Numchucks: The Legend Ch. 03byMy Erotic Tail©
Trinity River, Riverside Texas~ "Shake," I would put my hand out, Numchucks would lift his Paw and place it in my palm and I'd give him a treat. "Sit" and "Stay" were achieved easily, "Heel" was almost instinctive.
The one thing I recall the most about Retrievers is while I've been out hunting and see a set of hunters off in the distance, chasing their dog through the swamp. Or owners that would yell and yell and yell and their dog never pay attention to them. Or they would fetch the game then devour it. These visions of horror hunts made me keen to total communication and obedience.
Sitting on the back porch looking out onto the water that seem to drift by endlessly. If I were in the Mojave desert and dying of thirst and was told to close my eyes and imagine heaven or a tranquil place on earth, that's were I would think of.
The water reflects the suns brightness for most of the day till the sun sinks into the tree tops across the islands that the River has carved out for centuries. Then the River mirrors the skies colors of reds, orange and yellows with sky blues and a deep forest green vale along the shorelines. This was were I like to watch the sunset everyday that was possible. This was were Numchucks got his training, time together, in heaven. The Institute for Retriever Training.
The yard was big and spacious enough but the shoreline was perfect. Decoy tossing became a daily thing. Toss it out into the water and make him sit and wait till the command is given and he would spring into action. Patience is the number one key to training an animal. Their intelligent enough to follow a routine or command that has become a part of their daily life, repetitiously.
I read that Dogs can comprehend up to twenty or more commands understandably. Also reading that some dogs become confused in the field from hearing the same commands from nearby hunters, or even in competition. With much consideration I came up with a select few words to command Numchucks while hunting.
"Bulla bulla," meant there was game, it was the word that triggered his hunting instinct. Never abusing this word (never using it to trick or fool him). He knew when I said that, that there was a squirrel, duck, dove or varmint in my sight. He would straighten out his tail almost straight out and nose easing forward waiting for, "Vamanos," which was go, which also turned into, "lets go." A word that was used by My stepfather constantly which in turn was drilled into my head years before his passing.
When in the field the shotguns blast would trigger his "Vamonos." The four whistles to guide his right, left, in and out with hand signals pointing, usually worked fine. Later the two whistles for out and in became the only two I used and the pointing right and left became his guide. An occasional tossing of a stone to a general area of tall grass would be enough for Chucks to get close enough his nose would zero in the location. One of the major assets of having a retriever, limiting the possibility of lost game.
Along with hunting commands I taught Chucks to "Shake," "Sit up," and after a little trip to the local cornerstone with him in the bed of the pickup, I soon learned that in order for him to ride he needed to be taught not to get out of the truck for any reason unless given a command. This was accomplished with the help of my brother and others who would taunt and coax Chucks to jump out of the trucks bed, while I would reward him for staying in the truck. The bed of this F-150 Ford long wheel base pickup became his second favorite place to be. The River of course being his first.
Numchuck's Institute of Retriever training took on a whole new dimension. He was taught to retrieve sodas out of an ice chest we had on the back porch that didn't have a latch. My brothers beer of course being another canned beverage that Chucks delighted in fetching. If we were out on the dock fishing or tending the yard and got thirsty. "Numchucks, I need a cold can." And he would take off in a full run to the back porch and nudge the cooler lid up, stick his head in and pick up a can gently, ( soft mouthed). Then trot proudly back to you and wait till you took it from him and patted his head. You weren't sure what you were getting if there was more than one type drink in that cooler but by golly he would bring you a cold can of something.
I received him about three weeks before hunting season so he received a crash course crammed with multiple tasks. I inadvertently did everything the retriever training manual said not to. But luckily his eagerness to learn and exceptional intelligence seem to balance out in his daily routine. He was still a puppy which made his concentration array as is with youth. Yet, still keen to retrieve and watch for flying objects. But stretching those puppy legs was almost a must, frequently, when out in the field.
The major problem with this was the varmints scents that are trailed off everywhere from the past few days. He would immediately hone in on a smell and dart off to investigate, then the hunter yelling for his dog to come back gets a bit frustrated. So long leases were devised. Long enough to let him walk and see that I was serious about staying with the boat. This was learned several times as Chucks was a smart one. I learned that animals have enough wit to trick you, okay, maybe its persistence till they achieve a ploy that gets them their way.
Nutra were common place and an occasional encounter sent Chucks into a revenge frenzy, he didn't like them much. I can only assume that on one of those man chasing dog, dog chasing Nutra fiascoes, he got bit on the nose. Or on one of his strolls he got ganged up on by these pesky varmints. Which was the local horror tale for most small dogs in the area. Numchucks, declared war on their species and there was an abundance of them around. But control became a major concern so tightening of the lease and command/obey was drilled.
As is with everything timing is the key. I recall a few times that Nutra would dart by closely while Chucks was not leased and then all you would hear was "Growling and Barking" through the tall grass. An occasional splash, then a "Yelp," and a "Snickering" Nutra. But this was Chuck's Puppy days and those rules soon changed as he got wiser to their ways.
Working with a dog every day becomes hard to do. Generally people work and then come home and cook and clean and get ready for bed. Sitting on the back porch at sunset was his time to go over all his commands then generally spend time with my faithful dog, 'Numchucks.'
For all these things he learned in his Retriever Training Institute will become a tale in itself but how did Chucks get his unusual name? Well, along with Numchuck's Institute for Retriever Training. I was enrolled in Martial Arts and practice was a must. So generally the two got combined on more than one occasion.
"Whatcha' gonna name Him?" My Mother asked while sitting on the back porch. Her delightful aura tends to make you smile a bit more when your around her. Her charm is legendary to say the least. The sun was gone and a light blue sky lit the yard slightly. Crickets chirping at dusk gets common place.
"I've been calling him Bruce, for Bruce Lee or maybe Chuck for Chuck Norris." I replied with uncertainty. "He doesn't seem to come to Bruce though, he comes to Chuck."
"What are those things called that you twirl around out there in the back yard." My Mom was slightly twirling her hand as if twirling a set of nunchuckas. I would practice with them and do my forms along with kicking the trees and some of that was comical too.
"Yea, Numchucks. That has a good ring to it." Numchucks gave his approval immediately and it stuck with him ever since. Of course Chucks was his pet name but Numchucks was the talk of the community for various reasons. One was his undying need to spread the Numchucks seed in the subdivision and the other was his daily strolls out in the jungle. People whom had gone fishing or hunting would tell me they saw that "Numchucks" dog out on the lake again today. The benefits of a smaller community, every one knows whose who's and what's what. Along with who's been with who.
But After a few days of being on a chain that proved to be disastrous not to mention the beginning of his other pet name, "Houdini." I tried locking him up in the garage. I didn't like it any more than he did. So trial runs were approved of his going to work with me in the back of the truck, which began his Legendary popularity.