Photo by Katie Zulty
The Leonberger puppy explores outside the box.
My husband had to file a mandatory dog bite report for our Leonberger puppy when he was 8-weeks-and-one-day old, and these photos clearly show his mean streak. The top one is his mug shot. Puppy had only spent one night at our house, when he scampered down the front lawn with my husband to get the newspaper.
After my husband picked up the paper, he saw puppy in the middle of the yard joyfully chewing on an unknown object. He hurried over to him and tried to pry his mouth open to remove the object, but puppy was determined not to reveal the prize in his mouth, and he kept his jaws clamped shut like he thought that he was a snapping turtle. With a little maneuvering, my husband finally opened his mouth and nicked his finger on his needle teeth in the process. Can you imagine his glee when he discovered that the coveted treasure was a possum skull? No wonder puppy didn’t want to give up this gem because he probably never had his own skull before.
A few days later, my husband’s finger became infected and he had to go to the medical center to have it treated. Because of a new law, that is more applicable to vicious dogs, he had to file a report indicating that his dog bit him before they would see him. He tried to explain that the puppy was 8 weeks old, but they wouldn’t hear it. He filed the report, and it took two rounds of antibiotics to treat him.
The result of this incident is that the dog must be on his best behavior for the rest of his life because he has a record.
I had pulled in my driveway on a rainy September day and spotted large and small strips of brown cardboard, pink, black and white clothing, and clear plastic bags that had been ripped open and scattered across my back lawn.
It looked like someone had tossed debris in random directions as they rode on a merry-go-round. Closer inspection revealed that about 50 golf shirts littered my yard. Clear plastic bags protected most of them, the rest were sopping and smeared with dirt.
I quickly bundled as many shirts as I could hold in my arms, and I hurried inside and dropped them on the Ping-Pong table. When I returned to collect more, I watched my giant Leonberger puppy hop among the clutter.
He grabbed a pink shirt, growled ferociously, and shook it like he was playing Tug of War. Then he threw his head up and down several times, tossed it in the air and pounced on it with muddy paws. I couldn’t help but laugh.
Oops, these were the company-monogrammed-Adidas-golf shirts that my husband had ordered for his customers. I had heard that the company had paid about $2,000 for them. Unfortunately he couldn’t give his customers shirts that took a spin in the washer. I knew that we were in trouble.
After I picked up the rest of the shirts, I called my husband from my cell phone so that he wouldn’t know that I was home.
“You didn’t leave the dog out, did you?” I asked
“Yes, I left him out,” he said.
“Oh, did you forget that anything that the UPS truck drops off on the driveway belongs to him?”
“I didn’t think about that,” he said
“If he gets into anything, my conscience is clear, how’s yours? Have a great day and see you at dinner.”
This was the second or eighth time that my puppy had opened a UPS box. Previously, he had torn into canine heartworm pills and had eaten a six-month supply. I knew that the pills contained arsenic, and I had made a frantic call to the vet who assured me that his 120 pounds protected him from the poison.
Though I had never eaten one, heartworm medication smells and tastes like dog treats, and my dogs love them. Unfortunately, food and fun had rewarded my puppy for puncturing packages. It was time to stop his behavior before he consumed his next carton.
After I picked up the rest of the shirts, I placed a cardboard box in my driveway and walked away watching him from nearby. When my puppy pounced on the box, I ran to him and grabbed his little black furry cheeks in my hands and put my face about two inches from his and screamed “NO!”
I yelled at him for about 15 seconds, and it worked. He never touched a box again.
It was a win-win. My puppy’s curiosity taught my husband pet-owner responsibility by making him consider the consequences of leaving him out without supervision, and our family and friends added to their wardrobe. Thank goodness we have that dog.