Thursday, February 17, 2011

Oh the Insanity!

That may be an overreaction, but I feel like the entire month of February was crammed into this week.  Rather than gush all the frustrating and admittedly boring details, I'll give you the major highlight.

This highlight is formally known as Gracie and Gunner.

Meet my newest training clients.  They are boarding for 3 weeks, and I am undertaking the daunting task of spending an hour every day teaching them the basics that all good dogs should know.  For Gunner, that means not biting people when they surprise him (insert my bruised forearm here).  For Gracie, it is the age old lesson that your mouth is not to be used whenever you want attention, food, or play.  

At this point, you may be picking up on my sassy tone.  This is in part because my original consultation with the family did not go entirely as well as I'd have liked.  This family has 3 kids (age 5, 3, and 9mo), and when their sweet old golden passed on they decided to immediately get a new dog to grow up with the kids.  So when they saw an ad online for "rare silver labs," they jumped at the opportunity, and scooped up two (to keep each other company).  Of course with 3 kids, work, and life in general, these puppies have learned absolutely nothing since coming home.  They knock over the kids, chew up their toys, and both have major insecurity issues (hence the fear biting puppy).  

In a perfect world, I would be able to tell this family that they paid $1200 for lab/weimaraner mixes.  I could tell them that their puppies are going to grow up to be very different than their Golden.  Gunner especially is showing behaviors that concern me for his age and apparent lack of trauma in his life.  They aren't ideal for their household, and I think they would have been better off going to their local shelter and finding a loving pit bull with experience in a house with small children.

BUT (all rants should have a but), these people really love their dogs.  They think the world of those wild, eeeevil little puppies, and I think they'll work hard to pick up the training where I leave off.  It's refreshing, since normally I see really great dogs with owners that honestly couldn't care less.

But #2 is even better- they can be taught!  I decided to clicker train Gracie and Gunner, since I'm short on time and have a long to-do list.  I love clicker training, but find that I don't go to it as a training tool as often as I should.  I'm happy to report that the crazies now know sit, down, the beginnings of stay, and a basic understanding of loose leash walking, and we've only done 3 sessions!  I'll be sure to keep you posted on their progress; Gunner especially is surprising me by his ability to focus.  

I won't get into the mini rant that this experience reminds me of, but I will mention the topic, and you can all give opinions (aka rants) of your own.

One of my dog peeves is mixed breeds that are being passed off as high quality dogs.  We get more cockapoos, labradoodles, and shi-poodle-chon things than actual dogs in the grooming department.  Technically, Parker could pass as a Schnoodle.  But I couldn't look at myself in the mirror if I claimed to own a dog that sounds like a Dr. Seuss character.  The only designer breed that I would ever consider paying money for is the poobull, because who wouldn't want to see what a poodle and pit bull mix would look like?

The last two images came from Google... I promise I'm not a back yard breeder of Poobulls.

There.  I feel much better. But I'd like to think there are some anti-designer dog folks out there who, like me, think that a mutt is a mutt is a mutt, and wouldn't have it any other way. 


  1. I have to admit I'd want to see what a pit bull poodle mix looked like too - at least until i saw that last picture. Eewww, that is just wrong! :-)

    I am a big fan of "mutts", but I agree that designer mixes are a bad idea. The majority of designer mixes seem to include poodles, and the majority of people who buy poodle mixes seem to think they'll be hypoallergenic. And since they are usually NOT, it is total misrepresentation!

    Good luck with Gracie and Gunner!

  2. Oh my god. Poobulls. They are SOOOO UGLY!!!!


  3. That was funny. Someone once told me they thought Miss M was a designer mix: American Bulldog + Boxer. Though I wonder if there really is a difference between a backyard breeder "design mix" and a mistake.

  4. I am SO WITH YOU on the designer breeds! I think I am more exasperated by the purposeful hybrids than by the regular one-breed fancy/witchy dogs -- give me a plain ol pit bull or an unidentifiable mutt any day :)

  5. I've been saying for several years that a poobull (though I like to call them pitoodles) would be an awesome dog. I know a couple who lost their last standard at age 17, and she was competing in agility within a couple years of her death. If you could get the pit bull temperament and trainability, with the athleticism and longevity of a poodle, that would be amazing. Of course, what the other 95% of the crosses would be like could be the stuff of nightmares.

  6. I actually own a pitpoo as i call it. i wish i could post a picture but he looks like a lab weiner dog. Hes very long with short legs has a black smooth coat and the face of a pitbul. Hes a sweet loving dog but he hates other dogs only gets along with my chihuahua because hesknown him since he was a puppy. All around great dog. :)


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