This dog of mine has some pretty interesting behaviors. For one, she tries to bury her food, especially if she doesn’t like it. Since there’s no dirt in the house, she pushes imaginary dirt in the direction of her food. Her head goes back and forth, the nose dipping down toward the floor then rising up as she pushes the “dirt” toward her dog bowl. If she doesn’t like what I’ve given her that day, she’ll push the dirt so hard that her nose bangs into the dog bowl and lifts it up off the tiles. It bangs back down just in time for her to raise it up again. This goes on for about a minute. Anywhere I am in the house, I hear this clomp clomp clomp sound and know what she’s up to. The more she hates the food, the longer and louder the bowl clomps. She wants that thing six feet under.
We have floor to ceiling windows in the back of our house, and we live in a wooded area, so there are deer, raccoons, crows, cats, and lots of squirrels tromping through the yard at any given time. The squirrels come down on the concrete patio and sidle right up to the window, teasing the poor dog, whose name is Shelley. She gets this high-pitched, excited bark and starts running around the window, which delights the squirrels. They come closer. When I hear the commotion, I come out of my office and sneak over to the front door so as not to tip off the squirrel, then whisper Shelley’s name. She darts over and I open the door as quietly as I can. She races out the door, around the side of the house, and tears across the patio after the squirrel, looking like a black bullet flying over the ground without legs because they’re moving too fast to be detected by the human eye. The squirrel flicks his tail in the air and heads for the trees, which are close enough that the squirrel always gets away. We have a giant maple tree with a crotch that she jumps into so she can stretch up the trunk and bark at the squirrel, which is flicking its tail just out of range. This happens several times a day. Those squirrels are having the time of their lives!
Another thing Shelley does is hide behind my legs when the kids want to pick her up. If they go to one side, she goes to the other. So they try that side, and she goes back to the other. “Mom, make her be still,” they say. Actually I’m on Shelley’s side, because they’ll just torment her. My son blows in her face to make her snap, and my daughter holds her on her back like a baby and talks to her, which she doesn’t like. So I stay out of it and make them catch her on their own. After a little while Shelley gets tired of going back and forth and starts barking ferociously, which delights my son because the dog is a black, 9 pound dust mop, and when she barks and snarls her white teeth look about as scary as grains of rice. It’s ludicrous that she acts like a tough character. My son will finally catch her, she’ll bite him, he’ll get mad and put her down, and life returns to normal.
Dogs are always leaving their scent everywhere. Luckily Shelley doesn’t do this in the house, but outside she’s like a water pistol, soaking everything in sight. I read once that dogs try to one up each other by making a squirt a little higher on the tree than the last dog. This is a definite disadvantage for small dogs like Shelley. She can’t possibly get a squirt as high as a German shepherd with legs that aren’t even six inches long. So she goes up to a tree and stands on her front legs like she’s doing a handstand and fires her shot off. It’s the silliest thing you’ve ever seen with those back legs up in the air. When she gets done she scratches the ground with all four legs like she’s trying to throw dirt on the other guy’s scent just in case she didn’t get high enough. She does it with such vengeance – really digging in and spraying little tufts of grass behind her several times, making sure she’s got the job done.
This dog is a delight to our home, and we love her. Right now she’s sitting on the chair beside me, patiently hoping that I’ll remember to toss the little yellow tennis ball that’s about the size of a golf ball so she can try to catch it on a bounce. Normal tennis balls are too big. Maybe I’d better go do that right now.