And yours sins will be punished.
This is Jess, available for adoption through our rescue. When her foster home mentioned she was going away for the long weekend and couldn’t bring Jess with her, I offered to puppysit.
I admit, I have been feeling a bit sorry for myself lately, what with my cute little puppy turning into a MONSTER of the panties-consuming variety. Not fair! I wanted a sweet little puppy with an average sized head
and no creepy fetishes. IOW, puppy lust – I had it.
ZOMG! Are all puppies like this little motormouthed, willful, obnoxious Destructo beast? With the exception of a couple of pooping-on-my-bed instances, Dexter was a very easy little puppy. He housetrained right away, slept through the night from day one, never chewed anything he shouldn’t have and always came when called – still does, mostly.
Jess, otoh, complains constantly about being crated – ALL NIGHT LONG – , decided not to poop for almost 48 hours and then left a shit-trail all around my house 20 seconds after taking her out for potties, runs away whenever I call her and has eaten two cords and dug a hole in the speaker of my antique cabinet record player. And she was only out of the XPen for like 20 minutes!
Dexter, I am sorry I thought another puppy would be better than you!
At first, Dexter hated her (as he hates all puppies) but every time he walked near her without making ugly face he got a liver cookie. In no time flat, he started thinking she was a cookie-magician, so he tried interacting with her in a positive way, which got him showered with MORE liver cookies. Then she spilled her food bowl and didn’t mind him cleaning up the mess, so he decided she was da bomb. Now she can drape herself all over him while he’s chewing on a bone and he doesn’t mind one bit. He even plays with her, which is sort of like watching Godzilla toy with butterfly, but gratifying nonetheless.
Ahh, the power of positive reinforcement, it’s a beautiful thing. When it works.
TWooie, otoh, was a much tougher nut to crack. At first, he didn’t seem to realize she was even a dog and was oblivious to her, totally. But once he figured out that she WAS a dog, he decided that he probably had to kill her. I think Kim would have been angry if she came back from vacation and found Jess’ corpse on TWooie’s dog bed, so I had to do something about this. Unfortunately, TWooie did not share Dexter’s world view of Jess as a Gateway To Treats, but rather as competition for yumyums, so rewarding him did not work at all.
Yesterday morning Jess and I happened to be walking past TWooie at the same time. He tried to bite her in the face, so I punched him in the face. Kidding, kidding! But I did tap him on the nose with two fingers and told him sternly that was QUITE enough of that. Now you must understand that I don’t ever so much as scold TWooie, much less bop him one – for one thing, the one time I gave him a light swat on the bottom with the Chuck-It for biting me in the pants, he chased me across my yard snarling at me. For another, if you raise your hand, TWooie falls to the floor cringing and hides his face. I don’t want TWooie to be scared of me so I make a point of always being extra gentle with him and always setting him up for success. So the bop on the nose was a real shocker for both of us.
But it worked. From that moment on, TWooie decided that if The Food Lady said Jess should be allowed to live, he’d acquiesce to my demands, and he has not so much as lifted a lip at her since.
Ahh, the power of punishment. When it works. My caveat here is that I do NOT think you should smack your dog for being dog-aggro and it’s not a method I recommend. It’s also not going to cure TWooie of his general hatred of other canines … it just happened to be a well timed event that shook up his world view a tiny bit. We continue to keep him out of most situations where his dog-aggression would pop up, and reinforce heavily for ‘good’ reactions, because I believe this is not only the kindest, but also the most effective, way to acclimate him to other dogs.
Like yesterday for example – one of my foster homes, Alison, came out for a dog walk with her new foster, Max.
Just kidding. The shelter said Max was surrendered as a border collie X English Shepherd. The ES I’ll buy, but the border collie – not so much.
Someone is going to be super lucky to adopt him!
TWooie stayed home for that walk, with a beef bone in his crate for company.
Tweed joined us, on leash of course, because his paw still hurts.
and he was just pouting away on the other end of the leash.
Two. More. Days.
Jess goes home tomorrow, and I will only miss her a tiny little bit ;-) Right now she sacked out, which makes her totally tolerable.
But I have to give her some credit for being the catalyst for another TWooie first – when we came home from our morning walk, she ran into the house and immediately claimed the big dog bed in the living room, the one called “TWoo’s Bed.” TWooie is a dog who likes his creature comforts and cannot be convinced to lay on anything so primitive as a mere floor. But no amount of coaxing could convince him to try out some human furniture either. And while TWooie is willing to allow Jess life, he’s not about to share a bed with her … so out of desperation, he climbed onto my sofa, made a nest in my heating blanket and is now snoring merrily away.
For all his challenges, I cannot tell you how happy it makes me to see TWooie become a little more like a real dog every day that he is with me. I feel blessed that I have the opportunity to help him become a less fearful, more well adjusted, normal member of this world.