Our Mission

To live a self-sufficient and organic lifestyle for the next half century. With the Grace of God and the power of prayer, we will succeed. Nothing is impossible with His help. It wouldn't be us without laughter and joy at the Cockeyed Homestead.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Runaway Dog or Dogs Just Want to Have Fun

Bennie Dufus
We had grand albeit frustrating week with two of our dogs this week. Bennie is still in training mode. He is never still for long while inside. Mel calls it pacing. I recognize it, from half a century of training Shepherds, as making the rounds or on guard. He is walking the perimeter. It's a Shepherd trait. Anyhow, it drives Mel batty and she's not used to it.

Bennie is also determined to make friends with all the domestic animals. It's going fairly well considering the first day's of him trying to kill everyone (pets).  He's met with quite a bit resistance from our two alpha female cats, Dervish and Patches. While he doesn't get hissed at or slapped during the regular day, he forces the issue with these two. Did I tell you he was a dufus? He has a huge nose that is constantly sniffing them. Both cats hate it from anyone let alone this huge dog. They will first warn him off by growling, yelling, hissing, and spitting at him. Being a dufus, he ignores these warnings until they slap the daylights out of him. After being slapped a few times (usually four times...they are quick), he will shake his head and back off a step or two. He'll whimper, cock his head to the side, and stare at them. The cats hate being stared at almost as much as being sniffed. You'd figure he'd take the hint. No, he's a dufus. After a few minutes, he'll stick his nose within striking distance again.

Herbie has taken to growling at him too when Bennie gets too close. Of course, Herbie growls at anyone who touches him except me. He's adopted me as his favorite and is so relieved that I've come to stay. You may have read that Bennie had picked him up and shook this terrier during the first twenty-four hours together. But Bennie has learned his lesson about hurting other household pets. Herbie has a big dog compressed into a small frame attitude. He'll lay around the house like a bigger dog. He has no fear and will attack an animal five times his size. It's a typical terrier trait to take on all comers fearlessly.

Bennie's new problem is actually stepping on Herbie's tail and other parts of his body. Herbie doesn't like ANYBODY touching his tail. He will snap at Bennie for doing it after yelping from pain. Poor Bennie has a problem with no knowing where his huge paws land.

All except for the chickens. I told Mel of how we used to break dogs from killing chickens on my uncle's farm. We tied the carcass of the chicken the dog killed around its neck. We left it in place until it stunk to high heaven. For how long depended on the dog. Most dogs got the message within a couple of days. They never killed chickens again. It may sound cruel, but it works. After the first twenty-four hours of no human interaction, (no talking, loving or even petting) most dogs get the message. We both train animals with love and positive reinforcement. We use punishment as a last resort and find withdrawal of attention a mighty stern reprimand.

Mel's front door has a large plastic pet door, or did until Nnyus broke the plastic off bit by bit over time. Now it's just and opening in the metal door with black fabric duct taped over the opening. The only way to close it off is to shut the storm door. The first day Bennie figured out the pet door with the help of Nnyus. This is pretty smart because Little Bit, my cat, still hasn't figured it out. It seems strange to use the word "smart" with Bennie Dufus. After the first night's reprimand of not going out the pet door was working until this week.

Nnyus heard something outside and bolted through the pet door with Bennie on her heels. Once he was outside he realized with some shock that he was free. Of course Nnyus decided she wanted to play with him and they were off. Together they made a bee line up the driveway and through the overgrown woods. Occasionally, you would see one or the other's heads as they jumped at each other in the undergrowth. There was no catching the two runaways short of getting into the truck or grabbing the machete to get through the brambles of blackberry thickets and vines. They were having too much fun to listen.

While we weren't concerned for Nnyus, Bennie was a different story. He didn't know about streets and cars. Nnyus has some buddies who live up the street. If she decided to go visiting with Bennie he was stupid enough to get hit by a car. As if two acres wasn't enough to romp and play in. After about an hour, Nnyus and Bennie emerged back out on the driveway with their tongues lolling out of their mouths. Since Bennie was still wearing his leash, he was easy enough to catch. I was surprised that he hadn't hung himself or gotten trapped in the woods with it. But he didn't. He spent the rest of the night tethered to Mel's bedpost in the dark with no attention. As social as this dog is, he was beside himself by morning. He hasn't gone through the pet door again.

Hope your week has been better. As always, be blessed.


  1. I finally figured out after quite a few years, that I needed to claim back at least half my house from dog hair and drool, the dogs stay out of my dinning room and kitchen! I love them and am happy to share part of my house with them, but for my sanity and in keeping my house clean, I had to limit their space to the living room and my son's room. He doesn't mind the hair and drool that's great, but I had to claim part of my house back. It is nice not tripping over them laying all over the house and usually right under my feet. The cats, that's another story, can't really keep them out of anywhere, they go where they want. As long as I keep up with the vacuuming, all is well. The dogs have learned their boundaries and I couldn't be happier with that. Love your videos and vlogs! Much love from one of your loyal subscribers, Dorothy ♥

    1. Dorothy, Thanks for reading and commenting! Corralling all these cats (5) and dogs (3) would be an impossible feat around here. Herbie has started sleeping in my room now that he's decided to adopt me as his own. It was nice to have a dog free space. But this bonding is a Terrier trait.

      We plan to have animal specific especially dog free spaces once we expand and get the property the way we want it. Then all of the floor in the community building will be wood for ease of cleaning.


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