Now that we have seen Jock in the role of a dog that persists in barking when you want him to keep still, suppose we cast him as the diametrically opposite type the kind that persists in keeping still when you want him to bark. It’s a great satisfaction to own a sensible levelheaded fellow that doesn’t keep you and the neighbors on edge all day or awake half the night, or both, by yelling himself hoarse over nothing at all. Yet there are dogs so ridiculously calm and complacent under all sorts of provocative conditions that people lose all respect for them. The dog that greets the most sinister and suspiciouslooking stranger exactly as he does Uncle Joe and Aunt Eliza, who drop in every few days for a call, is bound to be put down as just a bighearted boob. You may want that kind of dog. If so, you’re welcome to him.
Most of us like to own one with a little more ability to size up strangers and discriminate between desirables and undesirables, together with a determination to let us know his conclusions. This ability and determination are what make a good watchdog. Possessing these qualities, Jock may be big or little, bold or retiring, and for service inside the house, noisy or almost inarticulate.
The idea that a good watchdog must necessarily be a big bruiser with a deep bass voice, fire in his eye, bristling hair on his shoulders and murder in his heart, is all wrong. As a matter of fact, under most conditions such a guardian of the peace and your property is figuratively, if not literally, a false alarm. Your sneak thief, secondstory man or midnight marauder has murder in his heart, too, insofar as your dog is concerned; but he also has something your dog has not and never can have a pistol in his pocket or a club in his hand to do the murdering with.
Dog of day: Affenpinscher