Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Doggie Room-mates: Day 4


These past few days have been interesting since Wilson and I have left home. If I ever wanted a small taste into what the foster world is like I now have it! Dog to dog living situations where one acts like a big mean -pardon my french- asshat has been interesting. It's also been a big learning experience for me too, wonder what else I'll experience with Wilson during my month living with two and four legged room-mates. So to blogger friends that are interested in reading how Wilson's first doggies room-mate living situation is going, here are some things I have realized and learnt.

1. Wilson really really likes cats.

I mean more then I thought he did. He has no problem at all with my friends cat, he was all ready to playplayplayplayplayplay once he realized that this black and brown thing was in fact JUST like his white, grey and tan Mindy-cat back home. It took the cat until today to start to understand Wilson's body language since Wilson tries to initiate play differently then Dexter does.

I wish I had my camera out on the first day cause Lennon (my friends cat) pranced right up to Wilson and kind of wrapped a paw across his back and Wilson just rolled over onto his back and let Lennon climb all over him and start gently chewing on his fur until I picked Lennon off him. My only thoughts where my dog is so cute and that cat is strange...very strange....

2. Dexter get very very excited, and an excited determined Dexter can jump over a baby-gate.

ugh...there goes any plan I had with the baby gates...They are almost pointless where Dexter is concerned

3. Wilson thinks he's my right hand man when it comes to the rules.

When I tell Dexter to do something like 'get off the couch' or 'go away' Wilson magically appears out of no where and does the whole "Yeahyouheardwhatshesaid, yeahyeahyeahyeah get down boyo" just with a lot more snarling and snapping. He also snaps and growls at Dexter if Dexter tries to play with the cat, makes any kind of sudden move or comes into the space between the couch and the living-room table. Which then leads me to realization number four

4. I don't have as much patience as I thought I do.

On the first and second day I almost wanted to pull all my hair out, scream, yell. You know, that whole tantrum thing, every time Wilson started his crazy barking spree. Thankfully I did not - ish, but still I need to work on myself a bit more to be more calm cause I know Wilson feeds of my feelings.

5. The corner method that people use on children works wonders with dogs as well.

On the third day I remembered something that I had read and decided to spin the idea a bit. Next time Wilson did his growl thing at Dexter for no good reason (If he barked at Dexter cause he was all up in Wilson's face then I'm not going to punish Wilson) I will grab his collar and lead him over to a door just in the other room where I will have a leash tied up and clipped him to it and walked back into the living room and start chatting with my friends like nothing happened.

And so Wilson didn't like it cause he wasn't included in the whole happy socializing fun time but he could hear and see it and after the third time of him snapping at Dexter and getting punished so, he then started to realize that every time he did something to the other dog he would just put 'in the corner'. Like magic the number of growly threats against Dexter decreased. At this point he is still doing it occasionally but now I don't feel ready to rip my hair out or die of shame because I have an ill mannered dog.

6. Bribery works.

Wilson hates men, and I'm staying with a happy married couple at the moment. The best way of dealing with his man hate that I could think of was to give my friends husband a ton of Wilson's favorite treats and I told him that he can be as free with those treats as he wanted. His mission was to bride and spoil his way into Wilson's good graces. My friends husband is to never reinforce the rules that I have set for Wilson, share those treat with Wilson at random and not look into his eye's for a while. Me and my friend will be the one that will enforce the doggie rules, not him. Nop.

7. (and this one kinda makes me laugh) Whenever I use my positive, happy rewarding voice on one dog the other one comes running over thinking all my "good jobs" are for him. This makes rewarding either dog for good behavior frustrating, tricky and down right amusing at times.

So now here I am at the end of day 4, sitting on the couch with my best friend as she crocheting away. Her husband is playing a video game, all is quiet with the animals all laying around the living room sleeping. The cat on the computer chair, Dexter by my friends feet (in that space that Wilson had attempted to claim a few days ago) and Wilson is laying up against the wall about four feet from Dexter. He's ok when my friend's husband stands up or goes to do something, half the time he follows behind him with his tail wagging and a crazy OMG PLEASE GOVE ME GOODIES look in his eyes. Dexter can walk by Wilson half the time without Wilson loosing it, and I can see that Dexter is a bit relieved about this fact (Heck, I would be too!). Wilson and the cat had a big communication break through this morning and have had a few spurts of running, pouncing, paw batting play that they both seem to enjoy. Will this calm last is the question now.

Anyways, thanks for reading my long post. Any suggestions, questions or comments are always welcome!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Static: It happens to dogs too.

His 'fly away' ear hair was MUCH worse before I got my camera out!
Anyways I also wanted to say thank you to those that commented on this post.
Your words have given me confidence in introducing Wilson to his new doggie room-mate!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Wilson and his soon to be doggie roomie

A few of you know that I'm taking a Library technician diploma (shocking I know considering my poor grammar lol) and for a part of this program I have to spend a month working in a library to gain hands on experience. So what did I do? I decided to pick a library out of town. My friends that live there have offered me a room to stay in AND I can bring my Willy-billy with me. They also have a cat and a dog.

Meet Dexter, a 3 and a half year old poodle mix.

Wilson and Dexter have meet a few times before, Dexter has been over at the house and is an honorary member of the Woofle Pack- meaning whenever he's in town with his owners they come out with us to the dog park.

I foresee a lot of work considering Wilson has dog issues, but aside from Cookie I know that Dexter is the next best dog to use in regards to Wilson. Dexter just doesn't care if Wilson's barking in his face or not, he just wants to play and if Wilson doesn't want to play then he'll go off and do his own thing. I know this cause of a few times when Dexter was over at our house, aside from Wilson barking at him lots nothing else happened.

Since Wilson will be moving into Dexters home though I have been reading up on how to introduce dogs that have dog issues just in case. I figure that I would be prepared and do this the right way,because even if Dexters go with the flow at my house doesn't mean he will be in his.

Anyways, the following is what I plan on doing to make sure things go as smoothly as possible and leave both dogs with good experiences.

  • When I get there I'll take both dogs on a walk to get them reacquainted with each other on neutral ground.
  • I'll let Wilson explore the house without Dexter around so he can look about this strange new setting.
  • I plan on bringing baby gates to use to separate them so they can see,hear and smell each other but not touch.
  • Wilson will be staying in my room when I am not home, there will be no dog to dog interaction if I'm not there to supervise.
  • I plan on keeping a leash on Wilson once the baby gates are down so that way I have some control by holding onto the leash. That way if I can see a problem about to start I can pick up the leash and walk away from Dexter with Wilson. The leash will be removed if Wilson/Dexter behaves.
  • I'll remove all items that they can fight over such food or much beloved toys from the area where they will be when together.
  • And of course reward good behavior and habits from both dogs!

If you have any more suggestions for what I should do or if you think there might be a problem with one of my strategies then please let me know. Even if its a story from your experience with doggie meetings! I just want this to work out as best as possible for both dogs!