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Bruno the Boxer

A day in the life with Bruno the Boxer. 1 year 10 months—101 pounds, 24 1/2 inches from the ground to the highest point of the shoulders (the withers).

Bruno the Boxer sitting outside with his tongue out and mouth open

1 year, 10 months old (22 months).

Bruno's Scoop

Many people have been wanting to know the latest scoop on Bruno. Bruno is still not a "perfect dog." He has earned the nickname "Bad dog" here as a joke among the family because he still to this day will chew something up that they wanted now and again. But on the other hand he is so good in so many very important ways: very respectful of humans, and very submissive. A dream dog to walk on a lead. I call him my "Good-bad boy.. ;-)

Chewing

Bruno is so good in so many ways, but one thing we have not been able to completely stop is the chewing. At night Bruno likes to walk into the family room and chew things up. He does not do it every night and never does it if we are watching. But he has done it enough to earn himself a bad rap! I notice it more when it's been pouring rain and he's missed his exercise. He is very good at the commands "Drop it" and "Leave it." If he has something in his mouth and you say “drop it,” he immediately drops it. However if we are not there to tell him he is not allowed to have whatever it was he just picked up, he'll chew it up. I often walk into the room to find him happily chewing on something he is not allowed to have, such as a stuffed toy. I kind of blame this on all of the stuffed dog toys we used to buy him when he was a pup. At night he'll often walk into the family room, a room he knows he’s not allowed to go in, and just pick something up to chew. He never enters this room if we are present. He's pretty much chewed something of value from each family member, earning the name "Bad Dog." It's not uncommon to hear someone say, "Where's the bad dog?" instead of, "Where's Bruno?"

Chewed ski hat

He chewed Katie's favorite ski hat, which she will never forget, I am sure.

Chewed House PhoneChewed House phone antenna

He also chewed the cordless phone. Stephen was not happy about this one.

Chewed Up Homework

Amie's homework....nice job, Bruno....

Chewed Up Whiteboard Eraser

White board markers and erasers, etc., etc...

Bruno the Boxer laying in a dog bed with a chewed cookbook

The Hershey's Cocoa Easy Baking book the kids would frequently use. Took this one to his dog bed and proceeded to chew it like it was his bone.

Chewed up fancy pen packaging

A case that had a fancy pen in it given out at Christmas time. Took this one off the coffee table.

Bruno on his back with chewed up Dog bed pieces

His brand new dog bed. He did this one during a time when it had been raining for a week. While we were still walking him, the walks were not as often and not for as long. Bruno was hanging indoors during the day rather than going outside to hang with the cats. He had only had the bed for two days. I think he had a blast tossing this one around. Amie tells him "Bruno, Dead Dog!" just for kicks.

Bruno the Boxer laying on a dog bed and Allie the Boxer staning next to it

We seriously need to catch this pup. We were in the other room watching a movie while Bruno was in a different room tossing his dog bed around like it was a stuffed toy. When we walked into the room he was lying on top of the bed. Allie came over and the two of them started to play. While we have not actually SEEN Bruno doing this, which means there is a chance it could be Allie, we are not naive either. Bruno, being years younger, is much more playful then Allie. In fact if it were not for Bruno I don't think Allie would ever play. Bruno forces her into it with that Boxer type of attitude.

board across the entrance to the family room

For a while we solved the problem by putting a board across the entrance to the family room. While Bruno could very easily get over it he didn't even try. Then one night he just decided to step over it. We are going to add a door to the family room entrance we can close so Bruno cannot get in there during times we are not there to tell him "No." It's awful hard to train a dog not to do something if you cannot catch him in the act.

Bruno the Boxer laying in a dog bed chewing a dog bone

I often hand him a new bone before we leave the house if we are going to be gone for a few hours. When I return he'll still be chewing his bone or sleeping with his half-chewed bone in this dog bed. The dog has a basket full of old bones. Once the bone loses its tasty smell he is no longer very interested in it. If he does not have something exciting to chew he finds something exciting.

Basket of Bones

So we end up with this, a basket full of tasteless bones all in the name of sparing something else in the house from getting chewed. Yeah, he chewed the end of that basket too...

We realize if we have not caught him in the act of snatching these items he will not understand it is bad. We need to get clever and think of a way to catch him nosing around the coffee table.

Housebreaking

Bruno is very good. He does not pee or poop inside the house, although he does let out some wicked gas.

The Guineas & the Cats

The guinea fowl can walk right by him, squawking loudly, and he ignores them.

Kung Foo Kitty in front of a sitting Bruno the Boxer with guinea fowl behind them

All of the cats seem to love Bruno. It's not uncommon to look outside and see three or four cats lying with and/or rubbing all over him.

Kung Foo Kitty cuddling with Bruno the Boxer in his dog bed

Bruno trying to share his bed with Kung Fu Kitty

Bruno the Boxer giving Kung Foo Kitty a raspberry

Kung Fu begins to roll around and Bruno decides to lightly chew on his belly.

Bruno the Boxer burying his head into Kung Foo Kittys chest

Kung Fu starts to bite and claw at Bruno's face. He's had enough.

Kung Foo Kitty has a paw in Bruno the Boxers face to keep him in line.

Notice Kung Fu Kitty's six-toed paw lined up with Bruno's face. That's the paw that keeps the 100-pound Boxer in line.

Bruno and Kung Fu Kitty

Bruno makes Allie play. Look what the poor old girl has to put up with.

The Chickens

I can walk Bruno down into the coop area and he is really careful not to look at the chickens. He turns his head and avoids them as best he can. That is while I am present. However, unfortunately Bruno has had a taste of them before and he is still a dog and they are still chickens. If left alone in a pen with a chicken I have no doubt that Bruno would have himself a nice lunch. Maybe not right away, but after a while he would get bored and start "playing" with the poor bird. So long as there is a human present who tells him to leave it, the chickens and Bruno are fine together.

Feeding Time

Bruno gets fed twice a day, once in the morning and once at night. When I walk into the pantry to gather their food, a scoop of dry food and a can, Bruno and Allie both follow me watching. I pick up their bowls and place them on the counter.

Bruno the Boxer walking out of a kitchen

As I start to pour the dry food into the bowls and reach for the can opener Bruno does one of two things. He either turns around and leaves the room, heading to his dog bed where he patiently waits for me to finish preparing, or he lies down with this back to me on the kitchen floor.

Allie the Boxer sitting in front of a refrigerator

Allie is predictable. She always sits or lies against the refrigerator with her back to me, not making eye contact until I pick the bowls up from the counter. As soon as I toss the empty can and wash my hands Allie stands up, turns around and eagerly waits for the bowl to be set down for her to eat. Bruno does the same if he has decided to stay in the kitchen when the food was being prepared. If he had left however, I need to call him to come back.

Allie and Bruno the Boxers laying in a kitchen

What Bruno and Allie do while their food is being prepared is the ultimate respect one member of a pack gives to another. While I prepare the food (mixing it up with my hands) both of the dogs see me as eating. In the dog world the leader eats first and the others give space to allow the leader to finish. When the leader is finished the lower members are allowed to eat. I did not teach the dogs to leave the room or turn their backs, although I did start to hush Allie if she would whine at me while I was preparing the food when I realized that was disrespect in the dog world. Then I watched in amazement as they acted like respectful canines. I had read about it, how dogs that have respect act at feeding time, but to watch your own dogs react as dog psychologist say they should is very rewarding.

Walks

Bruno is an absolute pleasure to walk. We still drive to a nearby town a few nights a week for a long walk with Tia the rescued Elkhound.

Bruno the Boxers sitting in a car seat

When we arrive and I open the van door Bruno is sitting on the seat waiting. I do not need to tell him to stay, he just sits there. When I put his Illusion collar on him he lowers his head and allows it to be slipped on. I snap on the leash and still he sits until I say "Come on Pup-pa." Bruno then jumps down from the van and stands there next to me as I gather what I need for the walk. I could be holding the lead with two fingers or technically not at all, he just stands and waits.

During the walk I usually am holding the lead with two fingers. Bruno walks alongside of whoever has the lead without even trying to pull. If the person suddenly stops and walks in the opposite direction, so does Bruno, as fast as his brain can comprehend the change, that is. If we pass a barking dog, no matter how ferocious the dog is, if we say, "leave it," Bruno walks right by. Depending on the severity of the other dog's madness, sometimes Bruno needs a short tug or a touch of the foot to his rear (and I mean only a touch to redirect his attention). There are often children holding his lead, and he no more tries to walk ahead of them then he does for me.

Cigarette Butts

I am afraid Bruno is still addicted to cigarette butts. ;-) If we stop during our walk and are not paying attention, and there happens to be a butt on the ground...you guessed it, it's gone. Bruno eats it. If I can react fast enough to say "drop it" he'll spit it out. But most of the time it's already too far down this throat to be spit out, although his mouth will move as if he is trying.

The good news is, while Bruno likes to eat the butts, he does not actually like the smoke. There have been several occasions where we ran into a person smoking a cigarette outside. The first time I saw it happen I thought Bruno had just been stung by a bee. Someone smoking approached Bruno and he was his normal self, lowering his head as his entire body wiggled like a snake, half curling into a circle, tongue starting to lick in the air, gearing up for any licks he may be able to get in...when suddenly Bruno jumped back three small, quick jumps, shaking his head and sneezing, as if something had just done him wrong. I started looking around for a bee, but then I noticed the smoke from the cigarette was leading right to his head. Bruno stood a few feet back, wanting to approach the human but not wanting anymore of that lingering smoke up his nose. When the person put it out he went back to his normal self. I watched this same reaction several other times when people who were smoking approached him. Apparently the smoke and his nose are not in agreement.

Bolting

Bruno does not bolt. In fact he does quite the opposite. If we are coming back from a walk in the woods where Bruno enjoys trying to hunt or chase the quad, and we are approaching the gate Bruno will stop and wait for all the humans to walk or drive through before he goes. Bruno also waits when going out or coming into the house. When he was younger everyone including the kids and their friends always spent the extra effort to make him wait, and still to this day make sure he sticks to it. Once in a while I need to say "wait" to give him a reminder, however most of the time he just stops on his own and waits. He has no urge to push his 100-pound body past anyone.

Hunting

Speaking of hunting… In addition to the pack walks Bruno receives, he also goes for long walks in the woods.

Bruno the Boxer is running down a trail with his tongue out. Allie the Boxer looking into the trees

Bruno is off-lead on these walks and he follows we humans in the direction we are going, but he is at the same time running off to the side trying to chase any wildlife he may encounter such as foxes, birds, rabbit or deer.

Bruno the Boxer exploring the forrest area

Bruno really enjoys chasing things, however I must mention that he is not very good at it. We often see the rabbit go left and Bruno tear off to the right.

Bruno the Boxer walking down a trail in the woods

He knows something is close. He smells it, but he just does not know where it went. He gets a lot of exercise in the process and whatever he is chasing always seems to outsmart him.

Coming when Called

Bruno is pretty good at coming when called, however there are times when he really does not want to come back inside the house and he just stands there looking at me, testing to see if I am going to make him. Instead of raising my voice (yelling is not a good human to dog communication skill), I lean my body forward and repeat my command, "Come," with a look that could kill. If that does not work I take a step toward him and that sends the signal to him that I am serious. As soon as he begins to come to me I let up on my ”I am serious” stare-down and turn my body slightly sideways to communicate to him that I approve of what he is doing. If he stops walking toward me I go back to my ”I am serious” stance. Often times when he begins to run to me I talk silly to him, "There he is! There's my Pup-Pa!" and Bruno runs even faster toward me. Works like a charm.

Yikes, he's going to be a drooler!

Close Up - Bruno the Boxer drooling

Do you see this, folks? This pic was taken when the temperatures were only in the low 70s. Bruno went for a hike in the woods and came back hot and slobbery. It's spring and temperatures around here reach the high 90s and above in the summertime. We are in for one drooly, hot summer!

Close Up - Bruno the Boxer drool foaming up

Good boy, Sandy. Wipe Bruno's slobber away with your fluffy tail. Just don't come near me afterwards.

Bruno the Boxer drooling near a Cat