While the first 18 months were pretty rough (on me, not him) he's showed a marked improvement in his attitude. He still has his assholey moments, but he is getting better as time goes by.
He had some serious trust issues with me for quite a while which told me he either had very little positive human contact when he was a pup, or he was flat out abused. If you hollered at him, he'd put his back towards something solid and snarl and snap. Now he just looks butt-hurt as hell, but he really hasn't given me any excuse lately to get onto him.
I did a post on him a year ago on my old blog and talked about how stand-offish he was towards me - how he wouldn't come when called and how he just pretty much ignored me most of the time. That's all pretty much changed - now I can't move without him being dead off on my ass, and he's pretty much my shadow. Ninety nine percent of the time when I'm in my easy chair reading or working on the blog, he's parked either directly behind or alongside of me. If I get up to get some water out of the refrigerator, he'll get up, follow me in to the kitchen, follow me back and flop back down to resume one of his 17 naps a day.
What's really curious about his nervous attitude before was that he didn't want me touching him other than a brief pat on the head before jumping back out of reach. Now when he's next to my chair napping, I can reach down and tug on his ears or paws, and even play with those big ol' floppy lips of his, and he doesn't even open his eyes.
When he first showed up here, he was an outside dog out of necessity - CharlieGodammit hated Jack with a passion and those two would fight every chance they got and I gotta tell you, it was no fun getting in between 200 pounds of snarling, biting dogs to kick them apart. I'm still carrying scars on my legs from both him and Charlie. Charlie bit harder, Jack bit faster.
After it got below freezing that first winter, Jack slept inside in my bedroom while Charlie had the run of the house, but when I got up, Jack went outside for the day while Charlie stayed inside. Then Charlie died last November and that asshole dog Jack became an inside dog. Not by my choice, but Lisa's. She spoils that damned dog like he was her grandkid or something. Now she gets pissed off at me when I leave him outside during the day and I'm not fucking kidding. It's 80 degrees outside as I'm writing this and she let him in because it's 'too hot' for him outside.
While he's my dog, he absolutely adores Lisa. We have separate bedrooms because she's a night person and I'm fucking normal, and she spends most of her time in her room reclining because her back is so fucked up. Jack sleeps in my room with me on his pad. When I get up around dawn, Jack will go into her room to check on her. He doesn't disturb her, but he'll step inside and just look and sniff, then he'll go to the back door to be let out. He will not go the back door to go out with checking on her first.
When she does get up and around, he trots back there and jumps up on her bed with his front paws and gets his morning love from her, then he comes back to me.
It's funny, but when I try to get next to Lisa to give her a kiss and her morning coffee, he gets between us - not growling or anything, but he lets me know I'm getting too close and tries to nudge me away. I remember one time Lisa said "Hey, I've got an idea - why don't you act like you're going to hit me to see what Jack will do" and I remembered how hard that fucker bit me when I was breaking him and Charlie's fights up and said "I've got a better idea, how 'bout I don't." I'm not real stupid, ya know.
But the fact that he's so protective of Lisa gives me comfort - I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that if somebody managed to get into the house while I was gone, he'd have to go through Jack to get to Lisa.
And Lisa loves that damned dog more than she does me. Me and Jack can be in the living room roughhousing and I mean playing rough, and she doesn't say a damned thing with all of his snarling, growling and barking as he's attacking me, but let him yelp one time because I pulled on his ear too hard and she's all over my ass about 'hurting' him.
He was absolutely terrified of thunder when he first showed up here. He can sense that shit 4-5 hours before it got here and as soon as he heard the first rumble, he'd head for a dark corner or under the bed where he'd lay there trembling. Now he's not so bad with it - he'll get as close to me as he can so I can pet him and tell him it's okay. Yesterday it was rumbling and I was sitting on the front porch and saw him at the door, so I opened it and he came out. He was a little nervous, but he did come out. That shit would've been unheard of 6 months ago.
But his fear of thunder presented a problem. We couldn't leave him outside if we had to go someplace when were expecting a storm because we didn't want him to freak out and run off, so we had to plan our trips around him. Most of the time it was no big deal, but there's been a couple times Lisa's had appointments with medical specialists, appointments that are made a month in advance because, well, the doctor's a specialist, so I'd lock him up in his kennel, but by the time we'd get back 3-4 hours later, the dog was almost catatonic if there was thunder. We finally faced the fact that we'd have to start leaving him in the house where he felt safe but we didn't want him destroying the place, so we started breaking him in a little at a time - put him in the house while we went for a 10 minute ride, then 20 minutes, then 30. We can now leave him inside for 4 hours which is about as long as I feel comfortable without having to let him outside to piss. He has yet to tear anything up, and I don't have to worry about anybody breaking in as territorial as he is.
Speaking of pissing in the house, he's got good house manners. He pissed in the house exactly one time and that was his first night inside. He did it right in front of me so I yelled at him and snatched his ass up and threw him back out. That was the last time he did that.
He also will not eat anything on the counter, table, or my end table. Same deal, he did it once (a sandwich I left on the end table) and got the same reaction from me. I can leave a fucking roast on the counter top and leave him inside while I go out for 10-15 minutes and it'll still be there when I come back in. I ain't saying he didn't lick it, but still.....
So after this glowing report, what so assholey about him still? Well, there's a few things but here's the main ones:
#1) He hates any kind of delivery person - mail, UPS, whatever. We have regular delivery people around here and they've been the same ones since Jack's been here. You'd think he'd be used to them by now but nooooo - he acts like they're out to murder us all.
The UPS guy pulls in, jumps in the back of the truck and locks himself in until I holler and tell him it's cool. The mail people... we've got two mail carriers here, Jason and Kim, Jason being the main one. He'll get out of his jeep but won't put the package on the porch - he'll open my truck door and leave it on the driver's seat. Jack's surprised him a couple of times and I gotta tell you, Jason's made some pretty spectacular jumps back into his Jeep. His record is 8 feet, 4 inches near as I can tell by the marks in the gravel. Not too shabby considering he had a hip replacement last year. Kim just pulls in and honks her horn until I come out. She refuses to unass her Jeep until she sees me. If we're gone, she'll leave a card in our mailbox across the road telling me to pick up the package at the post office the next day.
#2) Somewhere along the line that fucking asshole dog has figured that it's okay to jump up on my bed when I'm not in it and take a nap. He doesn't do it every day, just often enough to piss me off. Dogs don't need to be on my bed but I can tell when he has been up there because he loves to wallow in the poncho liner I sleep under. I know, huh? When I do catch him up there, I raise holy hell, but he just jumps down and wanders off until next time. I just can't break him of it.
Lisa tells me that whenever I leave, he'll jump up there and look out the window towards the road until he sees my truck pull in, and he's too damned big for her to push him off, so she quit trying.
#3) He's a demanding fucker. Every night at 6:30, he'll get up and go into the kitchen and sit in front of the pantry and bark. Why? Because that's where I keep his and Legal Lucy's rawhide bones. Lucy gets a little one, Jack gets a big one. The difference between them is while Lucy appreciates her little twist, she doesn't beg for them. Jack demands his. It's every fucking night at 6:30. Why 6:30? Damned if I know, but you can set your clock by it. Even the time change twice a year doesn't throw him off - it still happens at 6:30.
I got tired of that shit once and said fuck it, I'm not going to give it to him and he'll eventually learn that it's a treat, not some sort of Doggy Constitutional Right. What did he do? Sat there and barked until 10 when we went to bed and even then he laid on his pad bitching and moaning. He did that for a solid 3 days until I gave in because I was so hoarse from yelling at him to shut the fuck up that I lost my voice.
And finally, #4) He treats me like a giant, mobile chew toy. He's still pretty playful and his favorite thing to do is grab me by my pants leg at the boot top and start pulling me around the house while he's growling. I can kick at him, yell and scream all I want, and that just encourages him to play harder. While he's finally growing up and that doesn't happen as often as much as it used to, it's still an every day occurrence, at least once a day.
Lisa told me one time that if I died before her, the main memory she'd have of me would be me being dragged down the hallway holding on to a door jam, kicking at him and saying "What the fuck, Jack, LET ME GO!!!" Not my smile, not the nice things I do for her, but of me fighting that dog so I can go take a piss without spraying the toilet down.
So there it is - two years. Happy Anniversary, you asshole.