I have a thing for puppies and it's no secret that I love puppy breath. Don't get me wrong, it's not for everyone but for me there is something about that adorable little pups breath. It doesn't last long so if you do like it take the chance to get kisses as much as you can! The reason I bring this up is because my first dog, Coda (now almost 3) who I blogged about yesterday seemed to me that she needed a playmate for all those hours I was gone. Seems logical doesn't it?
Being a helicopter rescue pilot for the Coast Guard involves standing a 24 watch at least twice a week if not more on occassion. It isn't too demanding in North Bend because we consider this a sleepy station with fewer Search and Rescue cases than your other typical locations so the chances of being called in on your off days are not that great. This is how I knew I could handle getting a puppy back in the fall of 2007. I also had a pair of fantastic friends with two dogs of their own and a baby who was born 15 days after Coda was. These friends offered to take Coda every time I had to stand duty so I knew she had playmates and a safe place to be while I was gone. On a side note I took on a 'mother' attitude with Coda where I wasn't afraid to punish her for bad behavior but I did spoil her like no ones business (I will go into this next when I talk about her training). The thing is I still felt like Coda would be happier with a playmate of her own at home but I knew getting another dog would cause my friends to not want to watch 4 dogs and a very hyper kiddo. Regardless when I returned from 60 days of flying on the Deepwater Horizon spill in July 2010 I did the irrational thing of getting a second dog. Now I knew Coda was very well trained considering she was the first dog I have ever brought up from pup but I was not prepared for what would happen when I introduced a new puppy. I had been pestering my boyfriend (now husband) for permission to get Coda a playmate and he finally caved and said 'if you think it will make her happy then go ahead.' So I invited my mom to come see Mamma Mia with me in Portland for her birthday (late August) and then told her that there was a litter of pups at Oregon Retrievers and we should go see them. So here we are again nearly 3 years later driving down to Medford (this time with Coda because I wanted to ensure she liked the new addition) to see yellow labs. I will confess that I always had a desire to have one black lab with a red collar and one yellow lab with a blue collar so you can see why I wanted to look at the yellow pups this time around.
Here we are with Sue looking at 3 yellow labs and again I told her I wanted a female however she only had one left so she brought the 2 males also. One of the males was 6 weeks old and not ready to go to a family (the earliest a puppy should ever leave it's mom and littermates is 7 weeks old if possible and a good breeder will stand by that rule) and a male and female that were 9 weeks old. I took my time playing with the pups again because come on, who wouldn't. The 9 week male was crazy! His sister was less hyper and had this intelligence in her face so I gravitated towards her (trust me that 6 week old was adorable but he just wasn't what I wanted). But Sue in her years of experience highly recommended I get a male lab to go with Coda and here were her reasons: Coda is extremely smart and dominant (I'll discuss this in a different blog) and males tend to let things just role off their backs (sound similar to the human male). She said that he wouldn't be phased by Coda being a dominant and would just take everything in stride so even though this 9 week old male was in your face, wanted all the attention, and very nippy I decided to get him. When I brought Coda into the pen to meet him before we drove the 3 hours home to North Bend she seemed to be ambivilent towards him so I wasn't concerned. I should not have been so niave! When we got in the car to head back I tried to put Trigger in the back with Coda and she went crazy. Coda snapped, snarled and pinned him to the bed so I snatched the poor little bugger up and put him back in my lap where he rode all the way back. I had always heard how other homes bring in a second dog and the first one is SO happy to have another one to play with. This was definitely not the case with Coda and Trigger. I came home from work always wondering if Coda ripped through the kennel to kill him. She loved the bond we had and I had ruined it by bringing him into the mix. It was a rough several weeks until she started to realize that he wasn't going anywhere. Now dogs are animals that primarily live in the present but they have feelings and I had hurt Coda's. That dog gave me the equivalent of a cold shoulder for a long time and she decreased in her obiedence dramatically to prove how angry she was. So what did I do and do I still own Trigger? The answer is yes, he's still here but you will have to wait for the training blog coming tomorrow.
The name: My husband and I had been discussing names for a while and again we had a difficult time with this. The final pick went something like this (note, my husband is a huge math nerd): 'I think we should call him Trig. You know, like Trigonometry!' Me - 'you have to be kidding me! How about Trigger as in the part of a gun. He is a gun dog.' Him - 'alright, that works.'