Our ferocious watchdog puppy

About half a year ago we moved to a new home out in the country--our family now lives on six acres of field surrounded by woods, on a country road, in a small town. It seemed like the ideal location for a dog, particularly a watchdog, since although it’s scenic, it’s also isolated. Unfortunately, to get a dog you usually start with a puppy, and during these past six months I’ve often wondered if perhaps we should have taken our chances with a burglar. 

Certainly on the plus side, a burglar gets a zero. There’s nothing good about a burglar, aside from not having the bad attributes of a puppy. On the other hand, puppies have some good qualities—they are cute, playful, and above all, eventually turn into dogs, and dogs are great. However, puppies have lots of bad qualities too, and it’s those that makes me wonder what I was thinking when I decided that we needed a dog for this new homestead.

First off, Scout is a peculiar mix, which makes her a great watchdog and a very ambitious puppy. She’s half German Shepard, and half Red Bone Coon Hound. I had never even heard of a RBCH before owning half of one, but I do think that side of her contributes to the general level of excitement she brings to our household.


Shoes as chew toys

So here’s a list of bad things our puppy does that a burglar would not typically do:

Scout chews anything containing foam rubber. That particular taste in chew toys resulted in our real sunroom furniture being replaced by lawn furniture, as she ruined all the cushions on our nice set of sunroom chairs and sofa, strewing foam rubber and fabric fragments all over the place. It’s around $800 or so to replace those cushions, which we won’t spend until Scout is a dog. A burglar would be hard pressed to find $800 street value worth of stuff in our house to rob.

A destroyed pillow next to lawn furniture, since real furniture was chewed up

Scout chews a lot of other things too. It’s unlikely a burglar would chew huge pieces of Styrofoam and a bag of kitty litter in our workshop, creating a virtual snow storm of white and grey particles everywhere.


Carnage in the workshop

She recently expressed her creative side by chewing up a dozen or so colored pencils.

The artist as a young dog

Moving outdoors for more puppy destruction, as part of the purchase of our new home a new septic system was installed, resulting in our yard needing a lot of hydroseeding. A burglar wouldn’t have dug holes in our newly planted lawn, but our puppy did. Scout seems to like anything having to do with dirt, which is perhaps why she constantly digs up freshly planted flowers in the yard. Only at our place do plants need to be replanted an average of three times.


A meteor crater (or dog hole) atop our new septic system leach field

Scout has created a reproduction of the Western Front during WWI

And although a burglar might have a pierced tongue these days, to complement the tattoos, we wouldn’t have had to pay for it, while we did get charged for Scout’s piercing removal. She discovered a porcupine in our yard, resulting in just one quill stuck in her mouth, smack though the middle of her tongue. We’re not sure how she pulled this one off…..maybe trying to lick the porcupine? This led to yet another trip to the vet, to complement the other array of shots and pills and ‘getting fixed’ we’d already paid for. Strangely, Scout was happy on the trip to the vet, and didn’t seem to mind (or even notice) that she had this big quill flopping around through her tongue.

Scout punk rocking with a quill through her tongue

Both burglars and puppies are very impolite, but even here it’s a close call which is worse. Of course breaking into a house displays a complete lack of civilized values, but if you think about it, puppies are even worse, defecating at random around the house, muddy paws jumping up on people, climbing on furniture when they shouldn’t, while shredding everything and shedding everywhere. Plus Scout “breaks in” too—besides creating permanent entrances though our screen doors, she’s also learned to open doors, so just lets herself in….and never shuts the door behind her.

Scout helps open boxes left outside by UPS, like this one from L.L. Bean

But in answer to our original question—which is better? ……even though it might not be logical, I’ll take our puppy over a burglar any day. Soon enough (or not soon enough) Scout will be a loyal, obedient, affectionate dog who prevents burglaries, while a burglar will most likely always be a burglar.

Today we had two new developments in the puppy vs. burglar debate. In the first, shown below, which one most likely chewed up the entire package of toilet paper? My money is on Scout.

Must have been an emergency

Similarly, does that look like a burglar or Scout making off with the baby swimming pool at 6:30 AM, waking us up with weird scratching noises?




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