It's raining again
We have a fence:
And, as you can see, it's an old (going on 30 years, with minimal maintenance) but servicable fence. The gate allows passage, both in and out. I can come in, and I can go out (when Alpha authorizes passage). The fence controls the flow.
If you follow the rules, that is.
Squirrel, of course, does not. Squirrel comes and goes at will.
I could, I suppose, eliminate everything that attracts Squirrel - make the place barren and destitute, but none of us, canine or human, would enjoy the result. No shade to lie in. No bushes to pee on. Just a fence and the Texas sun.
What's worse, to make that plan work, I'd have to insist that the neighbors do the same. Those three dogs would have to do without as well.
I could, I guess, just trap Squirrel, send him miles away, and release him.
The only problem with that plan is that other squirrels simply move in to take advantage of the vaccuum. I'd be punishing Squirrel, and gaining nothing in the process.
That leaves me, I guess, with killing Squirrel, and lying in the yard gnawing on his bones as an example.
But in the meantime, I still have to have permission to come and go through the gates. Alpha still decides what I do, and not what Squirrel does. All I can do is bark.
And all because of the fence. To me, it's a very real physical barrier. But to Squirrel, it's not even a symbol. It's an entirely artificial barrier. Oh, I can chase him away. I can bark and jump, and threaten to climb either the fence or the shade tree, and every time, I can force him to leave.
But guess what?
He comes back. Because it's better here than it is on the other side: there's water, and food, and shelter from the weather.
Take the experience of a dog who's maybe lived too long or maybe just too well: fences do a helluva lot better job keeping us in than they do in keeping anyone else out. I gotta have permission at the border, but Squirrel just comes and goes.
Kinda like the rain in the gauge...
Now, if y'all'll excuse me, the rain has stopped, Squirrel has returned, and I have barking of another sort to attend to.