The ambush

Howdy blogaroos. Squirmy here on another hump day. Mind you, every day is hump day for me and the Coyote!

So yesterday, the Warden played a trick on the Boss. I figured he could never be tricked because he’s pretty smart – but she got him. Good. He was ambushed.

You see the Boss is always the first one to go out on his morning walk. Then it’s my turn and the laid-back-in-no-hurry Coyote, goes last. The only problem is that while I’m gone and while the Coyote is gone, the Boss shouts repeatedly for us walkers to hurry back home. The Warden closes the windows – even though our neighbors aren’t THAT close – but she doesn’t want to wake up people at the crack of dawn with his incessant barking. Still, as we return after our walk, as we turn to come down the driveway- she can faintly hear his singing.

Of course as soon as he hears us coming, he gets quiet. Because he knows he’s not supposed to bark. And she can’t say anything to him if he stops when he hears us coming.

Sometimes, she’ll use the microphone on Big Brother to tell him to “BE QUIET!” when she’s out with one of us – and she can hear him. She does that when she goes down with one of us to the lake. And he’ll usually be quiet when he first hears her voice – but he has figured out that she’s not REALLY close by – so he just starts up again. But as soon as he hears her close, like footsteps outside or the sound of her coming up the deck stairs, he stops. She just glares at him when she comes in. Because what can you do if he’s quiet? The behavior has ended so you can’t correct it.

So yesterday, he was done with his walk, and I was done with mine and the Warden went to take the Coyote down to the lake. The Boss stays quiet for a bit, and then his chorus begins. The Warden and the Coyote weren’t even on the trail, before he started. And the Warden had warned him before she left to “be quiet.” But obviously her “stern” warning didn’t inhibit him one iota. So. She tied the Coyote to a tree, and snuck back to the house. The Boss suddenly stopped as she was just outside the front door. I’m not sure if he heard her, or was just taking a good breath. The Warden silently waited and of course it wasn’t 15 seconds before he started his next verse. Well. Imagine the shock when she burst in the door. She went over to him, took him by the collar and firmly said “BE QUIET!” He just looked at her and wagged his tail. She shook her finger at him and said “I mean it!” He looked straight at her and was juuuust about to bark back at her, but figured this whole thing was just delaying breakfast, so he might as well be quiet.

The Warden returned to a rather confused Coyote who hadn’t moved an inch from his place in the woods. And he wasn’t tied that tightly – but he was so shocked by the whole thing he didn’t know what to do. He just gave her a big wag when she returned to him and off they went – on their quiet walk. Yup. The surprise ambush worked.

But today? All bets are off. That Boss can be just as stubborn as the Warden. We’ll see who outsmarts who. The thing is – he’s been winning this game for YEARS- so I’m not so sure that this behavior will change any time soon. I think he has more tenacity than she does. It’s not the first time by any means that she has tried to stop the chorus. She has even hidden treats around the house to keep him quiet. He finds them too quickly. Maybe he’ll use some intermittent reinforcement with her. No barking until he’s certain they are out of range. Because really – is she going to run back every time? Doubtful. I think the ambush HAS been done before.

You know, though, truth be told, even though the song fest IS annoying, IF the Warden is returning, and he IS quiet – THEN she starts to worry something is going on. Or that he’s not OK. She’s relieved to see his happy face when she walks in the door. That happens – especially when us canines are getting older. So MAYBE she’ll just learn to appreciate his choral abilities. Or get a pair of earplugs.

Have a good one. Peace and paws up. Stay safe.

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