Friday, February 17, 2012
The new pup... Gus
We brought Gus home late last August. We had stopped at a sorta grungy yard sale near where we live. As we were looking around, we spotted a playpen full of puppies. They were awfully young (prob around 6weeks), and awfully cute. The lady running the yard sale said that she had gone out of town a while back and left her female aussie in the care of her sister, who had a male chiweenie (chihuahua/wiener dog). Of course, neither dog was fixed, like the world needs more pound puppies... Sorry, but I'm pretty against backyard breeding, unless you have an exceptional dog with good temperment that is a good example of their breed, and you can ensure good homes for all the pups. Pounds are very sad places, and unfortunately many dogs end up there only to not be adopted, if you know what I mean. We fix our dogs as soon as they're old enough for the procedure. Anyhoo, I digress.
So, apparently the male did his thing. They had him there at the sale, and he was probably a 15+ lb dog. The pups had already been weaned (sooo way too young). We'd been discussing off and on getting a companion for Henry (because Cammi's a lump), and out of curiosity, we asked how much the pups were. "Well, they're free", the lady said. "We just need to get them to new homes". (didn't sound like she was too too happy about the unplanned litter). We discussed for a few minutes, and I told LJ that it would be great for Henry to have a pal, but if it didn't work out, he'd have to find a new home for the pup. We decided to go for it, picked out the biggest male pup there (females tend to be bitchy, and we wanted a pup that appeared to be a bit more Aussie than weenie), and left with the new bundle of fur.
Poor kiddo was FILTHY, dirty and smelling like pee, so he got a bath in the sink first thing.
So, the new addition was bathed and named. I'll tell ya, in the first 2 months of his life with us, I only saw this dog sleep maybe twice. He was and is insane. He screamed bloody murder if we left him alone (never heard so many different sounds come out of a dog). I barely slept for weeks, and often contemplated feeding the little wailer to Henry, who was sure Gus was a squirrel (ok, not serious about the feeding part... May have upset Henry's tummy).
In any case, once the pup got up to about 15 lbs or so, and was less likely to be smashed and injured by Henry, we started introducing them to each other outside. They regularly interacted through the kennel fence or the bars of dog crates, but we never let them be together outside of the crates. Henry has a bit of dog aggression, as he's been attacked several times over the years (randomly by Cammi, the stupid mutt), and we didn't want him to hurt the pup. We wanted them to be friends. Their first encounters over the first couple months were with Henry wearing a soft muzzle. Unfortunately, Gus, who would tease Henry mercilessly running back and forth with him when there was a fence between them, went completely limp when there was no fence. Completely and utterly limp like he was dead. Henry would stick his nose under Gus and flip him over, trying to get him to play, and finally lie on the pup's inert form, smashing him. Ugh. Stupid dogs. Henry would normally be tail wagging, but we were never sure what he'd do without the muzzle. Plus, Gus wouldn't play. I was getting REALLY fed up, after months of dog rotations, and told LJ that he either brought a trainer in to try and work out the sitch, or his pup had to go to a new home.
We had run the full gamut of approaches. Treats, play through the fence, walking them next to each other, introductions off Henry's territory, etc, but it just wasn't happening. Well, this last weekend, LJ went in the living room, where Gus was crated while the big dogs were out. He found Henry on his side next to the crate, tail a-wagging, while he and Gus "made out" through the bars. So, LJ grabbed Henry's muzzle and gave it another go. They actually started playing, though Henry worried at the muzzle repeatedly. Finally, LJ figured "screw it" and took the muzzle off Henry. And they played. And played. And played. Woohoo!
They are now pretty good buddies, though Henry won't let Gus near his toys, food, and sometimes me. Henry will block Gus from following me into the bathroom. He'll actually run in front of the doorway and cut him off. Gus is very submissive to Henry, but will snarl-play with Cammi, and won't hesitate to jump on her. Of course, it's because Henry is king. :)
The best is when Henry goes on one of his runs, and Gus chases him. Henry really loves to run, and will tear around the backyard, jumping over stumps, executing agile turns around trees, and randomly doubling back on his trail to go the other way. Gus Gus tries to keep up with his boss-dog, but his little legs can't keep up, and he's not nearly as agile (more likely to run into things), but he does his best (squeak-yelping with every other stride). Really is fun to watch. The most entertaining is the making-out. If I can ever get a pic of it, I'll share. :)
So, looks like Gus gets to stay, and Henry's got a buddy. Gus is around 7 months old, and is around 25-30 lbs. We'll see if he gets any bigger, and if he'll ever be able to keep up with his big buddy.