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All About Briggs

Posted October 23rd, 2019 at 10:49 AM by CiCi
Updated October 23rd, 2019 at 10:33 PM by CiCi


Briggs is our rescue Black Mouth Cur. We don't know much about his past other than his previous owner had him since he was a puppy and veterinarians thought he may have been a Saint Bernard and Great Dane mix, until he grew into his patterns and body style. DNA tests confirm his breed.
3 1/2 years
X-Large, 85 lbs, 29 inches at shoulder

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Briggs is a stubborn, prey-driven, classic Black Mouth Cur. He's very friendly towards people and other dogs and often likes to place his head in people's laps. In the mornings, he lets me know when it's time to get up by laying his head across the bed and shoving his cold, wet nose into my shoulder and face. If he doesn't get let out for a morning jog, he has a rambunctious energy that often involved him trying to chase the cats. Due to his high prey drive, he is obsessed with our turtle and lizard, and can often be seen staring at them when they're going about their day.

If he does get his run, however, he's a couch potato and is happy to lounge around in the house and nap until his next run in the afternoon. He doesn't have separation anxiety like most people seemed to think. Instead, he simply gets bored very easily and will destroy things to find a "job" for himself. To counteract this, when we're not home, we have to put away our trash can, clean up the sink, put the cats away, and give him peanut butter toys to keep his mind busy. Luckily, I work from home and only need to leave every now and again for the store or the rare times I go out for fun.

Briggs is a very intelligent dog. When combined with his stubbornness, he is very difficult to train and can only be in training sessions several times a day for short, less than 5 minute spurts before he gets bored and stops participating, quite like a kid in school who rarely pays attention and gets poor grades because nothing can keep his mind.

Having only had Briggs for a month, I'm still learning new things about him every day. So who knows, maybe one day I'll have to post another blog, giving an All About Briggs update.

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Showing off how large he is.

Briggs is very food motivated, to a fault. When there's food involved, he gets so intent on the food that he will ignore commands. So Briggs is another that requires a different sort of reinforcement; much like Cocoa, he gets praise. Unlike Cocoa, he needs very deadpan praise, otherwise he'll get too rambunctious and forget the command. Not to mention, he's very stubborn, so while he's smart, it takes a long time for him to get commands. We've had him for a month and he hasn't learned all of the basics yet, but he's getting there.

No (which means to stop whatever he's doing)
Okay (his release from "wait")
Off (as in off the couch or bed or what have you)
Out (as in out of the room)
Paw (which took two weeks for him to finally learn because he didn't want to learn it)
Leave it
Bed (to go lay on bed)

Jump (to jump over obstacles)
Find (to find food I've hidden)

He is in the process of learning heel, drop, and high five currently. Briggs knows words like peanut butter and outside, though doesn't have a grasp on much else for the moment. He does not fetch nor play with toys, with the exception of squeaky and crinkle toys, which he'll only play with for a few minutes pretty rarely. Briggs likes to chew on naturally shed antlers that we purchase as chew toys due to their durability, nutritional value, and lack of much splintering.

Briggs came from a loving house with a woman who lived on a farm. She tried to keep Briggs in one of those crappy outdoor kennels where she learned that Briggs can jump and climb 8 ft fences. Briggs often escaped and would run off to get into trouble. He wound up killing several of their neighbor's chickens, which surprised even the owner since he was always good with her chickens, and that was the last straw. Briggs was sent to the shelter afterwards but the owner kept in contact with the shelter since she is friends with employees there.

A previous adopter had Briggs for about 12 hours or so before bringing him back due to anxiety. Which is stupid because of course a dog is going to have anxiety during that time. Unfortunately, because of this, Briggs was put on anxiety medicine to help future adopters. Luckily, I was the next adopter, though he didn't enjoy the first few days due to needing a shutdown period (in which he was kept in our cleared out office) because we have several other animals, including cats.

Briggs destroyed our office space - ripping up the carpet, tearing the blinds, destroying our wall - and we realized he needed to be on a short leash near us instead. This destruction occurred in spurts of about an hour at a time during the day (where we rotated him and Cocoa, putting the cats in the basement when Briggs was out) and all throughout the night where he brayed and scratched the walls and kept us awake. 4 days later, we integrated him more fully into our home and let him sleep in our bedroom with us and Cocoa, and he's not had anxiety problems ever since. He slept for almost 3 straight days after all of this.

Other information:
People looking at his pictures may notice his skeletal head and sunken in eyes, alongside a small scar on the left side of his muzzle. During one of his escapes, he seems to have been bitten or scratched by another animal, which lead to inflammation and nerve damage of the muscles around his head. An immune response caused the muscle wasting you see. It's not dangerous or harmful in any way, though it does make him chew on antlers less often than Cocoa due to his jaw getting tired faster.

Briggs needs activities to keep him busy. Much like what I do with Cocoa, his feeding time is often given in tandem with puzzle toys or fun games. He loves to nose out kibble that I hide around the house or push his specialized Kong around, where the kibble falls out of a small hole. Briggs also enjoys having his wet food stuffed into Kongs or smeared around the back of cupcake tins where he has to work to get it all out.

Like Cocoa, Briggs has been trained to get his teeth brushed near daily.

Not only are we lucky to have found such an interesting, rare pup, he's lucky to have found us. We were his last chance before he was stuck at the shelter forever. Due to his size and his escaping, not many people wanted to give him a chance. Here's to many more years with our handsome (handful) Briggs!

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  1. Old Comment
    You have adorable pets.
    Posted October 26th, 2019 at 10:13 AM by
  2. Old Comment
    CiCi's Avatar
    Originally Posted by Black View Comment
    You have adorable pets.
    Thank you! :D They're all certainly something, haha
    Posted October 28th, 2019 at 9:19 AM by CiCi CiCi is offline