This is a little pet peeve of mine. Or maybe it’s a big one. We live on a well-traveled road. Our sheep pastures abut the road. Our guardian dogs do their job, and bark at anything in the environment that’s out of the ordinary: pedestrians, bicyclists, deer, coyotes, and cars that slow way down or stop. Usually it’s just a minute or two of casual barking and then the thing is gone and calm returns.

But there is this phenomenon that I can’t figure out. Several people who like to drive by reeeel slow, and let their dog hang half out the car window and bark like crazy. And then our guardian dogs bark louder, a much more escalated bark. They go bananas and run the entire 600 feet of fence line to track this invader of our peace and ward it off. And all this ruckus makes the border collies bark inside the house, then race hells-bells out the dog door to see what’s going on.

Lots of people do it, but some cars I recognize, because they are regular and repeat offenders. It seems it’s a favorite pastime of many; and they must be people who live nearby, since I see them so often.

Why? Why do these people do this? It’s so annoying. I hear our dogs alarming as if someone just landed a helicopter in our field. So I stop what I’m going to go see what’s wrong. And then it’s just this, these drive-by harassers and their obnoxious, loose-in-the-car pets. Do they enjoy creating and watching the ruckus? Are they just trying to look at the sheep in spite of their rabid, spit-flying, hanging-out-the-window pooch? Are they herding breed owners saying to their stock-deprived dog, oh, looook, sheeeep! Don’t you wish you lived there? How can these owners tolerate having a hysterical dog leaping about in the front seat, barking until it’s hoarse?

I can’t understand it. When I travel with my dogs, they are snugged safely inside of tied-down airline crates, and I expect them to ride quietly. Lunatic barking in the car is not a behavior option I make available to my dogs. Enough of my dog show acquaintances have had dogs killed or seriously injured in even minor car accidents that I never let mine ride loose in a vehicle, it puts them at risk.

Part of me wants to see one of these dogs lean just one more inch out the fully open window, smack on the pavement at moving speeds and incur a big vet bill. But of course, that’s mean, it wouldn’t be the dog’s fault.

So, please, for the love of God and peace and quiet, if you are one of these people, stop it. It makes me crazy. Just push the little button to raise your electric window, maintain the speed limit, and keep your frothing, racket-making canine companion inside the cab until you’ve passed by our otherwise quiet country farm. Ok then, that is all.