Mannie Mania

When the breeder brought Mannie to us on December  30, he was around 11 weeks old and just shy of 12 pounds, a little large for a Mini Aussie of that age, but he was the largest of his litter. As the weeks went by he was adding ½ pound a day some days. We knew Minis ran to 35 pounds, but the charts were actually predicting 40-42, a maxi Mini. Mannie is now just shy of six months old, and while the rate of weight gain has slowed, he is now 34 pounds. He has probably reached his height and length, but it’s looking like that 40 pounds may be about right. Personally, I am okay with that, since I loved Max’s size of about 42-45 lbs.

Of course, size is not the main thing that makes the dog, but breed and personality. Everything that Max had as a Aussie Cattle Dog/Border Collie mix, Mannie has more of: intelligence, energy, devotion, etc. We’ve had a blast watching him grow, and he has been fantastic for (and with) our Chi-rat Millie. They were the same size when Mannie arrived, so he dwarfs her now, but Millie at three has learned all sort of wrestling tricks to wiggle out of Mannie’s holds. Altogether, they wrestle a good hour a day.

Of course, keeping an Aussie active enough is a chore, so hiking has become a two to three times a week occurrence. As early as middle January I tried taking him off leash on a hike, and he hasn’t been back on while on a trail. Around the neighborhood leashes are expected and he does ok, but he’s much happier off. What has been fun on hikes is watching him try new things. The other day he took off down a hill into a stream, played around, and came right back up, something he wouldn’t have done a couple of weeks ago.

Speaking of staying active, one of the more entertaining things Mannie does is play Bocce Ball. He probably spends an hour a day outside rolling a Bocce ball around the yard while barking at the ball the whole time. The barking gets a little old, but he is burning calories on his own without my intervention.

Training? For the most part, Mannie has simply picked up very quickly what we ask him to do. Sit is no problem. No jumping on people is still in progress, but almost consistent. Come is definitely still a work in progress. One thing that has come fairly naturally on hikes is traveling right behind my right or left heel. When he does run out in front, he has learned not to get directly in my line of walking or he’ll get run over. It took two times for him to learn. So far, Mannie is not an incessant barker (except for Bocce Ball!). Millie is actually more of one and she’s not bad, so so far so good. We’ll deal with the barking if it becomes too much.

Overall, both Lynn and I are extremely happy with Mannie and the combination of Mannie and Millie. Having no kids at home makes the dogs more of a focal point for us, so its great to have two dogs that we enjoy and that get along with each other.

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