Well, I've been meaning to have a regular blog on Mojo and update regularly, but... well, life. Plus the blog was not working properly. Anyway, Mojo is a totally awesome puppy and I realized that as much as I love Pysheps (and I do and I secretly think I'm a Pyrshep myself... worse still, I'm Vigo), whenever someone says "I want a Pyrshep", my instant reaction is "No, you don't", whereas when someone states "I want a cocker" I'm more like "Hell, yeah, get one, they are awesome". Right now I'm at a stage in my life when I literally think the world would be a better place with more cockers and everybody should have a cocker instead of getting a border collie for sport and ending up being miserable.
Ok, let me expand a little bit.
I'll be first to admit that my experience with cockers is still a bit limited and no doubts there are cockers who cause lots of problems and are not easy dogs at all. But being lucky to own both cockers as they should be and Pyrsheps as they should be, I can't help but notice some things that differ in them even in the best case scenario.
Cockers are generally at peace with this world. They are convinced it's a good place and meet all the new things with interest and good will. They think the world loves them and the world obliges (well, who wouldn't love a cocker puppy?). Pyrsheps, the really good ones, are brave. They know deep down the world is a rotten place and people are evil, but they decide to give you a chance in case you are the exception.
It wouldn't even cross a happy cocker's mind that something might be a problem, so they either don't notice it at all or just accept it as a fact of life. Pyrsheps notice everything and they have to make decision what to do about it - again, the good ones make the decision that it's actually ok, but still the decision-making process is there.
Cockers think dogs are dogs. Small ones, big ones, furry ones - they are all dogs. Dogs in general are fun, so hey, let's play together. Cockers speak Dog. They communicate perfectly and I'm really amazed with how Mojo for instance can adjust her playing style to just about every dog she's met so far.
Pyrsheps think Pyrsheps are Pysheps and the rest of dogs are other species to be treated with caution. Again, the good ones are totally fine with them after a while, but upon seeing a dog they won't just immedietely jump into conclusion that it's another friend to play with. I suspect Pysheps speak French rather than Dog and they would assume that it is the best language in the world and everybody should know it. Even if they appear to be speaking Dog for a moment, it's like a French person who answers joyfully "Yes, I do" after you ask them if they speak English and then just continues speaking French for the rest of conversation.
Cockers are street-smart from the beginning. They actually distinguish between the things that might be a tiny tiny bit risky (like jumping down from a bridge or running under a car) and things which are a bit unpleasant but basically harmless, like a vacuum cleaner. Pyrsheps never grasped the laws of physics fully and they are so used to being brave whenever having to tackle the reality that sometimes they are stupidly brave towards the dangerous things whereas they totally freak out in the face of things that are perhaps weird, but innocent (like opening the jalousies in the windows in the morning).
Cockers might have some problems, but whenever there is a problem there is a solution as well. For instance Sunday, my first cocker, was a bit resource guarding in the beginning, but all it took was convincing her that it doesn't pay off to guard things from me but it does pay very well to give them to me and the problem was solved. Mojo didn't retrieve in the beginning, but it turned out I just need to find something attractive enough to exchange her toy for (which took me a while) and we're on the best way to solve it.
At least part of the Pyrsheps' problems either don't have a solution or the solution is so bizarre that you might never stumble across it. After 11 years together Vigo still thinks the cushions on the sofa are there to get him and attacks them whenever they move. It's not as if he fears them - he actually sleeps on the sofa, so he doesn't need any counter conditioning. It's just he doesn't like them to move. They are not supposed to move. They are inanimate objects after all. The fact that they move is just another proof that the world is a dangerous unpredictable place with forces beyond your control working their evil schemes in the dark all the time.
Whenever you decide to have a dog, you have to meet their needs to make them healthy and happy. So with Cockers you need to:
- feed them,
- exercise them (a lot),
- socialise them,
- train them and provide them with mental stimulation,
- provide appropriate health care as needed.
And you get a happy, healthy, well-adjusted dog.
With Pysheps you need to:
- feed them,
- exercise them (a lot),
- socialise them (a lot),
- train them and provide them with LOTS of mental stimulation,
- provide them with appropriate healh care,
- explain why the answer to the question of life, the universe and everything is 42,
- convince them that you will always, ALWAYS, protect them from vacuum cleaners, cushions on the sofa and various others unforeseen dangers,
- stop them jumping off the cliffs and generally think for them in the instances when they don't think for themselves
And you get a happy, healthy, well-adjusted... no, wait. And you get a Pyrshep.