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Sunday, February 13, 2011

More sensitive than he seems

Our wild and strong R is also our sweet and sensitive R. I know that it's hard to know that from the action-packed photos that I generally show of him. Outwardly, he seems to have an indomitable spirit.
It's especially hard to imagine it when his teeth dominate a photo.
But, when R is around little boys, he can get scared out of his wits. Yesterday evening, for no apparent reason, he ended up huddled in the darkest corner of the house shaking and panting. He seemed to be in another world, enveloped in his fear. We suspect that his terror was related to the two exuberant munchkins playing in the living room but we know for a fact that nothing overtly scary had happened that evening.
He stayed in his hide-away until the boys had been gone for almost an hour.

When he was a pup, we tried our best to expose him to as many new situations as possible, including all sorts of people and children, so that he wouldn't end up with fears like this one. Last night's episode the third time that he's had a panic attack with these kids. We've been hoping that it was a phase that would pass but I'm starting to worry that it won't.

By this morning, R was back to normal and went for a romp with the Runner. K and I cross-country skiied in the forest behind our house. She bounded through the crusty snow like a puppy in the sunrise light.
Right now, the trails themselves are impossible to negotiate. The furrows that we created when we packed down the trails have been filled with hard-packed windblown snow pellets. So, K and I left the trail system and meandered through the forest. As we wandered, I spotted an animal who intrigued me. It was a large tawny animal that bounded away, and he had a black tip on his tail. It might have been a mountain lion but I didn't see him well enough to be sure. Due to the sorry windpacked state of the snow, he left no recognizable tracks. Darn.

We meandered in a different direction because K was overly interested in following that animal, whoever he was. When we hit open ground again, she ran like the wind.
These days "running like the wind" has taken on new meaning. I've rarely ever felt wind as strong as today's jet blasting off the mountains. The wind usually seems to take a brief rest around sunrise and then roars to life. Today, K didn't look happy as the wind started its assault.
Shortly later, during my bike ride, "maintained" roads were buried under gargantuan snow drifts. In open areas, it was impossible to ride a straight line or even stay upright. I was like a drunken snow biker, swerving with each gust.

Fortunately, the wind died as suddenly as it started. When it let up, I had already turned around to go home, having decided that wind was too strong for me to ride safely. Then, unexpectedly, I felt peace and quiet fall over our neck of the woods. I turned around again, and restarted my ride. It turned out to be fun despite the stormy start.

The roads had been completely deserted during the wind's onslaught. During the wind's hiatus,  people started emerging from their dens. More than one person opened their car window and yelled "you go girl"!

I love that kind of encouragement!


  1. Wonderful photos as always. I love R's fierce photo. As for kids, Dexter is pretty much the same way. Most kids seem to scare him. Then every now and then we run into a kid that Dexter is all over with absolutely no fear at all. Kind of weird. Dex makes his decision instantly. We run into lots of kids at school bus stops. They are always polite to Dexter. Personally, I find kids a little scary myself.

    Mango Momma

  2. Ah poor R!

    Khyra is funny with kids around - when we are walking, she'll pull me to them so they can pet her/etc BUT when Merdie and Harley's boys are here, she tends to stay close to me - I think their constant running and running and NOISE unsettles her a bit!

    Thanks for sharing the gReat pics!

    BTW, yes, a foster failure is when the foster decides to keep the canine!

  3. A little bit of scared is probably a good thing if you're out in the wild. Helps from the self-preservation angle.

    At least he isn't as bad as my Becky Cat. She hides under the bed when anyone comes. And, a week or so ago, I thrust my arm into my jacket sleeve, only to find Becky's nose a whole two feet from my hand as it emerged from the other end. She took off like a scared rabbit.

    But, that's not the worst of it. Now, every time I grab that coat and go to put it on, she runs again. No other coat, just that one.

    I'm glad that you got a good ride in, after all.

    Oh, and, yes, Spring is a good two months away here, too. We've been known to have a bad snowstorm in early April.

  4. Before I had kids myself we had a dog that was very timid around small children, he never got over it regardless what we did.

    I am glad you were able to ride dispite the stormy weather!

    You go Girl:)

  5. We say in our minds "You go girl" just about every time we visit here:)

    With kids here so often, the dogs are very comfortable with them. Even Phantom. But I am always very cautious with them together. One can never be too careful. Every dog is different. R may just need more time and more exposure to the boys.

    And in case we miss you tomorrow, Happy Valentine's Day.

  6. Pepsi doesn't really like kids who aren't afraid of him, but he loves to disturb those who run from him. He really is evil, ha ha.

    You are a motivation to everyone! ;)

    Pepsi's A

  7. Ditto the sentiment from the OP Pack - I'm always amazed at what you accomplish.

    Poor R - I understand that fear, as poor Nyxie's afraid of everything. Kids are intriguing to her, but I can't trust that her fear wouldn't cause her to react "poorly". Thank goodness she adores T. Glad you had a better ride. Maybe it was a good thing you missed the mystery creature. Sometimes mystery creatures don't want to be seen!

  8. Stella, from her days on the road (I suspect) is afraid of thunder and lightening and fireworks. Our neighbor has a daycare with 8 little pre-schoolers and when we walk that way in the summer, we have to stop and greet the kids. Stella can be surround by 8 kids and love every minute of it. At first I tried to get the kids not to surround her, but they all want to be close to her and they All love it!

    Jo and Stella

  9. Okay, I don't know what's in that 2nd pic, but it can't be R......

  10. I give you major props for being able to make it through that wind! You DO go!

    I wonder if you could decrease R's fears in stages. Lots of treats and praise, or maybe just a distracting toy in another room for a while?

  11. Sorry to hear about R. No words of wisom here. Isn't it strange how certain things will scare them and other things won't?

    Thank you for the smile. I loved the line about the drunken bike rider. LOL I think you are awesome with what you do! You go girl!!

  12. We've never quite understood the kids thing. Digby used to go and hide under the bed from where he growled unconvincingly. We put it down to the high pitch of kids squealing.

  13. The sounds of children perhaps is disconcerting to dogs and they feel it's uncontrolled thus they can't make sense of it. To remove themselves from something they don't understand seems to make sense to them. I know Sophie loves following a set regimen and when a noisy/jumbled setting arrives she gets agitated and tries to figure it out. Can be exhausting for dogs in so many ways. While I have you here...HAPPY Valentine's DAY to all of you!

  14. That teeth-baring pose looks like another dog disguised as R! Sure looks windy there - it was gusting in Denver, too.

  15. What great adventures you have and the pictures are awesome. It's hard to tell why R reacted like he did. Sometimes dogs are smarter than us. When hiking Sasha loved most all of the people but a couple of times she must have sensed something and wouldn't have anything to do with them and stood between me and the person.

    Ernie,Sasha,Chica,Lucas, Mom Barb

  16. Well nows, I has a kid of my own and I likes kids but they gets on MY nerves withs all da high pitch noises and tryin' to pick me up and stuffs likes dat. Mostly, it's da noise though.

    My what BIG teefies...holy cow.


  17. Kodee is nervous around children yet Becky is Miz Social. Odd too because Kodee had all the right socialization (first child syndrome) yet Becky I was lax on.

    I MUST ask you! Your action photos are just great - always so clear!! Do you use a special lens to capture moving speedy dogs? I know its hard to do and I still have trouble with that, but am working on it.

  18. Happy Valentine's Day to all of you! :D

    Waggin at ya,

  19. Poor, sweet R. I'm glad he bounces back quickly, but I'm sorry he feels such distress around the boys. At least he makes a good decision for all involved and removes himself from the situation.

  20. WIND! Makes life so difficult and we get terrible winds off the water this time of year...the difference is the wind isn't blowing drifting snow and the air is well above the freezing mark. I don't know how y'all survive those chinooks y'all get.

    We get some nasty ones when we're in the mountains, but try not to go outside much when they're blowing.

    Hope y'all had a wonderful Valentine Day.

    BrownDog's Momma

  21. How cool is that, for people to encourage you onward!! I'm glad the weather finally cooperated for you.


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