Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Learning from Sensi

It was a beautiful spring day when one of Sensi’s best friends, a little white Pomeranian named Jazzy, had come over to visit.
I love walking Sensi and Jazzy together. In fact, she’s my favorite dog to walk with Sensi. The two of them walk proudly side-by-side, and by my side too. It draws a lot of strange looks too, a 90 pound, short-haired black dog with a teeny-tiny long-haired white dog.
What can I say? Opposites attract.
Our odd trio was just approaching the end of the long driveway and about to turn on the road when I saw the other dog.
For a moment, I wanted to laugh at this goofy, skinny brown dog trying to shimmy over his wood fence. But then he tumbled forward, landing on the grass about 10 feet in front of us. Once he got his footings, he started running toward us.
Jazzy was going nuts. She was yipping like mad and twirling in circles while she backed up on her leash. I was worried she was going to back right out of her collar.
I tried reaching to pick her up but she kept scooting away in fear. I was so focused on her that I didn’t even noticed what my dog was doing.
As I was reaching for her, I looked back at the dog to see what was happening just in time to watch him come to a screeching halt about 4 feet in front of us.
He literally slid on the grass, locking his skinny legs and turning his body sideways. Once he was good and stopped, he tucked his tail, wheeled around and ran in the opposite direction. He realized he couldn’t get back over the fence and took off in a sprint around the house, presumably heading toward the front door.
I was a little bewildered at the dog’s change in direction when I looked at Sensi. That’s when I saw what he was doing, and the best I can describe it is this: If you could make a statue of a dog looking proud and regal, that’s exactly what Sensi looked like.
He was standing tall, with his head and ears erect and chest pushed forward. His eyes were locked in a dead stare forward. His tail was curved up, but as still as stone, just like the rest of his body.
I realized that he was communicating very clearly to the other dog.
“I am in charge of this group, and you are not welcome,” he was saying.
Tomorrow, I will explain why I think he took this position when he never had before, why is it bad to allow your dog to take this position, and how I learned from Sensi to behave properly on walks.

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