Detective Leonard Briscoe Johnson. My pup. My super active pup. His second birthday is in October, and he is still very much a puppy. Boykin Spaniels live to be up to 15 years old, so they must just really enjoy their puppy-hoods, right? I keep hearing that he’ll be more mature at age two. And, I’ve said from the beginning as a joke (as the truth is said in jest) that “he’ll be a great dog when he’s four.”
My husband and I got Briscoe when he was nearly eight weeks old. Teensy. It was December. We had lost a Basset Hound six months prior, and we felt ready for a new family addition. It was not particularly good timing. I was planning a huge upcoming event for work. The holidays were looming. I’m pretty sure I was sick. We went for it anyway, and we were giddy as if it were already Christmas morning.
I had never raised a puppy. I soon found out what a change to the routine it was, what a stressor it could be, what losing a bunch of sleep and being selfless meant. I spent many a night curled up on the floor beside his crate to keep him calm and be at-the-ready for going outside every couple hours.
Yet, the biggest demand from Briscoe has been activity. We knew with some research that Boykins, or Little Brown Dogs, are energetic and “sporting” dogs. They hunt and swim well. We did not realize what this would actually require for a puppy Boykin – a continuous combination of physical and mental stimulation.
Experts say Boykins are easy to train. I say I’m not sure about all that. But crucial parts of his training are working a plan and being consistent. It’s practically like creating a fitness program for a client. Luckily, I am a personal trainer who knows the rigors of behavior modification and management! (Bahahahahaha!)
Briscoe is a good dog. We just had to shape ourselves, in order to shape him. The Basset Hound spoiled us. We hardly had to try with him. He would play for like five minutes and then lay himself down for a nap. We yearned for a pet that could frolick with us in the lake or on mountains. We have certainly achieved that goal and had to rise to the occasion!
So now, we do doggy physical exercise twice per day and mental exercise 5-10 times per day. We walk, jog, fetch, hike and swim. We work on commands – heel, come, sit, stay, kennel, down and a healthy dose of NO.
Briscoe has helped us be more patient and disciplined. He’s helped us be more creative and outdoorsy. Our dog is beautiful and sweet. He also is highly active. And we’re proud that he keeps us active too.
> From American Kennel Club, on this “avid, eager, merry” breed…
Boykins have moderate to high energy and require lots of exercise every day. They do best with active people, especially those seeking an athletic partner for activities like hiking, running, or biking. Regular exercise will help keep the Boykin healthy and happy. This can come in the form of long walks and play sessions. The breed also exercises mind and body by participating in obedience, tracking, agility, rally, field events, and other activities that can be enjoyed by both dog and owner.
> From Briscoe…
Favorite Agility – In-home obstacle course. (Running around at high speeds like a wild banshee up and down stairs and around couches while Mom chases me.)
Favorite Toy – Orange bumper (Used for toss and retrieve, teaches soft-mouth carry. Commonly found in a tree because Mom has bad aim.)
Favorite Phrase – “Do you want some-sing?” (What we say at night when we’re settling down and will give him one of the long-lasting “good” treats.)