A little over 5 years ago, Toby came to live at our house. I got him from a very nice lady who lived far enough away we had to ship Toby via air. At the time I got him, my health was deteriorating so quickly, I felt there would come a point I would need a service dog, and a dog that would be a help around the farm. I figured before I was so bad off I absolutely needed a helping dog, I’d get one and train it.
As so often happens in life, things didn’t turn out quite like I expected.
First off, I discovered it was difficult to do a lot of training. Not Toby’s fault; he’s super smart. It was my lack of energy at the time that was the problem. By the time I managed to do all my “have to” chores, I didn’t have any stamina left to work much on dog training.
Still, he learned the important stuff. He obeys the commands of “sit” and “come”. He knows he is not allowed to jump or otherwise cross fences, and he doesn’t go through a gate until he knows I’ve given the okay.
What I have never managed to communicate to him is herding. His idea is to run through the critters and scatter them. He has never shown the least bit of interest in bringing animals TO me.
Nevertheless, he is a great companion. He’s also a good guard dog, so by default watches over the other critters.
He has grown big and stocky, with a lot of muscle. You can get an idea of his size maybe from this picture of him beside my son, who is over 6′ tall.
He and Neffie are good buddies, and hang out together a lot of the time.
However, the neighbors dogs are a different story. He doesn’t want any other dogs to encroach on his farm. If another dog is walking down the road, he goes nuts. He grabs the woven wire fence with his teeth and shakes it like mad, jumps up on the fence, and barks and growls.
But when he and I are outside of the fences, walking to the mailbox or on the road or even in the woods, it’s a different story when another dog comes around.
He totally ignores it.
I mean, the other dog can be barking, prancing around and having fits, and he acts like it doesn’t even exist, or at least is so beneath his notice he can’t be bothered. I don’t know if it’s because he figures he’s with the alpha of the pack and I’ll protect him, or if it’s because we’re not in his “patrol” area, so he just doesn’t care. Whatever the reason, I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen him totally ignore other dogs getting right up in his face and barking and growling.
This past Saturday, however, was a little different. The Farmer and I were transplanting some trees from beside the driveway and putting them alongside the main pasture. Toby was supervising as usual.
At one point, I had to go out of the fenced in area to get some more trees. Toby went with me, and when I went back to the main pasture, I left him to his own devices, sniffing around on the banks by the road, still on the outside of the fence.
Now the neighbors across the street have a dog who considers her patrol area is not only their property, but the property of the neighbor right next to them, and the unfenced front part of OUR property which is across the road from them.
As you can see from this picture of Gracie beside our garbage cans at the end of our driveway, she isn’t exactly a petite little thing. Nope, she’s a fairly good-sized dog, but she doesn’t have Toby’s height or bulk.
Anyway, the point is that she and our other neighbor’s little beagle decided to take on Toby. I was not with him. He was outside of HIS usual patrol area. The other dogs escalated from growling to actually getting up in his face and then jumping on him.
Toby exploded into a frenzy of growls and lunges. He was really tearing into those other two dogs. I was afraid he’d kill that little beagle, and Gracie wasn’t faring too well either. I knew I needed to somehow stop the fight. From the way things were going, I wasn’t so much worried about Toby, but I didn’t want him to hurt the other two dogs.
Although I’ve never had this work once dogs are embroiled in a fight, I mean it has NEVER worked before with any other dog I’ve ever owned. . . I called him.
And he did.
Oh. my. word. If a dog will hear and obey you when in the middle of a fight with two other dogs… wow. What a jewel. I’m so proud of him!
What a good dog!!!