Portrait of a happier puppy

Tobie and I have been taking a lot of short utilitarian walkies lately, while he worked out his digestion problems. That’s getting better at last, by the way. Anyway, he has recently developed a very annoying trait in which he asks for a walkie but then as soon as we’re on the sand he flops down and just wants to chill. It gradually became clear to me that he was getting sick of being stuck inside while Uncle Joel stares at the screen and edits a Chinese Mystery Pistol book.

He didn’t want to be outdoors by himself – he made that VERY clear. He wanted me to take him outside and do something other than an in-and-out poop run.

Okay, we can do that. So this morning we were out in the yard together while I started work on revisions to my poor man’s solar water heater*…

…and he took that calmly enough. Didn’t like it when I went out of sight, but otherwise he was content to amuse himself while I worked.

Then this breezy warm afternoon I introduced him to sitting on the porch while Uncle Joel drinks a beer and watches a video on his phone…


…and he seemed to think that was cool as well. He also behaved himself quite self-sufficiently while I spent some time working on final clean-up to the (New! Functional!) shower at Ian’s place.

He’s quite a good boy, really. We need to convince Uncle Joel that he’ll stay close before we’re going to come off the leash, but between working out that and his issues with the Jeep, I think there’s a very good chance he’ll be ready to safely hang out without the tether at least by the time he’s fully adult. Which he isn’t.

I know I’m a control freak, and overly I would say responsibly protective. Little Bear never got off the leash because he could never be trusted not to obey his chase instinct to the detriment of his survival prospects. I’ve seen too many dogs die or abruptly disappear to be oblivious to the desert’s ability to kill a dog. It’s possible that soon, when I can afford one, I’m going to shop for a shock collar. But right now he’s a shelter dog still trying to settle in, and we’re not going to get too rigorous about much of anything.


*more on that later.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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15 Responses to Portrait of a happier puppy

  1. Dennis says:

    I have a shock collar I’ll donate. I no longer need it and was going to destroy it so it didn’t fall into the hands of an irresponsible person. After following your blog I think you are responsible and will use it properly. Send me your mail address and I’ll get it out to you next week when the PO opens.

  2. Terrapod says:

    Thanks for that little bit of insight to LB dog psychology. Our 6-1/2 month old terrier has a chase instinct that is cranked to 11+, sadly that includes cars and trucks and not just squirrels, birds, children and cats. I am going to be trying the zap collar once we get her back from the vet,as next month is fix the plumbing month, way too many neighborhood dogs running loose with owners who apparently don’t care.. Has been on a leash since we brought her home 4 months ago. We do have things that can eat a 14 lb dog nearby (coyotes, fox and eagles) so while not desert, it is still something to keep an eye on.

  3. VietVet says:

    Almost two years ago I bought a Great Pyrenees pup at ten weeks old. He’s strictly an outside dog. His breeding is a working dog from six generations of working farm dogs. He has refused to be contained in a kennel from day one. I’ve got 15 acres of half pastures and timberlands.

    I fought that dog for months regarding his natural desire to roam. For over a year we walked the property boundaries twice daily, morning and evening to teach him his boundaries and areas of operation. Last summer his insistence to depart those boundaries to play with my neighbors Angus herd caused me massive frustration.

    He completely refuses to be leashed.

    The training collar has solved my problem along with his finally reaching maturity. Pyrenees are not considered adult until two years. I rarely need the shock function. His roaming outside boundaries has been easily controlled with the beeping call function. At 34” at the shoulder and 125 lbs my only issue now is his desire to stand up on his hind legs when greeting new people. The vibration function controls this problem 90% of the time.

    Now that he’s quickly approaching maturity he’s becoming an easily managed dog and an excellent companion for my wife and I. Patience is key along with a gentle voice but insisting on his obedience.

    You’re gonna have a superb friend by fall.

  4. coloradohermit says:

    Joel, it sounds like you and Tobie are getting each other trained real well. Good work! 🙂

  5. Ryan says:

    Joel,
    Had a thought about the possible instigator of doggo intestinal distress. I have had cheap dog chews give both my dogs horrible mudbutt and vomiting for a full 24 hours. One dog is a Lab with an iron gut and the other is a mutt, rescue type dog.

  6. boynsea says:

    Joel; There was a warning out sometime back about cheap Chinese imported dog chews. Don’t remember the details, but they were not good. (Something about sun dried Uighurs?) Ok, that was uncalled for.

    A change of diet and/or environment can also give dogs a problem ’till they adjust.

    It sounds like your Tobie has firmly bonded with you, and just needs to work out the puppy side of himself, along with gaining a bit of wisdom. I predict a long and happy partnership.

  7. Joel says:

    What sort of chews? Like rawhide bones? Because I did notice that Tobie’s troubles started when I brought home that nice knotted bone on Monday. Which he would like back, but I’m a little hesitant even though his bowels have dried up.

  8. Terrapod says:

    About chew bones, I no longer buy any marked made in China. Only US made or if none available, made in Mexico. Not that I trust Mexico to be better than China where sanitation and chemicals are involved, but they are close enough where the U.S. buyer can perform some level of quality control.

  9. VietVet says:

    Please send me an address for package delivery. I want to send you something

  10. Ryan says:

    Joel,
    Yes, the raw hides as well as the smoked bones. Both of those have at different ties affected my dogs.

  11. Joel says:

    VietVet: I tried to send you an email and it bounced. Don’t know why. If you want, try me at joel@joelsgulch.com and I’ll reply.

  12. boynsea says:

    Sorry to not respond quickly…As Ryan says, yes it was the rawhide ones, tied to look like a bone, IIRC. I was giving them to my two dogs, they loved them, but had some ‘backyard issues’. so I stopped. That was before the warning came out.

    Chinese products have an attractive price, but the full cost seems to follow.

  13. Joel says:

    Huh. Well, I still say he didn’t ingest more than a taste, but there’s no point putting it to the test. Thanks for the info.

  14. VietVet says:

    Email sent

  15. Joel says:

    This is weird. Email not received!

To the stake with the heretic!