Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Belgian/Australian relations

Banner has been here for 4 weeks. There are days when I come home from work and swear he’s grown visibly while I was gone. He has road tripped to an obedience seminar, stayed all night in a motel with a minimum of drama, been to a fun match and starts puppy kindergarten tonight. I am fighting the frantic compulsion to call in sick to work and stay home to play with him and take pictures of him all day long because he will never be this little again.

His “training” at this point is mostly about learning how to function in our house. How not to get eaten by the malinois. (100% success rate.) How to go outside to pee. (Seriously. All the way out. Not just on the porch.) How to go into a crate on command. How not to bite your brother on the tail. (Yes, he has one. You don’t. You can’t have his.) How to do steps. How to do steps with a toy in your mouth. (Toys in your mouth do not, repeat NOT, enable you to fly.) How to get out of a crate by sitting quietly. How to get your toenails clipped and have your fur brushed and have your teeth looked at and your ears poked at. How not to jump on your brother’s head and bite his whiskers. (See previous reference to how not to get eaten by the malinois.) How not to pounce on the gray cat. (Epic fail.)

Is he learning “obedience”? Sure. He’ll do all sorts of amazing things with a cookie on his nose and that’s just fine with me right now. I’m introducing sit, down, stand, come and heel but the most important thing I want him to learn is that playing games with me is FUN!

These are the Big Dog's toys. But right now they're mine.

Phoenix is slowly warming up to the idea of being a big brother. For the first two weeks, he wanted nothing to do with Banner. NO. THING.

Yeah, yeah it’s cute and all that crap, hope you kept the receipt so you can take it back.

You’re not taking it back?

Why aren’t you taking it back?

In the last few days there have been marked improvements in Belgian/Australian relations. Banner has demonstrated usefulness in two areas that Phoenix finds worthy of merit.

1) Banner can make the cats run. The cats will not run from Phoenix. When he approaches, they go belly up like dead bugs and pat his nose with their paws when he sniffs them. Not much fun. They take one look at Banner and can’t leave fast enough.

Last night Phoenix was determinedly ignoring Banner until he flushed a cat out of hiding and made it run. Phoenix took advantage of the rule that objects in motion tend to stay in motion and pursued the running cat, who bolted to safety up a tree or underneath the patio furniture. The dogs seemed to be having a grand time of this. The cats, not so much, but since they refused to leave the patio and back yard I had a hard time feeling very sorry for them.

2) Banner will chase him. Phoenix loves to be chased by another dog. Jamie chased him all the time in play. Phoenix returned the favor but really preferred to be the chase-ee, not the chaser. Banner is happy to be the chaser and since catching is not going to be part of the equation any time soon, this seems to be a mutually agreeable arrangement.

Show me the cookie.

After 4 weeks, I’ve compiled a Top Ten list of things I’m really enjoying about having an Aussie:

1) No tails to get caught in doors.

2) The butt wiggle is really quite adorable.

3) Not nearly as many holes in my clothes as when Phoenix was the same age.

4) Clear toenails for the first time in 15 years.

5) Flying leap with twisting butt wiggle and head stand makes me laugh.

6) Not nearly as many holes in me as when Phoenix was the same age.

7) Bubbles with enthusiasm for whatever activity I suggest.

8) Loves to play in water. Wading pool, good. Kitchen water bowl, bad.

9) White paws show up in the dark.

10) I get to shop for new stuff: new dumbbells, new articles, new collars, etc. Belgian hand-me-downs are not gonna work this time.

Chewing on toys pictures are the easiest ones to take right now. Because he's not moving.


  1. We've missed you -

    But figured The Puppy was keeping you - ummm - BUSY!

  2. Oh he is a cutie! Looking forward to reading how his first puppy class goes!

  3. Banner is such a cutie! The cat fiasco sounds hilarious. My dogs like to chase kitties, too.. Specifically the neighbor ones, they are okay with our family cats. :D