When you own a Labrador, it dawns on you, slowly at first admittedly, that you house-share with a beast unlike any other domestic pet. Old and accepted norms go out of the window and new ones have to be forged ‘on the hoof.’ Normal pets don’t bin dive for uncooked potatoes. Normal pets don’t require removal from a room prior to toe nail and beard trimming ablutions – in case they eat the offcuts. Labradors, or at least Dudley, does. I could of course go on, but I won’t.
Instead, I want to take this opportunity to highlight a particular idiosyncracy of his and ask the canine owning world outright, is this behaviour normal? By way of clarification, I would suggest there are two strands of ‘normal’ at play here. Normal by the standards of most dog breeds, and normal by the standards of Labradors. And the behaviour in question?
The ‘bum tuck.’ This a move that our manic mutt has perfected and honed to a fine art form. Broadly speaking, his body position during this performance can be best described as ‘hunched over and tucked in tight,’ a cross between the stance adopted by all dogs taking a dump and the curved outline of the old lady feeding the birds in that famous scene from Mary Poppins. In said position, Dudley will bound in great strides, usually moving in a circular routine around the garden like an agricultural irigator, though he is just as happy doing laps of our bed or lounge in the same contorted shape.
The trigger is undoubtedly excitement. Gallons of nervous puppy (despite being over two years old) energy cascading from him like fuel spilling from a crashed oil tanker, and all usually brought on by play fighting or the arrival of my wife home from work. Better still, he’ll sometimes spin endlessly around the front garden like a clothes line on a gusty day when completely alone; prime time viewing for anyone on our street fortunate enough to be near their windows at the time.
Of course, their is a third stratification to this canine conundrum. Perhaps this action is unique to Dudley? After all, the bemused and puzzled looks on the faces of my neighbours – who also own a brown Labrador – speak volumes without saying a single word…
“What have they done to that dog to make him quite so crazy…”