Monday, April 07, 2014

Am I Raising a Wimpy Kid?

My baby is now 7 months old and I'm worried that he's not the big, tough guy that I hope he will grow into.

I know I need to socialize him with other big dogs. He's used to pouncing on poor, unsuspecting Desert Dawg  (she's BLIND and almost DEAF, cut the B a break).  She's small.  She's an easy target.  She can't fight back (which is why I never leave them alone).   He wrestles with Paco and if he gets too rough, Paco gives him one good head-butt and it's done.  But other than that, he hasn't had socialization with big dogs - not that Paco is technically a dog because he's a goat - (until this weekend - details to follow).

So, few weeks back, I was at IVH for a regular check-up for Mikey.  He was going apeshit; barking and pulling the lead (almost pulled my arm out of the socket) trying to play with the big dogs.  Just as I was leaving, a Kuwaiti couple was coming in, bringing 3-4 beautiful adult German Shepherds.  They were happy, gorgeous, mellow and well-trained dogs.  I had an immediate rush of envy.  As I passed them (with Mikey slobbering, pulling, squeeling and barking), I said, "I wish my dog was as well behaved as yours, Mashallah."  I was trying to maintain control of The Devil Puppy, so I didn't look up at them as I went by.

Cut to a few weeks ago:  I get a very nice note from a woman who said that she and her fiance raise GS's and she would like to invite me to Kabd to their farm so Mikey can play with their dog who is about the same age and looks a lot like Mikey.  I immediately took her up on her offer.  It was a lovely e-mail and I felt like we were fast friends.

(As is my thang:   I don't use people's real names on the blog, so I am going to call her Mare.  She reminds me of the actress Mare Winningham - in her younger years - only prettier.  Mare is from Malta. I thought she was Kuwaiti.  Her boyfriend is going to remain the same because he has a common name, Ahmed.)

They have a large farm, clean and airy kennels, and happy and healthy dogs.  I was there for about 20 minutes before I realized who Mare and Ahmed were:  they were the same people with the happy, well-behaved dogs that I remarked about in IVH!  See - I always believe in signs from God.  Fascinating.  Thank you, Big Man Above, for the wonderful introduction.

Anyhoo, I had a LOVELY chat with Mare (she's so gracious and complimentary) and Ahmed made us lunch and my wimpy kid got to play with their dog and I had a lovely happy day.

Oh snap... I completely lost the point of this post.... 

Ok, when I first got there, they showed me the kennels and let out their 6 month old GS puppy.  I let Mikey off the lead.   As soon as he saw their kid, he starts bawling like a big baby (squeeling in fright), goes all submissive and eventually runs to stand behind me. Sigh....  This is my protection dog.  Big, scary, mean protection dog.  Yep.

After his initial shock (he wasn't being hurt at ALL - the other dog was just initiating play), they acted like long-lost brothers and started tearing around the place.  Mikey started to build up confidence (I tried to ignore him most of the day) and I'm hoping this is something that we can continue:  doggy play dates.

That's Mikey with the paw.  That's how he wakes me up in the morning.

He was a lot more humble with Desert Dawg when he got home.  Ha!  Good lesson learned for you, buddy. Now you know what it feels like.

I'm really trying to get out there and meet other GS owners and learn as much as I can.  I learned that tile floors are terrible for German Shepherds; especially as they get hip dysplasia and skidding around on tile floors makes it worse.  I'm screwed.  Tile is alls I got.  Sigh.  I just took up all my carpets so dude wouldn't pee all over them.  Guess I'm going to have to put them back.  Tide is making a fortune off me and this dog, let me tell ya.

My sister's biggest dog (formerly the meanest - in his youth), Bo, is also a big wimp. Mama's boy.  When he gets hurt, he starts whining.  If you show him any attention at all (even just saying, "Oh, poor Bo!") , he'll start squeeling like a baby.  Enter Mikey....

Last night, he fell off my bed (which, granted, is pretty high). I heard him whine on impact with the floor. Then, I turned on the light and stared coddling him like a kid. That's when the big whining/squeeling started.  (He's fine. Just a scare. Maybe he was dreaming about being neutered or something.... dunno...)

This is like being a new mother.  I don't think I like it very much (but yeah, I'm talking about it all the time, right?)  I thank God that I have this blog so that I can vent about it; and not to my friends.  Slapperella has a GS mix and when she first got him, she was OTT new-mom (sorry, Slaps, but its true).  I'm her now and I sincerely apologize for not being more supportive.  I totally get it now.  AND her dog only has 3 legs (yes, she's a saint!  She adopted him right after he lost the leg and it was fun to see his progress).

I still haven't gone to the German Shepherd Dog gatherings at Messila Beach (Saturdays from 2-4 - everyone is welcome) - see group_gsd_kw on Instagram.  I'm still worried about how Mikey will react (go apeshit and embarrass me).  I would like to go and just talk to the guys about the obedience schools and boarding facilities.  They look like a totally cool, nice group of friends and I look forward to it.

I have heard a lot of conflicting stories about GS breeders/service providers in general in Kuwait.  Some call them "mafias" and I've heard stories of some breeders actually steeling dogs from each other.  I would like to get more perspectives.  I had no idea that the GS community in Kuwait was so large - or that there were so many high-quality dogs here (champion lines and working dogs).  I also had no idea that there were so many training facility options - none of which are licensed or monitored by the Government in any way.  I don't want Mikey to go missing (before I figure out how to install him with Lojack.... and yes, he's already got a microchip, but that doesn't do much good if you can't monitor him from a satellite.  Just sayin. )

Overprotective mom out.

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