It turns out that not only is Darla a very good watch dog -- she is very alert to anything in the woods beyond the front yard, and she'll stand and growl until satisfied the "threat" is gone -- but she's decided certain other dogs don't belong in the house and keeps them at bay. Specifically, Travis and Tanner.
We've been trying to get better photos of her in action, but most times when we step out with the camera, Travis and Tanner see us and decide this is their "safe" moment to make a break for the house. Darla gets distracted because we've shown up -- probably wondering if she should continue fending them off or whether it's now up to us to keep the ruffians out of the house -- and they race around her for the ramps.
But the other morning I got that shot above ... you can see by her stance, and by the fact her fur is up, she's keeping Tanner away from the ramp. Tanner's looking at me to say, "Help?" Many mornings, after we let the dogs out, soon everyone else will be milling around the ramps or up on the porch. But Darla will have both Travis and Tanner cowed and blocked halfway out in the yard, unwilling to challenge her. That's the photo I've been trying to get.
Some days she has both boys sufficiently "frozen" that even us showing up doesn't give them enough courage to make a bold move around Darla for the ramps. We'll call her off, and she'll reluctantly turn around and head back in. I'm sure she's thinking, "Well, at least I tried."
Now, this is all bluffing. She would never hurt them or attack them. All she does is assume that posture, get her hackles up, and growl. Oddly, Travis -- who is a dominant alpha type personality -- won't call her bluff. He's been willing, in years past with a fused jaw, to foolishly challenge our blind husky Mitch, who would promptly roll Travis and send him packing. (He quickly learned.) But something about Darla keeps him humble.
We're not sure exactly when or why she decided these two were "undesirables." Once they're actually in the house, she's fine with them. She's not happy they're in the house, but she doesn't bother them or growl at them. But as long as they're outside, she prefers the scoundrels stay outside.
(Darla hasn't had her procedures yet -- we're still working on scheduling.)
2014 Shelter Challenge Underway
The first round of the Shelter Challenge for 2014 is underway and runs until March 30th. You can vote every day here. To search for us, type in our name, Rolling Dog Farm, and Lancaster, NH 03584. We've won thousands of dollars in the previous contests, so your daily votes do bring in serious money for our disabled animals!
Please note that I cannot help with technical or voting problems. I also do not have an "inside track" to anyone at the Shelter Challenge, and I don't know any more about the contest than anyone else does. So if you find yourself having issues, please consult their FAQ page here and their Rules page, which is a pop-up you can find linked on this page.
Thanks for your votes!