One of Habibi’s best friends is Chance, even though she is a collie.
In general, the Canaan Dogs don’t seem to think of the collies as dogs. They seem to think of them as a bunch of big, furry creampuffs.
Chance, however, is something else. Her mother is Brazilian, and if ever there was the epitome of a hot Latin bombshell, it is Chance. Activity is her middle name, and that means being in top gear – running, barking, pushing, mouthing, and doing anything she can invent to make things happen.
In order to try and turn her energy in a positive direction, I decided I would take her to a herding clinic and try her out on sheep. For Chance, this was a revelation! There were these big, dumb, furry things that moved when she ran at them – and even more surprising, when she did that, I told her what a wonderful and good dog she was! And she was also a good dog when she barked at them and when she nudged and pushed them with her nose! Wow! All those things she had been trying to do with the other dogs and with people were now allowed and she was a good dog for doing them!!!
She loved every minute of it, and did not want to let the other dogs in the class have a turn. At one point, she managed to slip her collar, and dashed in while a poor confused German Shepherd was trying to understand just what he was expected to do. “Look, you stupid dog! You have to circle them like this! You have to push them! They are sheep!”
Unfortunately, we do not have any sheep at home, and Chance has learned that herding is her true calling. So anything that moves is fair game. She tries to herd the other dogs, who are not at all enthusiastic about the idea, though overall they tolerate her, only occasionally getting annoyed and snapping back. Since they do have teeth, she does respect them. But people! Those are the most fun! When visitors come into the yard, Chance runs around them in circles and butts them in the rear with her nose to get them moving and keep them together. Her nose butts can be quite a poke – I have felt them, since if there are not visitors around and she manages to get behind me, she will do it to me also. It is not easy to explain to people who don’t really understand about the instincts of herding dogs that Chance is not trying to bite them, she is just herding them. Some of them surreptitiously lift their pants legs to check and make sure that she really did not use teeth.
Another victim is my poor little Jack Russell terrier. He is a working dog who is let loose at night to keep away mice and rats. During the day, he used to be out with the collie pack. But Chance has decided that he is fair game and needs to be rounded up. So now, to give him a bit of peace, he spends the days in the puppy pen, where he sleeps in the middle while Chance runs around the outside of the pen barking and trying to get him to move. She is never happier than when he cooperates and runs around the inside of the pen so that she can herd him from the outside. Jack Russells have a reputation for being hyperactive – well, compared to Chance, he is a pussycat.
The only one she really respects is Habibi. She would never dream of trying to herd him. She loves to run after and retrieve balls and toys, but if Habibi is out and I throw a toy, she will dash after it and then stand aside while Habibi picks it up and brings it back. After all, the pack leader deserves some respect…
Habibi accepts this as what is due him. He does agree to run and play with Chance a bit, as any congenial adult will do with a child. But of course, he has more serious things on his mind than dashing around with a hairy maniac.
I may have to buy some sheep…