The Art of Natural Dressage

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PostPosted: Sat May 21, 2011 2:49 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 17, 2007 8:18 pm
Posts: 4942
Location: Alberta
I am not sure if I shared this on the forum already, but I thought I might pass this along to Donald. In a little conversation on facebook about my Rio trying to catch a squirrel in our garage (he didn't catch the squirrel), Donald mentioned that his Rio was a very gentle soul in all ways except when it came to squirrels and that perhaps, it was all down to the language that squirrels use.

Some years ago I imagined what went through Rio's mind when listening to (and barking at!) a squirrel, just out of reach. I have a few poems that I collectively call "The Songs of Rio". This one is about squirrels. :D

Conversations with Squirrels
copyright (me) 2005

I speak in straight lines -
fired like arrows, poorly aimed,
my words just missing your head.

I try to aim better -
you dodge along limbs above me.

You scold me in
annoying staccatos
that bounce uselessly
off the side of my kennel.

I speak of getting to know you,
and ask
if you taste like rat.

You chitter endlessly
of territory and acorns,
confident in your distance
from my teeth

I snort with disdain
and dare you - descend -
and squeak your words to my face.

"Ride reverently, as if each step is the axis on which the earth revolves"

PostPosted: Sat May 21, 2011 7:32 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2007 4:10 am
Posts: 3688
Location: Pacific Northwest U.S.
My Rio makes no barks or dares. In fact he has learned to do a studious ignoring that is quite convincing. Beware squirrel, this is feigned disinterest. One bite and you are gone.

He does, when we are walking or he is on the deck with me and in heel or down/stay, get an aggrieved look about him - as I might should some bully swear at me where I cannot answer back - and I go away ignoring but my face heated and my fists clenching, or wanting to.

An aside:

Rio has taught me something about behavior. This is an aging dog who can move very slowly because of his arthritic knees. Stairs are a trial for him, yet he insists on going upstairs so that his coming down is labored, painful, slow, careful, and risky (he has fallen and slid down).

Yet if I whistle for treat or dinner - he flies down those stairs like a young pup, or should I pick up his "fetch," (which I no longer do to preserve what's left of his knees) he is all energy and enthusiasm. Say "dinner, dinner, dinner" to him and he can spin in a dance like a little Pomeranian for you.

Ask me why I still keep horses, and labor heavily in a garden almost every day. Or stack firewood, all with enthusiasm. Love and beauty, food and flowers, and sitting near the wood stove in the dead of winter should be your answer. 8)

Nothing like enthusiasm, now is there?

Love is Trust, trust is All
So say Don, Altea, and Bonnie the Wonder Filly.

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