Okay, so I’m going to have to come back and describe Sophie, Uncle Scary’s second dog some other day. She’s a very mysterious hound so I’m having a hard time putting words to her.
In the meantime, you should meet Latte, Tango and Annie, who live with my aunt, uncle, and cousins in Waunakee, Wisconsin.
(photo by my uncle, aren’t they sweet?)
Buzz and I stay with them for a few days almost every time we go to Wisconsin.
Buzz loves all of their dogs, but most of all, Latte. Latte is a HUGE Labrador retriever than my uncle got for free from some backyard breeder when she was a little pup. (I do try to get them to go the shelter route, but they’ve yet to do it…maybe next time). Latte is physically kind of a mess, she’s too big and just not built right; I’m so used to the way Buzz moves and jumps and springs around that Latte’s slow lumbering ways can be rather painful to watch.
Latte may have bad joints, but Latte has a heart of gold.
She is by far the most playful of the three dogs and she truly loves Buzz.
When I am able to get a second dog, this is the sort of pairing that I will be looking for: Latte is a good compliment to Buzz because she plays with him and keeps him company, but never amps him up and generally has a calming effect on him.
The other lab in the house is Tango. Tango is an old dog with a busted elbow. When Buzz is whipping around the house with Latte, she finds a safe corner and stays in it. Tango is lovely and mellow and an affection sponge.
When I was last in Waunakee, I decided to get all of the dogs to line up in “sits” for a picture. Tango did it once and then retired to the TV room, so by the time the younger hooligans had their act together, she was fast asleep. Oh well.
By the way, my cousin informed me that there was *no way* I was going to get the dogs to line up. But, she was wrong. This only took about 2 minutes and 10 pretzels!
That little dog on the end is Annie the pug. Annie is one crazy bitch and the boss of the big dogs. See, here she is telling Buzz that she has not authorized this play session.
Annie has been teaching Buzz to stand up for himself because she likes to get in his business and start fights with him. Buzz then has to tell her to back the heck off, which is noisy but non-violent.
My cousin walked in on Buzz and Annie having a problem one evening and immediately yelled at Buzz. Which was a shame; because Buzz was doing exactly what he should be doing: protecting himself from another dog’s attack. I told my cousin “No, it’s really not Buzz” and then when Annie started in on Buzz the next day, my cousin got to see this for himself. My point being: if you don’t know who is to blame, don’t blame anyone, just tell the dogs to freeze, or quiet, or yell “hey!” Yelling at the wrong dog can make the problem worse. What is Buzz supposed to do? Let Annie chew off his face? Buzz is three times Annie’s size, but that doesn’t mean she should be allowed to hurt or harass him. Buzz makes no moves to dominate or hurt Annie, he just protects himself.
If Annie can’t be peaceful, we generally put her in time-out; usually, just telling her that you are on to her works wonders.
It is interesting to see those two try to sort their relationship out. It is, perhaps, Buzz’s most complex canine relationship. They can spend hours and hours together in peace and then *BAM!* Annie will go off. Those vicious pugs, you never know when they are going to snap!
Annie says "I'm not a pug, I'm a pirate! ArrrrrrrRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!"