Friday, May 24, 2013

Big dogs, small dogs

I've been a big-dog person all my life--collies, a lab, Australian shepherds, even two bearded Collies and an Irish wolfhound. I loved them all desperately. But when I started to buy a Labradoodle, my protective older brother, a physician, informed me bluntly that I am too old and too unsteady on my feet for another big dog--especially one that could be 100 lbs. So I got a Bordoodle, a mix of Border Collie and poodle. Sophie is 26 lbs.
One caution I had going into small dog ownership was the difference in temperament. I am used to the laid-back, calm disposition of big dogs (well, maybe Aussies not so much). Small dogs, to my mind, tended to be yippy, undisciplined, stubborn, self-centered, almost like cats. Sophie is and isn't--she was a rowdy puppy, no question about it, but at two she is perfectly housebroken, sweet and loving and full of kisses. She rarely barks unless a squirrel or possum antagonizes her, and she lets out a high-pitched bark of warning when someone comes near the house. But she doesn't bark to hear herself. She is perfectly crate-trained and will go to her crate of her own accord. Most evenings you can find her under my desk sleeping contentedly, knowing I'm near. She is crazy about my daughter Jordan, my grandson Jacob, and my friend Elizabeth who lives in my garage apartment.
But Sophie is still excitable, though she's calmed down a lot. Still, she thinks strangers and guests in the house came specifically to have her jump on them so they can love her, and I have never leash-trained her because, even at 26 lbs., she could pull me down in her excitement at being in the outside world. She's stubborn when she thinks I should turn from the computer to play with her, and she only comes in when I call her at night if she decides she wants to.
What puzzles me most is that Jacob has friends who have big dogs but range from terrified to leery. Today she was as afraid of our seven-year-old visitor as he was of her, and I kept her in the office with me.
Jacob on the other hand is now perfectly comfortable with dogs of all sizes, and I'm so glad I had a hand in making him a dog person.

No comments: