Well, she’s only temporarily a peg-leg; the cast should be coming off the first week in December.
Jessie is a four month old lab mix puppy (though I suspect there is a fair amount of hound in there, judging from her gait and the smell of her coat and the occasional yodel). I’ve had her for about two weeks, now, and she is without a doubt one of the most peaceable, even-tempered puppies I’ve ever met. She doesn’t bark, she doesn’t fuss, and for such a young dog she has very impressive bite inhibition.
One of the many good things about this glossy little girl is that she has been largely self-training; I was going to give her some time to settle into the house before starting on puppy training, and so far I’ve had to do nothing formal with her – she has basically crate-trained herself, is mostly housebroken (with a few accidents that I blame on myself for not paying attention to her signals), she knows to wait on the kitchen rug for me to wipe her feet after walks, and she can do “sit” and “down” without verbal commands. The only thing we’ve been working on deliberately is “look at me”, because when my birds are flying around the house I don’t want her to fixate on them. So far, so good; she’s curious about them, but she has not exhibited any kind of stalking behavior, and is easily distracted from them even when they are flying fairly close to her. This bodes well for a future forever family with small animals.
One of her most endearing traits is her easy lope. I have yet to see her walk anywhere, no matter how short the distance; she has a slow lope, and she has a fast lope, but nothing that resembles a walk. She also has an adorable high-stepping prance that she uses whenever she chases a ball or sees someone that she wants to meet. She has a lot of stamina for walks (lopes), and the peg-leg doesn’t slow her down at all (though it does tend to make her drift to the side a bit). In the house, she settles down quickly with her toys. She does sleep a lot, but between the leg healing and just being a puppy that’s nothing unusual.
Jessie wants to meet EVERYONE – men, women, children, guys in uniform, women pushing carts, joggers, cyclists, dogs of all shapes and sizes - she doesn’t care, she’ll go right up to them and solicit attention. She started out a little skittish around loud vehicles like buses and garbage trucks, but in our daily walks I’ve been desensitizing her to the roar of machinery, and now her only response is curiosity.
She’s a lovely dog, and I’m looking forward to watching her development over the next few weeks. Maybe some nose work…certainly she’s already a star when it comes to finding my socks.
Update: December 5, 2013
Jessie got her cast off a little earlier than expected, on November 22, so I brought her back to home to work on regaining her strength and range of motion, and give her some time to bolster her immune system, which took a hit during the stress of the break. Within a week or so she was using her former peg-leg almost all the time, and now almost two weeks later she is cavorting and spinning and jumping up on furniture (with permission) as if there was never a problem. She doesn’t have as much muscle mass on the leg that had the cast, but with adequate feeding and exercise it is coming along nicely.
Her personality continues to be delightful; she’s polite, makes great eye contact, checks in a lot (without prompting), and is perfectly happy in her crate. She does prefer to have her person in the room with her; I have her wire crate in my living room, so she can still be a part of the activities even when the crate door is closed. She’ll also sit nicely in the tub during bath time.
Right now we’re working on “touch” and better leash manners. Her leash manners are generally pretty good, but she does get very puppy-excited whenever she sees a person-dog-leaf going by. She’s fairly easy to distract, though, so the behavior doesn’t become problematic. She has shown zero resource-guarding behavior, and has a good, solid “drop it”, which came in handy the other day when she scooped up a dead rat during our morning walk. I only had to tell her twice before she surrendered her prize, though I have to admit the command was delivered in a very shrieky tone of voice. (I politely declined the puppy kisses for the rest of the day.)
She has a hearty appetite, and has never refused any piece of kibble. I’ve learned the hard way not to give dogs people food, so her tolerance for table scraps is unknown. I do give her a spoonful of yogurt with her morning meal, just to keep her gut flora healthy (not that we’ve had any problems on that front).
The bare patches around her eyes and in her armpits (from the stress of the broken leg) are starting to fuzz over again, so she should be looking pretty good in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, the panda eyes are kind of endearing.
If you’re interested in meeting this darn near perfect puppy, please contact The Anti-Cruelty Society at 312.644.8338, or email email@example.com.
Update: December 7, 2013
I just had to share these cute pictures of Jessie with Santa.