"Patrolling doesn't stop for the weekend!" - 208/365
The work ethic is mighty in the cracker. Loki is over eight years old now. He's not a completely balanced dog as he still relies on me heavily for managing his incredible defense drive on walks or in public. He always looks to me first before he reacts to something unusual. It's up to me to pay attention to his alert cue. He's naturally suspicious. And believe me, when you walk the deep mountain trails that I do, that is exactly what you need in a canine partner.
At home, I remember the days he couldn't calm down when non-family members were around the property. For hours he'd bark and defend his home when friends or contractors were visiting. It was our time in Switzerland when he learned to handle traffic coming and going in and around the house. And now, he's become perfectly comfortable with strange contractors working on the property daily. He alerts. I check out his alert and thank him with a cookie for doing his job. He accepts payment, stops alerting and goes back to his post. That's all there is to it. There used to be a time when all the cookies in the world wouldn't get him to calm down. It's true what they say about protection-driven dogs taking their cue from their person. It took time on Loki's part--time to learn to trust my cue on what was safe. Some dogs with severe temperament issues may never get it, but most will.
Loki is definitely not a dog to be man-handled or forced into behavior. He's a dog whose behavior and choices are wholly connected to the bond and complete trust in his person. He rarely obeys or trusts anyone else other than me, Mr. Wild Dingo or our pet sitter. Heaven help anybody who enters the house when we aren't home. That's exactly what I love about him.
From the day we brought him home, he's known his job. He was over-zealous then, about his work and I was uneducated about how to manage it. He's taught me a deep respect for his natural protection drive and intense loyalty. Together we found a way to balance his extreme work ethic. When he's with me, I trust him completely. We're lucky to have our handsome, brave boy in our family.