This summer, we’ve noticed something a little different about our dogs. I don’t think it makes them terribly different from other dogs. I guess I’ve just noticed it because it’s new behavior for them. Well, sort of new behavior, anyway.
Flattery has turned into the Mr. Miyagi of Greyhounds. By that, I mean that she has honed her bug catching skills to an art form. If a fly buzzes past her as she walks outside, all it takes is a quick turn of her head and the fly is gone. She can bite them right out of the air. That’s not new for her. She’s been working on that skill for a few years. Up until now, however, she was only interested in being a fly catcher. Other bugs held no interest for her.
This year, her interest has turned to these annoying beetles that have started to populate in our area. Several people I know have commented on how there seem to be a lot of these particular beetles around this year. It appears that it’s not just my imagination that there are more of them. Of course, these things don’t move like flies, so Flattery has been perfecting her skill this summer as she tries to catch them, although I have no idea why she thinks it’s a good idea. I just chalk it up to the quirkiness of Flattery.
Until now, Flattery has been the only one interested in the bugs, though. Every once in a while, Morgan will catch one for sport, but even she doesn’t view them as much of a threat. I suppose she’s too busy keeping an eye on the rabbits. Küster can’t be bothered with them, probably because they don’t smell like much, and Bunny has always been too much of a princess to take note of a common insect.
The other day, though, Bunny was insistent that I take her outside. I slipped on my shoes, and of course Flattery was right behind us. We leashed up as usual and headed out the back door towards the pen. That was when Bunny spotted a large, unusual green beetle crawling across a dirt patch in the yard. She was fixated on it. I have never had a problem calling her off of anything before, or getting her to leave something alone. A word from me, and she ignores it and moves on. Something about this beetle, though, was hypnotic. She would not be swayed.
Me: Bunny, let’s go.
Bunny: Stop bugging me!
Me: I said, “let’s go!”
Bunny: I’m busy!
Me: Bunny! I’m not kidding! Leave. It!
Bunny: Oh, you had to go and say those dirty words!
I pulled. I tugged. I said her name. I got barely an ear twitch of recognition. I opened the turn out pen door and reeled her in by the leash. I pushed her inside and she did go in and finish her business. After a few minutes, I opened the door and leashed her up again. It was like a magnet was in that crazy beetle as she veered straight for it. She almost walked into the side of the car, as a matter of fact.
Part of me was tempted to just let her walk over and inspect it, but I’m not sure about the safety of these bugs and I don’t need any emergency vet visits. My instinct says that once she sniffed it, the novelty would be over. It’s just incredibly unusual to see anything get her attention that strongly and keep it. She was so interested that a little while later, she gave me the urgent need to go out signal again, and as soon as we went by, she was looking for that beetle. Part of me suspects that the beetle was the true motivation for the trip outside, but I can’t be sure.
Sometimes, I would just like to have a lens on the insides of their brains to see what makes them tick. Clearly, the bug sparked something inside my mild mannered little hound differently than anything else we’ve encountered before. I know I plan to be careful the next few days as we go out, just in case, but I’m hoping the bug is now forgotten. I guess time will tell.