Thursday, October 11, 2012

Whose Yer Daddy?

As good puppy parents we know it’s important to socialize Sir Angus Wallace MacDuff.  So, soon after we got him we took him on his first foray into this big new world where he spent most of his time sleeping with his head in his water bowl.  

At the ripe old age of five months, he can jump at leaves, bark at shadows, chew on sticks, race squirrels and chase his tale for hours – sometimes even up to three – before he needs a nap.  Now that he has become much more energetic he is much more entertaining.  But he’s also a bit more dangerous.   Our after-work routine consists of me standing in the backyard saying, “Angus, Sit!  Angus, Sit!” while he bounces around me like Tigger making snorting noises.  Then we play fetch.  I throw the ball, he brings it back, usually drops it and waits.  Just when I think it's safe to pick up the ball he dives for it.  More than once I’ve looked down to see blood oozing from my arm or hand because he’s accidentally punctured me with those razor sharp claws or the daggers in his mouth.  We’re hoping that exposing him to lots of people in lots of situations will help teach him to sit calmly and patiently until told he can move – and lessen the permanent scarring of my body.

We’ve also been taking every opportunity for puppy play dates.  Partly because we don’t want him to be one of those spoiled dogs who won’t share his toys – but mostly because we’re not stupid.   A dog that has played so hard his usually soft and silky fur is matted and stiff with slobbers is too tired to get into any trouble – or chase kitties – unhappy kitties who are still giving me a “how could you do this to us?” look just before their little spinning legs skid across the floor, with Angus in wild puppy joyfulness, charging behind them.  

Shhhh....pretend like you're sleeping and maybe he'll go away.

When he’s not exhausted from chewing on another dog or terrorizing cats we make sure to take him for a walk where we’re working very hard at teaching him to heel because, considering the fact that he’s only five months old and already weighs well over 40 pounds, we’re pretty sure he’s going to be a big boy and we’d rather keep our arms attached to our torso, not ripped out and bouncing along at the end of a leash in hot pursuit of a rabbit.  

Five Weeks
Five Months

In the four or so months we’ve had him, Angus has been everywhere from music festivals to rivers to backyards to creeks to parks to a brewery.  Don’t worry, we didn’t let him drink – much.  Kidding.  Really. We didn’t.   Everywhere we’ve taken him, somebody has always comes up and said one of two things.  Either, “what kind of dog is he?” or “is he a Newfie?”  When Leslie is asked this question of Baxter, 
On the left -- gotta love the whiskers.
Angus’ brother, her answer is one of two things.  Either, “He’s a Labradoodle mix” or “He’s a Newfoundland mix.”  I, however have only one answer.  “Well, the people we got him from said his mother was a Labradoodle but I don’t really think she’s pure Labradoodle because she wasn’t really curly, she was just wavy, so I think she was really just part Labradoodle.  Dean thinks maybe she had some Golden Retriever in her because she had some feathering.  And we were told his father was a Bernese Mountain Dog because there was one in the neighborhood but later they thought he might be a Newfoundland because one of their friends had a Newfoundland and she said the puppies looked just like Newfies.  But we don’t really know who the father is for sure because they never saw who “visited” the mother so it’s all just a guess.  But he looks like a Newfoundland with that little puff on his head so we’re kind of thinking he’s part Labradoodle and part Newfoundland.  But whatever he is, he’s going to be big!”  By then their eyes are glazed over.  

Since we take Angus out with us a lot, we get asked that question a lot, and even though I’m pretty sure they really don’t care what he is and it’s only a polite opening before they ask if they can pet him, I decided I wanted to know what the heck he really is so I can give them an accurate answer.  So I did a little research and discovered you can buy this nifty little kit and have your dog’s DNA tested.  It’s easy.  All you have to do is pry his mouth open, insert a long plastic stick into his mouth and scrape the side of his cheek without touching his teeth or tongue as you are hugging his squirming furry body while he tries desperately to eat the stick at the same time that 16 toenails and two dewclaws are flailing around your arms and head.  Twice.  Once on each cheek.  Piece of cake.  Approximately three weeks later we had an answer.  

So the next time we’re asked “what kind of dog is he?” I can tell them.  Exactly.  “The people we got him from said his mother was a Labradoodle but I didn’t really believe them because she wasn’t curly, you know, the way Labradoodles are.  She was just wavy.  But it turns out she really WAS a pure Labradoodle because we had his DNA tested and on the mother’s side it said Labrador/Poodle all the way back to his grandparents.  So I was wrong.  We really thought his father was a Newfoundland because he has that puff on his head and people keep telling us he looks like a Newfoundland, and look at those paws, he’s going to be a big boy, and Newfoundlands are big, but it turns out his father is part Shetland Sheepdog for pretty sure plus some possible other dogs like maybe Chow Chow or Shiba Inu.  So now we know where he got his curled tail.  Or he could even have some Dalmation, English Cocker Spaniel or IrishSetter in him.  We were really surprised there was no Bernese Mountain dog OR Newfoundland in him.  We really thought there’d be some Newfoundland in him because look at those paws.  He’s obviously going to be a big boy.  But … it turns out he’s a Labradoodle/Shetland Sheepdog/something else mix.”  

Oh, I forgot.  Sometimes when we’re out, people also ask a third question.  “What is his name?”  That’s a straightforward answer.  “Angus.  His name is Angus.  Because he’s black and he’s going to be a big boy.  Like a cow.  Get it?  He’s black and he’s big.  Black Angus.  The cow.  Big as a Black Angus cow … or I guess bull … til he’s a steer … an it ... a ?” 

Maybe I need some socialization training too.  Or a muzzle.



Abby said...

I can just hear the difference between your answer to the breed versus Leslie's. Hilarious! Poor, curious bystanders!

Jerry said...

When he gets full gown hook him up to a sleigh.

Art Elser said...

Oh my, Cathy. I'm glad I'm not a pet in your family. I don't think I want to know what's in my background. Angus doesn't get nervous, does he when he goes past a fast food stand advertising Angus beef on their burgers? I mean you said he's a black Angus, like a cow. As long as Angus doesn't get it.

Our 7-month old goldendoodle has wavy hair, usually matted with English Bulldog spit after a play date with his buddy across the alley. Walker will also bring back the ball I throw, drop it, and then jump on it when I go to pick it up. My Kathy looks like a mummy from the British Museum with all the piercings in her hands and arms, from goldendoodle teeth and claws.

Leslie said...

Thanks for making me laugh this morning! Baxter has been spending most of his time sleeping since his play date with Angus!

Heidrun Khokhar, KleinsteMotte said...

This is so amusing. Maybe you could were some gardening gloves when you play catch? Hope the obedience training for both of you goes well :)