Yep, we've added to our FireFamily. Meet Chief.
He's an 8 week old shepherd mix we adopted from a local rescue last weekend.
We've been thinking about it for a while. I've wanted another guardian dog to help Buddy (old & blind [Tootsie] and little [Flopsy] are no help) for a while now, plus both Tootsie and Buddy are nearing the end of their lifespan.
Tootsie is on year 12 of a 10-13 year lifespan, plus us heartworm positive.
Buddy we're estimating to be around 11 years old, and should have a 12-14 yr lifespan.
And, personally, I'd rather add a new pup now, then lose one, then lose a dog then have it be like we're trying to "replace" the old one. Does that make sense?
We (okay, mostly me, but I'm a little anxious like that) spent a lot of time thinking about what kind of dog would best fit in our family. And I mean, a lot of time.
Shepherd of some sort was a must. And a guardian-type shepherd (ie. Anatolian, Great Pyrenees, German Shepherd, etc) not a herding type shepherd (ie border collie, cattle dog, etc). Mix was okay, but absolutely no hunting breeds, due to the strong prey drives.
And a lot of other factors. Large size. Longer fur. Puppy. Blah, blah, blah.
We'd been looking for about a month, and decided to stop by this rescue on the way to my parents' house. And there he was.
And he's perfect.
He's living in the house while he's a baby, partially because, well, it's winter and it's cold, but also to properly housetrain him, acclimate him to the cat (ie. no eating cats), acclimate him to playing with a little girl (ie. no knocking over little girls) and basically just learning how to behave.
We've only had him a few days, but so far things are going very well. Buddy has been the slowest to accept the newcomer, but considering he's a guardian dog, it's to be expected. He's been insistent on asserting his alpha status around Chief, which I suppose is normal, but I didn't expect him to do so while the puppy was this young.
What can I say? I've never had a puppy before. Heck, these dogs are my first dogs, and they were Jason's.
So Chief spends some time outside every day not only for potty breaks, but we also make sure he gets "play time" with the other dogs. Which basically means he plays while they watch him & occasionally give him a good sniff.
When he gets older he'll gradually spend more & more time outside, until he's outside full-time with the other dogs.
Ideally I'd like to eventually have all working guardian dogs, especially if we continue to expand our "flock" as we'd like.
Which reminds me... need to introduce him to the chickens soon (ie. don't eat the chickens).
Anyway, he's very smart, already responding to his name, to "come", "go to bed", "go to your room", and "out".
He's doing fabulously in his potty-training.
Okay, this is my opinion, anyway. And as I stated above, I have absolutely no frame of reference, but... for being so young, and only working on it for a few days... I think he's doing great!
He's brave, seriously - not afraid of anything - which is a little annoying in a puppy, but will be great in a guardian dog.
Very laid back, relaxed. Plays, but isn't crazy hyper or difficult to handle or anything.
Quiet - I hadn't heard him bark at all until last night.
Honestly, in a lot of ways he reminds me of Buddy. Which just tickles me to pieces. I suppose only time will tell, but I even think he looks a lot like a miniature black Buddy.
So there you are. The newest member of this FireFamily. The Chief.
As always, thanks for checking in!