Thursday, September 12, 2013

Bowser - big & bad, but we love him anyway ;)

This might sound strange to say, but if this pup we adopted had gone home with anyone else, I fear he would either have been dumped, returned, abused, or dead by now.

 Sounds harsh, I know, and don't get me wrong, we love him and he is very well taken care of, but that doesn't mean we don't have problems with his behavior from time to time. 

My son saw this pup at the Humane Society a few months ago and said, "This is the one I want." A few weeks later, he came home with us.

Bowser is a big beautiful 9 month old pup. Very intelligent and playful and loving. However, there is a crazy side to him as well.  He has what I call, 'bouts of spasticness'. It could be a condition, I think...

We kept him inside a lot the first few weeks he was with us in order to heal from his neutering and because we had no idea how he would react to being outside in a new place with strangers. He crate trained very quickly and was pretty good as far as his behavior. However, he had a pee problem. If he got too excited or nervous or frightened, he'd pee. I was VERY thankful for my tile floors at that point. I think I cleaned and disinfected that floor more in those few weeks than I had in a few years.

Flashback - My husband learned this pee-lesson the hard way. When we went to pick him up to bring him home for the first time, the lady bringing him out lost control of him and he came barreling full speed down the hall, just about knocked my husband over, jumped up on him and peed...right down his leg and onto his boots. NOT a good first impression and NOT the last time my husband would get peed on. That was also when we knew he'd need LOTS of training...and patience...and sanity...

We learned a few techniques along the way to help control his peeing, but bottom line - he had to go outside. With school getting into full swing soon, I only had so much 'spare' time and continually mopping up a floor was not on my list. We are hopeful he will outgrow this problem as he gets older.

We have a nice covered back porch and huge fenced in yard. Even though we have a large doghouse outside, we put his crate out there too under the porch because that is where he felt safe and comfortable and liked to sleep/rest. We leave the door unlatched so he can go in and out as he pleases. We bought him a really nice plush comfortable cedar filled dog bed and put it in his crate. 

Destroyed it the first day. 

I could go into story after story of things that have been destroyed or badly chewed up, but for time's sake, here is a list and I'm SURE I am still leaving things off...

3 leashes (while he was being walking down the trails in our yard) 
3 doggy beds
4 water hoses (into many many pieces)
the corners of my raised garden beds
plants in my garden (he has a particular liking for lima bean bushes)
half of a loquat tree
storage containers
potted plant containers
too many chew toys to count
dog food bowl
kiddie/puppy pool
garden tools
bird feeder (he jumped and ripped this one right out of the eaves of the roof)
brick on the house (so far this is still in far)
lots and lots of digging
insulation off pipes
bag of cedar chips (for chicken beds)
bag of oyster shell (for chickens)
bag of corn (for squirrels)
bag of bird seed (duh, for the!)
He even chewed so much on a water pipe/faucet that he managed to loosen it from the brick wall and now it is leaking and needs to be repaired. (Yea, that one went over real well with my husband.)

Before you think all of this is because he doesn't get enough time spent with him, let me reassure you...

We are a homeschooling family so my kids and I are pretty much home all day. We try to take the dogs on morning, afternoon, and evening walks. We have multiple play and training times with them throughout the day as well as 'puppy play time' where all the dogs play together. We even have really low windows in our school room to where Bowser can walk right up to where the kids are, we open up the window, he rests his head on the window sill, and interacts with the kids while they do their schooling.

So, when does he have time to do all that damage?

Most times it is when we are away from the house, running errands, grocery shopping, church, etc., pretty much any time he is not right next to us.

We have learned though. We leave NOTHING out now. The backyard is cleaner than it has ever been and pretty much devoid of anything that we don't want getting chewed up or destroyed or buried.

There is now a barricade built around the water faucet and garden hose. The automatic watering bowl has permanent piping (not a water hose) run to it now and it is screwed into the brick wall. He has a metal dog food bowl and we keep him stocked with a fresh supply of BIG chew bones. If we have been away from Bowser longer than usual, I go out with him first to get out some of his pent up craziness before the kids get to him (or I go out with the kids to 'supervise'. Those big claws of his are extremely painful and he has been known to jump and nip from time to know, those teeth he keeps razor sharp from chewing on the brick to the house? 

My son sometimes feels bad that his dog creates such messes and leaves paths of destruction.

My blue-eyed boy is such a compassionate, sweet, patient, and loving person. I told him that any other kid probably would have given up on this dog by now and God must have known to send that dog to him because no one else probably would have had the patience to put up with Bowser.

We really do love this big ol' baby oaf though. In the end, I just know he will be a well-mannered lifelong friend, companion, and protector to our son and the rest of the family :) 

So, do any of you have a pet that has been less than ideal, but you love them anyway?

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