I'm Gonna Get that Damn Dog!

I have always been a walker. I prefer to live close to stores, so I don't have to drive  to get various basics of life. Walking to the grocery store two or three times a week to pick up a couple of bags of groceries is better than a once-a-week trip with a car.


When living in High River, my walks often took me past a certain house that was encircled by a 1-meter, solid, white fence, built right next the sidewalk. Behind that fence lurked a 10-kg black dog. He would wait for walkers to walk by, and then at just the right moment, he would jump up, put his head over the fence rail, barking and gnashing his teeth,


Like a comedian with a good punch line, this dog had impeccable timing. He could send a walker's liver through the walker's ears. The scare tactic was that good. But a half second earlier or later, the effect would have been lost. The dog deliberately honed his skill to a fine science.


The dog was much more bark than bite. Unlike most barking dogs, he had timing. He just enjoyed scaring people.


When I usually walked past the house with the dog, I was quite aware of the setup. The dog would try to scare me, but since I knew the scare was coming it was easy to prepare myself. In fact, if I had something to swing at him, I would use it. He was too fast to get my blow. 


But everyone once in a while, I would be daydreaming and forgetting about that damn dog. Then I would be picking up bits of my liver from my ears again.


One day I was approaching the house and preparing myself for the dog. This time I heard some scratching behind the fence. It seemed the dog was digging a hole. He was more interested in that hole than scaring me. 


A few more steps. "He doesn't hear me," I thought.


A few more steps. Scratch, scratch, dig, dig. "Maybe I can scare the dog!"


Scratch, scratch, dig, dig. I slowed my walking down to be more silent. "I gonna get that son-of-a-bitch".


Scratch, scratch, dig, dig. When I was a about a half a meter away, I lurched forward, thrust my head over the fence, and gave my best bark: "Bow-wow-wow-wow".


I scared a little old Chinese grandmother to rolling on the ground! She had been planting flowers next to the fence.


The dog was sitting on the veranda, silently watching the whole thing. He had a big grin like he just won a great battle. 


But the dog lost the war! The people in the house figured out the reason for my odd behavior. After grandma nearly had a heart attack and whenever the dog was in the front yard, he was on a leash. And the leash was short enough that he couldn't hide behind the fence any more. He could still bark and he did, but he could no longer scare. 


Bill H. Added Jan 1, 2018 - 12:47pm
When I was a kid, there was a auto body shop around the corner where the owner locked up a dog in the yard after hours. When I would walk by on the way to school, he would do the same barking, teeth-knashing act.
I bought a box of Milk Bone dog biscuits and would temp him with one every morning until it got to the point where he would wag his tail every time he saw me coming.
Me and that dog carried-on as good friends for many years with a fence constantly between us.The poor dog had no life, other than living in a pen during the day and a lot full of cars at night.
One day I found out that he had died from an apparent poisoning from a kid that was teasing him. I ended up beating the crap out of that kid, which gave me some remorse.
opher goodwin Added Jan 1, 2018 - 3:32pm
Dave - that's a great little story. Well told. I didn't see the little old grandmother coming.
You got him though.
Dave Volek Added Jan 1, 2018 - 4:12pm
Bill H.
It's unfortunate that dogs are brought up this way. I was in Slovakia for a year. About half the dogs are trained  to bark at noises in the night, and part of that training is being locked up a lot without much interaction from humans or other dogs.
I spent some time in a Slovak village. When one dog barked at 1:30 in the morning, the rest of the dogs would start barking. It took a while to sleep around this noise.
I didn't see her either! But man, was she ever scared. I often think how this situation could have turned out had she had a heart attack.
But then again, the family had lots of opportunity to deal with their dog. They knew what he was doing to people.
Neil Lock Added Jan 2, 2018 - 6:19am
The worst dogs are the ones that bark at you when you've already passed their entrance, then run round and chase you from behind. I assume this particular one wasn't ever let out of his yard? Even so, I think it's a good thing you got him, Dave.
Leroy Added Jan 2, 2018 - 8:58am
Funny story, Dave, with an expected twist.
I've had my fair share of dealings with dogs.  I don't blame the dogs.  There was one that resided across the street.  Now and then, the dog would bark incessantly.  When I had had enough, I would yell at the dog.  He would shut up.  Then I would here, "Ark, ark, ark," as the owner beat the crap out of the poor dog.
Then there was the ferocious dog from two doors down that wouldn't quit barking day or night.  I went by to see the people.  No one was ever home.  I wrote a couple of letters to them that went unanswered.  I called the police.  I decided to keep calling the police until something was done.  The first officer came back with his eyes bulging and exclaimed, "I ain't going back over there.  I am afraid of that dog."  Apparently, the owners had left the house for a few months and put a guard dog in the yard.  They got the message.  To solve the problem, they added a second dog to keep the first one company.  Arrrgh.
Then there was the renter on the other side that moved in.  He keep his Great Dane inside, but, whenever he left for work or whatever, he put the dog in a pen.  The dog barked non-stop. I contacted him about the dog.  He informed me his dog didn't bark.  I told him that if he didn't do something about it, I would.   I developed many devious plots.  One was to wrap laxative in a piece of meat.  The theory is that a dog couldn't bark and poop at the same time.  The internet is a useful tool.  But, alas, I couldn't bring myself to be that cruel.  I guess he got the message and moved out to bother someone else. 
Dog owners always think that everyone loves their dog as much as they do.   When they take their dog for a walk to poop in a lawn other than their own, they take offense when I take offense and yell at them for treating my lawn as their personal sewer. 
That's my rant for the day ...lol.
Even A Broken Clock Added Jan 2, 2018 - 11:04am
Dave, thanks for my laugh fix for the day. I enjoyed your story.
Tubularsock Added Jan 2, 2018 - 12:01pm
Dave, great story! Made Tubularsock laugh.
But what would have happened if the little old woman had swung up and grab you in a Kung Fu style and brought you over the fence and into the dogs open mouth?
Could have happened, they may have been a tag team. Stay safe.
Dave Volek Added Jan 2, 2018 - 12:26pm
I have retold that story verbally several times and it was always appreciated.
My best performance was teaching ESL to Mexican Mennonites* in Vauxhall, Alberta. Their English has not very strong, and I was wondering if I could pull this story off. Because education is not a strong part of their culture and I'm a bit of a task-master in my teaching approach, we were having some "getting along" issues. I believe I was close to being fired.
I had the whole front of my classroom as my stage. As I was telling the story, I became very animated walking sneakily from one side of the room to the other, setting things up to scare that dog. I think between the pantomime and the words, they got the story. And they laughed for a week after. We got along great after that.
*In the 1920s, Canada enacted its truancy laws forcing all children to go to school. A certain sect of the Mennonite religion disagreed with these laws. They found favor with governments of Mexico, Bolivia, and a few other places in Latin America to bring their agricultural expertise in exchange for big land tracts to be developed for agriculture. As time went on, the population of this German-speaking community grew too large to be supported by agriculture alone. Many started using their Canadian roots to move back into Canada. As they immigrated, they needed to learn English to find employment; their German and Spanish, coupled with their poor education were not enough to become self-sufficient in Canada. 
opher goodwin Added Jan 2, 2018 - 3:19pm
Leroy - one of my friends is a dog trainer. He always says that there are no bad dogs - just bad owners.
Leroy Added Jan 2, 2018 - 11:03pm
I agree wholeheartedly, Opher.  And, it is not unlike raising children.  If you let them get away with bad behavior, it just reinforces it.  It doesn't get better with age.
Tubularsock Added Jan 3, 2018 - 12:04am
Yet Leroy, dogs will ALWAYS love you, children may not!
Charles Frankhauser Added Jan 3, 2018 - 3:23pm
Sometimes I walked my yellow lab along a path that led past a house guarded by a Doberman.  The yard had an invisible fence (wire buried in ground around house).  The doberman always charged at us while barking loudly, bared-teeth, as if a lunge for a kill was intended for me, my dog, or both of us.  My dog ignored the charging killer-dog.  The Doberman's collar contained a battery that shocked the Doberman when it neared the invisible fence.  The Doberman froze but continued to bark while standing at the invisible fence line.  I worried about what might happen if the battery went dead?  I considered knocking on the door to offer a free battery for replacement on a calendar-date basis.  The owner was a real jerk that ignored dirty looks from other walkers along the path.  The owner and dog moved away to who cares where.  Battery life is important, don't let anyone tell you otherwise.  I considered making a sign for my front yard:  "Invisible Fence Guard Dog w/ Dead Battery."  I got the idea from a friend that told me about his sign: "Door Unlocked You Already Got Everything."
Mark Hunter Added Jan 4, 2018 - 3:21am
Okay, I think this is the first time I've ever read anything on WB that made me laugh out loud. My dog's the opposite of that one--anything he hears outside makes him go crazy, under the assumption that it's someone trespassing on his property, so if someone's talking while they walk he'll start barking while they're still three blocks away.
And yet if we're outside with him, he won't bark at all--just whines.

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