The problem with having a fur covered alarm system is it takes a while to get it set the way it is supposed to be set, and any updates are cause for malfunctions of the two in the morning type. Bert has nearly always been perfect about being able to distinguish from those things that are not cause for alarm and those things he should hammer down on. It pretty much boils down to if it is human bark at it and if it’s just an armadillo snuffling around the front yard then ignore it. Both Bert and Sam like to growl at deer in the front yard, and they will chase deer out of the backyard, but they got busted ignoring deer once upon a time and since then they’ve been too embarrassed to bark.
One Sumer day back in 2006 or 2005 both Bert and Sam were relaxing in the back yard, as dogs will do in the Summer. It was too hot to play, but still cool enough to stretch out in the middle of the yard, and both looked very comfortable. I was watching them, and wondering what dogs dream about when dogs do dream, and suddenly a small herd of white tailed deer came out of the woods, and crossed over the back acre, which I had not fenced in at that time. The deer were going to drink out of the pond that borders my property to the east and about a quarter of it is actually mine but that is usually the part of the pond that is dry, as it were. Anyway, Bert heard the herd, and raised his head, and Sam, sensing something had alerted Bert, also raised his head. The dogs looked at the deer, the deer stopped and looked at the dogs, and then everyone went about their business. I suspect this was how it was whenever I was at work, and I went to get a camera, so I could get a photo of my dogs in the foreground not reacting to a herd of deer in the background. Well, as soon as the door opened both dogs leapt up and WOO! WOO! WOOWOOWOO! At the deer and the deer fled. Both dogs were all horripilated and jumped up on the fence as if they were ready to defend me to the death. I think they knew I knew, but both of them were acting rather sheepishly after the event, as if they suspect they had been sleeping on their watch. Dogs totally know when they’re busted.
Both Sam and Lucas were picked up strays, and as such, it took them both a while to determine where the property lines are, and what they should do, if anything, when someone got too close. Sam basically followed Bert’s lead and wouldn’t bark until he did. I wasn’t real sure Sam could bark for a while because he didn’t. Sam is easily the most quiet animal I have ever shared my space with. Lucas isn’t much of a follower. Lucas draws down and barks at things that are not there at all. He also barks at snakes, which doesn’t make any sense at all because snakes cannot hear him. But Lucas is also the largest dog I have ever shared space with and he shows no signs of that “stunted” thing the vet spoke of when I found Lucas on the road. Stunted my ass, I mean what the hell was he going to be if he got bigger, a Great Dane? He’s tipping out on the upper end of the Weimer range of weight and I suspect deeply there is some very large Pibble in there with that Grey Ghost. Lucas has an attitude. He trusts his own judgment as to when to bark, and what to send barks towards. Lucas is the Hal 9000 of watch dogs.
Me: Lucas stop barking. There isn’t anything there.
Lucas: I’m sorry Dave, but I cannot do that.
Me: Lucas! Stop that!
Lucas: I have the greatest enthusiasm for the mission, Dave.
Lucas: I’m sorry Dave, I cannot do that.
What’s worse, is Lucas has discovered if he barks he can sometimes con the other dogs into barking, too, but they’re catching onto this, and Bert refuses to be prompted anymore. Bert was never as fast as Sam, who has always been a Speed Merchant, but now Bert struggles to stand up and he no longer rushes towards the window to see what’s out there. He’s an old man now, and very content to bark while lying down, or sitting, and then investigating once he’s able to totter over to the action. Sam and Lucas act as a stereo barking system but then tend to crowd into the same spot to bark when they are inside, so it’s hard to get the two speaker system. Sam has always had a rather houndish voice that is more of a yelping sound than a deep bark, and Lucas is still trying to find the right voice. Neither have Bert’s vocal hammer. I’m more than a little glad they both don’t because that would be more noise than anyone really needs, but it comes in handy whenever there are strangers around.
Both the Elder Mutts realize unless someone kicks in the door and starts chanting Justine Barbara lyrics then the nights are for sleeping. One winter night I tossed an alarm clock at Sam for barking at night, hence the term, “cold clocked” no, wait, that isn’t right, no, I tossed a rooster at him, nevermind, anyway both older dogs know better than to make excessive noise at night. Lucas assumes if he’s awake, and he hears something, perhaps we all ought to be awake and hear it together. Group hugs rarely follow this line of thinking. But the end results for all of this is no one in their right mind and few outside of it, would think breaking into my house is a good idea.
I have an alarm system.