July 28, 2004
Enough of Cat Week
Okay – we’ve had three installments of cat week, three mouse chronicles, and not a damn thing about dogs. I just can’t let that stand. Thusly, I bring you Pongo – quite possibly the best dog in the world.


Pongo has been with me for a little over 13 years now. He is a black lab/chow mix, neutered male, and is one of the biggest love dogs out there.

As I stated before, he’s a bit over 13. I actually got him from my brother, who got him from his then fiancé’s aunt’s friend. He was a breeder and had chows and black labs. Apparently, a fence wasn’t quite tall enough and viola, puppies are on the way. Anyhow, my brother ended up with two of them and I later ended up with Pongo – he was 7 months old and 50 pounds of pure energy. The first thing he officially did was destroy my room. Ripped up the carpet, tore the curtains down, etc. Guess he didn’t like to be left alone.

Later on in life, he and I moved to Ohio State together and had lots of fun on campus. He’d go to the Oval, swim in Mirror Lake, and poop on things. This was considered great fun for him – never mind that I had to deal with stinky puppy until I could give him a bath.

Since then, he’s moved around Ohio, to Delaware, Maryland, and now Virginia, where Amber and I reside. At this point, he’s a dog besieged by cats. Of course, since he’s a bit of an elder statesman in the dog world, he just ignores them. In fact, all he really wants to do is sleep, eat, sleep, get loved on, sleep, poop and pee, sleep, etc. If you come over, he’ll come right up to you, put his head on your lap, and look at you with those big brown ‘nobody ever loves me’ eyes until you pet him. Then he’ll lick you to death.

He’s very well-behaved (except for that silly not listening to Amber thing…). I can put steak on the floor and he won’t go for it (even if the kitties will) until I tell him to. He responds to snaps of the finger (one snap means come, second snap means sit, third means lay down), and commands in English and Spanish.

His favorite trick is to be in the way. If you’re carrying something heavy, he gets in front of you. If you’re trying to sweep the floor, he’s walking through the dust pile. If you want to eat, he lays in front of your chair so you’ve nowhere to put your feet. Isn’t he the best?

Posted by ron at July 28, 2004 07:02 PM

eMail this entry!

This comment is coming from the resident Kitty lover in the house. Pongo has to be the best dog in the worldl. I was a vet tech for 7 years and learn very quickly learn that Chow's, Char-Pei's,German Shepards, Rott's, Pitt Bulls, Dalmations, hated cute little blonde techs. I think that they knew I was a cat person. When I first met Ron and he told me that he had a Chow/Lab Mix---shit..I hate those f-*^&in'dogs. I did not hear the lab mix part. Well I have since eaten my words. He is the best dog ever and could not imagine not having him around. I wish however I could say that about Ron...Pongo does not leave dishes all over, laundry everywhere and does not fart of me with a sense of acomplishment
Love ya honey...

Posted by: amber on July 28, 2004 07:18 PM

He's soooooo cute!!!! PoNgO!!!!!!

ps. my phone died on y'all! (southern speak) I'll see ya at the airport on sat!! :)

Posted by: ellen on July 28, 2004 10:31 PM

Pongo sounds like a great friend to have.

After reading all kinds of blog on how bad things have turned out for other Lab-Chow owners, I was really beginning to feel a bit worrisome for my own fate. I too have this breed, or rather he has me. I adopted Bear, a black lab/chow mix about 8 months ago and have had no problems worth mentioning beyond the basic growing puppy antics such as the occasional growl, friendly gnawing, and scratching at the wall (when left in his room alone for too long). I was beginning to wonder if keeping him for the long haul would be wise.

I have a little experience with the keep of an adult chow-chow (dog-sat a neighbor's chow during a 1-month vacation), and neither I or my family had any drama to report. There were never any temperment problems of any kind as later I would learn are common to chows. As for labs, all I ever knew about them is their overall prime candidacy for being loyal pets to hunters, and others in the working-dog community. Now I have the best of both breeds to cultivate.

Chows, I understand them to be originally bread by the Chinese for gaurding the home. So far Bear, my lab/chow, has just the right balance in the emotional department. I believe that, while every animal (humans alike) have the potential of supprizingly devastaing actions, all creatures act upon the conditions they have been shaped. Eventhough the genetics of a species play the most dominant part in how an animal behaves, training is the final factor in the determined outcome.

I write all of this to say that I really admire your situation with your lab/chow mix and want to get more tips from you on what your sources for training tips were, and any advice that you may have to help me to have similarly successful results in raising my Bear. I really need to determine if I have the catalyst for a bleek canine fate, or a mere diamond in the rough despite the words of so many hey-sayers.



Posted by: Sid Simpson on November 30, 2005 12:50 AM


I'd absolutely keep him - Pongo has been great throughout his entire life so far. As far as temperament goes, there are tendencies with specific breeds, but their expression has a lot to do with what the owners allow and encourage. While I encouraged Pongo to be a watch dog (lots of barking and the like), I also made sure to socialize him with lots of people and wouldn't let him get away with being overly aggressive.

As far as training goes, I managed to get him trained in English in fairly short order as he was rather willing to learn and do what I wanted him to do - one key point to this is making him wait roughly a minute or so for the reward. They can be a bit stubborn, so this tends to get better results. Also, lots of encouragement for tricks outside the norm (I almost had him able to climb ladders at one point) will get you wonders. After training him in English, I transitioned to finger commands. Once I got there, moving to other languages was a fairly easy task. The last thing I'd encourage is lots of contact - Pongo (as noted above) is a big love dog and he wants to 'be with' at all times, so encouraging that, making him social with other dogs/people, and making sure that he does what you tell him to every single time will go a long way towards helping him become the dog you want him to be.

Oh - I'd suggest crate training him if you can at this point. Pongo's successfully eaten a car, Amber's wall and front door trim, a closet, and ripped up carpet and torn down curtains if he was worried that I wasn't coming back.

Posted by: ronaprhys on November 30, 2005 05:14 PM
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