We had some excitement the other night.
Wes went for his nightly run, and on his trip back, he noticed one of our neighbors nervously standing out in her yard. She told him that someone had broken into her house while she was at work and that she waiting on the police to arrive and make certain that the intruder was gone. Wes waited with her until the police got there, then he came home more than a bit alarmed. A break-in just a few doors down? Scary stuff.
We’ve had this “big dog” idea on the back burner for a while, saying that eventually, we’ll want to adopt a dog that not only sounds like it could tear apart an intruder (which BC does) but that actually COULD tear apart an intruder (which BC would certainly try, but there’s only so much ten pounds of fury can do). Not that we had any reason at all to think that there would ever BE an intruder, but since the layout of our house has us and the girls on separate ends of the house at night, we wanted the extra security of a large dog to sleep on their end. (Since the fearless BC sleeps on ours. And sleeps through everything, of course, but that’s beside the point.) Before the break-in down the street, we had resolved that a Mastiff (our previous number one choice) wasn’t the best idea since they can be protective but aren’t exactly guard dogs. (I think our information said that they “could” become protective of their family members but that their greatest line of offense, as two hundred pound dogs, would be to lie down on the intruder. Which is fine and dandy but not exactly what we had in mind.)
We did some more research and settled on German Shepherds for ease of training, size, ability to protect, and (this is another one that wouldn’t have fit a Mastiff) affinity for long walks/jogs. (Remember how I said I don’t always feel safe running with just my tiny iPod to bonk someone over the head with? Well, German Shepherds actually need the exercise, so we’d be helping him while he’s helping us.) I actually grew up with a German Shepherd, so I feel like I know at least a little bit about the breed. (He was a German Shepherd/Scottish Terrier mix, if you can wrap your mind around that. As I told Wes, he was the shining example of why you need to keep your Scotty dog under lock and key when she goes into heat. Makes for some strange looking, short, whiskered German Shepherds, let me tell you.)
Anyway, this was all fanciful, “in the future” thinking until Wes came home from his run post break-in and said, “We’re getting a dog.” And I agree.
A large part of me is worried that this will end up being the mistake that adopting Reese turned out to be. If you weren’t reading when all of that happened, here’s the short version: my beloved blue-tan dachshund, Bonnie Blue, passed away. I was sad. I found another dachshund puppy. I adopted the puppy. I quickly discovered that two children in diapers plus a dog that refused to be housetrained made for plenty of insanity. Reese never clicked with our girls. Our girls never clicked with Reese. Finally, Reese went to live with another family, and I felt like a failure of a pet owner.
Fast forward to now. Those children are potty trained. (Well, Ana is. Emma is, in the words of Princess Tiana, “allllmoooost thhheeerrreee!” Which is as good as is, right?) Our girls LOVE Buttercup, proving that they don’t hate all dogs. (They just didn’t get along with Reese for some reason.) I’ve actually done the research and found a dog that won’t resist housetraining and that can actually be trained to do something more than just lie around and be spiteful. (Which is a dachshund’s greatest talent. Even BC has her moments.) I’m not making an emotional decision. (Well, maybe it’s emotional given the whole break-in thing, but we’ve been sitting on this decision for a long while.)
I don’t know why I’m explaining myself to the three of you who actually read this blog. Hmm. Just thinking through it all myself, I guess. I’ve been praying through this, asking that God, who knows what dog He plans for our girls to grow up with, would keep us from making the wrong decision. You probably think I’m crazy to put so much importance on something like adopting a dog, but after Reese, I know what a significant decision it can be and how heartbreaking it can all turn out if the decision is treated too lightly.
Anyway, we’re going to visit a breeder tomorrow evening. I’m doing what I didn’t do with Reese — taking my cues from Ana, who is the most apprehensive of all four of us around dogs. We’ve talked about what will happen when we get there, how the puppies will act, and that it’s okay if she’s not ready to take one home. She really seems to think that she’ll know “Charlie” when she gets there and that he’ll know her. I sure do hope so. Wouldn’t that be great if she just fell in love with the right dog right off the bat? And if he just happened to get himself housetrained within a week? (Okay, maybe that’s too much to hope for.)
Soooo, that’s the story so far. I’ll be back soon, either with pictures of our new puppy or a tale of woe that is sure to include a screeching Ana and a half dozen scared witless German Shepherds. I’m hoping it’s the former.
How about you? Any heartwarming stories about how you met and adopted your best four-legged friend?
3 thoughts on “Dog Drama!”
House training for him was just as easy as it was with Trump, the only problem was getting him to let us know when he needed to go outside. We usually just let him out every couple of hours and he was fine, but we wanted him to tell us when he needed to go. We also decided that since he was going to be so big, we wanted to get him into puppy training so that we could learn how to control him properly before he was too big for us to control. We enrolled in puppy training at PetSmart and was given this great tip on our issue with having him tell us when he needed to go outside.
With the trainer's advice, this is what we did. We tied a bell to the back doorknob and every time when we were going to let him outside, we would hold a treat up by the bell. When he would go after the treat, he would ring the bell and we would open the door. We did this for about a week before we took the treats away. Now, he simply nudges the bell when he wants to go outside.
Brody, has been such a great addition to our family. The people at PetSmart are in love with him and staff that we never met even know his name. They always greet him by name when we take him in. Many of our friends come over and want to take him home. Some of them are now looking for a Labradoodle as well.
The next concern was protection. Brody never barked, so we didn't know if he was the best choice for protection. Then one day, the pest control guy came over and I never heard his knock. Brody was in the back yard at the time the pest control guy went into the backyard. Brody became very vocal and both he and the pest guy stopped dead in their tracks. I rushed out to witness the stare down. I called Brody inside and he came. Ofcourse, he got a lot of attaboys and treats for that one.
Brody loves the attention too! He puts his paw on your lap wanting you to rub them all the time. He also does very well on walks/jogs. Erin and I just started jogging around our neighborhood and he does very well on loose leash walks/jogs as well as turns a lot of heads for his handsomeness.
Now, I didn't reply to encourage you to get a Labradoodle. I'm a dog lover and I love all dogs. It's just that the Labradoodle was right for us. Hopefully, you will have just as much success with house training as I did as well as the peace of mind that you and Wes have picked the right family member for you and your family.
Well, you have a fourth reader for this one. Anything about dogs catches my eye as a dog lover. I just wanted to provide some insight/encouragement to house training your dogs. My first one was a cockapoo that I got for Erin before we were married even though he lived with me. His name was Trump. I brought him home at 7 weeks on a Thursday. I've always heard that crate training is best, so that's what I went with. That first night he whined every time I put him in the crate, so I would take him outside and put him in the grass. After doing this about 10 times in 90 minutes, I decided I needed my rest so I put newspaper on the bathroom floor and sat baby Trump down. He pooped before I was able to get the door closed. So I cleaned up the mess and thought to myself “Well, he really did need to go” so I put him back in the crate again. I believe I woke up almost every 2 hours to let him out that first night. However, by Monday he was sleeping thru the night without a peep.
Trump passed away January '08 at only 5 years old and left a hole in our hearts. Erin wanted a big dog for the protection and I wanted a non shedding dog for cleanliness. We had initially talked about German Shepherds as well because of their loyalty and protection. The only reason we didn't get one is because of the shedding and insurance. Once we found out homeowners insurance was an issue with owning a German Shepherd, we decided to steer away.
We, mostly me, decided on a Labradoodle. He has the lab's loyal and eager to please traits and he doesn't shed. Labradoodles are very expensive. All registered Australian Labradoodles are $2500, no negotiation allowed. All American Labradoodles are $1500, again no nogotiation is allowed. Knowing that I couldn't afford either one of those, I took to google and stumbled across a guy in the DFW area. He is the Superintendent for the McKinney School district and occasionally bred their pet Labradoodles to raise money for his 3 mentally handicapped children. They were not registered, but he only was asking $250 for our pick. We didn't care about papers, we just wanted a pet to love on and protect us. We headed over the same evening I found his ad and picked out Brody, a chocolate Labradoodle.
My parents got a cat before I was born, and he lived to be a few months shy of 24. After I moved home from college, I kept asking my dad if I could get a cat, but he always refused. One day, I went to the Home & Garden Show with my aunt and uncle, and found myself at Purina's exhibit, where they had a bunch of animals from the Humane Society. I fell in love with a fluffy white cat named Rainbow, but knew better than to bring her home. A couple days later, I randomly started talking about Rainbow at dinner, and my dad said something like “Fine. Go get her.” The next day, my aunt and I went to get her from the shelter, only to find that the lady who worked at the front desk had already adopted her. Rainbow was sitting in a box in the reception area waiting to go home with someone else. I was heartbroken, holding back the flood of tears, standing there in the reception area, not knowing what to do. My aunt convinced me to go look at the other cats, which is when I met the infamous Fluffy Neil who has been putting up with me ever since.