Posted by: reneewildes1 | June 21, 2017

Life With A Chow-Chow

I have been a certified Vet Tech/LAT since 1996 and a professional dog groomer for 4 years now, and it never ceases to amaze me what a misunderstood dog breed Chows are. They’re beautiful balls of fluff that come in two body/coat types and a variety of colors, with a distinctive blue-black tongue. So many times, people ask my what breed my Abby is. When I say “Chow” the FIRST question people ask is “Is she mean?”

(Yes, b/c I would so TOTALLY keep a MEAN dog around my three kids and three cats…)

Chows are an ancient medium-sized spitz-type breed from China. They were bred for guarding and hunting. They are known to be “one-man dogs,” both independent and stubborn. They are NOT for first-time dog owners – or ANY owner who thinks a Golden Retriever is the epitome of “a perfect dog. ”

red chowChows are fiercely loyal and protective. They are intensely territorial and can be dog aggressive. They do not trust strangers. They have a high-maintenance coat that blows a horrifying amount of undercoat twice a year all over the house ands mats on a whim if not brushed regularly. They are prone to hip dysplasia, bladder stones, and eye problems. They think of obedience training as “more actual guidelines.” (Basically, they are cats that bark.)

They are also the ultimate clowns. They get into what I call “whirling dervish” mode and tear about like the energizer bunny–then curl up next to you & fall asleep. They’re not huge cuddlers for very long b/c they got too hot, but make very nice, comfy pillows. When properly socialized they are very calm, tolerant dogs.

AbbyI’ve had Abby (New Moon’s Twilight Night} since she was 6 months old. She’ll be 8 years old this coming August. She’s a black, smooth-coated Chow with a long but not woolly coat. We got her as an unofficial  “rescue”–as in, from a private owner who didn’t know how to take care of her. She was matted, underweight, had both roundworms & whipworms, NO vaccinations, and was in dire need of entropic eye surgery (both eyes were getting rubbed raw from in-turned lashes). She was not housebroken and had never been socialized. She was afraid of hardwood floors and didn’t know how to walk on concrete (she’d walk on the grass and panic when we got to a driveway to cross).

The vets at VCA referred us to Kronenwetter for her eyelid surgery, and they did all four. Said it was one of the worst cases they’d ever seen. She healed beautifully and been right as rain since. She almost died from a huge bladder stone at the age of two, and is now on prescription diet (was Royal Canin SO, now Hills C/D) for life. Her favorite treats are Dentastix. She has very thin dental enamel and the vets are leery of doing dentals on her b/c they’re trying to save her teeth surfaces for as long as possible. They have a litmus-paper-type test to check bacterial-count/gingivitis, and so far she’s been passing. Eventually, we expect her to lose her teeth and need to go to a canned diet.

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Because she was not socialized as a small pup, she is EXTREMELY dog aggressive. We worked with Cindy Stienke from K9 Elementary on how to get Abby’s respect and how to control her when she’s around other dogs. She does great with our cats, b/c when we first got Abby, Chandra marched right up to her and smacked her on the nose with her claws. Abby now has a healthy respect for cats, and they rule the roost. Sad to see a 45-pound dog completely kitty-whipped–they’ll grab her toys and take over the water bowl, and she backs right down. Pathetic. She’s great at the vet, and easy to handle for grooming. She is great with elderly people, very slow and gentle, does NOT like strange men (especially drunks and she is particularly protective of my teenage daughter), and is leery of children–they have to go slow or she hides and tries to bolt. She hates delivery people coming on the porch. She looks like a Flufferina but sounds like a Chowminator.

She knows basic obedience commands on leash, but has no recall and the minute she sees a squirrel all bets are off. She’s walked into trees looking for them. My daughter taught her a variety of tricks – including dancing on her hind legs and army-crawling (although she sticks her butt in the air and would get her tail shot off in real-life).

We love her to pieces and can’t imagine life any other way.

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