A day in the life with Spencer the American Pit Bull Terrier puppy. Spencer's 26th week—35 weeks old, 76 pounds, 22 1/4 inches from the ground to the highest point of the shoulders (the withers).
8 months old.
The brown spot in Spencer's left eye. It's hard to tell if the spot is still growing or if that is the size it will remain.
On a Walk
While out on a walk I spotted a couple of owners walking their dogs who I had spoken to before. These owners understand dog behavior and the dog's natural instincts. They make their little dogs heel while out on a walk and walk them every day. This particular time I had my hands full. I was holding a couple of very full poop bags in one hand and happened to have both Bruno and Spencer in the other hand. Bruno just had ACL surgery a couple of weeks prior and I needed to be careful with this knee. I contemplated what to do and didn't have much time to decide before my dogs spotted their dogs. If Spencer decided to pull toward the other dogs it might put stress on Bruno's knee, but it would have been difficult to rearrange how I had a hold of everything before the dogs spotted one another, so I just kept walking, poop bags in one hand and both dogs in the other. As we passed both packs looked at one another, with Bruno looking less than his curious kid brother Spencer. I had given Spencer a couple of voice commands to "leave it" as he was looking, said "Hi" to the other owners and the dogs just walked right by one another, their dogs looking at mine and mine looking at theirs. The other pack was small dogs too, yet they behaved superbly. That was it. Very uneventful. What a big difference it makes when an owner actually understands how to communicate with their dogs and takes the time to give them what they instinctually need. The outcome is stable-minded dogs that have no problems being around one another.
When the Tail Goes Up
When a dog’s tail goes up and becomes rigid it's an indication that the dog is in a dominant frame of mind. When Spencer was messing around with the cats his tail went up. I knew that was not a good sign. However, what I had not realized was Spencer’s tail was not as far up as I thought. I realized this when Spencer was outside on the porch at night and he heard something in the woods. Spencer started barking and his tail went up, higher than I had known it could go. His head was held high and his body was stiff. This was a dominant state. When he was messing with the cats it was high but not that high. No wonder the cats were not that worried. Spencer had meant no harm to them. Whatever was in the woods, however was a different story. I did not correct him when he was barking into the woods; I want him to be on guard when it comes to strange things going on around the property. I did call him inside after a bit and he came right to me. He's going to be a fine guard dog since he is submissive and therefore listens to human commands but still alerts us when he thinks something is not right. One can never train the guard out of the guard dog, but they can have a dog that respects its owners and listens to commands even when in guard mode.
I had handed Spencer a bully stick chewy bone in the morning. He very happily carried it around for a long time. He set it down next to his food dish when he ate his breakfast then picked it back up and walked off with it when he was finished eating. After breakfast he asked to go outside and later came in without his bone. I had thought, "Oh Spence, you lost your bone out there somewhere."
However, later that same morning I saw Spencer nosing down into some leaves where the drainpipe starts. I was watching him, wondering what he was smelling. Then I saw it, his bone was buried down there! I quickly got out my camera as he pulled it out of the hole. He's got some strong survival instincts in him!
I have been bringing Spencer down to the chicken coop area when I feed the birds several times a week. There are chickens, peafowl, and guinea fowl that are all free ranging. He is getting very good at avoiding and ignoring all of the birds. His attitude has changed; he no longer eyes them up. I do not fully trust that he would never chase a bird, however, and I would never leave him alone with them. Notice Maggie the cat in the doorway of the coop. She has taken up residence with the chickens for a few years now. She is about as big as a chicken herself and the birds do not seem to mind her. They have been seen eating out of the same bowl and if I crack an egg the chickens will share it with her.
Spence! We just stacked that firewood on the porch last night for the FIREPLACE, not for you to use as your own personal chew toy. Give me that!
Oh my goodness, are you a bad little puppy! The FedEx guy had delivered some packages. I heard him pull up but was busy and figured I would walk outside in a minute or so to get what he left on the porch. I completely forgot that Spencer was outside. The pup decided to help daddy out by opening up his package! Thank goodness he did not actually chew the water filters, just the box. Although, had I not walked out and saw him run by with something in his mouth when I did I am sure the filters would have been his next chew toy! Now, pup stop licking me in the face as I try and clean up your mess. This was bad, you little squirt! Too bad I can't make that clear to you since I did not catch you actually doing it.
That package had just been dropped off by UPS. I walked outside to retrieve the box. Spencer was standing there and as I was about to step out of the house he very casually turned and started chewing on the box right in front of me! "Hey! Leave it!" You little squirt, you have no clue that box is not for your entertainment. I have to work on getting him to understand packages are off limits.