The Less Than Perfect Dog

by Houndstooth on

We have three dogs at our house that we could take anywhere and it’s a delight to take them out with us.  And then there’s Morgan, the less than perfect dog. Taking her somewhere with us requires a certain amount of fortitude and we generally have to mentally prepare ourselves before we leave the house with her.

In the car, she is, ahem, heck on wheels.  She’s reactive to just about everything.  I don’t know what a motorcycle ever did to her, but she will totally lose her nut if she sees one behind us on the road.  For that matter, she’s not happy to see a car, a truck, a plane, a train or even a leaf behind us, either.  If you ever see a movie where a guard dog is barking uncontrollably, that’s a pretty accurate representation of Morgan in the car.  It makes getting from point A to point B with her a bit stressful for everyone involved.

Watching and Waiting -- Tales and Tails

Watching and Waiting

In the beginning, she rode in the car with no problems.  She used to be able to handle being loose in the car, as a matter of fact, but after a few scary incidents where my husband thought she’d go through the window, it was agreed that she would always ride in the crate in the car.  Now, since she can’t leave her packmates alone, it’s an added measure for their safety, too.  She loves to be out with them, and close to them, but she cannot leave them alone and I won’t gamble with everyone else’s safety, or mine for that matter.

This weekend, we had a break in the bitter cold with some mild winter weather and honest to goodness blue skies and sunshine.  We’d almost forgotten what it looked like.  To celebrate, we decided to go for a walk in one of our favorite places, the Pimiteoui Trail by the Peoria riverfront.  To my surprise, Mr. Taleteller suggested taking Morgan, and I wasn’t going to argue.  She’s been in need of a good dose of fresh air just like the rest of us.

Feeling Groovy -- Tales and Tails

Feeling Groovy

So, off we went to walk along the riverfront and the first thing we heard as we started walking down the street was a dog barking like it was going to tear us up.  We looked up to see a tiny, whit fluffy dog, my bet would be a Maltese or a Maltese cross up on an apartment balcony.  I was surprised, because from the sound of the bark, I’d have thought this little dog was a Rottweiler.  My husband and I had a brief laugh about it, and Morgan told the little dog to step off with a big girl bark of her own.

I wanted to get some pictures of Bunny and Flattery in a certain doorway nearby, so we stopped and were doing some photos.  While we were fiddling with our picture taking, the woman who owned the little white dog went by the corner, crossing the street with not one, but two of the little white furry dogs, who were both barking madly.  Morgan was sitting beside my husband as they appeared, and I saw her stand up and wag her tail, and all I could hear was George Costanza’s father asking “You wanna piece of me?”  She gave one low bark, but I think even she realized that they were no thread.  Flattery looked at them to see if they had the potential of being the other white meat, but when she heard them barking, she went back to ignoring them.

I've Got Your Back -- Tales and Tails

I’ve Got Your Back

So, off on the trail we went after a bit of time, and as we passed joggers and other walkers, Morgan assessed them and gave a warning when she felt it was warranted.  My husband usually manages her pretty well and while she will express her opinion, she can let it go once she’s made her feelings known most of the time.

Things were going pretty well, and then, wouldn’t you know, we saw the woman jogging towards us with her two little white balls of terror.   This time, we were going to be passing close by each other.  We were under a busy bridge and Bunny dislikes the noise it makes, so we try to pass it quickly.  Mr. Taleteller told me to take the girls on ahead and he took Morgan over to the side of the path to wait for them to pass.  As we got closer the little dogs went crazy, jumping, lunging and barking like maniacs.  Flattery was getting rather excited, but Bunny was completely unimpressed by their lack of manners.  I told Flattery we were not stopping for a greeting because, frankly, I don’t think the other dogs could have handled it.  When they got close to the girls, I heard Morgan give a warning and I know she was watching everything very closely.  It’s her worst-case scenario, when her pack could be in danger and she might not be able to protect them from the threat.  Once they were past us, Morgan was fine, she just wanted to catch up and be sure we were unharmed.

Happy Morgan -- Tales and Tails

Happy Morgan

The rest of the walk, I could see her relax more and more.  I think for her, it’s very important to feel that she keeps us safe.  Most of the time, we let her and Mr. Taleteller walk in front of us, and I often smile as I see her walking along, her tail sashaying back and forth.  She’s on duty, watching out for us, but also happy to be out and about with us.  She will check back to see that we’re still there every ten paces or so and if we get too far behind, I’ve seen her do a few tricks to slow my husband down and keep us all together.

Seeing the little dogs definitely gave me a fresh perspective on Morgan, though.  She will definitely make her presence known, especially if she perceives a threat, but she isn’t as out of control as I once feared.  If she’d been acting like the little fuzzy terrorists we passed on the trail, my husband would have been bouncing along on the ground behind her.  She has a threshold for what she can tolerate, and I would definitely prefer her not to bark at every potential danger like a Tasmanian Devil, but all things considered I’d prefer she bark instead of lunge and jump like a maniac.  Perhaps her time being raised by Greyhounds has taught her a few regal manners after all.

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17 Responses to "The Less Than Perfect Dog"
  1. Jackie was a barking whirling dervish in the car, and she was also, unfortunately, one of those jumpy lungers, so she didn’t get to go for many walks. So many people let their dogs run loose, and I didn’t feel comfortable putting her or Dillon in danger that way. Some pups just REEALLY take their job as protector (against everything – PEOPLE ON THE SIDEWALK! DOG OUTSIDE! CAT OUTSIDE! BARKBARKBARK!!) seriously!

  2. Kari Neumeyer says:

    Good for Morgan! It’s so frustrating when other dog owners seem so oblivious. Like really, lady, did you have to pass us three times?

    As for “less than perfect” … At the first reading from my book about Isis, Rob’s mom raised her hand during the Q&A to say that Isis was PERFECT. Never mind that I had just read passages about her barking and lunging on leash, and biting a guy… to Grandma, Isis was perfect.

    I think Morgan’s probably pretty perfect too! 🙂

  3. Sue Dyer says:

    Beautiful Morgan.

    Have you tried covering Morgan’s crate? If she doesn’t have the various scenes to look at, it may calm her a bit. Also spraying DAP in the crate before she get’s in might help.

    Hope you get out on many more walks with Morgan.

    Have a good day. Sue, Polly & Honey

  4. SGilbert says:

    Woo Hoo Morgan! Morgan was born to protect her family! I think you are right maybe Bunny and Flattery are showing Morgan just protect us but don’t act like a Tasmanian Devil!

  5. I agree with Kari. Morgan is perfect. She’s doing her job. And the fact that she was able to bark her warnings without going nutsy cuckoo like the fluff balls from hell shows how well you and your husband have taught her she is safe.

  6. Mary says:

    She is the great protector, and you guys are lucky to have her on duty like that.

  7. Lori - What Remains Now says:

    Glad Morgan had a good day out. We have to enjoy any break in the weather we get.

  8. Dory and the Mama says:

    I always enjoy hearing about Morgan, she is lots like Bilbo (our problem child) except Bilbo is only 7 pounds (thank goodness!)! I am also very glad that our pups aren’t yippers…it’s like those little fluffy dudes were just asking for trouble!! 🙂

    You and Mr. Taleteller do a great job with making sure she is as relaxed as possible…wish more people did the same around here.

  9. Jodi says:

    Delilah can be challenging, but she’s mellowed a bit, part of it is just being out and being rewarded for the good behaviors but I also think part of it is maturity. I can’t believe I actually just said that about Delilah of all dogs.

  10. jan says:

    Morgan just seems to be over protective and that is not really a bad thing.

  11. rottrover says:

    Oh Morgan, you know we are huge fans, and we’re so glad that you’re maturing and able to go out on those wonderful hikes with your pack. You are SO beautiful! Bunny, mom watch Camelot over the weekend – you know that musical with Richard Harris and Vanessa Redgrave? Well, one of your sisters was featured ina key role as Gwenevere’s princess dog in the movie! Frankly, mom thinks you’re much more beautiful ( and better suited for the role) than the dog in the movie, but you weren’ around in 1967 when the film was made! Happy New Year to all of you!

    Bart, Ruby and Otto

  12. Dear Royal Morgan! We liked hearing about how protective you are about your pack! It seems like you have learned a few Navy Seal techniques, like stealth surveillance, in your efforts to make sure you are in charge of the safety of the pack!
    Power and Hera

  13. Sara, oreo & chewy says:

    I’m glad Morgan did so well on your outing. Sometimes, they surprise us like that.

  14. It sounds like a good outing for Morgan! I’m glad she got to go hiking and that it was fun for all of you!

  15. So glad that Morgan was able to get out with the rest of you to enjoy the break in the weather. Sounds like she did a pretty good job. 🙂

  16. Morgan is such a beautiful girl. Our first GSD was Madison and she had two puppies. We named them Morgan and Lindsey. They were such clowns most of the time. Our retired K-9 Jake would never let anyone walk behind us. We had to be in his view and when we had company, they had to go ahead of us. He had been trained not to let people come behind his police officer and he stayed that way with us. You always feel safe with a Shepherd watching over you. ♥

  17. Dennis the Vizsla says:

    hello morgan its dennis the vizsla dog hay do not worry i gess i am less then perfekt too and so i hav to sit at the harbor surrownded by kones and po-leese tayp and bodygards and razor wire and wotnot so that nobuddy approatches and mayks me go to defcon too or wun!!! yore pak is lukky to hav yoo along to keep them sayf tho its a thankless job but sumbuddy has to do it like yoo or trixie gudness nos it wil not be me!!! ha ha ok bye

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