I mentioned my Plott Hounds in an article I wrote at Beautiful Wildlife Garden this morning, so I thought I’d take a moment to tell you about them here.
Plott Hounds are the state dog of South Carolina. They are also known as Tennessee Treeing Coon Hounds, because this breed has been bred to put raccoons (and bears) up a tree so that hunters could get them.
This “treeing” ability is quite nice, because neither of our Plotts thinks that other animals belong in their mouths (like our 3 cats). They like to chase. That is all the fun in the world to them.
Plott Hounds are always brindle, have a white blaze on their chest, white socks at their toes, and webbed feet.
Morgan came to us at 5 months old from a shelter in Pennsauken, NJ. I have to honestly say that I had never before heard of Plott Hounds, but she was chosen for us by Henry our 14 year old Beagle, who we adopted late in life (we were Henry’s senior assisted living facility).
Morgan will never be a show dog. She’s a lazy sitter and has lop-sided ears, but she’s a goofball and makes me laugh right out loud at some point every day.
Morgan is sweet and loving, and likes nothing more than to shower your face and hands with slobbery dog kisses. I was amazed and thrilled that she had no “issues.” All of our dogs have always been shelter dogs, and because many people should never be allowed to own dogs, these shelter dogs always have issues and idiosyncrasies.
But not Morgan. She adapted well and learned every lesson we set for her. A true joy to be around. Because Henry was so old, she learned very well that when we’re inside the house we snooze on our comfy dog beds. But when we go outside, all bets are off.
After Henry passed, Morgan wanted to play–and Plott Hound play is real wrasslin’! They like to run, and roll, and throw others around. But I could not play with Morgan this way. I’m just not able to run while having her take my knees out from under me.
So back to the shelter we went. This shelter is amazing in that they have a full-time dog trainer on staff, and we had hired him for personalized dog training for Morgan. We said to him that Morgan needed a companion who could play with her the way she wanted to play, a dog whose energy was similar to hers so that she would get what she needed (and my knees would be safe from her attempts to roll me).
Steve, the amazing and wonderful dog trainer told us that a dog had just been returned to the shelter that day because his humans didn’t know how to take care of him.
Issues. Otis had a lot of them when we first got him. He would submissive pee if we reached for him. He did not at all see people as friendly sources of love and affection. He was terrified–of us, of loud noises, basically of everything, except Morgan.
Steve told us that Otis would follow Morgan’s lead and that would help him gain some confidence. So we continued training, now with both dogs. We worked and worked and worked, and I’m happy to say that Otis now comes to us by his choice for pets on his furry little head. He’s excited when we come into the house. He lets us reach for him, knowing that means ear scratches, head rubs, belly scratches, etc. But this trust took a very long time to build.
Morgan and Otis are great birders–they don’t miss anything! And when they accompany me when I go out birding they sit patiently (for the most part) while I’m on a bird with my binoculars. But I’ve learned that if I watch Morgan and Otis to see what they’re looking at, I see a lot more birds.
They’re amazing to travel with. They know how to behave in someone else’s home, so we can take them with us no matter where we go. And they always get invited back.
But when we let them off lead, what they love to do more than anything else in the world is RUN! And it’s unbelievable how fast they are, especially Otis because his legs are much longer than Morgan’s.
And mixed in with the running they love to wrassle. We call this Dinosaur Dancing because they rear up on their back legs, throw each other around by the loose skin around their necks, roll each other on their backs. It’s Wrestle Mania at its best.
Personality wise, Morgan is bonded to people. She loves almost everyone she meets. And she loves affection. With other dogs though, she wants to be the boss, and this doesn’t always work out for her. But she’s learning how to get along, slowly but surely…..
Otis loves other dogs. He’s happiest when he’s at the park and can run and play with his other dog friends. He’s still not sure about other people, although he’s done much better lately (he’s been with us for two years now).
But for me, I wouldn’t trade my wrasslin’ Plott Hounds for anything!