“The greatest pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him, and not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself, too.”
― Samuel Butler
The day we took Franklin home, I was an antsy, excited mess. The minute we arrived, I asked the breeder, “Which one is Franklin?” (unable to pick him out from amongst the red tri puppies). “Oh,” the breeder laughed, “He’s the one about to climb up your leg!”
And sure enough, Franklin was eager to be held. He clearly loved humans from an early age (thanks in large part to the warm human interaction and frequent handling he received as a tiny babe). He’s kept this personality trait throughout puppyhood. He’s beyond ecstatic to greet new visitors at our apartment (and used to suffer from submissive urination – though I suspect it was more likely uncontrolled enthusiasm). His excitement is perhaps our biggest concern at this moment. Bounding and barking – something he rarely does even for us – is commonplace when a new person walks through the door.
As an aside, the breeder told us, “He’s quite the steam roller with the other pups …”
Franklin exudes confidence, energy, and personality. I’ve never known a dog with quite such character. His panting has personality! His panting vacillates between a wide smile, a straight-back, concentrated stare and an all-out exhausted tongue droop with half-closed lids. We often try to read his mind by his facial expressions. Bryan and I especially love talking aloud to Frankles. You are always heard in his presence. He’ll sit beside you on the couch (at least some part of his body touching yours), tilt his head curiously from side-to-side and stare soulfully (I swear it!) back into your eyes.
We may consider charging one day for his counseling services…
Franklin is smart, stubborn, and silly. Playing games with him is an act of intelligence all its own. Hide-and-go-seek was an easy game for him to understand. As was tug.
He knows what he likes. Frisbees and balls are still only of mild interest. His most favorite activities are, in no particular order:
- Running up and down ramps at agility class.
- Getting treats for doing the right thing (this never gets old, he will spin, shake, lay down … anything for a piece of kibble).
- Laying with his head on a pillow – or his entire body.
- SQUIRRELS !!
- Large sticks.
- Snow – eating it, jumping in it, and standing knee-deep in it.
- Wrestling with other dogs, chasing other dogs, (and herding them, of course)
- Being close to one of us
- Playing tug and goading us into playing by shaking his rope with enticing squeaks and throat rumbles.
- Making funny snuffling noises while rolling around in his dog bed.
Franklin is so easy going that whenever he shows fear I don’t always recognize it as such at first. He is still getting used to the snow plows on our street, as well as the yappy dogs. He had a not-so-great encounter with a large, grumpy bulldog in our building and whenever we see this dog Franklin gives him a humorously wide berth. Franklin’s biggest nemesis, however, is the hair dryer. And this, only when it is pointed at him (he could care less when I’m using it).
Franklin is also sensitive. We’ve always used positive-reinforcement training with him. However, the few times I’ve raised my voice – often when he’s jumping on someone, or when he’s not listening, he looks startled and ashamed and I feel immediate regret. His expression is the most pitiful thing.
My favorite thing about Franklin is his get-up-and-go personality. He can be snuggling beside you on the couch one minute, and the next he is ready for a romp in the dog park, or a jog around the neighborhood. I’ve never known him to lack for energy – and even occasionally have worried that he wouldn’t stop even if he wanted to. My biggest fear with getting an Aussie was that I wouldn’t be able to exhaust him. I’m not sure I’ve ever truly exhausted Franklin, but he is a world-class snuggler. When our apartment grows dark as the evening settles in, he will plop under the table (or, on the couch, or, by the door) and make the comfiest snort/groan of pleasure.
He is undoubtedly energetic, confident, and driven, but snuggling is one of his favorite activities. We love our pup, and couldn’t imagine him any differently. Thank you, Jodie and Calabrone Australian Shepherds!