Duke the Dogge is one crazy-ass dog. We have two Scottish Terriers and they are exactly what you’d expect Scotties to be: stubborn, self-willed, dignified, and more than a little funny.

Duke is a mix of something Asian and something else. Everyone, including the vet, is fascinated with his potential DNA. It’s because he has that squishy Asian-dog face. Not the kind of face you find roaming the streets. You have to wonder what happened to create The Duke? Was it a chance backyard greeting that got out of hand? A back-seat love-in? Passion as one purebred met a wild and crazy mutt and now, there’s Duke?

Questions abound and unless my curiosity extends to DNA — around $75 last I checked — he will remain a mystery.

Taming him is a process. He is absolutely nothing like the Scotties. Dignity?  Not exactly.


First of all, he talks back. Also, he talks forward. He just plain talks. He used to watch us as we ate and bark frantically on the false belief that this would result in snacks. A couple of trips to the local lock-up (crate) and he decided that wasn’t working. He next tried snatching food from our hands, almost always resulting in Garry or me getting nipped. A few more trips to the crate and he is now quite civilized about the whole thing.

But sometimes, he just stands in front of me, stares me in the eyes, and barks. He keeps barking. I ask him “What do you want? I don’t have any food. What do you WANT?”

He keeps barking. Finally, with a look of frustration and disgust, he gives up and slumps onto the floor. Huffing. I think maybe he wants to play. Either that, or Timmy is stuck in the well and we should go save him.

He doesn’t chew the furniture except for the corner of one table. Doesn’t chomp shoes. Doesn’t break anything except his own head as he slides into walls with the crack of his skull hitting the furniture. He is slightly obsessed with balls, but even more obsessed with stuffy toys. He wants to play all the time and has taken our “sleep, eat, sleep, and eat some more” Scotties and taught them to play.

They play “King of the Hill” and “tug of war” and “Battle to Save the World.” All of which involves huge amounts of snarling, growling, yapping, tugging … but not bloodshed or even a pulled-out tuft of hair. From the sounds of battle, you’d swear there will be carnage, but nope. No carnage. Mutilated stuffies and sodden tennis balls … and the occasional sound of Duke sliding full tilt into the front of the TV cabinet.

He is also an impressive jumper. We have gates. They aren’t tiny little gates, either. We’ve had big dogs, little dogs, and medium dogs. Now, we have Leaping Dog. He flies over the gates as if they were not there.

We do not sleep with the dogs. I have more than enough trouble sleeping without help … and the asthma is bad without more hair in the bed, so we say good night and the dogs — until Duke — snuggled into the sofa until we can be awakened and persuaded to open the vaults in which the doggy treats are stored.


Duke, however, is convinced that one day, I will take him to bed with us. I go into the hallway. He leaps the fence and follows me to the door. I gave up telling him to go back to the living room because he’ll jump the fence outward, then jump back in again. So, I pat him on the head and he curls up at the door.


I’ve considered getting him his own bed, but there is no reason he can’t sack out on a sofa like the other kids. Besides, if I put one more thing in the hallway, I will fall down and break my head.

Duke is slowly but surely taming down into a house pet. He is lively to the point of insane and has more energy in an hour than I have in half a year … or maybe a whole year … but I see it. He takes the biscuit and doesn’t take the tips of my fingers with it. After some unpleasantness from me, Garry, and Gibbs who does not like being nipped (and a full-size Scottish Terrier who is pissed may not move fast, but can be quite relentless), he has decided to wait his turn. Like the others.

He sits and looks out the window, plays in the yard, sometimes trying to drag something the size of a small tree in through the doggy door and occasionally succeeding.

Smart fellow. Smarter than the average dog and a pretty tough character, too.

He makes us crazy. He makes us laugh. He gets the Bonnie and Gibbs to run around and play. He has livened up us and the other dogs … and provided a layer of white hair on absolutely everything. He’s our boy.

Duke. The Dogge.

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Writer, photography, blogger. Previously, technical writer. I am retired and delighted to be so. May I live long and write frequently.

43 thoughts on “TAMING THE DUKE”

    1. You may be right. He is the flying dog who talks. The problem isn’t that HE doesn’t know what he is saying. HE knows. It me who doesn’t get it. You can see the look of disgust when I have obviously missed his point. “People,” he’s thinking. “So DUMB.”

      Liked by 3 people

  1. He reminds me of those kids we knew when we were kids ourselves; always a little bit in trouble, always just climbing IN or climbing OUT, the kind that teachers shake their heads over, and Uncle Louis says, that kid’s either gonna be in jail or politics by the time he’s 20…
    They know when they’ve gone too far, and smile that amazing smile and you melt and get them cookies.

    He’s adorable. I suspect he’ll settle down even more, over the next year or two. now that he knows you have boundaries and stick to them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He is smart enough to get the point pretty fast. And he knows when he has crossed a line. These days, he just heads for the crate. But he really has livened up our lives and even though he sometimes makes me crazy, he’s a great little pooch. I think he may be the next president.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. He’s a wild and crazy guy. He just went into hyper overdrive mode, circling the living room at supersonic speed and bouncing off the walls. He doesn’t do it often, but wow, what a MOVER. Garry was trying to slow him down and I was trying not to giggle as he’s saying “Duke, you have to calm down” and Duke is speeding past at 100 miles an hour. You GO Duke!

      Liked by 2 people

        1. If he hadn’t stopped when Garry grabbed his collar, I think ours would have fallen down, too. I don’t know what gets into him when he does that. I’m grateful I have almost anything breakable in cabinets or up high on the mantel … but there are few nice things on lower part of a table which has a glass top. He hasn’t crashed into it yet, but it’s just a matter of time.

          Liked by 1 person

                1. All my dogs have settled down at around 2 years. You just have to breathe deeply and deal with the puppy crazies. Actually, I think he is at the peak of puppy craziness. At this point, they are physically almost full grown, but mentally, they are doggish toddlers. He is beginning to fill out a bit, too. A little less rangy, a little fuller in the chest. He probably won’t be able to fly forever, either.

                  Liked by 1 person

      1. Have you tried barking back??? 🙂

        He’s probably noticed that people ‘bark’ to each other and seem to be paying one another attention when they do (even though they probably aren’t!) and like all kids – he just wants to get human attention. 😉

        Actually…. HAVE you checked the well????



  2. Duke sounds like a wonderful addition to the sedate Armstrong family. His enthusiasm, energy and joie are contagious. The other dogs are playing and you are smiling through your days with him. You seem to have tamed his worst habits, Now just go with the doggie flow and enjoy!


    1. His real — big — problem is that he want all of our attention all the time. If we reach to pet another dog, he pretty much body blocks us. He has been known to block the doggy door so the other guys can’t come in, too. A friend reminded us that he had tow owners before us and you can’t discount what came before.

      I don’t discount it, but I really don’t know what happened. Not like they are going to tell us. We are working with him. We tried the gentle, talking to him way. Then we tried yelling louder. Finally, we returned to the good old crate “time out” and that does work. I don’t like to keep him in the crate more than a few minutes, so as soon as he shows he probably has figured out that we want him to stop charging around the room like a train out of control … while barking continuously … he can rejoin us.

      It’s like having a really rambunctious toddler!


  3. I have always been owned by LARGE dogs. Anyone who tells you there isn’t a difference between small & large dogs, just hasn’t gone from one to another. My Jack is a wild child and hasn’t slowed down in 5 years, He’s harder to train, slower to obey, and he’s SMART…really smart. He has me trained very well. lol


    1. I’ve owned big dogs — a few VERY big dogs. Medium dogs. Small dogs. No tiny dogs. Not that I have anything against tiny, but they look too breakable for me.

      Honestly, I didn’t notice a huge difference between my big dogs and my little dogs, but I suspect that has more to do with the type of dogs they were than their sizes. I tend towards dogs that have a lot of attitude — hunting dogs, hounds, terriers. None of these are guard dogs and they were all bred to make their own decision out in the field, so they were and are in the habit of arguing every point. It is their nature to do that because they do their work often far from a person. Which makes them difficult to train. Not impossible — it’s just that they are hard-headed.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks for the info. Jack is a Min-Pin Shepherd mix…we think. He is fearless, very territorial and not ANY other animal (except Sookie) friendly…a new experience for me. I’ve never had a dog I couldn’t take with me anywhere, including play dates with other dogs. He is my adored, nasty, fat boy. lol


        1. Min-pins are another small dog with some serious attitude. They are really terriers, you know. There is nothing more attitudinal than terriers. We can’t take Gibbs anywhere because he freaks out in crowds. We can’t take Duke anywhere because he’s poorly behaved and I can’t trust him. Bonnie is fine, but … well … we don’t really train our dogs exactly. We hang out with them, but trained? Not exactly. Housebroken. Not vicious. But they lack company manners.

          Liked by 1 person

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