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    1. Thanks much Gina! Every dog is an individual and although there are exceptions to the rule, the point of a purebred dog is to have uniformity in conformation and temperament. The dogs in our lives are sources of great joy, comfort, entertainment and a little aggravation.

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  5. I volunteer at an animal shelter, and I’m often asked, “Don’t you want to take all of them home?” And the answer is “no.” As you said, some dogs haven’t been properly trained and are quite obnoxious, and still others have very unpredictable behavior. Others are simply the wrong type of dog for my lifestyle. The vast majority of the dogs at the shelter are wonderful, but there are always a few dogs that I most definitely don’t want to take home!

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  6. I have been a dog owner- a cocker spaniel, two rottweilers and a long-haired dachshund. The last one was the only perfectly-behaved dog, and even she had to be trained to not jump on old men wearing shorts. I felt their pain.

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