One of my biggest training goals here is to get Murphy to bark and alert when people come around the lair, but also to get over his obsession with the neighbor's damned cats outside. He's getting better with the former, but still goes ape when he sees a cat outside, even one at a considerable distance, and every day now I have to clean paw prints off my patio windows six feet off the floor because he's jumping up that high and hitting the windows in his frenzied attempts to...well I don 't know what he's trying to do other than annoy me with the barking and the pawing. It doesn't make the door open and the cats aren't really impressed, either; they're savvy enough to know that he can't get out.
Well yesterday, I was on the phone with my father when Murphy started it up again. Normally, I go through the motions with him and respond every time he barks, rewarding him if it's correct (person), and scolding him if it's not (cat). Well this time, I was on the phone. I just told him to quit and kept talking. But he was really insistent this time, running from the kitchen into my office and barking at me, then back into the kitchen to bark out the patio window. And honestly, I was getting pissed. I just wanted to talk on the phone to my father, who just got out of the hospital. But Murphy would not stop barking and trying to get my attention. I shut my office door. Murphy pushed it open and barked at me. I pushed it closed again and blocked it with a chair. Murphy forced it open and barked at me more.
Shame on me, but I chalked it up to jealousy, because Murphy has had issues with me talking on the phone in the past. I yelled at him and locked him out of my office.
Then as I hung up the phone, I looked out my window (Murphy was still barking in the kitchen) and saw that it wasn't a cat at all that he was trying to alert me to--it was a person. A neighbor who owns the property behind me--a neighbor that I never see because he's only a part-time resident--was down on the edge of his property clearing brush. He was way back in the woods and hard to see, but Murphy had picked him up several minutes ago and had been trying to cue me in without success all this time. And what did he get for his trouble? A good cursing out.
I'm sorry, buddy. You did exactly what you were supposed to do this time. For that you get my belated praise, a pig's ear, and a promise to pay more attention to your alerts, provided you agree to just give it a rest on the cats.
Dude, seriously...I'm not keen to schlep your ammo around, but I got mad potential as a spotter. And you know that those cats are all evil, right?