Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Can a Rottweiler pass down knowledge to a younger generation?

For several months I have been exchanging emails with a lady who own Rottweilers who follows this blog. Today the subject of our dogs enjoying swimming came up and I mentioned something that I have written about before. In the past 10-years that we have lived in our present home with its in-ground swimming pool, all of my Rottweilers have been afraid of the water and do not even like it when the humans are swimming in it. Whenever we went swimming the dogs would run around the pool panic-barking to seemingly warn of of some danger and only stopped when we got out of the water. I could never figure out why.

Until today it just dawned on me. 

Many years ago, before we bought this house, when my first Rottie girl Mocha was just a puppy, we used to visit a park that had a lake. On the shore of this lake was a small ramp that went down in the water and one day brave Mocha decided to investigate it by walking down the ramp into the water. It was lucky for us that we had her on a long leash because when she got to the end of the ramp which ended less than a foot below the surface she fell into deep water over her head. Needless to say she became very frightened and was still shaking even after we pulled her out of the water.

So now the light bulb that sometimes glows over my inquisitive mind just lit up with a thought. Did Mocha's traumatic experience in the water when she was little create the fear in her mind that all water was a dangerous place and did she pass this information on to the two young Rottweilers she raised as a foster mother? We still had Mocha living with us when we bought this house ten years ago in 2004. Mocha went to The Bridge in 2008. In 2003 we adopted baby Sassy and in 2006 we got baby Ruffin. Mocha raised Sassy from a furball pup but at the age of 11 she was only passively involved with baby Ruffin. It was Sassy who did most of the mothering. But Mocha was the first to raise the alarm over our dangerous swimming pool and I think that is where Sassy got it from and passed it on to Ruffin.

Comments welcomed.
P.S. While dogs are natural swimmers and therefor shouldn't be afraid of the water, one day we put a life jacket on Ruffin and carried him into the pool. This photo shows the panicked look on his face.


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Brief update on Bessie's training classes.

The lady running the Obedience Class said it was OK to bring my camera. The bad news is she had to cancel the class last night at the last minute so we'll have to wait until next week to take pictures.


Friday, January 23, 2015

The morning routine.

Well, its time to get the Momma up. So begins our new day and it seems I cannot do it alone any more so my willing assistants are always there to lend a hand or paw. No need for a lot of words here, these two pictures tell it all.
OK, can you guess where Momma is?
Good guess.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The cold weather is back.

We seem to be having a three-way love affair going on. My baby Rottweiler Bessie has stolen everyone's heart but especially mine and Ruff's. And she has had some cozy moments with her Grandpa Axl, too. Ruffin, on the other hand, has always been my BFF even before I knew it stood for Best Friends Forever. I have two favorite stories that I tell people about my Rottweilers, one, that my face has absorbed so much Rottweiler saliva from Ruff's kisses that I must have Rottweiler DNA and the other is that Ruff's constant kisses have helped make the wrinkles in my old face disappear. But now I must share my heart with my baby girl Bess but what makes things complicated is that Bess loves Ruff as much as I do and Ruff loves Bess the same way.

So we have minor bouts of jealousy and a little competition going on. When I show affection for Ruff Bessie butts in and wants some and when I show affection for Bess, Ruffin pushes his way in to get his share. Sometimes this leads to some silly situations. Tonight Ruffin was laying in his favorite leather chair with his head hanging over the armrest and I was sitting on the floor in front of him giving him hugs and kisses. So Bessie decides to join us and she just climbed up on the chair on top of Ruff and laid down on him. I quietly left the room to get the camera and thankfully they hadn't moved.
Now to be honest I must say I've seen Bessie do something similar when all she wanted was for Ruff to get off his chair so she could have it but tonight she definitely wanted some attention. And just as quickly as I took the above picture, Ruffin decided to give up his chair.
Which then left a smarty-pants little girl enjoying her prize.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Back in the house it was time for more play.

I think Ruffin is getting tired of play school with baby Bess. It all started when she got big enough to knock him down and then Ruff didn't enjoy the game any more. Bess still regards Ruff as her personal playmate and Ruff seems to regard Bess as a big pain in the neck (literally) among other things. Bess jumps on Ruff and with her weight over 70 lbs. she has knocked him off his feet on a few occasions. And Ruff complains loudly with his growling but Bess ignores it. Yet when I separate them by bringing Bess into my den and closing the door, Ruff usually lays down outside the door and waits for her. 

Speaking of bringing Bess into my den, she still likes to wrap herself around the base of my swivel chair. I am constantly trying to get her to move so she won't get hurt if the chair rolls. Then today she got under my computer table and I took this picture.
Its difficult to get mad at anything she does when she looks at you like this. That sweet, innocent face gets away with everything.

Then back in the family room after dinner it started all over again.
I forgot to mention that the play began right after breakfast. My wife hadn't even left the kitchen when I spotted these two going at it. And at one point it looked like Ruff was acting very horny and was trying to mount the little girl. Since he never done it before he seemed to be going about it all wrong.
See what I mean?

Enjoying our annual mid-Winter thaw.

With a daytime temperature of 50 degrees and an almost cloudless sky, it was a perfect day to enjoy a long hike down to the back. So off we went, Ruffin and Bess and me. But Ruff almost spoiled the walk by scooping up Bessie's red rubber ball and taking it with him. 
Bessie followed Ruff and never took her eyes off her ball that was in his mouth most of the time. And when he dropped the ball he knew she was watching him.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Bessie has a big night out. Her first day at school.

I enrolled Bessie in an Obedience Class at a school tonight. The class is run by Angie More, a certified dog trainer who owns Amore Dog Obedience Training and is also the founder of Paws and Claws, one of the animal rescue groups who was helping me locate an adult female Rottweiler to adopt to take the place of our dear Sassy. I finally got to meet Angie last Saturday at Petsmart and she told me about her training class so I decided to check it out since a new class was starting today. 

I think it was the most exciting time Bessie has ever had. Bess loves to ride with me in the car and we have gone shopping together many times, just the two of us. Tonight we drove in the dark and it was a totally different experience seeing all the cars and trucks go by with their headlights on. We arrived at the Pawsitively Purfect Salon in Florence, KY and found it packed with dogs of all sizes. Then I learned there was a training class about to end while some people were waiting with their dogs for the next class to start.

While we were waiting Bessie was greeted by a dozen or so little barks coming from a variety of puppies of many different breeds. Not once did Bessie bark at all. I am so glad of that because she has a very loud voice. I said to one woman whose little dog was intent on meeting Bessie that dogs love to bark at Rottweilers so they can go home and tell all their friends how brave they were. Bessie was wagging her little tail the whole time so I could tell she was enjoying it all.

The smallest puppy we met was a 9-week old German Shepherd and he was so playful through the entire class. When our class began it turned out Bessie was the biggest dog in the room and that is also a new experience for her. I don't know the ages of the other dogs but I think only one was older than her. 

Bessie was the best behaved dog in the room. She did many playful nose sniffs with some of the puppies but she acted like a refined lady Rott the whole time. Considering the fact she was raised by three dads and still acts like a Tomboy at home, I think we did a pretty good job. I will be taking my camera with me next week and if they let me take some pictures I'l post them next Monday night.


Sunday, January 18, 2015

Last night at bedtime.

My three helpers had all gathered in my wife's bedroom last night, ready to help me get her into bed. At least that's the idea they gave me. Considering the obstacle course they present when trying to traverse across the floor, they could have all gathered to see if they could trip me up. No, that's not right. They just love being around their Mom and want to wish her a Good Night after she goes to bed.
They do the same thing in the morning when its time for her to get out of bed. Well Bess and Ruff do, Axl is a permanent fixture in the bedroom when his Mom is in bed. And lately, Bessie has been jumping on the bed to give Mom some morning kisses.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

I think we're going to need a bigger boat.

I love that line, "I think we're going to need a bigger boat." from the movie Jaws. That's when the guys that went out on the boat to hunt the shark finally get a chance to see how big it was.

Well, today I finally got to go through all the old Veterinary records for Ruffin. I pulled out all the receipts for the first two years that we had on him, from the first day on 1-16-2007 when he was exactly 2 months old the little fur ball weighed a healthy 19 pounds. I wanted to compare how Ruff had gained weight and grew during this period and compare it with baby Bessie. And I am amazed at what I found.

Ruff is a very large male Rottweiler. He is at the top of the standard size which according to Wikipedia is 110 - 130 pounds. But Ruff didn't get that big until he was over two years old. The female Rottweiler ranges from 75 - 105 pounds.

I commented the other day that Bessie bears a remarkable resemblance to Ruffin and thought she might possibly be an offspring of one of Ruff's litter mates. Ruff's father lived on a horse farm in Burlington, Kentucky only 20 miles or so away - and Cliff Hafer, the owner, also was a breeder of Rottweilers. So it just could be possible they are distant relatives.

So here are the amazing weight comparisons.

On 1-16-2007 Ruff was 2 months old and weighed 19 lbs. On 8-28-2014 Bessie was 2 months old and weighed 13 lbs.
On 1-30-2007 Ruff was 2 1/2 months old and weighed 24.5 lbs. On 9-30-2014 Bessie was 3 months old and weighed 28 lbs.
On 3-26-2007 Ruff was 4 1/2 months old and weighed 34.8 lbs. On 10-31-2014 Bessie was 4 months old and weighed 42 lbs.
On 6-13-2007 Ruff was 7 months old and weighed 65 lbs. On 12-1-2014 Bessie was 5 months old and weighed 58 lbs but on 1-4-2015 when Bessie was 6 months old she weighed 67.5 lbs. Bessie won't be 7 months old until February 1st.

The only records of Ruff's weight come from his visits to the Vet. I did not keep track of his weight at home as I have been with Bessie. The next target date for comparison will be May 1st when Bessie is 10 months old. On 9-18-2007 when Ruff was 10 months old he weighed 92.7 lbs. Bessie has only 22 pounds to go to catch up to him in the next 3 1/2 months and she has consistently gained over 10 pounds every month up to now.
Bessie has already grown larger than Ruff did on the last two comparison dates. When Bessie was 6 months old she weighed 2.5 lbs more than Ruff did when Ruff was a month older.
I am guessing that Bessie will weigh 100 pounds by her first birthday on July 1, 2015.

Might not need a bigger boat but my mini van sure is going to get crowded.


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Kiss seen round the world.

Who cares if it is a May - December romance. We also call it puppy love, for a good reason. I know that Ruff was suffering from a broken heart after his lifelong girl Sassy went to the bridge. He told me he was every day. So I began searching everywhere for an adult female Rottweiler to keep him company. My search was in vein. Adult female Rottweilers have an uncanny ability to steal the hearts of their humans and they are very hard to give up.
I know, I've told this story before but I am a romantic at heart and enjoy telling stories about love. You know the rest, on the spur of the moment I fell in love with the sweetest and prettiest little Rottweiler girl that I have ever seen and took her home. 

At first Ruff didn't know what to do with her. The only parenting skills he had were his old memories of Mocha and Sassy. So with the help of two other Dads, one human and one a grumpy old Rottweiler, we all did our best to raise a little girl. To make a long story short, we all fell in love.
I do not know who Bessie's parents were, I never got to meet them. But she is a big girl and she looks so much like Ruffin that I wouldn't be surprised if she is the offspring of one of his littermates. On the other hand, maybe what I tell my Rottweilers every day is really true. I tell them that LOVE is the most powerful vitamin in the world and since they get tons of it every day maybe this is what is making her grow so big. Just maybe.

Monday, January 12, 2015

If weeds had legs.

Catchy title, huh? Let me tell you the story and then you will understand it.

Ruffin and I have played a game for several years. Every time I went down to the basement to the laundry room or to get food from the freezer, Ruff would lay down at the top of the stairs and wait for me. I called him the Toll Collector because I would always sit down and smother him with hugs and kisses before he would let me pass on the way up.

Then Bessie began to do the same. At first I thought she was imitating Ruff and I called her the Junior Toll Collector in-training. Then I realized she was afraid of the stairs because she was too little. Then she got bigger and braver and she began to follow me down the stairs. And that’s when the trouble started.

We two-legged humans have no problem climbing up or down stairs. We just place one foot in front of the other. Dog are very different because having four legs and four feet they must develop a cadence or stride to their four-legged pace. And therein lies the problem with a puppy growing as fast as a weed.

Several weeks ago when Bess began to follow me to the basement she went down the stairs very carefully pausing on each step but on going back upstairs she was sort of clumsy and often tripped. I would coach her by climbing the stairs next to her and reminding her to be slow and careful. Then I finally realized the problem. The weed had legs. Her legs were growing so fast that her gait became different every time she was on the stairs. The length of her stride being longer with each growing spurt made her become off balance on the stairs. 

This problem has become rather difficult for me, as well. Bessie still follows me downstairs but she has become a little fearful going up the stairs after so many accidental trips. Now sometimes I have to lift her feet and help her climb each step. On other occasions when she is excited or in a playful mood, she takes the stairs with three or fours bounds. Leaping three steps at a time and not giving herself time to think about her fear.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Pushing 70.

We may have discovered a new breed of Rottweiler. Bessie had a visit to her Vet a few days ago and the first words out of the doctor's mouth when he walked into the examining room was, "She is HUGE". If the Vet had seen what I see every day he might also have noted that she is growing as fast as a weed. Last week when Bess reached her 6-month birthday on January 1st she weighed in at 67.5 LBS. Today she is a half pound shy of 70 LBS.
I think we will name this new breed of Rottweiler, Amazonus Rottus. I like the title, it goes well with the Goofus Rottus we have been living with for the last 8 years.

And the love affair with her handsome hunk Ruffin continues, as it is in their world. I think it has something to do with their teeth. And whereas the size difference has changed somewhat since they started the daily combat lessons, Bess now weighs only 45 LBS less than Ruff does.
These pictures were taken in sequence this afternoon. When I walked in with my camera they stopped playing and looked at the camera, then returned to whatever it was they were doing. For want of a better word I call it aggressive love. It looks painful but no one has ever complained. Minor correction, when Bess had a mouthful of needle sharp baby teeth she did a job on Ruff's jowls and sent him to the Vet.
Earlier, I spotted Bess and Axl outside my den.


Sunday, January 4, 2015

Growing, growing, growing.

First things first. HAPPY BIRTHDAY BABY BESS, you are now 6-months old. I'm sorry to say that announcement came a couple of days late.

I thought Bess had slowed down a bit on her growing but I managed to get her and me on our scale and she did increase a bit from a week ago. She is now 67 1/2 LBS. I don't know how much longer I can keep weighing her at home. We are both getting older. LOL. She is maintaining her 10-pounds a month growing schedule.
UPDATE 2-09-2015. I thought Bess had slowed down her growing this past month until I just read this post again. In the last month since this was written, Bessie has gone from 67 1/2 lbs to 75 lbs. OK, not quite the 10-pounds a month as noted but still growing. 
I took some new photos tonight. 
She sure does love to stretch herself out. And she is turning out to be a beautiful girl. I noticed a while back that when she goes through a growing spurt she gets very sleepy and takes a lot of naps all day long. I was measuring her weight a few times every week awhile back and saw her gain 2 whole pounds over a single weekend. Now I'm not sure if that is scientific or not but I look forward to her taking more naps.