For most of my life I have had at least one dog. In fact, I think, if memory serves me well, there may have been seven years tops, of my forty seven, that I’ve spent without a dog. I believe I’ve told you all before, that if I could, I would have a huge plot of land and fill it with rescues. But alas I don’t have the land, or the means, plus my husband is allergic to them, so it remains an unfulfilled fantasy, and I make due with the three I have. Which by the way, if any of you out there are thinking of adding a THIRD dog to the mix, without that big piece of property for them to run, and entertain themselves on. Don’t. Three is a big job. Especially if you end up with a third one like we did. Each dog we’ve added has been a negotiation. Yannick is a natural dog person; although he loves our dogs, he’s not a huge fan of them. Especially dogs who can’t really “pull their own weight.” Which, it must be said, none of ours have done in the past. That is until recently, when Kohl revealed that he is all bite, and relatively little bark. Which, my friends is why Yannick didn’t speak to him for almost an entire week. I will reveal to you, why my husband was giving our boy the silent treatment. But first, some background.
You see, I had always wanted a big, strong, intimidating dog, to be somewhat of a guard dog. A dog with presence, and not only that, but a dog who, if need be, would lay down his life for you. Now all our dogs who have come before Kohl, have been amazing in their own rights. But for one reason or another, they weren’t really “good for anything” as Yannick was fond of saying. Kuda, was a love bug, but so prey driven, and given to running away that he couldn’t be trusted to be a mountain bike trail dog, which was what Yannick dreamed of having. What he excelled at was cuddling, when he wasn’t plotting his next great escape. Mack, on the other hand is a dream dog, constantly at your side, amazingly obedient, and completely trustworthy off leash, but not athletic enough to be a riding companion for Yannick, and not fierce enough to be a guard dog. Your regular ideal house dog, a loyal, gentle companion. And then there is Duke. Duke is simply Duke, he marches to the beat of his own drummer, and is more cat like than dog. Enough said.
When we lost Kuda, too soon, it took me the better part of a year to warm up to the idea of getting another dog. Kuda had been my boy, I wasn’t in the mood to attempt to “replace” him. What happened next, was quite hilarious. I found a breeder who had recently had two boxer litters, eight pups in total. I sent her a photo of our sweet boy, and shared of how much we loved him, and how missed he was. Then I told her which one of her eight dogs we were interested in “putting aside” to go meet when the time was right. She completely misunderstood my email, and set aside Kohl; and in the event that you’ve been under a rock, who is a dead ringer for Kuda. Kohl, God love him, was NOT the pup we had picked. But, lucky, or unlucky, depending on how you look at it, she had given the other away boy to somebody else, and Kohl was all she had left. We hadn’t set out to get a dog that could have been cloned from our boy, but decided to trust fate, and go meet him. When we did, we fell in love with him. Yes he has many similar traits to our old beloved Kuda, but in so many ways Kohl is ALL DOG. He is athletic, he enjoys playing fetch, he likes being out in nature he would run the beach, or the ravine for hours if his heart would let him…oh yeah, he came with a lifelong heart condition too…we sure know how to NOT pick em, but I digress. I wished for a guard type dog; I wanted a dog that if push came to shove, for whatever reason, probably because the world is going mad, that the next dog I got, would lay down his life for us, his family, his people if need be. Now, I should have been a little more specific with the universe when I put in my request about the next dog that would join the Bisson family, because man oh man, have we ended up with a whole lot of dog, and currently not all of it good.
We’re familiar with boxers, Kohl is our fourth. We know that they’re a strong, intimidating breed, that most other dogs do not like. When we bought our first, Beau, Sherri, the breeder had us sign a contract saying we would attend training classes through her for a year, to ensure we would be the parents of a good canine citizen. Sadly, with Beau we never got the chance as, we believe he was poisoned, and had to be euthanized at six months. A couple of years later came Mack, and Kuda. We trained them for a year and a bit, we were extremely responsible pet owners; and the first incident of aggression at an off leash park with them, was the last off leash park they ever attended. We don’t mess around; if our dog is ill mannered, then our dog doesn’t get the liberties of freedom that other well mannered, non aggressive dogs get. Our dogs “freedoms” are not worth injury to another dog, or worse off, a human being. They’re dogs after all, treat them well, care for them, love, and respect them and they won’t even know that other dogs get to have off leash experiences. Recently, while I was away a dog walker we had hired to care for them while Yannick was on set, took them for their daily stroll. Unbeknownst to us, she was allowing all three of them off leash, while walking them alone. This is something that we don’t even do. It is far too difficult to try to wrangle up three dogs if they get aggressive, or decide to chase some sort of ravine critter. But alas, she had them off leash, and Kohl got into an altercation with two dogs, on leash, he caused injury, and now he is on a muzzle order from the city. As he should be. There is no room for error, or second chances with that sort of behavior. The muzzle order is that when he leaves his property he needs to have it on him, no problem, and completely fair. We back that decision.
So, with his father already disappointed in him, for not keeping his cool when meeting two dogs on leash, while he was off, Kohl was already on thin ice with Yannick. So last week, while leaving for dinner, with the door slightly ajar as we were walking out of it, Kohl saw a lovely dog, on an evening stroll with her people across the street. You know what that bastard did? He didn’t stay put like he had been trained to do. No he didn’t. He darted between our legs, down the front stairs across the road, not to meet her nicely, but to climb on her, and dominate her. Yannick picked him up by his scruff brought him into our house where he disciplined him, while I made sure the other dog, and her people were okay. We were both angry, shocked, upset, and disappointed in our four legged son, Yannick more so than me. For five days, he walked past Kohl without so much as a glance toward him, and Kohl in return did not attempt eye contact, or to “buddy up” to his dad. He knew that he had crossed a line.
Now the question becomes, how do we get this sweet, loving, gentle house dog of ours to be a responsible canine citizen? First stop; doggie boot camp. He’ll be going to Mack, and Duke’s breeder, who is also a movie wrangler and animal behaviorist, Sherri, to live with her for a couple of weeks. She will socialize, and train him in a group setting, under her expertise, and patience I hope we can have a dog that can be trusted to mind his manners in any and all situations. Because let’s be honest people, having his dad ice him out for five days really is the least of his worries if he doesn’t get his aggression in check…