Is a Bloodhound Right for You?
Romo — Sherick’s m&m New Attitude
The love of my life and source of my gray hair.
by Pattie Mitchell
I never really gave a lot of thought to the hundreds of articles you see on Is a Bloodhound Right for you? They are cute, bundles of wrinkles that lay around, right? NO! NO! NO! A reputable breeder will tell you that first thing. But heck, of course, they say that because they want to make sure they find the right home for the dogs that they love. They can’t be as hard as all the breeders make them out to be… oh, yes, they can. They will tell you all of the reasons why a bloodhound is not the dog for you. You will listen, absorb it, and think, Oh, they can't be that bad. After all they have one, or in some cases, seven. I tell you they are addictive. You will laugh at them, cry over them, and then laugh at them again.
Sacrifices you have to make as a bloodhound owner — While all dog owners need to make sacrifices to have any dog, as a bloodhound owner the first and main sacrifice you have to make is your sanity. If your bloodhound does not drive you crazy, bloodhound owners and breeders will. When you ask them a question, their first and most common response will be “it’s a bloodhound thing.” Not just one bloodhound person will tell you that, but every frickin’ one. Now I am not a real analytical person, but this explanation makes no sense to me. I have spent hours analyzing this dog and his behaviors and I have come to one conclusion… It’s a bloodhound thing! So you don’t have to be crazy to get your first bloodhound, but you will be crazy when you get your second. Both of those are an absolute. You will be crazy and you will get another.
What a Breeder Doesn’t Tell You
I love Romo more than life itself, but there are so many things that a breeder doesn’t tell you. Not because they are hiding it from you, but because they have probably never encountered many of the day-to-day situations that I have encountered in the first eighteen months of being owned by a bloodhound. They look at them as dogs and I look at them as, well, as Romo.
Don’t Pull on His Collar
I have always wanted a bloodhound. Did I know anything about them? No. Life’s lessons are best learned, so they say. One of my first warnings from Sherry was, don’t pull on his collar (well, that was what I heard Sherry say). Just like Romo, I, too, have selective hearing. So, for the first five months I am walking him very gingerly on the leash. I would not let anyone pull hard. The next five months I spent teaching Romo how to walk properly on the leash, realizing what Sherry (Sherick’s Bloodhounds) really meant was, don’t continue to pull, tightening his collar up. Walk over to him to redirect his attention.
Delicate Little Thing
Being the delicate 130 pound flower that he is, he got stung by a bee or bit by a spider and his foot swelled up like a cauliflower. So while he may look rough and ready on the outside, he is really a delicate little thing on the inside.
When you name your dog, choose a name that rolls off your tongue. Preferably no more than one syllable. If it is anymore than that, by time you get his name out, it is too late. And you are probably laughing too hard at what he has just done or he is mesmerizing you with those sweet eyes, so you won’t get upset at him. As I have been told by someone very bloodhound knowledgeable, I am using the wrong “M” word. It should be manipulate not mesmerize.
You find that most of your sentences contain no more than three or four words. Your new vocabulary consists of:
- Drop it.
- Leave it.
- Go outside.
- Get in here.
- Stop digging.
- Bring me that.
- Get off the table.
- Fine, take it!
- I’ll trade you.
- Here’s a treat! — his favorite.
Let’s Make a Deal
One of your favorite games becomes Let’s Make a Deal. I'll give you a pair of socks for a pair of underwear. Or one of his favorites is I’ll trade you two Birkenstock shoes for that Coach wallet you have now clenched down on. The problem with those beautiful eyes is they can suck you into doing anything for them. OK. Fine, I don't need that many pairs of black shoes, you can have those.
As a quilter I have many fat quarters of fabric. You find very creative ways to cut ten-inch squares around teeth marks, because he happened to sneak into the room when you enter to iron a square. He picks out his color of the day and runs out into the other room with it. You don’t realize he’s got it until he’s staring up at you with that what I like to call loving look. I am sure breeders or bloodhound knowledgeable people would call it “guilty look.” So you play ring around the loveseat and Let’s Make a Deal to get your fabric back. By this time there are about four holes in it where he had to secure it in the jowls of fun. So once again in your mind you’ve won, because you have the fabric back. OK, I see it as I won, he probably sees it as, That was fun, hope she needs to go in that room again soon, I changed my mind and would rather have that other piece I saw in there.
Not only had I always wanted a bloodhound, but I also wanted to show a dog. Come on, how hard can it be? You walk around the ring and smile and look pretty. Well… another myth quickly realized. When someone tells you a bloodhound is the hardest dog to show, believe them. He is always show-ready at the drop of a hat. Just don’t drop it too loud, too quick, or too close, or you’re going to scare the crap out of him. He sees carts with little dogs in crates on them, and wonders when the weasel is going to pop out of the box. Heaven forbid if he is in a ring with other hounds, because he is too busy trying to figure out why someone of his stature is in there with such common folk. Why don’t they look like him? They kind of smell like him. I don’t know what we’ll do if we ever make it in the ring with terriers. He will think, great they brought me a toy to occupy my time. We were in class one time with a black toy poodle with a squeaky toy. He wasn’t sure if it was the black object or toy making the noise, but he sure didn’t want to get close enough to find out.
At the Show
The show sites are a whole other story. I swore we were show ready, but did I quickly learn differently. I get to my first big show and holy moly. That was the first real sighting he had of those things they see and smell that no one else does. It took all my might to keep him out of vendors’ booths (not always too successful). It was also probably the first time any judge ever said to a competitor “Just get him over here any way you can.” Well, had he not been 110 pounds, I probably would have considered carrying him.
Dining Room Table
Another thing to consider is to make sure you have a strong dining room table. When you walk into the room and see your beloved baby sitting in the center of it like a centerpiece. Just taunting the other dogs below, because he can jump up there and they can’t. It’s a little overwhelming. Well, it’s more like he wasn’t afraid to jump from the loveseat over to the top of the table and they have a little bit more sense than that. Now he’s not afraid of dancing on top of a table, but he’s afraid of a Pomeranian?
Crate or Couch
Make sure that you keep all feather-stuffed articles away from the crate. He is crated at nights, unless he decides he wants to sleep on the couch (or I’m sorry, unless I decide he can sleep on the couch at night). Well, one day apparently I forgot to pick one of the bed pillows up and put it on the bed. That little corner he could pull into the crate was just enough for it to look like a chicken de-feathering shop in his crate. I walk into the room after work with feathers flying everywhere. I got him out to brush him out and he looked like he was molting.
When he’s not de-stuffing pillows he is hauling them into the yard. He seems to be a dog that needs a job (usually de-cluttering my house and hauling it all into the backyard). One morning I was getting ready to make my bed and couldn’t find one of the small pillows that I put on it. I looked and looked. Finally I went to the back door and lo and behold there it was! Sitting as proud as a peacock in a little cubby hole he had dug for it. Isn’t he sweet? He was protecting it for me.
Healthy Dog — Good Breeder
You know you have a healthy dog from a good breeder when your emergency room bills from dog accidents exceed your vet bills. Other than routine vet bills — none. For me, not so lucky.
Neat and Tidy House
A bloodhound is not for you if you like a neat and tidy house, with no drool sightings anywhere. There have been days when I have finished dusting and look around and see what appears to be a spider web hanging on the wall. I walk over to it with my duster and… nope, it‘s a Romo web!
I have picked up a piece of toast off my plate and what appears to be melted butter. NOT!
People have said, “Boy is Romo lucky” but that’s not true, I am the lucky one. No matter what he does in the ring or out, I love him more every day and I could not ask for a better dog.
One of the unexpected outcomes from getting a bloodhound though, is not only getting the best breed in the world, but also the great friends that you make with the breeder and those around her.