Puppy Love?

Puppy Love?

Everybody loves puppies, right?

Zingo, a yellow Labrador retriever, was my first duck dog. I have had a blast training, hunting and competing with him the past four years. The success he’s had with me — a rookie trainer who admittedly made many mistakes — led me to wonder what I could do with a new puppy, a fresh start.

I’m not sure if my thinking is right, but I have been itching to get a new puppy for the last year. My wife, however, was not convinced we should get another dog. But after months of intense negotiations, she cracked, and I was on my way to get a new puppy.

When we brought Roxanne home, it was love at first site. Everyone wanted personal time with her. My wife and I battled for snuggle time as she slept, while my daughter constantly waved a chew toy in her face in hopes of a game of tug of war. Life was good.

Zingo was not nearly as thrilled. I made a conscious effort for a successful introduction. Sitting in the living room floor with Roxanne, I called him in. I was petting and talking to them while they made their doggy introductions, sniffing each other.

Then, it all fell apart. Roxanne, a bold little pup, jumped up and bit Zingo in an unmentionable area. He barked, jumped in the air and ran away to the safety of the bedroom.

It was a very rough relationship for quite a while. Anytime Zingo ventured into the living room to say hi to me, Roxanne pounced on him like he is one of her chew toys, biting at his ears and legs. Zingo’s visits rarely lasted more than 30 seconds before he was back in my bedroom behind the safety of a baby gate.

I laughed at the daily “Mexican Standoff” at the gate: Zingo staring at me wanting to come say hi, while Roxanne wished he would jump the gate so she could tear him apart. It’s a sad thing to watch an 80-pound dog getting picked on by a 10-pound puppy.

Slowly, the relationship has improved. Zingo comes out of hiding a couple times a day for some play fighting and has even shared the front seat of my truck when we head to the park for exercise. Hopefully, one day, we will be able to take the baby gates down without Zingo getting hurt.

Until then, I guess we know that not everybody loves puppies.