Buddy was probably the easiest dog for anybody to own. It only took about three days to housebreak him. Even at a year and a half, Buddy was very calm and didn’t jump up on people. I’m only 5’2″ so having an eighty five pound dog jumping up on me always ended with me on the losing end. I’m not saying that Buddy was perfect, but he was very close to it for me. He always had a happy expression on him face. Buddy loved to be around people. He wasn’t pushy or overtly “in your face” like some dogs, he would come up to people to greet them and get petted, then go lie down and just be near everyone. Just in case there might be food and just in case someone might drop something his way.
Buddy went everywhere with us. In the car, he would stick his head out the window into the wind as far as he could. Buddy would open his mouth to taste the air and the wind would force the skin on his muzzle covering his mouth to flap up and down. People would drive past us and be laughing at the sight of this huge yellow head hanging out of my Pontiac Grand Am and towering over the top of the car. He filled up the whole back seat.
Mitch decided it was time to start working with Buddy and his hunting skills. We got a pheasant wing (yes, a real dead pheasant wing) from his brother. Why anyone would keep a dead pheasant wing with the feathers still on it in their freezer is beyond me, but his brother had one. Mitch wanted to see if Buddy would be attracted to the scent and bring out his hunting instincts. Mitch would let Buddy smell the pheasant wing then go and hide the wing for Buddy to find and then hopefully retrieve bird wing back to us. Buddy liked the smell of dead pheasant, what self respecting dog wouldn’t like the smell of something dead? Personally I can’t think of anything worse than putting a fresh or rotted dead animal in my mouth. But evidently these are things that dogs live for.
The hiding and the finding worked great, but the retrieving, not so good. Buddy wasn’t real keen on coming when called. He would come only after he was good and ready. So I came up with a “brilliant idea”. Let’s tie a lightweight rope to his collar which I’ll let play out as he runs to go fetch the bird wing, then when he grabs the wing we’ll call “come” and bring him back pulling up the rope that he is tethered to. Great idea in theory, not such a great idea in practice. I tied the rope to Buddy’s collar and while I was trying to get the rope untangled, Buddy was grabbing the rope and pulling at it. I was pleading with him to stop, “No Buddy no.” Well all Mitch heard was “Go”. So he hid the wing, Buddy went charging out in the yard to find it and I went along for the ride with the rope wrapped around my hand. I was certain that the ring finger on my left hand had been amputated. I cried like a little girl.