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!


Rebecka Carroll said...

" My only thoughts where my dog is so cute and that cat is strange...very strange...."


Mindy is missing her Wilson.

Anonymous said...

So far so good. I like the fact that you used the "corner punishment" It was a good idea. As for the snacks, you need to get Wilson alone, even if it's just in another room or outside when it's just you and the puppy-dog.
But best of luck and keep up posted. I'm sure Wilson will eventually calm down and start to get more relaxed around everybody and won't feel so insecure.

Sandra said...

So glad to hear that Wilson is starting to settle into his new environment. The first few days are always very stressful. When we first moved in with my sister, her husband, her two dogs and her one foster I was about ready to make myself bald. It was not my best moment to say the least. But with time, lots of patience, and lots more training, we are now one big happy family. I'm sending you all super good thoughts!

Sandra, flash, alven, dottie

Wendy @ iwuvwes.wuvtags.com said...

Love the corner idea. And YES, I know exactly what you're talking about; when you want to train (reward) one for doing something... and the other APPEARS with a "What, don't *I* get a treat, too?" face. Uh huh.

Carrie, with Tanner and Oliver said...

I enjoyed this tremendously as primarily what I do at All Things Dog Blog is write about solutions for everyday problems involving life with dogs and other pets. I could have loads of fun with this, but I'll wait.

Next weekend while I'm playing on this hop, I'll also be hosting one at my blog. I'd love to have you join in to help homeless bunny friends find furever homes. Check it out http://www.allthingsdogblog.com/2011/04/easter-rabbit-adoptathon-blog-hop.html