Confusing The Dog With The Haunted Poang

Having a routine is best for your dog.

They confuse so easily.

The UPS/FedEx/USPS drivers come through and I know that it happens because I hear a low grumble from Our Corner of the living room.

Rack the McNab SuperDog (TM) has gravitated to a specific spot.  Right next to My Chair in the living room.

My Chair in an All In The Family sense is where I sit.  My Spot.  So he sits there, on a pair of foam pads rescued from a long departed Poang chair that is wrapped in a blanket.  It’s right there at my feet.

We hold discussions, mostly about what I am (constantly) snacking on.  Whether he can be involved in what I am doing.  Whether he can get what I am snacking on.

I used to have the second Big Green Chair in that corner before.  It is moved for now into the middle of the living room because an Ikea Poang Chair just fits my 6’4″/193CM, 220 pound/100KG frame like a glove.

Nobody seems to like these chairs who visit us here.  I don’t understand why they all have to try them out and then bounce out to the couch or one of the big chairs either, but it works out for me.

This Poang is a new one which means it will probably live another 20 years in this house as My Rocking Chair.

I was at Ikea in Sunrise, FL with a friend who gave me the chair for Xmas because I refused to get out of the floor sample at the store.  I guess he got tired of hearing me talk about how comfortable they are “for me”.

This particular morning, I sat down in The Other Big Green Chair on the opposite side of the little table from Our Corner.  Using the electric razor I sat back.  Rack was on his bed in Our Corner happily grooming his oldest hedgehog toy.  It now looks like all the hair has been removed except a patch here and there, and he goes to that one over all the rest.

Our Boy Rack was lost in the Daddy Zone grooming that little hedgehog when I looked over at him.  He didn’t notice me as I reached over to the poang rocker.  I couldn’t see what he was up to so I moved it gently.

It was at this point where I confused Rack.  I might say freaked him out.

Chairs don’t move on their own.

Nobody was in the Poang Rocker.
Dad was in the Big Green Chair.

What was going on?

WHAT WAS GOING ON?!?!?

All that went through his furry black and white mind as every last bit of fur on his body went up on his body and he turned into a Looney Tunes parody of a scared dog.

He immediately forgot about his child, the mostly bald hedgehog.   Forgot about his comfort zone.  Forgot about being in the little corner with the little dog bed.

He basically ripped tire scrabbling across the floor to get away from my haunted Poang that fits my back and nobody else’s.

I had to stop shaving when I had 45 pounds of black and white dog hiding on my other side

from the weird pieces of furniture that moved on their own.

Looking down into those twin brown eyes, I had lasers burning into my soul imploring me to explain why things were moving on their own.

My own laugh was answer enough.  He visibly deflated and went off duty to gingerly walk back into his corner.

Laying down on his bed in the corner next to the Haunted Poang, he plastered himself against the far wall in that little space, returning to his old hedgehog and the morning routine.

The moral of the story is if you are going to Rock Your World, make sure your dog knows you are still in it.

Happy New Year 2020

All done with Amateur Night I see?

You have hopefully made it home safe without any ahem “legal” problems.

Yeah, we don’t particularly like it when people imbibe and drive.  It’s become less and less socially acceptable to do so during my lifetime.

I will say that the town doesn’t look like it was picked up and dropped after that party that started a block and a half away just after sunset and lasted until after midnight.

Supposedly the fireworks that freaked my dog out until he lost control of his bowels at the front door had ended around 2 AM.

He may be a McNab SuperDog (TM) but Rack is in the majority of dogs that simply don’t fathom why people need to celebrate turning the page on the calendar by using explosive devices long past the point where they ceased to be entertaining.

I’ll be doing an extra laundry today.

And obviously, this happens more than once a year.

So take down the old calendar.  My new one for 2020 is already on the door, and I don’t see that I need another one, perfectly.

Pun Intended.

If you will excuse me I have to “spatch” a chicken for lunch.  We found a Lemon Spatch Cooked Skillet Chicken recipe and apparently I am the little old lady with the technique.  Spatching a chicken is cutting it along the ribcage to be able to flatten it out.  You can do it with a sharp knife or a pair of scissors, but I think I just may grab the electric sawsall and pretend that I’ll be doing some heavy construction instead of preparing a tasty meal.

So may your chickens be spatched, your dog be not freaked out, and your new year be bright and shiny and in focus.

Happy New Year 2020, where ever you may be reading this.

Tired of Belly Rubs? Use a Sock on your McNab SuperDog(TM)

(oops, forgot a title)

Every night it seems to be our routine.

Find some sitcoms after dinner.  There are plenty both on local broadcast TV and on the web.

Wonderfully silly and surreal TV shows about Ditzy Farm Wives with a Pig that is smarter than you are.  Women who once moved to Minneapolis where it was cold and she thought she’d “Keep Better” but now is giving Noo Yawk its “Last Chance”.  RCMP Mounties in Chicago with a deaf wolf solving crimes.

Ahh they don’t make TV like that now do they?

Sheldon and Leonard or Rachel and Ross aside that is.

Being the tall and Rangy type, my arms and legs go all over the place.  I illegally put my right leg up on the arm of the couch where I have created a divot.  I really shouldn’t do that but if I don’t Mr Dog can’t get back to his corner.

That corner.  It has the foam rubber from an Ikea Poang Chair wrapped in a synthetic blanket.  It’s his bed.  He lays on it, sometimes.  He lays next to it, sometimes.  Other times he melts off the side in some weird origami pattern bent like a sausage and flattened out.

It’s the life of having a working dog in a suburban home.

I don’t think I could do this with a pure bred Border Collie.  They’re wonderful dogs, but when old Alexander McNab made the breed that I favor, McNab Dog, he bred out the twitchiness and the extreme need to be doing something NOW! at any moment.

While the people on the farms where the McNab was originally created for will scream “He’s a Working Dog!  He should be on a FARM”, I am proof that one size does not fit all.

Besides, I am constantly reading about McNabs who decided that life on the farm may be kind of laid back but not for them.

I swear I’m going to go out to California where these dogs are common, drive around with the roof off my Jeep and if one jumps in for a ride, I won’t try too hard to find it’s home.

They walk off and find their way to other farms or into homes and these amazingly adaptable creatures do well.

My own Dog Of A Lifetime has a job.  It’s Me.  Living here near the shops and the tourists, he’s able to get a lot of mental stimulation that a lifetime of chasing sheep will never give him.

The only weird affect he seems to be developing is he has chosen guarding as his job.

You see, wherever I am, I must be watched.  If the UPS Truck (or Fed E-Arrow-X) comes by he grumbles.  I’m still trying to teach him that the Postie is our Friend but he’s not buying it.

At night when I’m watching Lisa “plug in an 8” and blow out the “electricical”, Rack is resting under my hand.  I’m giving him belly rubs with that hand and he’s happy.

Dreaming happy dreams where his tail wags, maybe dreaming of running through his wormhole to visit the other realm where Rack is King of the McNabs, or just wandering behind the hedges to have a little peace away from the loud diesel trucks that are servicing the shops.

It’s all good, it’s all waggable, he’s a happy soul that rests next to his job.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.

But I do get tired from time to time and have to take my hand back.

That is when we discovered something curious.  I can use a sock.

No, seriously.  If he goes into that trance like state, where he’s awake but not really, I can place a sock or two across his belly that is exposed and the weight of the hosiery does just enough.

He thinks I’m still petting the belly that he exposes like a light switch lighting the dark, and I get to shake blood back into my hand and wind my automatic diver’s watch a little bit.

Yes, living in Florida with a pool, having a diver’s watch is important since you just might get knocked into the pool.  When Rack gets charging around those corners out there, he’s been known to fly over the water and into that wormhole where I have been knocked into the deep end once or twice.

Got to work on that there, Cow Dog!

When he finally comes fully aware that he’s been duped, we start that cycle again.  Arnold the Pig is grunting on the TV or we’re visiting with that Mighty Fine Woman, Kate at the hotel near the tracks.  Rack is guilting me to rub his belly again.

All are happy, all are well in our little land of domesticity.

Would not have it any other way!

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.

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.