I adopted my pup, Frazier, from Animal Rescue Inc. last May. I was told that he was a cockapoo. While Frazier exhibited some of the same traits as our last dog, Bailey, he never did strike us as a cockapoo. For one thing, he has a very small and neatly formed black nose. In addition, his ears sit very high on his head and have a tendency to turn inside out. He has a patch of very coarse hair running down the middle of his back. His coloring can only be described as piebald, a mixture of black, grey, white, and brown.
But the characteristic that had us most baffled was his enthusiastic tendency to bolt after anything that moves. As soon as he is let out the door he charges after some prey, nearly wrenching my arm out of its socket. Nose to the ground, he zig-zags across the yard at top speed. If he encounters a squirrel or rabbit he becomes so overwrought that he strains at the leash, yelping in a high-pitched voice. I can’t imagine what would happen if I let him have his head and actually capture the unfortunate beast. Too gruesome to contemplate.
I’m accustomed to a quiet house dog who enjoys brief bracing walks and the occasional hike in the woods. Frazier is impossible on a walk. He screeches at any moving object, be it chipmunk or simply a leaf skidding across the road. I tried de-sensitizing him by walking him through our neighborhood populated by dogs. It was no good. Neighbors started to cross the street and change direction when they saw us coming. I tried calling in a trainer and working with him by using a clicker and showering him with treats when we encountered another living thing on our walks. No good. The trainer advised me to accept his behavior and learn to live with it. Some dogs simply never get over the hunter instinct.
So, on that note, I’ve started walking Frazier in my yard only. If the weather is fine, I’ll attach a long clothesline to his collar and let him run around the yard at will. He simply can not be off-leash because he runs away as fast as his little legs will carry him in search of the next rabbit or mouse. I have to think that this is all a result of the schnauzer in his genes. Schnauzers were rat hunters and I think that my Frazier received an extra-large dose of hunter genes.
On the other hand, this pup is the cutest and most affectionate dog you will ever meet. He cuddles up and licks your face, then positions himself decorously across your lap. He’s wonderful with the neighborhood children, greeting each one with an enthusiastic hug and lots of licking. Despite his faults, he’s become a valued member of our family.