As Told To Me By My Uncle Henry Cleage
Sometimes we would wake up and Uncle Hugh would be sitting on the porch. He wouldn’t say good-bye when he left. Mama’s family was just like that, they’d appear and then disappear without a word. We had a great big police dog, Duke. He was a bad sucker. Everybody in the city knew he was a bad dog.
So Uncle Hugh said “That dog ain’t worrying me.”
You know, he used to come around the house in the back. We told him not to come in there, that dog would eat him up.
He said, “That dog ain’t gonna touch me.”
We said don’t mess with that dog. He just insisted. He walked out there to the little screened back porch. He walked out. Duke was standing there all ruffled up. He should have known, because Duke lifted that upper lip, you know? (Note: Here Henry would lift half of his upper lip and give a low, menacing growl) Duke backed up a couple of steps. Uncle Hugh kept by the door and he took the first step. The dog stood there and Uncle Hugh thought he had him and let the door slam and soon as that door slammed, Duke just leaped at his head. Uncle Hugh tore up the whole screen on the back door getting back inside. He was going to force the dog back and go out there and show him who’s boss. Well, he got back in because we all hollered at the dog and grabbed him and everything else, but we knew the dog.
Smoking all those cigarettes had got him, he said. He was going to pop off at any time, he didn’t think he ought to go through that excitement he would have had to go through to train him. “That is a bad dog,” he said. “That is a tough dog, he’s a smart dog too, but if I was here a couple days, I’d straighten that out.”
Well, he could have. If he’d been there a couple days, I mean.
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17 thoughts on “Training Duke – Sepia Saturday #111”
I love this story. I’m typing this as my own very wimpy rescue poodle is snuggled up against my leg. He has US trained. Dogs are wonderful.
Kathy, I never had dogs when I was growing up and I don’t have any now but when my children were growing up we had several. I think only one, Ursala, would have given Duke (and Uncle Hugh) a run for his money.
I wouldn’t have wanted to go anywhere near Duke.
Hi Kristin! This is a great story; I loved the last line and am still chuckling.
Duke was scary looking, and I’m glad that Uncle Hugh didn’t get more than he did.
Thanks so much for stopping by.
Duke looks as though he’s used to being boss. Police dogs have been trained to be in charge and not to be intimidated. Uncle Hugh would need to have been there more than a day or two to win Duke over.
This is a funny little story. As a kid I was always afraid of German Shepherds — they were the reputed “bad dog” of my day. But today other breeds have stepped up their game and taken away that title. Uncle Hugh might stand a better chance with ol’ Duke today.
After looking at the first photo I say that Duke sure looks like a fierce dog!
A funny story, but Uncle Hugh was all bluster, and Duke was the sort of dog you give respect, and a wide berth, to. He looks like a fine animal though.
H Ha, Those two were well matched. I’m sure they would have sorted things out and reached an understanding. I would have hated to see anything happen to Uncle Hugh’s face though – such a handsome fellow.
Thankfully I have never yet really met a really bad dog….because it would probably be the death of me! As I would not believe it so….until it were too late! My first husband, used to have me walk past any stray dog first….(seriously) just to be safe….but you see he knew I wasn’t afraid of any dogs, and pretty much all dogs sensed immediately that he was very afraid of them!
I love your story. The writing brings the picture alive – fabulous.
Your house did not need any alarms or locks with Duke to keep you safe. Thanks for sharing that wonderful story & photos.
Great story, I had to giggle at the vision of Duke lifting that upper lip.
Some of the best family stories involve dogs. This is great one.
Thanks for sharing this great story, Kristin. The smartest dogs I’ve ever known were my daughter’s German Shepherd sisters, Hannah and Heidi. Your Uncle Hugh would have been distressed to know that both of them regularly stood up, put one front paw on each side of the doorknob, and rotated it to open the door and go in or out as they pleased.
I am also a genealogist and look forward to coming back to read more of your blog.
He certainly was handsome -so was Duke. Somehow Duke doesn’t look so mean to me.
He looks kind of sweet. Picturing that man-shaped hole in the screen is pretty funny. I guess it also proves that Duke wasn’t too sweet. I’d love to have a dog like Duke right now. Just recently a man went running through my neighbors back yard being chased by the police. I’m usually not a scared person but have been a little nervous since then.
I don’t think I can count on my cats to protect me.
Having been warned, Uncle Hugh was asking for it! My sister has a dog very like Duke – he looks ferocious but is a big softy with the family. I wouldn’t mess with either of them 🙂 Jo
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