Meet Moxie, our giant schnoodle. If you would have told me a year ago that I would be selling my chickens and buying a puppy to train for service, I would have turned my head to the side for a dramatic spit take, laughed hysterically and then maybe started crying at the idea. Growing up I helped train my puppy and I learned quickly that getting a puppy and training it to be a well-behaved dog is so.much.work and something I wouldn’t be doing until I was absolutely ready. I have sworn up and down that we were not getting a dog until my youngest was old enough to be self-sufficient (so like 12) and really didn’t see getting a dog in our future for quite some time.
And then everything happened and for some reason I just could not put to rest that we needed to look into a diabetic alert dog. You guys, I don’t know and I hope with everything that this is some sort of divine revelation and not just me going absolutely nuts. With the stress and madness of our lives right now it just seems like not the best time to get a puppy but I could not put it to rest. I tried. After a few days of research I quickly realized that buying an already trained d.a.d. was 100% impossible for our situation but buying a puppy and training her ourselves seemed a little more like what we could do. I spent a few weeks doing more research and we started looking at dogs. I looked at the rescues here and at the pound. I am unfortunately allergic to EVERTHING and the more time I spent around the standard service breeds (german shepherds, labs, golden retrievers) the more I realized that we just couldn’t have one living in our house full time if I didn’t want to be on allergy meds 24/7.
At one point I started researching Giant Schnauzers and they just stood out to me. I don’t know what it was about them but I felt really drawn to the idea of a giant schnauzer. They’re a good breed for a service dog, they’re hypoallergenic and super smart. We also kept coming back to the idea of getting a poodle for the same reason but both of us just couldn’t get on board with a straight up standard poodle. We know a few poodles and poodle mixes that we absolutely love and we love how smart and personable they are.
While perusing some more and feeling very conflicted at the idea of this to the point of thinking that I’d really finally lost all of my marbles, I stumbled upon a listing for giant schnoodles. I called the kennel and asked her a long list of questions-had her dogs trained for service before? What was their temperament like? How were they with children? How often did we need to groom them? How socialized were they? All of her answers were good-her puppies had gone on to train for service successfully, they spend time with children regularly already, and they have excellent temperament. She had only one schnoodle left-an all black female ready to go to her new home (which is exactly what we wanted).
This was the weekend before the eclipse and Sunday Jon looked at me with pleading sadness in his eyes because we were in St George and not in Idaho Falls to see it. We had been planning on going and then decided to stay because of everything that was going on and he was really sad to be missing totality. I told him to jump in his car and just drive up to Idaho Falls. He could even go meet this puppy on his way up and see if we really want her (she was in Northern Utah). With those same pleading eyes he said “what if you all just came with me?”
In the next hour we loaded up the girls, the fox, the diabetes, the jammies and the tablet in the minivan and set out for Idaho. We stopped by the kennel on the way and fell hard and fast for the sweetest jet black fluffball of a puppy you’ve ever seen. We got to meet both of her parents, her other dog friends and see pups of her same breed that were only 2 weeks old (squeal!). So we got her. We got a puppy.
We immediately drove her back to Salt Lake and dropped her off with the Benson’s and Chloie (their adorable poodle mix) promptly started training her while we ran up to Idaho Falls to see the eclipse (which was amazing and completely worth seeing in totality even though traffic coming home was absolutely insane). We picked her up on our way home and we’ve been watching Cesar 911 and dog whisperer on repeat ever since. (I seriously love this book by him!) We named her Moxie because she has a lot of it and we listened to Of Mess and Moxie (go read or listen to it, you will thank me) the entire drive there and back so it was just fitting.
Soon after coming home I re-homed my birdies and cried. They went to a woman that is spoiling them rotten and I know they are happy and that made it so much easier to do. I just couldn’t handle keeping so many living things alive and with training Moxie and telling her no as much as we do I just couldn’t imagine working on teaching her not to eat chickens. It was just too much.
Last week we started puppy kindergarten and we’re on the road to service dog training. Hopefully by the end of training Moxie will be a fully trained and certified service dog and diabetic alert dog-able to tell us when Stella is too high or too low and help assist her and us in getting help if we need to. We’ll be able to take her anywhere we go and could even push to send her to school with Stella if we wanted (I’m not interested in going that far). I am currently working with a trainer here in St George for the service dog portion of her training but I would LOVE to have some help with the diabetic alert training (they have courses online, but I would love to actually work with a person!) so if you know anyone in Southern Utah that works with dogs, specifically for diabetes, get at me!
So far she is smart, sweet and lovey. We just need to get her to stop nipping and nibbling on the children! She and Fox love each other and I often feel like I have two puppies. He throws food on the floor for her during meals and she brings him shoes to chew on while they crawl around getting into stuff. I keep telling myself it’s a blessing we’re getting them both through this phase at the same time, right? Right? Tell me I’m not crazy because I feel crazy, even though she’s really a good pup. She has already doubled in size since we got her and I’m kind of excited to see how big she gets because she’s going to be a big girl…and also a little worried because she’s going to be able to rest her face on our counter top and if I don’t get her trained she will absolutely eat/destroy everything she can get her paws on up there. Pray for us?
And if you’ve ever trained a pup, what is your BEST advice for us as new puppy parents with children? I need to know all the things.