"A mess of beautiful contradictions make her whole"-- Nikita Gill
Winnie has been my most challenging dog to manage with her stubborn streak and sharp aptitude coupled with her noble charm and mischievousness. Being a Puggle, she is a blend of Beagle and Pug as far as ancestry but nothing about her personality blends the two very diverse breeds. Winnie seamlessly displays affection and loyalty, the Pug and Beagle characteristics shared by the two breeds, but is in constant contradiction and toggles before your eyes back and forth between those characteristics that are purely Beagle and purely Pug.
I always think of stubborn as one who understands what you want and chooses a different option like my Dachshund, Juniper who would hear me say, “Sit” and you could tell he was thinking, “Yeah, I hear you but, no. I wanna go over there instead.” His stubbornness kicked in when I insisted on what I wanted and prevented him from doing what he wanted. That’s when I got the shut-out. He refused to sit. Looked me strait in the eye and just refused.
With Winnie, she goes thru the first steps much like a Dachshund or a Beagle would do but then she switches to Pug mode and says’ “Awww, c’mon. Really, you wanted me to sit?” Then she gets silly and playful, does the zoomies or something else entertaining, very much like a Pug would do.
Our morning routine is heading out to the corral to tend to the mini horse, Mali. While out there the dogs do their morning duties and indulge in a pre-breakfast nache of fresh dung, before sprinting back into the house for real breakfast. The promise of breakfast has always been the incentive to get Winnie back inside instead of pealing off up the driveway following a critter scent trail.
Of course there have always been the occasional mornings where the incentive didn’t work in which case I would walk up the driveway til I caught up with her and when she would pause for a moment from whatever interesting smell she was puzzling over, I’d say with a playful tone while running back towards the house, “C’mon, Winnie.” Winnie would begin to chase me and we would run together inside, refreshed and invigorated and on the same team.
When Winnie began to peal off every morning, I had to change things up. I began leashing her up for the walk to the corral but that is not part of her plan. Oh, the dejected look when she realized the effects of my plan.
She countered with a “can’t catch me” game when I try next time to leash her up. I can’t even get mad or frustrated, she is so funny. Toggling back into entertaining Pug, Winnie's game was my morning cup of joy. And when after a little play, I leash her up, we go inside happy and satisfied, together again on the same page.
Yesterday morning as we went thru the ritual, and got to the final stage, I reached out to leash her but the look on her face actually broke my heart. She was telling me she understood this time what had happened. The Pug in her was insulted. She humbly showed her downheartedness. I felt like a cruel and manipulative person playing with and breaking her spirit. I reached out, picked her up to console her and decided to let her walk beside me unleashed to the house where we celebrated and had a good breakfast.
In retrospect, I realize what went down differently yesterday morning. I was being stern and insistent with the Beagle who then switched into Pug and instead of becoming an entertainer she grew sensitive and got her feelings hurt. Winnie surprised me and again taught me another lesson; always respect every aspect of her diverse and contradicting characteristics and in my heart my intentions must come with mutual love and unconditional devotion.
This morning, as we began the morning process, Winnie was slightly playful when I leashed her but without being insulted agreed to the new routine.