Jomo turns 2 today. Jomo is our American Bulldog-Bandogge Mastiff mix. The first puppy Justin and I ever got together, the first puppy the boys have ever had. We also have Whiskey, my Chocolate Lab who just turned 10 and I've had since she was barely 8 weeks old, but this is about Jomo.
Jomo is named after Starr Hill Brewing Company's Jomo Lager. A good beer from a good microbrewery. Since Whiskey is named Whiskey (although not after the booze, after a song actually), and since we like good beer, Jomo was named after a beer.
When we were looking at getting him we were worried about the possibility of him being aggressive. After all, we had a 4 year old & a 1 1/2 year old at the time. Aggressive and mean dogs are something I have never and will never own.
So, I did LOTS of research into the breeds he comes from. Anyone who knows me knows that when I start trying to research into something I become quite obsessive. Not necessarily a bad thing, but I am sure I annoy the daylights out of people who have to listen to my one-topic obsessed ramblings. Turns out his breeds, while good at guarding, are also very family-friendly. At one point in history the American Bulldog was America's favorite breed of dog. His breeds were bred to be able to take a man off a horse in combat, take down and hold a bull (or pig, etc) on the farm, and so on. It's said that they have a very impressive ability to know when a situation is fun & playful and when there is danger. That they're very loyal to families and good with kids. The girl we got him from also assured us how good his parents were.
~ Jomo the Vicious, weighing in at approx. 80 pounds, being held like a baby by Justin on 2/25/2010~
Turns out, Jomo is a chicken shit. When we brought him home he was scared of the hardwood floors. Seriously. Terrified of them. Then it was the tv. Now it is anything new or unusual in general.
We got a new floor lamp, Jomo barked at it, growled, and ran away. Bacon sizzling on the stove?? Wouldn't come inside (there is a door leading out of our kitchen to the back hallway & then outside) for over 10 minutes. When he did, he ran and jumped on one of our friends, trying to get her to hold him.
Took Tristan's toddler bed apart yesterday and had it sitting in the front room. Jomo spotted it. Bark, growl, run away. Justin's brother Matt was over for dinner last night. He had been here for 20 minutes when he suddenly sneezed. Bark, growl, run away. Shannon's drum teacher, who is also a good friend of ours, comes over. That's ok. He wears a hat, lets down his hair, or wears a new jacket? Bark, growl, run away.
~Getting a kiss from Jason. Oh yea, this dog is blood thirsty~
We've learned to leave the back door open for Jomo to run outside when new people come over. He is scared and wants to retreat. When cornered, as he has accidentally been before, he pees everywhere.
The tricky part is trying to convince people he's a nice dog. That he isn't going to go Cujo and rip their faces off. If you don't know him he tends to look mean. Once you know him at all, all you can see is him being a baby. Seriously, the dog is 80 pounds and thinks he is a lap dog, wants to be held whenever there is anything "scary" around him.
I talked to the vet about Jomo's anxiety. His response? 1) "That is the last dog that you'd expect to be scared of anything. He just doesn't look like anything would scare him." 2) Anxiety Medication. ---- The dog needs Valium. We've already chopped off his balls (well, we didn't personally do it!), and now you want to put him on anxiety meds?!?
We opted for some all natural Bach's Rescue Remedy for anxiety. We're also working on socializing him more.
However, when people come over we do tend to lock him in the other room. He senses when people are scared of him and that makes him more ancy and anxious. We don't want company to feel worried or ill at ease. Plus, he does growl and we don't want to risk that he might ever decide to nip.
So this is our adventure with Jomo. A dog that looks mean but isn't. I do think he would protect us if the house were to be broken into, but other than that he is scared of EVERYTHING. He is the Cowardly Lion of dogs.
Happy 2nd Birthday Jomo.