Sunday, October 18, 2015

Skittling

We have two dogs since Old Dog went to the bridge. They are sisters out of a Boxer mom and a Malinois dad. One is fawn and the other is brindle.

Today, I wanted to introduce you to the brindle:

Skittle

We went to see the fawn (Lily) Boxer-Malinois pup advertised on FB and met Skittle. There were three out of thirteen pups left; two fawn and one brindle. The fawns were both barking and while not fearful exactly, they were hesitant to come up to us right away. Skittle was different. Where Lily was a little standoffish, Skittle climbed right up into T's lap, licking and loving on our boy. She really wanted to go with us. It was pretty much love at first sight for T and J, but I was unwilling to leave Lily. That little fawn pup snagged my heart pretty quick and I didn't want to take Skittle instead, or vis a versa. I wanted them both. J took one look at my face and agreed.  We negotiated with the breeders and ended up getting a 50% discount off the second pup. As we took them out the front door, the gentleman we had been dealing with informed us that it was the first time they had been out of the house.

As in not socialized. Or exposed to anything or anyone not living in the house they were born in. Not even for their first set of shots. I really believe that part of the problem with the issues with have with abandoned or dumped dogs in this country stems from not properly socializing them when they are very young. We would not advocate allowing a foal to go unhandled by humans, so why would we think it was okay to not expose, train or work with a young dog. When we had the boxers I spent hours walking them, taking them to dog parks, sitting outside with me while people walked by, teaching them to take food from my hand without grabbing, laying down out of the way while we ate, sit, down, stay. All of the things they needed to know to be good dogs.



These pups didn't have that. The pups had not been socialized, had not been potty trained, had never been walked outside. They had spent their entire 10 weeks of their lives living in a large wire cage in the living room. The other downfall was that although I was very familiar with Boxers and their personality, I wasn't as hands on with the Malinois side of things. I had read that Malinois are dogs that you must be very careful with to make sure you don't cause them to be aggressive out of fear. We are all very aware of their temperments and take great care to manage their social interaction. There are definite moments when they must be handled very carefully: we are pretty sure they had been traumatized by a man at  some point (a guy wearing a ball cap can send Skittle into a tizzy) with a fly swatter.


Skittle has a lot of boxer characteristics. She kidney beans when excited, boxes with her front paws when she plays and is a real snuggle bug. In fact, one of her nicknames is Skittlebug. She loves stuffed animals and is a voracious chewer. Still. At almost three. Her favorite toy, however, is her sister.

She has a fascination with socks that is almost ridiculous. She doesn't chew them, put she will fish through the dirty laundry to find the best one and then takes it to her bed where she lays on it with her chest. She is the one we have to watch to make sure she doesn't grab stuff off of our nightstands to chew. We've lost one iPhone and two pairs of Oakleys to her. I think the Super Love Sac was a combined effort of both her and Lily.


She is the first dog I've ever had who will chew the plastic nylabones. A bully stick that would take one of the boxers two days to maw down on will take Skittle two hours to complete. She loves carrots and steals them out of the horse bucket in the morning. She loves cardboard and plastic trash, which she fishes out of the recycling bin and tears apart in the dining room.


She loves to look out the bedroom window, but never takes her hind legs off of the edge of the bed. Skittle loves to bark at things that only exist in her mind, in order to set off her sister and then grab the best toy or a great sleeping spot.

Every dog we have ever had will do this on occasion. Skittle does it on the dog beds and on the recliners. Sometimes she just hangs her head over the edge of the chair or the bed. I think she likes it when her head fills with blood.

Skittle loves to hunt flies. She gets really pissed when they land somewhere she can't reach. A couple of nights ago she started to bark. Persistently. She was staring into the kitchen and I couldn't see any reason for her to be barking. I asked J and she asked if there was a fly on the ceiling. There was. Skittle was barking at it being out of her reach.


She loves to lean against the wall, or my legs, or the pillows. She sleeps snuggled up against my hips and thighs.


She loves the water, provided she can stay in the shallows. She will run wild through the water up to her knee, but won't go out deep enough to swim. She loves bathes and will jump into the tub.

She's still very timid and the last time we were at the dog park, a guy yelled at his dog to leave something alone and head out with him. He wasn't being mean, but Skittle was still scared. She started to bark and growl and immediately sought out J and I, hiding behind our legs. We took her away from the other dogs to see if she would settle, but it was enough to make her anxious. We went ahead and left the park rather than keep her some place she wasn't feeling safe.


Skittle is the one who stays closest to us, who only wants to play with her sister and when feeling intimidated or scared, returns to us.

Leaving the dog park at Skittle's request.

I can ask Skittle if she is ready to go and if she is, she heads for the gate. She never tires of playing with her sister.

Skittle and Lily both like to bark at pedestrians, motorcyclists and anyone who looks at us sideways. They love hanging their heads out the window.

Skittle is our lover, our snuggle bug, our skittle-bug. She is playful and such a sweet dog. Skittle's favorite game is skootle butt around the pool table in the basement while being chased by her sister. She will bark at you to be let outside, will bark as a request for dinner, will snarl and snap in play with T or myself (never gets close to us) and is immediately submission at the slightest look from any of us. She will snap at us if we blow at her, but then licks her way across your face if you are too close. She has never put her teeth on any of us, and when we wrestle she is very careful in her play.

She is still only about 90% house broke and has to be in the kennel if we are going to be gone more than 6 hours. We can't raise our voice in the house without terrifying her and a simple "what have you done" or "is that yours?" in a stern voice is enough to cause her to hide under the table. But she still greets us at the door with kisses. Every morning when I come down stairs to make lunches, Skittle jumps up to put her front feet on my chest and inspect my shirt buttons.  It is our ritual.

The sweetest little girl.

2 comments:

  1. What a an adorable dog. I love that she comes to you for comfort or protection.

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