Rack Wants To Grill Lunch

There’s an old line about Dogs Playing Poker that you probably have heard.

They can’t.  You will know how good a hand they have because they will show you by wagging their tail.

Rack, the McNab SuperDog (TM) is clearly one of those emotional ones.

I let him follow me just about everywhere on the property.  I’d take him with me in the car more often except businesses can get rather arbitrary as to what they allow in their stores.

Leaving a dog in a car is a definite no and since I have a soft top Jeep Wrangler, if we’re going somewhere, he’s got to come with me.

It’s a Jeep Thing.  You leave nothing that you would not mind losing in a convertible car where the windows are held on by slots, velcro, and zippers.

But at home, it’s open.  I walk around the property and he’s following me while I am doing things.  Actually, my Morning Yard Inspection, he comes out, and does his own thing until he gets bored.  He’ll keep coming back until he gets to go back inside.

I have a higher tolerance for “boring” things I guess.

I’ve told him before “Go do something, you’re just bored, I’m not ready yet” and he will wander off and snoop around the property line until something else looks good.

In this case, we’re getting ready to grill some burgers this morning, and he knew it.  Plopped himself in view of the grill and waited for me to bring out the sausages and the burgers.

Smart dog!  Have a Burger!

Besides, if I use the brush on him out back by the hedges, the fur will magically disappear and I don’t have to use the vacuum cleaner to pick up quite so much of it.

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Radar O’Reilly Taught Me, I Taught My Dog Rack

Back when it was on the first time, it was a massively popular TV show.

Even today it is heavily watched on some of those channels that specializes in old shows.

The last episode of MASH was watched by half of the TVs tuned at the moment.  If your neighbor was watching something else, you were watching MASH.

I watched a fair amount of the show over the years.  I had friends who were active duty military, and one in specific that served in Korea.  I couldn’t tell you what he did over there since he closed up when he came home.  He told me very clearly that there was an ongoing “shooting war” over there at the time, but it isn’t publicized.

I did watch enough MASH to have picked up some of the jargon of the shows, and use some of it to this day.  If something looks confused I quote Radar O’Reilly by saying “It doesn’t look like Mom’s Nash”.

One other thing I got in the habit of saying was “Incoming!” when someone was approaching.  The house, me, doesn’t matter.  I’d fire off “Incoming” and usually whoever I was with would realize that we’re about to be joined.

Well.  That someone does not have to be two legged.

Rack.  My “Respect The Process” furry tape recorder who knows that I am going out to the back yard at 7:30 AM for Yard Inspection because I either move my feet from the ottoman or I put the wireless keyboard on the table.  He’s learned the secret of “Incoming!”.

Actually he’s learned all too well.

You see if I say “Incoming!” He trots over to the large hurricane glass front door window and starts grumbling if he sees someone.   If he likes the person, or dog, he’ll stand there and whine or wag his tail.

It’s become a game.   Not teasing the dog, that is, but seeing just exactly what he will go on alert at the front door with.

Sure, Radar has trained me, and I have trained the dog, but the dog has also trained us back.

I’ve learned that if I say Hello like I’m actually greeting someone at the door, he does an Incoming! alert regardless.

Too bad because I have a habit of talking at my computer as well and Rack isn’t that selective.

Incoming!, Hello, OK, Who’s that?, and quite a few others will get him up off his mat and to the door.  Just don’t use those words in conversation, especially if he’s asleep.

So the other night I was actually watching MASH.  We found it, and are watching the series from Season 1 Episode 1, at the rate of a couple episodes a week.

In the very first episode though, Hilarity Ensued.

Out on the street in front of the house was someone walking their dog, and someone else across the street.  Rack didn’t know any of them.

He didn’t care, he had fallen asleep, next to my chair.  The picture of Domestic Bliss, I sat on my big green chair in the corner of the room, and Rack snored.

As the show introduced characters, Radar O’Reilly was there, and said “Incoming!”.  As they explained on the TV what that meant to them, get ready for incoming choppers and some busy hours, My Dog Went into Action.

Dingus.

He stood up, and went on full alert, barking the sleep away.

“WOO WOO WOO…”

I said, laughing, “Rack, Shaddap, go look!”

He ripped tires across the living room scrabbling for purchase and traction.  Four paws does not mean Four Wheel Drive sure footedness.

He collided with the coffee table, knocking a few papers into the air.

At this point we were all just kind of in shock laughing away as he slipped around to the door.  It was really only about a few heartbeats.

The Choppers were landing, Hawkeye and Trapper John were getting prepped for surgery.

Rack spotted the Interlopers, and went full stupid.
“WOO WOO WOO…”

I said “Damnit, you’re a McNab not a yapper, shaddap!”

He started to calm down to a grumble with “MROWMROWmrow mlum mlum” coming from the front door.

The people on the street looked at the door from 50 feet off or so confused as to why he was being so radical, and began to disperse.

“Rack, Enough!”

He finally went quiet and off to the mat to repeat.

All this because a 30 or so year old TV show went to make a plot point.

So I’ll ask you.  If you do come by for a visit, try not to use “Incoming!”.  Or “Hello” or “OK”…

Or never mind, he’s got to learn not to overreact.

But that Doorbell?  It’s off limits, OK?

“WOO WOO WOO!!!!”

A Smart Dog to Knows What To Do With a Drunk

There is just something about having a smart breed of dog.

No matter what, they learn. If you allow them to, they will learn you.  They will focus on you like a laser.  They’re adaptable.

When I got my dog, Rack the McNab SuperDog (TM), his spirit was crushed.

His fear level was over the top, and the first time I ever moved a trash can with him along, he flattened on the ground and shivered.

He’s past that, well past that.

In fact he did something I saw my Lettie, the McNab and Border Collie cross do before him that shows just how well they watch.

You see, there are some breeders of dogs that have a closed mind.  A dog is for a task they will tell you.  If you don’t exhibit what their definition of that task is, then they won’t recommend that dog to you and may not sell you the dog.

Many herding breed dog breeders are that way.  I don’t agree with that at all.

Yes, a herding breed dog needs a job.  Actually, scratch that, ALL dogs need a job.  After all, deep down, a dog is a wolf in fancy clothes.

In our case, Rack’s job is me.  He treats me as a pack leader, or rather his pack leader, and his job is to watch over and support me in what I do.

Never sell a dog short, because if it does not live up to your expectations, it’s probably because you aren’t making your needs understood.

I’m at the point where if I speak to him in English, I simply expect him to understand.  I just have to make sure I use what I personally consider Dog Command Words and he will get them right.

He also speaks English.  As in, if I am saying to someone that I want to go to a specific place next, he goes there without being directed.

I was out walking him and we needed newspapers.  I said “Lets go to the drive and get them then”.

He did.  No muss and no fuss.

One of his favorite things in the world is a Ride In The Car!  As in I can’t say it strongly enough in text how much he likes a Ride in The Car.  He loses his mind.  I have to tell him “Sorry, you get to stay home and watch the house, Rack” to get him to calm down if he is not coming along.  Otherwise he does “math” to figure out whether he’s included if I go out.

The other morning, we went out for a walk an hour before sunrise.  That’s normal.  I have a set route.  I have a set routine.  We know it well.  If I say “you need your leash” he goes to his crate and waits for me to get the thing or he will come back there if I am standing there and flip the harness over his nose in order to get me going.

We left the block and headed into the darkness to the little M.E. DePalma Park near the house.

I’m walking in my pre-dawn haze and all the sudden Rack is in front of me and won’t move.

That is the herding dog signal for “Human, stop, danger is ahead”.

Lettie did it once and there was a wild animal up ahead.  She would not allow me to go until danger was past.

In this case, Rack spotted something very strange.

A Foot.

In the flowers.

Yes, a foot.

He told me I was not going somewhere until I acknowledged it.

“What the actual hell is this?”

Rack went Off Duty.

I realized it wasn’t just a disembodied foot.

It was a body.

Then I realized from 10 feet away, literally, it wasn’t a body, it was a person.   Male, under 40, about 5’10” in “Bar Clothes”.

Snoring.

Smelling a thick haze of alcohol from down wind, I realized that it was a drunk who passed out in the flowers in the park.  He was about 1000 feet from the bars, staggered off, found the park and collapsed into a drunken heap.

Don’t light a match, there will be an explosion level of Alcohol on the Wind.

I muttered to myself “All a part of living in a tourist area”, and then I touched the instep of his foot with my right boot.

Yes, bare foot.  His shoes had been knocked off and ended up somewhere else.  Maybe even back in the bar, who knows.

I have been trained in First Aid and maintained my certification for about 20 years.  There are courses for that and literally the first thing they tell you is that “You are under no obligation to act”.

So I acted.

Actually the drunk groaned, pulled his foot away, and rolled over.  Made a rather nice pillow out of the flowers there and went back to snoring.

Sheesh, yet another drunk.

Rack realized the danger had passed, and I was just… well I realized I wasn’t able to help him any more.

I left the guy to sleep it off.  It was an hour and a half to sunrise and I really didn’t want to try to help hoist some guy to his feet so he could sleep it off.

Besides, the sprinklers are scheduled to come on shortly in that park.  If he hasn’t awakened by then, the ground water would make sure he did.

“Rack come on, let him sleep it off.”

We left.  Rack had gotten bored with it all.  The drunk was in what I felt was a safe place for the time being, and we had our own drama to finish with.

After all, you can’t fix stupid.

If you want to live your life like a Jimmy Buffett song where you “threw off your flip flops” in a park in South Florida, just make sure it’s a safe spot to pass out.

We went on our way.   “Come on Rack let’s go”.

Off we went.

My morning walk is a 30 minute loop around town.  We came, We saw, We watered a tree or three, and We came back.

But Rack, knew what I was saying when I said “Let’s go to the park”.  He took me right there.

The drunk tourist had moved on, as did the sprinklers.

When I said “Ok, we’re done, lets go home and get you your food.” He looked up at me.

“Hungry, boy?”  With a wag or three, he knew where to go.  Back home.  No more drunks, we’re done.

The Yogurt Recipe That Brings My Dog To The Kitchen

First, the recipe.

Materials:

Seed Yogurt: Go to the store, buy yourself a small container of plain unsweetened and unflavored yogurt that you enjoy.  There are multiple types, each culture has a different flavor.  But make certain that it says “Active Cultures” or what ever your nation says for active or live bacteria in this yogurt.   I personally use a “Greek Yogurt” and what I make with it tastes just about like what came out of the Seed Yogurt Cup.

Even better, if you have a neighbor that has a yogurt that they have been making out of their own cultures, get a couple tablespoons of that.  It’s bound to be better than anything commercial.

Jar for your yogurt:  Get an appropriate jar with a sealable lid.  Approximately a quart/liter in size.  Sterilize the jar – wash and make sure it is as clean as you can get.  You don’t want this stuff to spoil.  I use a Mason Jar with a wide mouth and a large plastic lid.  This jar must fit in your microwave.

Milk.  I use 2%.  Whole will taste better but will give more calories.  Skim Milk will taste “milder”.  The Calorie Count will be the same as that of the milk that goes into it.  It’s up to you.

Process:

Add milk to your jar until it is about 3/4 filled.  750mL or 3 cups.  Or so – it does not have to be exact.  My Mason Jars have vertical lines on the side that I fill to the top of, below the narrowing for the neck.   You just want it to have some room for bubbles to form if it goes to boil in the microwave.

Heat the milk slowly to at least 180F/82C.  This can be done in a sauce pan if you do not have a microwave.  I heat the milk in the Mason Jar, in the microwave at High or Full Power for 4 minutes, then give it 30 second bursts until it begins to bubble.  This will kill off anything that will make things spoil.

Pour the milk into the Mason Jar.

Move the Mason Jar to a warm spot in the kitchen, on the counter where it won’t be disturbed..

Allow the milk to cool for about two hours in the Mason Jar.

When the milk is below 105F/40C, add two tablespoons of the plain yogurt that you got for this purpose.

This is your Seed Yogurt.

Finish the rest of the seed yogurt, I suggest with either honey or a good jam.  This is your treat for the job.

Stir the seed yogurt vigorously into the milk.

Cover the Mason Jar with your lid, and allow it to sit at least one day.

Check the Mason Jar periodically.  It will be done when the yogurt begins to gel when you tip the container to the side.

Refrigerate and use within about a week.

Remember – since you already made the stuff here, you can take a spoon or three of your current batch and use for seed yogurt for the next batch.  The taste will change over time, certain bacterias will express themselves stronger or weaker within the food.  If you don’t like that, go get more seed yogurt at the stores.

So… about my dog?

Rack, the McNab SuperDog sits on his mat in the corner next to my recliner.  It’s off in the distance so he can’t see what is going on in the kitchen from that spot.

There’s just enough noise in the house that I personally would not be paying that close attention to what goes on in the kitchen, but I would be wrong to ignore that completely.  Ceiling fans and clocks are all making a constant racket.

In fact, just putting on noise canceling headphones is a nice change of pace from hearing all that din.

Rack does not need that.

There are certain noises that get him up from the corner and to the kitchen.  If I grab ice cubes, he comes in asking for one.  Luckily he is not brave enough to take liberty to press on the ice dispenser on the refrigerator.

He will get one when I make my first mug of coffee, but only the first one.  The second one he stays put and ignores whatever else is going on.

Or so you think.

Certain kitchen noises may make him pay attention like crumpling a chip bag or rattling the doors on things in there but this is one thing that sends him running to the kitchen.

I store the Mason Jar with the plastic top and the wide mouth on the “Breakfast Shelf” in the fridge.  I’m tall, 193CM/6’4″ and it’s at chest height.

Nudging the jelly, yeast, and cottage cheese aside, I grab that yogurt jar.  If he’s in the room, he expects some.

But I tend to play tricks on my dog as it keeps his mind going.

Waiting for him to be in the corner, out of site, I get the Yogurt Jar out of the fridge.  Since I move things in and out frequently, he hasn’t figured out that specific jar’s noise.

Quietly stepping out, I see he’s not watching and blissfully sleeping.

Turn the lid just a quarter turn and he leaps off his bed and runs to the kitchen sliding into my right leg with a skid.

Mind you he’s not a Labrador Retriever but this is the closest to the Lab Feeding Frenzy that I get with my own McNab Dog.

He then gets his 1/2 cup of yogurt in his bowl.

It’s gone so far that I can’t use the word Yogurt in the house without having 46 pounds of black dog with white tips and highlights glued to my leg.

So yes, if you want the Yogurt for your recipes that will make the dogs come running, this is how you make the stuff.  The only time I buy yogurt is for seed if the original spoils.

Got a Dog? You Are Being Watched. Got a Herding Dog? Better Respect The Process.

Every so often, you hear this story.   For me it was the other day on BBC, this is a similar story if you want video.  In fact, the story is so common that if you do a search on “Breast Cancer Dog”, you will find many videos and stories on this subject

The story went that there was a woman who has a dog.  A great dog, a Rescue Dog, friendly, they bonded deeply, and they integrated each other deeply into each other’s lives.

So what she described is what you normally call a Shadow Dog.  They follow you every where.

In my case, Rack is a Shadow Dog, but being a McNab, he does it differently.  He placeshimself strategically so that he can see where I am and what I am doing, no matter who else is in the house.

Get the picture?   Good, here’s where it gets intriguing.

This lady noticed a difference in her dog’s moods.  The dog became less bouncy.  Less energetic.  More reserved.

Of course, dogs have moods just like you or I, and the longer I have my own boy here, the more often I realize that he does things for a reason.

That “reason” is what was causing the mood swings.   She was getting ready to take the dog into the vet to see if there was anything at all wrong with the dog when she noticed something odd.

We’re all used to having our dogs sniff around.  Mine took an interest in a bit of road rash I have on my left arm that took a little too long to heal.  He sniffed that spot every time he came over for a visit during a perimeter search in the house.  So I paid more attention to it, washed it out more often and more thoroughly than usual.  When it healed, he lost interest.

Here is the parallel.  The lady’s dog sniffed her chest more than normal, and realized that the dog was sniffing one specific breast.  Since she was in the UK she was able to get the care she needed, and found out that there was breast cancer developing in that breast.

The dog saved her life, and this is one of many cases where that story works out for the best.

Really, I have said it before many times and I shall say it again “Trust In Dog”.

I have a routine.  It’s very fixed in the way things are done.   I suppose I live an ordered and orderly life, although if you saw my kitchen you would disagree.

Things happen the same way daily because I have figured out that best process and the best order.  You would expect that of someone like me, a Project Manager.   We do that, we plan, we watch processes for the best outcome and tweak them and tune them like a fine piece of machinery.

However, my own ordered life is noticed by Rack down to the last detail.

He knows not to ask for an ice cube after the first one is given in the morning.  We walk, come home, I feed him and then he goes to his bed tucked away in a corner.   I then putter in the kitchen making up a mug of French Press coffee and drop five, not four or six, ice cubes in the press to bring it to a perfect temperature.

Rack knows that when I go into the freezer to come but only when called.  He gets his prize, I get my coffee, and since it is usually well before sunrise, I settle in to sip coffee and work on learning Spanish, getting caught up, and getting started.

At 7:30AM every day, whether it is raining or not, the irrigation system comes on.  It is on a timer and must run to water the orchids and fruit trees in pots.  Regardless of weather since some of these pots require a specific watering schedule, I have to go outside.

By this time, He’s either needing to visit the large palm tree out back or wants to just get out for a break and a romp.  I’m not completely sure which, or both.

When I am ready, I put my keyboard away, and immediately I hear Rack doing his “Downward Dog” yoga stretch, and then a furious trot behind me to the back door.

Every blessed day.

Without fail.

RunRunRunSkid.

“Ok Rack, I am coming.”

Rinsing out that French Press mug, I get to the door.  Rack invites himself outside, first.  I dump the grounds in the garden and go about my Yard Inspection.

It is every day.

Every.

Even during Irma’s aftermath, I maintained that schedule, although since the power was out or running on a generator, I used that time to scoop debris out of the pool or just do gardening.

But Rack was there.  Watching over what I was doing and insisting on being there.

When he has had enough of marking the perimeter outside, He comes back and tries to nudge me back indoors.

It’s that process thing.  One step after another, respect the process.  In order.

Now if he starts sniffing any specific part of your body, pay attention.

To Teach Success to Your Dog Is No Harder Than Building A Team

Hey!  Rack!  Want to go Out Front?
Blank stare.

I know what you really want.  I just choose to ignore it.  I have chosen my own reality.

The smarter the breed, the more mental stimulation that they need.   Sure, you gave your dog food, water, shelter.  You take them for walks hopefully with bags to pick up after them.

Things happen the same time every day, so now you have established a routine.  They don’t know why you get up and do things in a certain order, ice cubes to cool off the coffee after you brew it, why you go outside to check the yard at a specific time of day because the sprinklers come on.

 

They just like the order.

So when you throw the order off it gets strange results.

Mid morning mug of coffee happens because you think taking an afternoon nap at 10 AM is just a bit too … decadent for a busy day.

But you too need a break.

The feet scrape on the floor as you push from the desk and…

The dog trots to the back door.  Back door means that Rack can go explore, water my pots of Basil that keep sprouting in strange spots along with all the other involuntary plantings.

Wash the Basil well before it goes onto the Pizza, ok?

I sigh.

Rack, Front Yard.   I’m not sure if it is a request or an order.

Go water the rock!

*grumble*

There’s a duck trying to walk across the yard anyway, I have to convince that beast to go “elsewhere”.

Rack walks to a spot and stops.

I go outside take a step off the porch, the duck walks across the street and draws a box watching me every flap of those feet.   I take a second step when it stops and convince it otherwise.  I’m really tired of pressure washing the concrete because a duck parks itself there when I am not watching.

The duck dance ends with the beast five yards down.  I need my coffee anyway.

Rack hasn’t moved.  He’s bored.

By the time I have taken the first sip, he’s looked out back again, came over sat down and is looking at me through the side of his eye pretending he’s not being seen begging for attention.

He may think he’s being slick but I think that’s the Reality of Dog when you are a herding dog who does not know how to herd, nor chase any other creatures.

Except me of course.

Second sip happens as I take my hand away from petting him, turning his head, telling him that he’s the Goodest Boy Ever But You Are Not Surprising Me A BIT!

I think aloud “I’d take you in the Jeep somewhere but not just yet”.

Shouldn’t have said that.  Now he’s glued to my side thinking he put the words together saying that a ride was happening RIGHT NOW.

Maybe later, I tell him.  Dogs have a really awful sense of what “later” is.

You can indeed have a highly active, highly intelligent Herding dog in a small house in the suburbs.   You just have to be trained.

Cesar Millan is right, people can be trained.  The dog knows how to Dog.

Herding dogs need a job.  I am Rack’s Job.  Truth be told, anyone in the house is family even if they aren’t or at least by the second visit they are.  Family is the job.  Even that noisy as hell parrot in the back room’s window, Oscar.

But Oscar is a very different story indeed.

I move my feet off the footstool at my workstation.

Mistake.  The whole cycle starts over.  Rack thinks that Things Are Happening.

Yeah, I’m grabbing the headphones so I can listen to that Norteño music from Mexicali Mexico that I find I like even if it is “educational for me”.  Time to go to the kitchen

After a fashion he’s right.  Potatoes go in the oven for the Roast Pork Lunch that he is waiting for.

Of course he waits for it.  He gets to do his sad little Me Too Routine so that he gets some pork, excellently cooked even if I do say so myself.

Not every herding dog could do it.  After all, support dogs don’t always make the program.  I don’t need that much support, companionship is about the extent of it.  Just don’t raid the trash or the recycling.  You won’t get away with it because the house is too small for that.

Besides, a metal bowl on top of the trash can’s lid makes a heck of a sound when it crashes to earth.

But this is how we solved a completely broken down mental state when we got him.  I’m a big loud man.  I never decided that we would change, but he would be given every opportunity to learn how to live with us.

Teach success.  It’s best for dogs, people, even you and me.  Given the chance to excel, most will make an effort to reach your expectations and then leave them in the dust.

It’s a team building exercise.  Not one bit different than how I taught programmers how to be systems analysts so I could go off and be a project manager in a traditional setting.  Your Systems Analyst just has black and white fur and a wet nose.

When we got him, his first walk in the neighborhood was on his belly slinking across the street one paw at a time, to meet Lisa and Bill, our former neighbors.  He never learned that people can be fun and exciting.

Until he met us.  Now everything is an opportunity to learn.

Teach success.  It’s easy.

If your dog is barking like it’s insane, you’re not keeping its mind active.

But it is also your responsibility.  A dog that knows his place in the family, or the pack, lives a longer happier life.

So will you.

My Clock Has Four Legs and Fur or how Rack gets me to inspect the sprinklers

Most people have a very stable schedule.

Oh sure, you leave the house five minutes this way or that, go a different direction once in a while.  What I mean is that if you pull back and look at things at a “One Thousand Foot Level” instead of being specific, you do roughly the same things every day at about the same time daily.

This effect can be seen while looking at pollution levels at a city for example.  Saturday and Sunday has cleaner air.  Monday traffic is a little less than Tuesday because you and a couple hundred people in your city had a case of The Mondays that week.

That sort of thing.

I think that I’m in that sort of a relationship with my dog.  A bit of a feedback loop.

In my pre-dawn haze, almost every single day, I look over at him when I open my eyes.

Rack is almost always looking right back at me.

Ok, so it’s 5am, so let me sleep in.  Dawn comes two hours from now in winter, ok?

Didn’t think so.

If humans have a semi-rigid schedule, so do dogs.

We get out of bed and get prepared for a lap around town.  Fifteen minutes later, like furry clockwork, we’re on our way.

When we’re back, he fiddles around doing those Dog Things that he does, but he knows that when the microwave door opens, 40 seconds later, he gets food.  “Come on over” is something I rarely have to say.

Food, coffee, Spanish, online stuff, and all the sudden he’s at my elbow again.  I check the clock, it’s just turned 7 and someone else is getting up.

“Go see ’em!” I say.  It rarely works but I try anyway.  Time for a little attention, and he’s back in his corner.

I go back to my own routine and after a bit he’s back at my elbow.

It’s 7:31am.  My sprinkler systems have kicked on for a quick watering of the pots.  He’s looking at me, he knows, it’s time.  I have to do the yard inspection.   That’s a pretty rigid time there even if the clock there needs to be adjusted.

We’re in the yard, I dump my first mug’s coffee grounds in the plants because “It’s Gardener’s Gold!” in this sandbox that we call soil here, plus it can reduce the number of mosquitoes and feral cats that wander through the property.

Dumping the pool scoop in the can, I’m being herded inside.

I think Rack manages my time as effectively as any cellphone, Palm Pilot, or Secretary ever could.

He does know not to ask for an ice cube on the second mug of coffee, he gets one and that is fine by him.

Similar things happen around lunch where he knows to check what I am making.  I learned that if I tell him that it is chicken or “there’s onions” he won’t bother me.

I’ll give him some homemade yogurt instead.

At 440, he gets up to wander into the kitchen for his dinner and our second yard inspection.  Oh sure, I may be deeply involved in something, but if I am, he’ll nudge me along.

Not at 4:35 nor 4:45, but promptly at 4:40.

“Dog?  Can you read a clock?”

Brown eyes lasering a hole through my head.

When we get back inside, I try to reclaim my own schedule.

5PM on the dot he gets up and walks to the front door.   The house is about to fill up again, I am having more holes sintered in to my head.  Twin brown laser beams are telling me that someone is on the way.

I see the white SUV pull past, then back into the drive.  Time once again to go for a walk.

Yep, dog walk time.

It’s almost cause and effect.  He knows what is going on, and has a good understanding of what he is being included in.

Rack, being a McNab Dog, is so intelligent that I have learned just to accept that he will understand what is going on.   If I get up and move for the keys in a certain way that indicates that a car is being used, he tries to invite himself.  If it is a Skate Day instead, when he sees me put my skates or pads by the door, he backs off.

Intense little black and white dogs can’t run as far or as fast for as long as I can skate, although the ride would have him beyond excited.

But a herding dog, especially a McNab, is a special thing.  They will manage you if they can, and will understand what you are saying even if you can’t see the clock!