Sunday, December 12, 2010

Guess Who's Coming To Dinner

What is the first thing I wanted Shaker to learn from another dog?

In her book Animals In Translation Dr. Temple Grandin impressed upon us how strong an emotion fear is.

Shaker is comfortable enough in his dysfunction that he could identify the weak to terrorize. It stands to reason that the bigger stronger dogs still scare him even if he hasn’t been attacked again.

1st Rehab step was to teach Shaker he can be safe with a big tough dog.

We needed: a female (transgender is always the better starting point) a good solid girl who likes to play hard, one who can always win but won’t.

Our last Rottweiler died of old age in 1999. I am a big fan of rotts, so I called my friend Patty at Recycled Rotts. After toying with the idea of fostering rotts for ages, this seemed like the perfect time.

A lovely girl named Cassie, who hated car rides, needed a foster home. We introduced them in the dog park. They ran and played. We all came into our yard where they played some more.

Everything went great until we walked into the house. No other dog had been in his house since his return in spring. Shaker’s signals were clear; he didn’t like her in the house.

Cassie didn’t care what Shaker thought, she was in the house. Shaker circled her on stiff legs as she investigated her new home. Suddenly she turned to face Shaker. Her hackles went up. This meant enough of your shit buddy.

I put both dogs outside to work it out. Let the whizzing begin. Cassie urinated, Shaker covered it. This went on for a bit and then they were playing again.

Time to feed the doggies, now, you know that had to be fun. Both dogs held their sits while I scooped out the food. I knew I could get Shaker to wait, so I fed Cassie first introducing her to her spot to be fed.

What the hell did she care; Cassie ran over to Shaker’s dish. Shaker’s reaction was shock and growl. Quickly I had the girl back where she belonged. The remainder of our first night went without incident.

1 comment:

  1. Honestly before this post I was pondering the effects of male male vs. male female or female female confrontations. Made me chuckle when your thoughts went a little the same direction.

    My question, do you think Shaker's original incident would have been different if a female would have been the attacker? Before the incident he treated the females much differently than the male here. He already had it worked out how far he could go with them and had a very great respect. On the other hand, with the male, because interactions were closely monitored he never was able to safely work that out. I know he had experiences with other males before wintering here. Just wonder if more of his dog education was with girls? Also in my opinion a lot of males neutered young tend to act more like bitches than dogs. Did he have much education with intact males?

    I think you've mentioned his bullying is of males or females. What about his fear? Dogs he shows discomfort with? Ever female?

    Is he more comfortable with a girl around?

    My girls definitely rule the roost. The boys coexist but definitely abide by the girls rules. Seems the same thing goes on on the island. I've always learned that dogs need leadership and a dog in a leadership role is typically more stressed. I wonder if Shaker has a girl around that he is familiar with if he worries less/bullies less? Just a thought. Does he look to her for guidance? If she is not afraid or unsettled would it encourage his confidence?