A Menace to Little White Dogs

My dog, Maddy, goes a little nuts when she sees little white dogs. And I don’t mean nuts in the good way.

Small, white, yippy pooches set off something in her head that makes her want to reign them in. Also not in a good way.

No, what she wants is to get up in their face and make them submit. It’s the herding instinct. She was meant to bring order to chaos, and as you can imagine, this does not go over well with the owners of little white dogs. Little white dogs, by the way, look a bit like sheep.

I don’t go to the dog park to chat. A lot of people like to stand around and BS with the other dog owners, but not me. Instead, I head off to a quiet corner and and throw the ball for my dogs — so the last thing I want is to explain to people why Maddy is being a nuisance.

“Uh, oh! She wants to herd your dog! Sorry — it looks like a sheep. Hahaha.”

They don’t usually find it intriguing and wonderful that my dog think their precious little ball of white fur is a sheep. To the untrained eye, herding doesn’t look constructive, especially not when there’s a flock of one — and it’s your dog being herded.

But she can’t help it, she’s just a dog, so when she does what she does it’s time to get back on the leash. The dog park is nice, but it’s not the same as running around in a pasture, with real sheep and a real job to do. As if I don’t feel guilty enough, already.

15 thoughts on “A Menace to Little White Dogs

  1. I read that headline and I thought, “Here we go again–Luna Part II.”

    You blogged about renting your cats for mousing duty. How about renting out your dogs to a sheep farmer?

  2. What you need to do: carry a bucket of paint around and toss it on any little white dog that Maddy starts going after.

    That’s really fascinating, though, that the instinct still kicks in despite the fact that she’s not on a farm or herding sheep from a young pup.

  3. My dog Elko is exactly the same with the little white sheep posers here on Whidbey Island. He also likes to chase white chickens, and maybe that’s really the deal. I picked up my Aussie at the age of 9 mos., on a ranch/ farm, where he was infamous for chicken chasing! In fact story was that one day he proudly delivered a dead one to the farmhouse door.
    So maybe Maddy is mistaking the white doggie critters for yummy chickens! AND Elko likes to herd the people at the dog park, pulling them into his circle. One is FORCED to talk to the others (owners), or at least laugh with em!

  4. I learned my lesson, Roz… never again!

    Joy: I’ve seen Aussies and Border Collies trained to round up geese and chickens.

    Maybe I could get my two a job working at the golf course…

  5. Such beautiful girls! Maddy played with my girls, Bella & Lucca (aussie/border collie mixes), at the Golf Course a couple of weekends ago. I wasn’t there – my partner took them. But I hope to meet up with Maddy and Scarlett soon.

  6. That fascinates me. Isn’t she, uh, smaller than a sheep? Sheep-sized? I can’t imagine that there are many farms full of Westie-sized sheep. Though if there are, I want to own one.

  7. LB: Actually, I’m not sure she’d know what to do with real sheep, which at full size would be her size or larger. Twenty of those would probably be scary.

    I think she sees little dogs darting around — and not always white ones — and senses she’s supposed to do something.

  8. I thought the same thing Roz did. Here we go again! That is funny that your dog only goes after the white dogs. I guess no matter how domesticated they get, they will always have those natural instincts.

  9. My late dog was a cocker spaniel, and she still had the pointing instinct. She would get very still and point her front paw at things that caught her attention. Mainly, bird noises outside. Or popcorn.

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