Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Kurt- his journey continues

Kurt was meant to be a guard dog.  He was bred and built to be one.  We knew that from the very beginning.  But what was difficult for us was the knowledge that one day we would have to say goodbye to our puppy and hello to the man dog.  The day arrived somewhat earlier than I had probably anticipated, but it felt right when it eventually happened.

We had introduced him to the workplace and the guys and he had felt like he was a member there.  He became on of the 'boys' and enjoyed all the privileges that the 'club' entailed.  During morning 'smoko' when the pie van came around the industrial estate, it always stopped in front of our place, and Kurt, who had his regular steak and kidney pie on a daily order always received his treat.  I remember being at home one day, before heading down to my office, and received a desperate phone call from one of the guys.  The pie van had run out of steak and kidney pies, and they were worried about Kurt.  I was more or less requested to go in search of the bakeries in town who might still have one of the pies in stock...this dog wasn't spoiled --he was just in control!

This is a disgusting side bit, but I have to share it.  One of our younger guys used to have a pie and a can of coke and then when he had finished, would let out a big burp of contentment.  Not nice - right??  But guess who thought it was cool!  Kurt!  So after his pie, each day, he would do the same, and then sit with a satisfied look on his face.  I gave up on ever making him fierce after that!  But I was wrong.

Well, family commitments and situations beckoned us overseas to see my family, and we left lists of instructions and jobs for the guys back at work, and found a wonderful ex-policeman who was now into training dogs, to leave Kurt with.  He guaranteed that when we returned in about 2 months, that Kurt would be the guard dog he was bred to be.  Somewhat tentatively, but trustingly, and as it turned out, rightfully so, we did just that.

On our return (after about 2 months) we were told that we could collect Kurt and take him back to work, but this time as a professional on duty.  He was trained when in work mode, to eat to a code, and to be very observant.  As is in the nature of Rottweilers, they will quietly let an individual enter their environment, but will not let them leave unless they are sure of them.  This behaviour trained all of our delivery people to deliver to us before 5:00pm, as after that time frame they may not be allowed to leave the premises without our say.  Kurt was in control of the situation.  They knew that.

We fed Kurt to a code word, which prevented him from eating poison bait if it got tossed over the fence to distract him while on duty. (Kurt was now living full-time at the factory and had free run during the day, but went on duty at 5:30pm each night, when the guys clocked off.  It was as if the tick of the time clock made him realise that the sound of that tick was his on-duty call!)

He patrolled the outside of the building when everyone went home at night, sometimes, if the guys worked later than usual, Kurt still clocked on at the normal time. and never rested while on duty.  He had a kennel in a certain section of the yard, but was always at the ready, and rarely barked, unless provoked.  That bark usually meant business.

He was an excellent guard-dog, and while fierce while on duty, if we as a family approached the place at night, and he recognised us, he would melt and become our puppy again.  Or perhaps our young man by then.  We would enter the yard, and greet him, and the girls would rub his ears, and receive his kisses, but at the same time, he would hesitate at a sound, or would suddenly freeze and just fix his gaze on some vision off in the distance.  He was on duty, and never forgot it. 

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