If you remember from last year, the Cow Docs were going through a rough time losing our St. Bernard “Gus” to bone cancer. Then, a few weeks after we put him down, Carolyn surprised me with a Golden Retriever puppy which I named Cletus. Needless to say, it was a bittersweet gift that has become more and more wonderful as that puppy has grown up.
So for fellow dog lovers, I thought I’d present a year in review with Cletus, who will turn 1 on the 21st of this month. He’s been a blast and a ball of energy, although that has sometimes gotten him into trouble. But it’s necessary for him to be energetic, as he is not bred to be a family pet (although he does well as one), but a functioning bird dog. Both his parents have won awards in field trials, so we’ve been working on his retrieving abilities so next fall he can start finding birds for us.
The big thing with a high-energy dog is to start obedience training early, as in right after he comes home at 8 weeks. With Cletus, we taught him to Come, Sit, and Hush in the first few weeks. We also worked to socialize him with other people and dogs, so that he would have better manners. Although I’ll be the first to admit he’s not going to the Westminster Dog Show anytime soon, he does mind us quite well.
It helps that we changed our dog setup for a higher energy dog, so he can exercise at will. While a large kennel worked for Gus, Cletus needed lots of room to run. So last fall we put in a 66′ x 20′ dog run, taking up half our back yard. While it was a lot of work to build, he really enjoys it. The neighbors do too, as they have told me how they like to watch Cletus run and play, something he does pretty much all day.
Even with the extra work, Cletus is well worth it. He is one of the most friendly and lovable dogs you could ever meet. So happy 1st birthday Cletus buddy!