Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Gone to the Dogs

I know every dog owner thinks their dog is perfect, but nothing puts things into perspective like spending time with someone else's pooch.  This weekend we had a friend's pug, Charlie, over for a sleep over.  We thought it would be a good test to see if we can handle two dogs one day.  Charlie's family is also going on an extended vacation later this year, so it was a bit of a test drive to see if he could spend a few months with us.

Charlie was a perfect gentleman for the most part.  He is a cute little guy and we loved having him visit.  Charlie seemed to like us too, for the most part.  He wasn't much of a fan of Moe.  The two dogs seemed to get along fine... when they were ignoring each other.  I was a little disappointed, as I'd hoped Mosely would get a playmate out of the deal, but I figured it wasn't terrible if they weren't too playful.  At least they'd be quiet chums.  As the day wore on it became obvious that the two dogs were not about to be any kind of chums.  Jason and I were busy working on the house this weekend, so we left them to their own devices in the backyard.  After an hour or so passed we peeked outside to see that Mosely had found a comfy spot in the shade and was sprawled out for a nap, as per usual, but Charlie was standing, staring at the back door like he'd been waiting for us to come back the whole time.  After that we decided to let him in while we worked.  He didn't get into any trouble, but just followed us around with his tongue lolling out.

None of this was really problematic...  It was just kind of worrisome, and a bit annoying.  Especially the fact that he didn't relax.  I mean really, he didn't relax.  In the 24 hours he was with us I only saw him sit when I told him to, and that was only for a few minutes.

Later on it became apparent that Charlie had some dominance issues.  He showed Mosely his tough side at dinner time by chasing him out of the kitchen with a lot of noise and a few bites.  I figured that was no big deal -- we'd just have to feed them separately.  A similar display when I threw Moe a tennis ball was another red flag.  The final straw came later that night when we had some friends over.  Charlie LOVES people (hence the following around with big eyes and lolling tongue).  He was so excited to see my friends he started spinning in circles.  Moe thought that was awesome and took it as an opportunity to play.  Charlie was not about to play, and went into full on attack mode instead.  Jason quickly grabbed Moe, but I was unable to get Charlie because he doesn't wear a collar (word to the wise -- Charlie's owner advised us that collars could cause a pugs eyes to pop out.  Seriously).  So poor Moe was unable to escape Charlie's wrath and received many pug bites.  Then he started to growl and snap back.  Lucky I grabbed Chuck when I did, or we would have had a full on dog fight on our hands!

So, that was that.  He still spent the night, but in the morning we had to tell Charlie's family that an extended stay just wouldn't work out.  In the end we realized (again) that our dog is perfect for us.  He's very chill and can relax almost anywhere.  He lays around for the better part of the day (in the sun, in the shade, on the couch, under the table, or frequently, half on-half off a dog bed).  He is quite friendly, but not overly affectionate and very independent.  Moe loves us, but he doesn't need us around all the time.  If we're watching a movie and he's tired he'll frequently get up and go to bed.  We'll often go outside to enjoy some nice weather and later realize we forgot him sleeping inside.  He doesn't need a lot of exercise, though we try to walk for 15 minutes every day with one or two longer walks each week.  In the winter it becomes much less and all our waistlines suffer for it.  He's also a well-mannered walker and I comfortably let other people walk him (even young children) without worrying he'll act up.  Sure, he has terrible door manners and is a relentless sniffer, and every once and awhile he gets into trouble, but for us no dog can compare.

I would still like to add a second dog to our family one day, but I can't help but worry that Mosely has us so spoiled we'll be in for big trouble.  What do you think?  Can a dog teach another dog how to be calm, cool and relaxed?  Or do I just have to hope for the best and see what I get?

P.S. Anyone know how to rotate a photo on blogger?  Seems a mystery.