Archive for the ‘dog breed differences’ Category

flying border collie, stationary labradors

You get the idea.

Copper checks in with me while we’re hiking because I feed him. Jagger checks in because I’m the one who can throw the pine cones. And sticks. And leaves. And sweet gum seeds.

You can feed Copper things like cucumbers and he eats them with gusto. Jagger hides such things under the couch.

Copper likes to be right next to me. You can tell Jagger “go!” and he just goes. He has no idea where he’s going, but he’s going to get there really, really fast.

Jagger retrieves the ball because he’s learned that it’s the only way to get me to throw it again. Copper ‘trieves (one shot, no “re-“) the ball because he wants to hold it in his mouth. The last thing he wants to do is give it up so you’ll throw it far away.

Jagger bringing the ball

Mr. Overachiever offers to combine "retrive to hand" with "hug the object" behaviors.

Jagger gets a post-bath hug

Recovering from the bath-induced trauma

Copper loves water. He loves drinking it. He loves blowing bubbles in it. He loves lying down in it. He loves biting it when it comes out of a hose. He loves swimming in it. He even loves to retrieve objects from it, endlessly. Jagger thinks Copper is a freak.

Speaking of water, Copper was pretty cool with his first bath. He even fell asleep while I was drying him off.  I have fond memories. Jagger first attempted to flee in panic, and when that didn’t work he tried to bite me.  He finally settled into full out howling.  Fortunately, he did forgive me when I dried him off, but he wasn’t about to suffer the shame of being caught sleeping. I have teeth marks.

Copper needed moral support to go down the stairs for quite some time. He still has not mastered going up the sharp 90 degree turn on the stairs at my mother’s house with confidence. Within days of his arrival, Jagger started going down the stairs like this:

I should probably update my medical insurance for when we start working on his running dogwalk.

Jag getting a hug from "grandpa"

"I love Grandpa!" (extra amusing, since Izzy is *horrified* of my animal-loving father)

Last but not least, you might expect that my Labrador, America’s #1 family pet, would be the friendliest of my pack.  Well, not exactly.  Surprisingly, Copper is a bit of a one-woman dog.  He’s sociable and quite happy to greet people and get pets for a short period, but then he’s ready to move on.  It’s the rare person that finds Copper sitting by them for extended periods.  Jagger… let’s just say Jagger is definitely over his fear period and is back to living up to his name and loving on anyone.

Jagger and Eric

"I love Uncle Eric! ... with lasers." (My brother is kind of a cat person, and complained that Jagger was trying to make out with him. Yes, he really said that. Strangely, this is not the first time I've had this complaint about Jagger.)


I took Copper and Jagger hiking today. Jagger was very funny while watching Copper jump into the river after sticks. At first, he had this bewildered/shocked expression like, “Is this guy for real?! wtf is he doing jumping in there?!” But he was also conflicted, because there were sticks being thrown and he wanted to chase them. So he brought me a stick or two and said, “Plz 2 throw on dry land?” He eventually worked his way down the the water’s edge and waded a bit.  He still thinks Copper is crazy.

The end.

I say this with love, but in his first couple of weeks with us, Jagger was an unholy terror.

BC puppy or demon spawn

He is the destroyer of worlds.

I hadn’t appreciated it at the time, but Copper had the classic Labrador “soft mouth” even as a puppy, so although he mouthed me all the time he never bit down. Jagger bit us so much I was able to develop several categories for his biting that ranged from normal puppy biting of everything in sight, to herding behaviors, to what a friend affectionately dubs the “puppy red zone” of over-excited, frantic, biting mayhem.  Ouch.

I knew how to deal with normal puppy biting.  Herding behavior was all right. After a few false starts, I realized I just needed to stop moving and eventually the 7-lb furball would detach itself from my pants leg and I could resume walking.  Attention-seeking biting was new for me.  Jagger would waltz right up to me, attempt the border collie mind-control stare, and when that didn’t immediately work he’d chomp the nearest available body part.  He got me right on the lower lip once.  I had to keep all sharp kitchen utensils out of my immediate reach for a while (just kidding… maybe) but Jagger did manage to survive long enough to learn other, more suitable, behaviors that would get my attention.  Trick training was fantastic for this!  So, I had a plan.  Except for the puppy red zone.

Jag contemplates chewing toy vs my foot

Chew the rope toy and not your foot, you say? I dunno...

As background, I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve actually caught Jagger sleeping.  This puppy does. not. stop.  Copper would eventually tucker out and just flop down asleep after a few hours.  Jagger gets wild like one of those toddlers who get extremely hyper and crabby right before bed time, then he’s out like a light as soon as you put him in his crate.  He’s significantly better now that he’s older, but the first few weeks weren’t pretty.

Xmas naptime

Sleeping in my lap. Probably just a fluke.

The puppy red zone would rear it’s ugly head most often when Jagger was over-tired or frustrated.  If there was any possibility of activity happening, he just wasn’t going to settle down and rest, and I simply hadn’t expected that.  At one point I sent a somewhat desperate text to an experienced BC-owning friend to ask how I should detach the puppy from my arm long enough to get him in his crate to calm down.  I polled a few more friends for tips on the best grip to use on Gumby-puppy to keep him from continuing to bite me on the way to the crate.  I swear BC puppies have better reach than a Chesapeake Bay Blue Crab (For you folks raised inland, there is exactly one spot where you can hold those things and they can’t pinch you).

Eventually I learned to give him a rest period when I thought he needed it rather than waiting for him to get physically tired.  Physically tired doesn’t seem to happen, which is a little bit scary I have to admit!  I have a shot at mentally tired, and Jagger has been working for almost every piece of kibble from day one.  Here are a few of the early tricks I taught him:

We’ve been making steady progress on his frustration tolerance, and I certainly owe thanks to Izzy for teaching him some manners.  She wanted nothing to do with him for about a week and a half.  But, once she warmed up to him, I noticed that Jagger spent about 95% of his initial time playing with her on his back.  No yike-ing, though, and I only had to intervene once or twice for her being too rough.  Despite her many issues, Izzy actually does have very good skills with puppies and is fair in her corrections.  I noticed a big improvement in Jagger’s bite inhibition once Izzy started playing with him.  I can’t overstate the value of having a mature, yet fair dog around who doesn’t take any nonsense when you’re raising a puppy.  Copper is entirely too tolerant, and I routinely had to rescue him from the rambunctious puppy.

No one believes me about these things when I try to tell them, however.  This is because Jagger will love on anyone.  Profusely.  He does this adorable little snuggle where he’ll stick his head under the chin of a perfect stranger.  I guess he saves all the mayhem for his mother.