If I were a superstitious person, I might think I jinxed myself with my previous post Lady and the Timber or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Pack Behaviour. In it, I marveled at how controlling two large dogs was almost easier than controlling one because of their instinct to form hierarchical groups.
Pretty much the next time we went out, our eight-month-old, golden retriever, house guest Timber, decided to give me reason to revoke my newfound fondness for pack behaviour.
Not surprisingly, this little escapade involves a third dog. As we were heading out of town, I had Lady on her leash and Timber walking free since in the two weeks prior he had not given me any reason to believe he would do anything but dutifully follow the bug like, well, like a little puppy dog.
Unfortunately, there was another dog–a small, black Tasmanian devil of indeterminate breed–tied in a yard at the edge of town, who was simply too much temptation for young Timber. Lady and I continued on, assuming Timber would soon follow.
He did not. I called and whistled, but he did not respond. Eventually we had to backtrack. Timber was having a grand old time playing with the small black dog and no amount of cajoling would allay his commitment to his new playmate.
I had to go after him physically, no mean feat in snow shoes with a 130-pound Newf in tow. Of course, as soon as we got close enough, the bug joined in on the fun, complicating matters considerably.
Trying to hold on to her, avoid a small, bouncing bundle of furry energy, and get hold of Timber at the same time, was a challenge, but I finally managed to grab his collar. He pulled away, leaving me off balance with collar in hand. I was unable to keep my feet and landed on my back. Lady MacBeth viewed this as an invitation to pile on and true to instinct, the two others followed suit.
Flailing around in a snowbank under more than 200 pounds of dog might have been fun 40 years ago and would have been quite comical, had it not been happening to me. It did give me the opportunity, however, to grab and hold on to Timber long enough to get collar and leash on him.
Have you ever noticed when you do something ridiculous, or have something ridiculous happen to you in public, you look around in the hope nobody saw it. That’s what I did, then got up, composed myself, brushed off the snow and carried on.