In a scant five hours, Bramble is going to the vet to be tutored.
And all the baby angels in heaven sang.
I prefer, honestly, to wait until a male is sexually mature before neutering – eighteen months is my ideal. But about a month ago, Doug came to find me and said, “Joanna, love of my life, apple of my eye… Bramble needs his testicles removed NOW.”
And this is true. Bramble has his hormones set on fast-forward; he started lifting his leg almost two months ago (he’s 6.5 months now). He’s been experimenting with breeding behaviors almost as long, and since the Cardis think he’s superfun they let him try. His… erm… package is quite definitely functional; there’s an, ummm, proportional size increase that is unmistakeable if you’ve raised a few intact males. He’s also a GIANT BRAT, very resource-possessive, and anything I can do to cut down on bad behavior I am going to try (please note that neutering doesn’t change personality – it just doesn’t – so this is a long shot and will only affect issues that are directly connected to testosterone).
Bramble has taught me a lot about what it is to raise a terrier. He’s a total jerkface not because he’s poorly trained or I am not the big bad pack leader – trust me, he flops over on his side and shows me his belly if I look at him hard – but because he’s a normal, proper, good terrier, and his Jack Russell-ness is of the type that I grew up with, the dogs who were in all the barns and polo stables and cross-country stables, the dogs who would come over and bite you just to say hello. They don’t listen to you because they’re not supposed to. If they’re going after a rat or a badger and you’re calling them back, they will lose the quarry and possibly get very hurt if they don’t finish the job. They’re resource possessive because that’s the other side of the coin of the instinct that makes them such superb killing machines. I am hoping that the testicular absence will blunt enough of it that I can make headway in training him; I have no fantasies that he’ll cease being a terrier. My goal is to make him safe enough that I don’t worry that he’ll bite the baby; he will ALWAYS be a bloody little dog.
And so our fat little butterbean has had a bath, has had his nails dremeled (he’s such an expletive deleted about it; I re-set him a thousand times and I eventually get it done, but I have dremel marks all over my hands as a result) and his little terrier self is heading in for rabies shot and hopefully an extremely effective tutoring session.