At seven months, he weighs about forty pounds, and is slowly outstripping our five-year-old mutt, Nimue, in size. His paws are "as big as cookies," as Juice puts it. (And, because she's my daughter, she means Otis Spunkmeyer cookies, but not only because she likes them; the comparison is just. . . .apt.) The bridge of his nose (if dogs' noses have bridges) spans nearly four inches. When he yawns, spectators think of caverns. (And this is one reason why Nimue doesn't like playing with him anymore; when he playfully grabs her, it's invariably with that toothy cavern, and invariably about her neck, and invariably in a near-choke hold.) When he executes a puppy lope, spectators (okay, I) think of the Trojan (British?) Bunny from Monty Python's Holy Grail. His coat is more than "thick" or "long"; it's also shaggy. When he lies down, listeners (those who can't see him lying down, I mean) believe someone's breaking into the house. (Yes, somebody actually said that.)
I'm tryina tell ya this is a beast.
But sweet. He loves affection and attention of any kind, even disciplinary. Wags his tail when he's being tipped over or yelled at, or even if somebody, anybody, walks by while he's resting from his Herculean labors. He sleeps in a crate all night, and at 530 am, when I come in Goobs' room (where the crate resides) to let both dogs outside, the whole house can hear Frody's gigantic tail thundering in a joyful wag against the walls of the crate. Strangely, Frody is easier to tip over than Nimue (yes, we use Alpha Dog techniques on the poor puppy, so we know), I think because he's so biddable. Usually. He wants to lick everybody. All over. (With his tongue, that'd take only one determined swipe, really.) And, like I said, he barks like a puppy. Early in our relationship, we were trying to talk Frody out of the utility room upstairs to the kitchen (that pup finds stuff on the floor everywhere and wants to taste all of it), but he wouldn't leave. So I grabbed him by his collar and shoved him into the kitchen. He finally trotted off in the right direction, but barked --yipped-- at me over his shoulder. The girls nearly died laughing at his "backtalk." They think his bark is "cute."
There's very little to find cute about a puppy this big, poor thing.
And because he's such a big puppy, we often attribute his puppiness to dimwittedness. The same slowness to understand we saw in Nimue, who was a fist-sized puppy, the same stubbornness that we called "precious" and "awed" over, we have little patience with in this huge puppy. While as little as a few months ago, the girls were trying to talk me into letting them keep Nimue in bed or on the couch with them, when Frody tries to make those trips, they automatically grimace and push him away: "Ew! Get off, you stupid dog!" Yeah. We call him "stupid". Frody has tiny eyes, probably in comparison to the rest of him, so even his eyes look clueless most of the time. Even in repose, when he's not panting, Frody tongue sticks out of his closed mouth. He just looks low IQ'd. One evening, during the time the vet said Frody's activity should be restricted (yes, Frody'd become a eunuch not long before), Frody lost all of his self-control and began running to and fro through the living room. He lost his directional sense, too, if he'd ever had any, and ran head first into a wall. (I thought I saw plaster crack.) I wish I could say that this was the first time Frody's run into a wall.
But I have hopes for Frody. For one thing, he's part Rottweiler and, depending upon whether you want to believe the vet or the shelter, part Shepherd or Husky. All three of those breeds are pretty smart dogs, right? He's already learned to control his bark and to sit, lie down, and come on command. I believe that one day his puppy mind will catch up with his burgeoning size, and the intelligence promised by his genes will come to the fore.
I reckon. At forty-five and [no, I'm not tellin you] pounds, I'd still like to believe that you can't tell everything you need to know about a dog by watching him for three weeks.