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Discussion Starter #1
Ducko Arrives in Town
Ducko came into my life because a friend misunderstood a conversation in which he thought I had said that I was looking for another dog - well I wasn’t. I already had two. My friend told me that a TV soap opera star had a daughter, who had a boyfriend, who had a Bull Terrier, which was proving to be a problem dog. A week or so later, the young owner of “Duke” as he was then known, turned up at the local railway station with the dog in tow. The dog had got off the train first and dragged the owner with him. Dinnie and I smiled and we went up and said; “hello“. The dog, an absolutely magnificent specimen, nearly knocked us over, licked us to death and ran about like a thing possessed. He was so pleased to be off that noisy train. It had been previously agreed that we would go round to my friend‘s place to see how this dog got on with my own dogs. Din had a neutral training arena which he used for the horses. We arrived, parked up and got out to make things ready for the big intro. We left Duke alone in the car and went indoors. Big mistake.


Five minutes or so later we came out to collect Duke and show him about. In the interim he had destroyed the inside of my friend’s car. Absolute destruction. No, it was not just a scratch here or there. He had completely and utterly ripped apart the seats, the backs of the seats, the head lining, the carpets - you name it, the upholstery was in shreds . A few weeks later, it cost almost a thousand pounds to repair the car. Ducko had made his entrance - big style.


I did a deal with the young man who was a bricklayer. I would pay the bill and he would build a brick wall for me in my garden. I agreed to take the dog on and try to find him a good home. Mind you the young man had already threatened to take Duke to the vets for euthanasia. I said: “no way - that dog is the most incredible specimen of a dog I have yet seen“. And he was. It was a pity about his excitability. The deal worked out and I eventually got a brick wall. In the meantime, I found that Ducko could live in my house with our dogs without a problem Toos, my little Border left Ducko alone and Ducko left Toos alone. My Rottweiler bitch, Ducko came to adore.


Now an English Staffordshire Bull Terrier is an officially recognised breed in the UK. There are paintings showing them keeping the bull in check at country fairs. They were bred to be the game keeper’s guard dog: fearless of animals; obedient to man. The dog is a relative of the English Bulldog but a lot lighter in stature. More agile, more energetic. Boisterous. Oh, I forgot, ‘and very strong with a massive head, a large tooth filled mouth and the neck of a mature python‘. In fact the old fashioned Staffie is probably the foundation stock of the American Pit Bull Terrier but I did not know that at the time. I was told he was a Staffie and it suited my purpose to carry on believing that. A couple of years later, HM Government brought in the Dangerous Dogs Act and Ducko was suddenly infamous. He was indeed “one of them” but we never told anybody.


We placed a few adverts, we made a few home visits. But in a couple of months, I did not find a suitable home for him. Trouble was, I was getting fond of him. Then came the incident which led me to make a fateful decision.


Our house was located on a steep hillside. At the top there was a patio and some 50 feet below was the fence which closed off the woodland area of the garden. Ducko loved tyres and up in the garage he had found a couple of used tyres. Ducko dragged one out of the garage and brought it round to the back garden. It was his best toy. One day when I was trying to get it off him, it came free and rolled down the slope into the stinging nettles at the bottom. Ducko charged off down after the tyre jumping down from level to level in an amazingly exhibition of agility. The tyre only just beat him to the boundary. Ducko sniffed around, found the tyre in the nettles, picked it up in his mouth, held it out horizontally and climbed back up the hill. Most dogs can’t lift a tyre, let alone hold it horizontally. Back at the top, Ducko banged my leg with his toy. I took it off him again with difficulty and then I deliberately rolled it down the hill again. Away flew Ducko; back up came the tyre. He puffed a bit but the time taken was little more than for the first retrieval. This was a good game. So I did it again and off he went and back up came the tyre. He was beginning to puff. So I did it again and guess what; back came the tyre and yet again my leg was bashed with the tyre which was still being held in his jaws. Few men could have matched this feat of strength and speed even by carrying the tyre with two hands. The steep slope would have beaten them. So this time, I tied the tyre up to a tree and it became, from then onwards, Ducko’s to worry with. Some folks need worry beads, Ducko needed a rubber tyre.


Suddenly I had seen this Boyo in a new light. Dogs like him aren‘t found under gooseberry bushes and I should keep him. And I did so for many, many, years. He got me into scrapes; he did some terrible things but he became the apple of my eye. I shall tell you more as the weeks go by.


R D D.
 

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Hehe can't wait to hear more.
 

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I love your stories!! A whole tire as a toy!! Too cute-I can just see it! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Ducko makes his presence felt.

Well, I told you all how Ducko managed to wheedle his way into the family. The tyre suspended from a branch of a tree in the garden proved to be a big success. Whenever something wound Ducko up, he would rush to his tyre and give it a pull and a shake. As I said, it had to be a van sized tyre because a car tyre would have been torn to shreds pretty quickly. A few holes appeared in the tyre but who was counting? The tyre wasn’t going back on the pick up anyway.


Ducko quickly came to feel that this doggie household was where he wanted to live but he was the newcomer. Our Rottweiler bitch made sure he was kept in his rightful place ie at the bottom of the pile However my faithful little terrier Samson - a Cairn had a much bigger problem. Luckily he had been used to living with two Rotties and to a Scotsman, size doesn’t matter, it is bravado that counts. But Ducko was not really a threat anyway because I suspect he knew that if he put a foot wrong then I might pass him on. So he bided his time waiting for the right opportunity.


The big issue with dogs is where they are rated with the master of the house. Now Perko as a bitch thought that my wife being another female was the Mistress of the household. Well so be it - but Mistresses have Masters and that was me. Samson reckoned that the best place in the house was in the Master’s big rocking chair - the Old Man’s seat for the evening. Sam could just about manage to squeeze in between the arm and the Old Man. Such a position had some big advantages: it was snug, it was warm, it was by the fire and in front of the TV. The only problem was that the Old Man keep getting up and down. If only he would snooze all would be well. Sadly females don’t really approve of males snoozing so there is always a constant stream of reasons as to why the Old Man has to get up and in doing so disturb Sam. Ducko of course had noticed all this palaver. So it was only a question of time before he made his move.


One evening there was the Old Man gently getting ready for a snooze when suddenly there comes the call from Her Indoors to do something and up he gets. Ducko then saw the moment of opportunity and he took it. No, he didn’t push Sam out of his spot and by the time Sam had realized what was going on, Ducko was well established in the armchair, curled round, nose down, snoring as if asleep. Trouble was, there was no room left in the chair for the Old Man who finally came back from one of the inevitable chores. OK, the chair was being kept warm and at least Her Indoors could not pinch it. No one else would dare try - after all it was a bit hairy and a bit pongie but it did occupy the prime position in the room. It was the Master‘s chair in its rightful place. But what to do? Well of course, I strode up masterly and called out: “Oi! - get out of my chair“. At first Ducko pretended he hadn‘t heard. So I gave him the finger - again Ducko did not move. So there was nothing left - I had to poke Ducko out of the chair but somehow without upsetting Sam - after all there are some advantages in having a dog guard one’s chair. For a start it means the seat is always warm. Reluctantly Ducko got off, and I sat down, and Sam snuggled back down. But Ducko did not go far. He stood there looking up at me and I could see what was going through his head. I had a lap. Now large Staffies aren’t exactly lapdogs - they are a bit on the heavy and bulky side. Next minute - there was a spring and a shuffle and a plonk and I had a lapdog. The three males of the household were set for the evening. Snooze time.


Suddenly I realised there was advantage in this new set up. Obviously it would now be inappropriate for me to get up and do errands or answer the phone or - you name it- or to do whatever Her Indoors was asking for. More to the point, since I was buried under two dogs, there was good reason for me to call out and ask for a glass of wine, or the newspaper or my book or a sandwich or? or? or? or? So the whole idea worked out pretty well. Clever Ducko.


There was one problem in the new arrangement. If ever the front door bell went because a visitor had pushed the button - Ducko sprung up off his hind legs and rushed to the door barking : “Who is that?” - or some other less polite question. To spring up he launched himself off his hind legs which were of course on my lap. Now as most folks know that is the tender spot in a man’s anatomy. It was a good job we never got many visitors - still with a resident Rottie bitch and a Staffie - one perhaps knew why.


Rocky Dog’s Dad
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Rescuing a Staffie.

Some folks have asked me why I took on a large old fashioned Staffie - especially as my chum Ducko was a powerful dog and of a type undoubtedly closely related to a Pit Bull, a breed which generally suffers from having a bad stereotypical image presented by the media.


When I acquired Ducko he was young and was being groomed to be a guard dog and although not fully grown, he was well on his way to being a young ‘tiger‘. Luckily his young owner had came to love him because the dog was, in all ways, a faithful hound. The young man had realised that the dog had to be taken away from the existing environment otherwise it would come to a bad end. I had at first only offered to find the dog a home but eventually I too could not let him go. The dog would be safe in my care. Years later as he grew to maturity I had to hide him away from the public and the authorities, not because the dog was in fact dangerous, but because the general public feared that such a breed of dog was by nature always dangerous.


For the first few months, I had to find ways of containing the dog whenever adrenaline struck. The dog constantly needed to be forgiven for misdeeds. He had few manners. He was beyond boisterous. He badly needed training within a group of dogs for socialisation but no local dog training class would admit him. He was an outcast from even dog society.


So I and my Rottweiler bitch took his re-education on. We’ll ignore for the moment the fact that Rottweilers have their own image problem. By various ruses over time, I and my canine assistant working together, instilled some discipline and responsibility into him. Physical chastisement was of course completely out of the question. I found that voice and exclusion were the most effective forms of chastisement. But it was from that trait of his character that I saw through him. By some inherited instinct, he needed to be part of any group which would allow him to belong. Don’t we all?


I had to watch where I put him during periods of enforced exile otherwise he would destroy anything which could be knawed on. It presented a problem of course, because it meant that in the early days I could not leave him loose in the house. Restraint was also as problem. Ducko could pull a tonne whilst wearing a choke chain, so if I wanted to tie him up, then I first had to inspect carefully what I wanted to tie him to and what I had tied him with.
In the beginning I worried about jealousy. My Rottie was no match for him but he never ever touched her even though she could nag and - Oh My - did she nag him. However as the years passed by Ducko came to worship her. She was the mother figure in his family.


My biggest concern was meeting up with a pack of strange dogs and their taking him on. He would not provoke a confrontation but I knew he would not simply standby if attacked. Several times I found myself between him and a noisy barking spaniel or collie who had not realised just how powerful Ducko‘s jaws were. Nor did they know that he could easily jump and scramble a ten feet high fence.


At home, I had to calm down any aggressive voices from other people whilst he was loose in our company. Even a friendly but lively discussion was enough to provoke Ducko to come between us. From time to time he would grab an armful of shirt sleeve or jacket Tricky that - even when he let go, the cloth material would be covered with slobber. I explained to my guests that they must not raise their voice in my house - or office. It never happened twice with the same visitors. He would have made a good bouncer in a night club.


Deep down Ducko was a kind and generous creature but a victim of his genes and his early conditioning. No doubt. if he had stayed with that band of desperados, his life would have been short and ugly.


I have come to the conclusion that we animals do inherit some genes which will lead to a particular behaviour pattern but so long as the bad behaviour is not encouraged then it can be inhibited by suitable deterrence. Working strain collies will herd sheep; Staffies will guard their family, with their lives if necessary. But the traits have to be brought on and, if required, developed by training. It is people who bring out the worst traits in powerful dogs be they Pit Bulls, Alsations or any so called ‘dangerous’ breeds. But equally such dogs can be conditioned to live amicably with humans.


In no way could I suggest that dog lovers should rush out and rescue a bull terrier. The owner has to have the appropriate premises and life style. However if you are fortunate enough to be a suitable guardian of such a powerful dog, it is an experience to enjoy. I did.


RDD
 
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