Phew! Has it been a month already? It seems like just yesterday that I picked up little Pepper in Picayune, Mississippi from the Coonhound rescue group.
She was so sweet, and little, and timid back then….
Well, I’d love to report that Pepper is turning into a beautiful, wonderfully behaved puppy, but alas, that would be a lie. She is a monster. Not an “Oh, you just shredded a stuffed animal all over the living room and now you’re lounging in the fluffy remains” kind of monster like Rupert was, oh no. This is a full-fledged, maybe slightly possessed, stubborn, weasel, monster of a dog.
And I love it!
Pepper is most certainly channeling her great-uncle Rugby (see my TBT post about his antics here), but what she doesn’t realize is that I have an advantage in that I already lived with a Rugby for ten years. I’m no Rookie at this Coonhound game.
So what is so bad about her, you ask? Well, first of all she’s stubborn. With Rupert I could usually say, “Rupert, put down that slipper,” or “Rupert, please get out of the dishwasher,” and he was generally quite accommodating to my request. With Pepper, I can pretty much assume that my request will be ignored at first, and then even once I have forcefully extracted her from the dishwasher, she’ll jump back in 10 seconds later. This serves to make daily chores significantly longer than they need to be. So the stubbornness is Challenge #1.
Challenge #2- She’s a smart one! Again, I did love my Rupert, but he was never going to be my scholar of a dog. He was a little dim. It wasn’t his fault, his breeding was working against him as we saw in the listing of the “Rankings of Dog Breeds” post. Pepper is still working with the “Houndy” rankings that all fall around rankings 44, 45, 46 (average intelligence), but then she is mixed with a Catahoula, which is a herding breed similar to an Australian Cattle dog ranked #10.
So now I have a stubborn monster-hound that is curious and can problem solve. Bad combination.
She can open doors.
She climbs the stairs to reach things on the table by the stairwell.
She jumps into the shower while I’m showering.
She pulls her leash of the hook and brings it to me when she decides she wants to be walked.
She still tries to dive down storm drains.
She is constantly trying to jump on the kitchen counters/ stove range/ dining room table/ anything that might house food.
She’ll even try to “help” me tie my shoe laces (meaning, she bites then as I’m trying to tie them) when she knows I’m putting on my walking shoes. She’s no dummy.
So now my challenge will be to harness this combination of headstrong curiosity for good rather than evil, but I am up for the challenge.
Now that the holidays are over, I think a solid month of my “Coonhound Boot Camp” will get her going nicely in the right direction. This week I’m going to start jogging her short distances to get her used to it, because she has already demonstrated that she loves to run. I’m also going to start walking her by herself now that she isn’t petrified of the neighborhood anymore so we can get some actual training accomplished without Oswald.
But lastly, we meet Challenge #3- She’s so darn cute! It’s so hard to get mad at her when she falls asleep in your lap, or when you get out of the shower and realize she has taken up residence in your bed and is eagerly awaiting her breakfast.
Or how she blends into the landscape while we’re out walking.
Or when she is in full frolic mode chasing after Oswald
That will be the biggest challenge of all. Battling the cuteness.
And for all you Oswald fans out there (I know he has quite the following), he is slowing ajusting to her. He still bosses her around (meaning: steals her bones) in the house, but he will actually play with her out on walks now. Most of the time, however, he just walks around with a look on his face that echoes his complete dissatisfaction with the situation.
He’ll warm up eventually, I hope!