Dogs are fierce, brave, our MIGHTY PROTECTORS. Then… there is Wall-E. Now don’t get me wrong. He is sweet, loving, caring, loyal, protective, and all those wonderful things about dogs that people love. Heck, he will even try to break us up if anyone in the house is play fighting, wrestling, or whatever. He is the ultimate RUFFeree in the house. However, fierce, mighty, or brave, are not really words I would use to describe our little “Prince Wall-E Magnifico Puppino”.
When we adopted him from DPS Rescue a little over year and a half ago he was only 10 weeks old. After a few days at home with us, it was clear his name needed to be Wall-E, just like the little robot in the Disney movie. He is sweet, kind, loyal, caring, playful, but also timid, scared, and just that little bit brave (but that scared kind of brave).
Well Wall-E has recently proven he GLADLY lives up to his name sake. To be fair, he reminds us of it on a regular basis; it just seems that recently, it has been more often than not. Here are three examples, not necessarily in order, but examples of our little “brave warrior.”
Now that we are settling into our new house, we noticed how much more often we were filling up his water bowl than we used to in Pacific Grove. It’s warmer on this side of the bay and he just needs more water. So my husband in his brilliance ( no honestly, it was a good idea, but… ) bought him one of those water containers that you turn upside and it consistently refills the bowl with water. Everything was FINE until said water bowl…. GURGLED!
Now normal dogs would have jumped back but eventually gotten used to the water bowl gurgling to refill the water level, and moved on with their lives, but this Wall-E. Yup, you guessed it. That was it. That evil water bowl thing “ascareded” him, and he wasn’t having any more of it. No matter how hard the husband unit coerced, persuaded, or attempted to get Wall-E to drink out of that thing, he just was NOT having it.
Slightly defeated said husband unit tromps back to work and buys a big, pretty, heavy every day bowl for water to be put in. He comes home, gleefully fills it up (with filtered water from the Brita pitcher of course, because well he’s a spoiled doggie too), and puts it down for Wall-E to have some water. What happens? Yup…. The darn dog is SCARED OF THE WATER BOWL. A PLAIN… NON-THREATENING… WATER BOWL.
After a couple of days he finally warmed up to it, but it was not without much of the same coercing, persuading and hand holding that was done with the previous water dispenser. This time there was just success.
Since the beginning of the year my daughter and I have been taking training classes from Zoom Room in Monterey ( ok well I think technically they are Pacific Grove, but same difference right? ). Well, he has gone through Obedience Training, obtained his Canine Good Citizen, and has his Therapy Dog certificate, so we engaged ourselves in the tricks class, and it is more fun than we could have imagined.
However, because Mr. Wall-E is well, so “BRAVE”, there are some tricks which have proven to be, well, a bit more difficult than others. See Wall-E doesn’t like things that make too much noise (see water bowl story above), move, or look funny. We have tried to teach him to open and close doors, which have so far proved impossible as the door moves, and makes noise and thus is super scary. Apparently that mean ol’ door is going to attack him or something. Even here at home if there is something behind the door that is just out of his reach, if he would have to move or touch the door even the SMALLEST bit, he will sit there and whine until someone comes and helps him. No it doesn’t matter how long he whines, 30 seconds, or 2 hours, it doesn’t make a difference. He will NOT move the door to get what he wants. I’m not giving up on teaching him how to open and close a door, but it is taking a bit of extra time to get this one down.
Now comes the story of the mean Manners Minder at Tricks class.
The trainer we have been working with, Mandy, had her eye on a remote treat giver called a Manners Minder for her dog. She finally bought one and brought it in one night. She proceeded to showed it off with glee and excitement. I have to admit, it’s a wonderfully cool device. (See Amazon link below.)
After a couple of weeks, Mandy gets curious about how Wall-E might react to her Manners Minder. Mind you she figured he would be scared of it, but HEY! Let’s pull it out and see what happens right? Dogs are amazing creatures and they amaze us every day. Maybe because it spits treats out at him, he will get over it quickly right? Well, Mandy brings it out, we put some of Wall-E’s treats in it, and off to the races we go.
Wall-E slowly walks up to it, circles the funny machine that is sitting there, eyes it carefully, walks up to it, Mandy clicks the button, it beeps, makes its whirl whirl whirl noise, spits out a treat and I kid you not, Wall-E jumped back at least 5 feet! It was the funniest thing I have seen in AGES!
When we stop laughing, we try to get him to go up to it again, I show him the treat that it spits out, and he sort of wanted to check it out, but it made NOISE. It’s SCARY! He would take the treat from our hands, but he would not take it from the machine.
When other dogs in the class tried to check it out, Wall-E was all about protecting that scary machine, because it did spit out his treats, and therefore it must be his, RIGHT?! Nope, no matter how much we tried to get him used to the noise it was making, it just didn’t work.
Yes, I have now stooped to the level of Wall-E shamming.
Usually, when Wall-E comes to work with me (yes, I’m currently one of those lucky people who have this privilege), he comes right in, and goes back to sleep in his “Man Cave” aka his crate. This morning however, it was cold in my office. So I turned my heater on to take the chill off, and apparently, he was cold enough that when he got a blast of the warm air, he thought that sitting in front of said heater would be a wonderful thing to do.
He sat there, curled up at my feet, under my desk for a good 30 minutes, enjoying the warmth coming from the heater. He slept through someone coming into the office, phone ringing, making photocopies, and the dictation tape that was left for me, the whole nine yards. Just laid there, sleeping away, and basking in the glorious heat that was emitted from my space heater.
However, something in his doggie slumber scared the heck out of him, because suddenly, as in I don’t know how he went from laying on his side, feet sprawled out, to standing and facing the heater kind of suddenly, he was up and BARKING AT THE HEATER!
Scared the crud out of me at first. I jumped up and tried to figure out what he was barking at, thinking there was some kind of rodent or something under my desk. Then I realized it was just the heater. When I start laughing at him, he turns to me, looks back at the heater, actually growled at the thing as it blew more hot air at him, and then huffed. Then he looked at me again, sighed and laid back down in front of it, like nothing ever happened.
/shakes head in disbelief. This is my dog people.
So while Wall-E is scared of things that he really shouldn’t be, even when they give him goodies and life sustaining things like WATER, I can take comfort in knowing that my ever diligent doggie will protect me from that nasty, evil, and menacing space heater.
Links to people, places and things mentioned above:
DPS Rescue: http://dpsrescue.com/
Zoom Room Monterey Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ZoomRoom.Monterey.Bay
Mandy’s Training Page: http://jumpinjaxdogtraining.com/
Manners Minder ( Amazon Link ): http://www.amazon.com/Premier-Treat-Remote-Reward-Trainer/dp/B0010B8CHG