The following events happened this morning and I wonder if anyone has any opinions or insight....
Back story:* I've had Dexter since he was 9 weeks old.* In the five years since, has never left the yard.* In fact, he very rarely goes more than 25-30 feet from where I am at any given time.* He's just never wandered (and I'm not exaggerating).* I've seen him stand in the yard and watch kids playing, people walking dogs, people riding bikes and never do more than stand very still and maybe give a low woof.* He doesn't go towards them in any way.* I've had coyotes in the yard and he's done nothing more than stand stiff, throw up some hackles and low growl.* *He's never chased one.
Now today: A dog that I often sit for stayed over last night - not unusual.* This morning, I put the two of them out in the yard to do their business.* All of a sudden Dexter goes tearing across the yard barking his head off, obviously charging at something.* Chandler also gives chase and now they're out of the yard and across the street, running into the woods (of course adding to the visual is me in all my morning glory running screaming across the street after them - and it's 4:45am).* Once whatever it was they were after was gone, they both came back like nothing out of the ordinary had happened.*
My question is this.....was this mysterious thing something that was so threatening that Dexter instinctively kicked into fight mode? Or maybe, was it a bit of pack mentality - "Now that Chandler's here to guard my back, we can take it!!"* Or, do you think it's just that "one time" that signals he can't be trusted not to run?
While it was happening, I was so scared that one or both of them would get hit, but when it was over, I was just so baffled as to why it happened.* Anyone want to speculate??
I don't have any expertise in this area. It could just be a one-time thing, or maybe with Chandler there, it spurred him on.
You have coyotes that come into your yard? Gee, where do you live? If you have coyotes, maybe something pretty big was in the woods that he'd never sensed/smelled before?
That's great that he stays in the yard like that. I think it's very impressive that even with coyotes in the yard, he doesn't bother 'em, or give chase (out of the yard)....good boy! (Tucker stays in the yard, too, and it's soo nice that he has that freedom to be out, knowing he'll stay around, huh?)
My only thoughts would be watch him to see if it'd happen again. Scary that he ran into the street.
......and I can picture you with your bed-hair...ACK!
It is great that he stays around.* I check on him constantly while he's out there, but he's always right around the house.
I do have an electric fence.* And no, he didn't blast through the fence, collar and all.* I fence-trained him about 4 years ago and he hasn't even worn the collar for at least the last two years, if not more than that.* Again...he just doesn't wander.* He rarely even goes near the boundary of the fence.* I love it.*
I put the boys out once more before I left for work, but I put them out one at a time (and yes, Dexter had his fence collar on).* It was the same as it had been a million times before.* He wasn't interested in even looking towards the place where he'd charged to earlier.* Must be ghosts!
Who knows!!* I guess I'll never know what happened.* Just weird.
*Oh yeah...I live on Cape Cod. We have a large coyote population.
What's his prey drive like? Of all of the things that you mentioned that he never runs off after, none of them are things I would call "prey". How about squirrels, rabbits, cats, etc? Does he usually stay put when he sees one of those? Maybe he saw a rabbit that he just couldn't resist.
I think that 2 dogs are much more likely to "take off after something". If one of mine is in the yard, they might alert to something and stand up and look, even take a few steps, but don't give chase. If one is sleeping on the porch and senses that the other has alerted to something, then the sleeping one will jump up and off they go! I have heard that if there are 3 dogs, there is much more pack type behavior than 2 dogs.
I don't think he has much of a prey drive.* Once or twice, I've seen him tree a squirrel, but that's about it.* He doesn't even really like to play fetch.* He'll fetch a couple of times and then become disinterested, even if I throw one toy and swing another around as bait.* Geeesh, now everyone's gonna think I have a dud of a lab. :* Well, he may not fetch on land, but he'll chase a bumper into the water 24/7.* Hmmm.....he chased a duck once so far out in the lake once I thought I was going to have to go in after him.* Maybe he does have some drive afterall.
The more I've thought about it today, I do definitely think what they were after was an animal of some sort, because I don't think a human could've run as fast as they were moving without being overtaken.* They flew across the street.*
Another thing with Dexter is he's very alpha and he's always jockeying to one-up Chandler when he's there.* Maybe being in that hyper-leader frame of mind escallated the situation too.* Dunno.* Just wish I could've crawled into his head to see what he was thinking.