Acquired: Pet store
Training: I haven't learned care / training techniques
Posted February 17, 2014
Oreo was my Christmas present when I was 10 years old. My dad helped me train him and it was a breeze. It wasn’t long before he knew how to sit, lay, come, speak, jump up, and get down. When he needs to use the bathroom, he bumps his nose against a bell on the door, and when he’s ready to come back inside, he lets us know with a bark. When he still had his hearing (he lost it at about 14 years old), he could even distinguish between a ball and a bone! If we had taken the time, Oreo could have easily mastered more complicated tricks.
And, by the way, it's true what they say about the herding: Although he'd never been trained to herd, as a pup, he would sneak out of the yard and into the pasture next door to herd the cows.
But be warned! There are some downsides to owning such an intelligent dog. Even though he’s only 30 inches long, he still manages to get food outside of the four-foot-tall trashcan. We have no idea how. He somehow always knows when we’re trying to give him a bath or take him to the vet, and he will do everything in his power to avoid either scenario.
Oreo also has severe anxiety. Thunderstorms are the worst; he either crawls into my lap shaking or hides under a table. He won’t eat when we are on vacation, and he follows my dad absolutely everywhere, terrified to let him out of his sight.
Health wise, Oreo was pretty easy. He had quite a few seizures when he was young (the vet couldn’t figure out why), but as he got older they were less frequent. We did keep phenobarbital on hand in case, but it's not a very expensive medication. His ears need to be cleaned at least once a week or they will get a thick brown buildup that smells bad to us and is irritating to Oreo. Otherwise, he was a perfectly healthy dog.
At 15 years old, Oreo has lived a long life (especially for a pet store runt). Although his hearing has gone and he’s ... double stuffed, he hasn't been diagnosed with any life-threatening diseases. He's still a pretty happy guy; he just naps a lot more.