Oh, Jack! Anyone who has a family dog can understand that Jack really is a member of our family. The Hutchinson family is complete with Jack and we just love him so much. He is a English yellow Labrador and got him from a kennel in Oxford, Mississippi called Wild Rose. My husband did two years of research on different breeds + breeders before we actually made the decision on the dog we wanted. He first looked into getting a hunting dog for waterfowl and upland hunting. I grew up with a mutt, named Macy and he grew up with a cocker spaniel named Hershey. We had no previous experience with owning a lab, but if Jack isn't the sweetest family dog, I don't know what is. We are over the moon thrilled with him and his adorable personality, and smart too.
THE PERFECT PUPPY
We had moved around a lot (nine homes), but when we finally settled in Nashville and the kids were the right age to handle the responsibilities of a dog, we decided to pull the trigger. Now that we were ready.....where from was the question? Steve's first choice was Wild Rose . Like most breeders, they allow you to view online and see the upcoming litters, and see what litters they have coming up. You go home with your chosen puppy and then send the puppy back to go through training, kind of like summer camp! So we picked up Jack and brought him home with us when he was about eight weeks old and he stayed with us until he was seven months old. There was a lot of time for love and kisses and time for Jack to become apart of our family before he went back for months of training. We got some rules from the trainer before we took him home so that we could start potty training, place training and general obedience. One thing that was hard for us to NOT give him chew toys or balls as a puppy. I know that sounds cruel and just plain silly, but it was strict orders from our trainer. By giving them things to chew as a puppy it teaches them to be mouthy and chew just about anything, and down the road that may be your shoes or even furniture. The kids and I were DYING to give him all the fun toys. While it was hard and often times I felt he was bored, it worked like a charm. That dog has NEVER put his mouth on anything in our house. We leave shoes out, kids toys etc..never touched it. If they are never given the sensation, they don't seek it out. I'm grateful now. I can't imagine coming home to a mess. The other reason I must mention and true reason behind no toys, is when he's hunting. They want them to gently bring you the bird etc..not manhandle it. But as time has passed, we do allow him a toy from time to time. Steve still wants to not make this a habit. Honestly he's thrilled with a ball daily to play catch.
Jack is one of the most well behaved, mellow, loving dogs I have ever been around. I know I am a little bias, but he really is a very good dog. He doesn’t jump on guest or go crazy, and he is very good at minding and a joy to have around. There really is nothing worse than an obnoxious pet. Having a well-trained dog was very important to us. We wanted a dog that we thoroughly enjoyed having around and never wanted to feel as though he needed to be put away when people came over. The one bad behavior that Jack has is that he is a licker. Not that it's a bag thing. I mean who doesn't love wet kisses. He is just so loving that I can’t really get mad at him. He's just got to show you at all times how feels about you!
When we sent jack back for training, he was seven months old and he stayed at training for six months. Yes, that is a long time, but he left a boy and came back a man! He learned obedience training, hunting, gun training, upland, water, pheasant, and even an adventure training so that he could come with our family when we go camping and hiking. When we picked him up, he was ready to go! We got to visit him a few times during the training so that we could work with him and learn how to train with him.
Of course six months was a crazy long time and the kids were freaked out that Jack wouldn't remember them. But we had a busy summer that flew by, and as soon as we stepped out of the car and started talking, Jacks ears perked right up. It was amazing how much Jack had connected with us in the early months, which is why Wild Rose sends the puppies home with you before starting their training.
Now, with my husbands work schedule, he hasn't been able to take Jack hunting all that often. But this fall Steve will have more free time and will be able to take him hunting a lot more! It is kind of like riding a bike, Jack still remembers and Steve will work with him in the yard to keep his skills sharp.
Jack gets fed once a day in the afternoon and he will let you know when it is three o'clock. He will sit next to me and get real excited! He eats on command, so he has to wait until we say his name before he can start eating. You could leave him there all day and he wouldn’t touch it. We feed Jack two cups of Purina All Pro Sport. Our breeder recommended it to us and he has done great on it. His weight (52 lbs) has stayed within a healthy range and has a good energy level. We take Jack outside for some activity everyday. Something like a walk or to throw the Chuckit! ball for him, which is great because you can do it for an hour and not throw your shoulder out. As he gets older and less active we will probably change his food to a lower fat ratio feed, but for now that is what we use.
Not only is he very well trained, but he really is such a sweet dog. He loves being with humans much more than he enjoys being around other dogs, he is just a people person-dog. You guys know, he's never not by my side. But when we do have to kennel him for vacations, we choose Greymont Kennels here in Nashville. They have an awesome van service that comes and picks him up and takes him to the kennel and when his stay is over, they will drive him back to our house. The kennel is about an hour away from our house, so it is so great that we can pay $20 round trip and have them come pick up Jack and bring him back. So worth it to me. Two hours round trip before you're trying to leave town, no thanks! It makes me feel good that he runs out and jumps into the van when they get to our house. He loves it!
Although he is bred as a hunting dog, the kids and I love to dress him up a little when we can. I like to get him seasonal collars through Etsy or get new dog bed for him when the old one tires. While we're talking beds, the one he has is from a great company in California called Jax + Bones. I stumbled onto their site and was IN LOVE. It was a quality, attractive bed I was on the hunt for. Something that matched my home and didn't look like every other dog bed you see at Pet Supermarket. I mean, if it's gotta sit out in the middle of the living room, than a pretty choice is what I was looking for. Aside from matching my interior design style, he LOVES it. I think if he could talk, he'd say so. I know this, because the dog won't get off of it. A complete struggle in the morning and at night to go out before bed. We went with the XL for the prince. Plenty of room, my kids can even get on it with him. I swear it would make a great travel toddler bed. HA!
Aside from the beds, Jax + Bones also has great rope toys and other goodies for your best friend. Check them out if you haven't already. Jax + Bones loves Jack too and has offered all of my followers a 15% off promo code that's good until March 31 for any order over $50 site wide! Use LANDYN15 at checkout. Here are a few toys that Jack loves from them: knot + peace sign and a summer time fave, this neoprene frisbee.
Lucky for us, Jack has only been to the vet for checkups. And we love our vet at Belmont Animal Hospital, Dr. Baker Eadie. They are fantastic! I was kinda anticipating being at the vet's office quite often. I'm sure you've all heard tons of stories about labs eating just about everything in sight. We only had one episode where Lily dropped a baby wipe she had recently wiped ice cream with off her shoe and he scarfed it up like a vacuum and 2.3 seconds. I got worried that it wouldn't be digestible and we'd end up in the emergency room or worse. So I called the emergency ASPCA Poison Control 888-426-4435 for pets, and they were amazing. It did cost me about $65 for an over the phone fee for them to walk me through the steps of getting him to bring that back up. I know it sounds gross, but it saved me thousands of dollars in vet bills. If your pet ever ingest something that you're worried about, here's what they told me to do: Get their food dish, spread a tablespoon of peanut butter on the bottom and pour 3% Hydrogen Peroxide - 1 tsp per 10 lbs body weight of your dog. Then take them immediately outside for a walk to get the contents in their stomach mixing with the peroxide. They should vomit within 15 minutes. Yep, worked like a charm and only took about 4 minutes. Can be repeated once.
He's so sweet and protective of his family. He will win the hearts of anyone who meets him, even the dry cleaners and UPS man! Everybody loves Jack! How could you not.
What kind of dog do you have?
Landyn + Jack