I let my dog pick my new friends.
Well, maybe “pick” is a little inaccurate.
There’s nothing quite so petulant as a 120-pound adolescent dog.
If you think a toddler demanding your attention while you’re on the phone is annoying and distracting, try an Akita who thinks he’s keeping you from danger and is also bored and wants to look for Mr. Crane (an actual crane that lives near us) and chase Danger Squirell (a neighborhood squirrel that seems to think he’s immortal and loves to play chicken with my pooch, Crowley).
I’ve had dogs my whole life, but my relationship with this dog who could pass for a bear cub is as unique for me as a shy used car salesman.
When puppies are about four weeks old, they form a bond with their mother and litter-mates. This is where a dog figures out he’s a dog, learns dog behavior, and is taught not to date outside their species.
If you’ve ever seen a youtube video and they say the dog thinks he’s a goat, or a lizard, or a carrot, it’s a real possibility. That puppy may have been separated from his mother too early, and instead of learning he’s a dog, bonds with an armadillo.
Then between seven and sixteen weeks, a puppy can imprint on a human. This person becomes their bringer of adventure, fun, and food. They’re the first one they look to when they’re scared or hurt.
They can’t stand to be away from this person because they miss them, and when they’re not close, the pooch cannot protect them. They must keep their human safe at all costs, for they are the wellspring from which all good things flow.
I think Crowley imprinted on me the night we brought him home. I carried him to the car and he sat on my lap on the ride home. As he snuggled into me he became familiar with my scent and sound.
What really sealed the deal though, was when we were about halfway home, he peed on me.
One of the most important things you can do for a puppy is to socialize them with both humans and dogs. And with a pupper roughly the tonnage of a water buffalo, the only thing about him I want to be scary is size.
But of course, Mom proposes and dog disposes.
He is extremely protective of me. If I were a teenager on a date and he was my dad, he’d be waiting for me on the porch with a shotgun. He always positions himself between me and anything or anyone unfamiliar.
Crowley is also a little skittish. He may be my bodyguard, but if a school bus, dump truck, or a UPS truck approaches, I’m on my own. He jumps behind me so that I am between him and the big scary thing.
Taken together, this makes him very choosy about his friends.
His list may be short, but once you’re in, you’re in for life. And the chosen are not just liked, they’re adored. He knows where each buddy lives and walks right up to their front door and stands aside so I can ring their doorbell to see if they can come out and play.
With a couple, he usually becomes friends with the male first. But it takes time and persistence until Crowley shares his heart.
Once the guy puts in the work to make friends, Crowley grandfathers the feminine half of the couple in. Once you’re in the “Crowley loves me club”, you get a plus one.
It’s like my dog’s a country club, or destination wedding.
Thanks for your time.
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