August 13, 2015 by The Dog Rules
It sometimes amazes me, the phrases that we use daily of which we are completely unaware. Take for example; “That’ll do.” It is the catch-all, common phrase that I utter numerous times each day. It rolls off my tongue automatically; without thought or effort.
Mostly it surfaces when I am out with Dog. She sees a squirrel; another dog that makes her need to have her say; something that overwhelms her interest and the one thing that instantly reorients her attention is “That’ll do”. It also means “good dog”, “job well done”, “I’m pleased with ye”, “We’re movin’ on to summat else – (let it be!)”
I have no idea when or where this phrase entered my vocabulary. I think it appeared by completely by chance sometime in an off-leash moment when I was in need of verbal contact with her Ladyship, the Border Collie. And it worked.
Phrase uttered, we move on. Both Dog and I calm and collected until the next time. She watches me closely. Can I go to work here? Ah not yet. Can I tell off the postal lady? Ah…. not yet. Can I go get my ball? Ball! Yes. YES. YES!!!! Thank You! Let me be the fastest, smartest, most wonderful ball getter of them all!!! SEE I HAVE IT! Will you throw it for me? Ahhh…. JOY! Again? JOY UNBOUNDED!! Again and again? DANCE OF JOY!!! AGAIN? AGAIN? AGAIN? AGAIN?! “That’ll do, Dog, that’ll do.” OK, what are we going to do now? (with waving tail)
We carry trash – okay I carry trash – to the dumpster and Dog escorts me proudly carrying her ball and hoping for a toss or two on the return trip. Trash dumped and ball tossed I’m heading home. That’ll do.
On a hike around the park she ignores the excited taunts of another dog and biddably follows me. That’ll do.
She cheerfully follows my direction as she darts, at breakneck speed, around the Agility course. I cheer her on and when we are Done the run, That’ll do.
When Dog was younger we worked sheep. This was Dog’s life mission. The most difficult thing for her was to STOP working sheep. She would do a great job and would look at me with tongue lolling almost to her toes and her eyes pleading “can we do that again!?” It was my job to insure she didn’t overwork herself. This is probably the only situation where she didn’t appreciate hearing “That’ll do, Dog”.
Dog loudly, and enthusiastically, announces the arrival of any Visitor by charging down the stairs toward the door tail waving wildly. The sound is a sort of “worrr-rrrrg-rrrgrr” bark to let Visitor know they have Been Observed Approaching and there is a Dog On Duty!
There is a touch of defensiveness in the bark. A Warning. Dog waits several feet back from the door to see what will happen next. This is the protocol for Friends, Strangers, Mail Delivery, Newspaper Delivery, and children who run through my garden. I want Dog to announce the arrival of someone at my door. She is a magnificent early warning system and I know someone is coming even before they have the chance to ring the bell. This pleases me. That’ll do, Dog. That’ll do. And Dog wags happily knowing she has done well.