Daniel was a Heinz 57 breed.
He looked rather Shepherd and Doberman-like, but who knows what other hearty stock also contributed to this progeny?The one thing that he loved more than anything else was a nice long walk.
As to whether he walked me or I walked him, was a never-ending debate! Just down the road are some beautiful man-made lakes.
I liked to take him past the lakes, across, up and across the neighboring roads for a full-circle trek.
In toll, it was about 9 miles (16 km).
Once we were past the town limits, I always let him off of the leash so he could saunter and sniff to his hearts delight.
He never dared to wander off too far.
Daniel may have been a rascal, but he also knew how to 'boot lick!'Generally, it was always a pleasant and refreshing time.
However, on one of these jolly jaunts, we encountered a little snag.
We were on a country road outside the town boundary.
Daniel was prowling around and I was just strolling along enjoying the scenery.
Suddenly, I saw a dog come across the road from the property to our left.
More than one pooch would often come to check us out; we never encountered any problems, though.
I thought that this one was just trotting out to say hello, as well - but I was wrong! My father taught me a thing or two about dogs.
He wasn't a certified expert on them, but he was an 'expert' in experience with them...
a 'dog whisperer' predecessor in his own right.
He taught me that body language was the key - yours and the dog's.
Obviously, a wagging tail means that you can approach him in safety, a tail tucked between his legs means submission and a rigid tail shows that he's prepared to pounce.
When you first meet a strange dog, put out your hand for him to sniff with the palm down.
This is less threatening to the animal.
With the palm up, there is the chance that you could grab his snout, then he'd be helpless to defend himself.
If the dog's ears are back, if his pupils are dilated and the whites of his eyes are showing, take heed, he is fearful.
Be cautious if his eyes are narrowed and glued to you; he is ready to attack in defense.
It's a toss up with staring him directly in the eye.
He can see this as a challenge or he can retreat in obedience.
With a strange dog, it's always best to remain unexcitable and relaxed.
He picks up on your emotions and will react according to what he senses from you.
When the dog came to the middle of the road, he stopped, stood firm and glared at me.
He had a very imposing appearance.
I could tell by the spring in his step that he was a young, strong canine, but there was no wagging tail, no ears submissively back and I could see the whites of his eyes.
Meanwhile, my 'hero' Daniel was busy exploring in the grass with his back to this whole spectacle.
My first thought was, "If this mongrel attacks - Daniel better defend me, big time!"Then I remembered what me father told me to do in situations like this, look the animal straight in the eye, point to his home and with a loud commanding voice say, "Go home!"So, I did.
I was praying that it would work! The young dog looked startled.
He composed himself and took a few more steps towards me - growling!I stood firm, pointed again to his home, mustered up my courage and with my best authoritative voice announced, "Go home!" He came at me again!I was starting to get scared because this wasn't working and Daniel was no help at all!I summoned up all my valor one more time and delivered my final order, "Go home!"He stopped dead in his tracks gazing challenging at me - but I stood my ground.
A staring contest ensued, it seemed to last forever, but finally he ran home.
I never knew before that in just a few moments you could shed 5 pounds from sweating! The rest of the walk was rather routine.
However, I must say that my heart was pounding like the thundering hooves of a wild stallion!I had a long 'talk' with Daniel about how the family dog is supposed to protect the hand that feeds him.
What I didn't know, as my father later told me, was that Daniel had more than one confrontation with these junior whippersnappers, and he, like a prize fighting champion, developed his own winning style.
His technique was to bide his time and lull the younger upstart into a false sense of security - then make his move!I wish that he had let me in on that small detail!