Thursday, March 7, 2013

Bulldog Drama: The Notorious P.O.P.

(I couldn't resist the "Big Poppa" reference in the title.  If you were a 90's teen, you have that song stuck in your head.  If not, just never mind.)

We've had a week of bulldog-related drama here.  Good heavens, it's been crazy.

A week ago, I was about to lose my full mind (MY FULL MIND) because Big Poppa barked for almost an entire 4 hours.  If you need to break a person down mentally, just play a recording of a bulldog barking for 4 hours.  They will do ANYthing to make that stop.

If I had thought clearly enough to record him, I could have sold copies I'm sure.  For parents who've run out of constructive or effective discipline techniques, they could say, "Because you did such-and-such, you will now listen to 4 hours of bulldog barking," and I guarantee their child will never do said offense again.  It's torturous.

So, my hubby and I decided to try one of those electronic collars that zaps Pops a little every time he barks.  We had one years ago, because this in not a new problem.  I think Pops has so much neck-flab that he was able to shake it such that the zappy-thing was not on his voice box, rendering it useless.
(He's not as dumb as he looks.)

And because his neck is actually wider than his skull, I think he wrangled out of it and possibly chewed on it in an act of utter contempt.

Thus the new collar. The most expensive one they had at Petco.  I'm a frugal, penny-pinching girl.  But I was also desperate.

When Pops saw the collar he flattened himself out on the floor.
(I think he remembered the first one)

I put it on him, and not a single bark emerged from his mouth.  Not one.  He sat, jowls hanging, crooked underbite peeking out from below the tip of his tongue, which was sticking slightly out of his mouth.  This is the face he makes when he's not impressed.

The next day, I put the collar back on him, and he was very good all day.  Except at one point in the afternoon, Pops emerged from a nap in his crate unable to bear weight on his left hind leg.  He'd favored that leg at times but had always limbered up and walked normally again, but he's now been one week unable to put weight on his back leg.

Last Friday, after seeing his leg had been bothering him for a full day, we took him to the vet.  Taking a bulldog to the vet is not a one-woman job.  My husband came home to help, because bulldogs are not very agile creatures.  He's shaped a bit like a cinderblock (the dog, not my husband), so he's not so good at hoisting himself into the back seat in a pickup truck.

At the vet, Pops was admired by all. I've never seen a more mellow dog, really.  He has perfect behavior in public.  No one would guess that at home he is a chronic pee-er.  (This is a whole 'nother story.  Basically if it's fabric - ie. blankets, his bed, a bag of clothes for Goodwill, a throw pillow, even one certain cushion on the sofa which now needs to be taken to the cleaners - he will pee on it.) But at the vet's office he was a champ.  He politely introduced himself to all the other dogs, he lay with his floppy cheeks resting on the floor, tongue halfway out, eyes up toward my husband who is Pops' sweetheart.  Not a single man passed him who did not confess to always having wanted a bulldog.

In the exam room, he was fine.  But it was funny to hear all the staff just a few feet away, in the back of the office trying to get him up for a leg x-ray.  It took 3 people to get him to the machine.  And when he had to go back for shots, he walked just far enough that we could see him register that he was heading to the area of not-fun-stuff, and he turned abruptly toward my husband and screeched to a halt.  He is a stubborn guy (the dog, not my husband).

So Pops, as it turns out, has a torn ACL.  I don't know how that happened, but it seems pitiful enough that we returned the expensive bark collar, because we felt like maybe he was barking because his leg hurt.  We also suspect that if we just put a regular collar on him, he may think it's capable of zapping him for barking which might cure the problem for cheap (which is my preference).

Today, our friend and local dog whisperer is coming to give us a consultation on the peeing situation.  Because that is not cool, friends.  It is entirely not cool.  Jess is my ray of hope that Pops might not piddle on every blessed soft surface he can lift his leg on.

So I can't wait to know what my friend Jess will teach me about the peeing issues we're having at our house.  And she's one of the most fun, intelligent, interesting women I know, so I am really looking forward to spending some time with her.  We hung out and rode horses and chilled with her goose, Gertrude, and her sheep Daisy this summer.

Daisy must have just said something witty. 

Gertrude ("Gert-chert" as my 4yr old calls her)

Wish me luck, friends.  And keep Pops in your prayers, because he's a nutty old guy, but we love him to bits around here.  It's hard to see him not feeling like himself.

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