Tank came to us at six weeks old on the day after my birthday. On the day before, we were notified that a failed rescue had been humanely euthanized. 🙁 I was devastated. My husband was devastated. My birthday had been depressing and awful.
We decided to look around for another dog to adopt. We had Bear. My daughter had her dog Maggie. As we were looking, one of the rescue groups I follow posted a Craigslist add for puppies, asking anyone who was willing to provide either a foster or forever home to reach out quickly to ensure all the puppies found good homes. We contacted the owner–a local farmer with a working Great Pyrenes. He was asking for a bag of dog food in exchange for a puppy. There were two left, so I told my husband to just pick one.
He brought home a giant smiling fluffball covered in fleas. We had to bath him in Dawn before we could even let him in the house. Thankfully, it was relatively warm for December, and Tank was a good sport.
In some ways, he was the easiest puppy ever. He only had a handful of accidents in the house, all of which were at night in front of the dog door, because he was afraid to go out by himself. He would bark in his crate (in true Pyr fashion), but he never gave us any trouble going in or staying in his crate.
In other ways, he was an absolute terror. My husband started letting him sleep in the bed, so he would hear him ask to go out in the middle of the night, but it backfired horribly. I would inevitably wake up with Tank biting my hair wanting to play. And his chewing was EPIC. He could destroy a Kong in a matter of hours. We tried a Super Chewer Bark Box. We timed it. 11 minutes to destroy all the toys.
In his basic obedience class, he was already seventy-five pounds. He was the class clown. Event the trainer commented, “That’s a lot of dog!” We tried a prong on him, and he threw himself on the floor in protest. It was frustrating… And hilarious.
Throughout our training together, I’ve learned that shaping works much better than luring, and the one thing that really motivates him is our connection. He’s not big on toys. He’s picky about food. But he loves a good butt scratch, and he loves me. He loves cracking the puzzle of what I want, so I do my best to make everything a game.
He’s not exactly stellar in the Rally ring, but he shows up and keeps trying, so I do too. He LOVES weight pull, so whenever the weather cooperates, and we have the chance, I let him pull. It’s all his show.
Every day Tank teaches me to be a better handler. He keeps me humble, and he keeps me laughing. He also makes an excellent guard dog. Could not imagine life without my goofy boy!