Just watched my dogs play this morning

HandyMacJune 6, 2009

and realized how well they do together.

Max, our Alpha guard dog(GSD mix) is very dog aggressive. To get a pack mate, we let him pick.

Molly is a rescue whippet mix. She was the most abject pathetic dog I have come across in many years. Was scared of everything. Afraid to move on occasion.

Now, she chews on Max, jumps on top of him, runs under him, and in general bedevils him to distraction until I can exercise her. He just shrugs it off or plays with her.

It is an amazing and refreshing sight.

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Handymac, you and Max have given her a new life. Just curious - how did Max let you know that she was the one?

    Bookmark   June 6, 2009 at 7:34PM
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Handymac, my neighbor and I agree with you! We call it "The Dog Show" when our dogs play, because it is so entertaining.

They are similar to your dogs, in that one tends to be dog-agressive, the other, meek and passive. We always think it's funny that her alpha dog will sometimes roll over and let my dog jump on her, but maybe once the pack order is established, the alpha doesn't worry about appearances? In any case, it is great exercise for both of them, and we are touched by their affection for each other.

I am curious, too, how Max chose Molly?

    Bookmark   June 7, 2009 at 5:50AM
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I contacted several places---Humane Society/college with a vet tech program and an adoption service/local shelters to see if I could actually bring Max for a meeting.

Since Max(not the first guard dog I have owned/trained) is not neutered---all of those agencies would NOT even consider any such thing. Molly( as any other dog I own) was neutered within a week of her inclusion to our family.

Finally, a city shelter in a neighboring city agreed to my request.

We took Max to the shelter, and as he exited the van, his hackles came up, he began to crowl, went into the stalk mode and began looking for prey---he could hear dogs, but not see them. I took him for a short walk---to calm him and that is part of his training to negate the aggressiveness out of the yard. He calmed down and in we went. The staff came to greet us and immediately picked up on his mood. I told them to just ignore him until he relaxed---which took about five minutes. At which point, anyone could---and did---pet him.

We then selected three females for his reaction, and actually brought them, one by one, into the same room----keeping a distance of about 20 feet.

Number one was a black lab who was a real sweetheart---so eager to please it was heart wrenching. His reaction---nothing. At all---no reaction at all.

The second girl got a growl before she got completely through the door.

Molly was filthy, covered in urine since she cowered in the back corner in her own excretement, scared so bad she was locked up---would not walk, had to be literally drug across the floor.

Gotb through the door and Max's tail began to wag. Not much more reaction than that.

I had sort of rescued Max from the family who had him before---he was so Alpha, they could not control him and the city police were processing a Dangerous Animal warrent against them. So I had admired him and saw the potential---from a safe distance and took him. We had a very uneasy relationship until I convinced him I was more Alpha than he. In doing so, I never touched him for correction, never yelled, never even spoke other than a negative grunt and body language correction. Backing him into his room, and towering over him until he relaxed. So, from working with him for the four years prior to his meeting Molly, I knew a lot about his reactions and actions.

I was shocked---and thet is not something that happens to me often. The staffer was watching me and asked, "You ok?"

I remember saying, "This is a Cesar moment!"

She looked confused and I pointed at Max, whose tail was still wagging slowly---20 feet away. She said, "I guess that is a good sign."

I nodded, "He likes her. That is what I was hoping would happen---he would like one."

I would not have picked Molly to rescue. Too many issues---most severe being the total lack of self confidence and abject fear of almost everything. Working with a dog so aggressive that he was dangerous was apple pie easy compared to rehabilitating Molly. Her progress is more than i expected just 10 months later---partially to our willingness to adapt our daily life to include many of her needs and some due to Max.

I do have to kennel her when we are gone for more than an hour, and during the night. She is a young energetic dog and needs lots of exercise(whippet mix) and I am 62 and have trouble walking any distance. But, turns out she loves to chase soccer balls---so I kick them from one side of the yard to the other several times a day, which gives her the opportunity to reach full speed running.

And Max sometimes looks oddly at me when I talk to her, since he gets spoken to like I would speak to an employee---and I need to pump her up daily.

But, he really likes her, tolerating much more than I ever imagined. Sometimes reminds me of a wildlife film i once saw about the way lion cubs torment the pride leader.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2009 at 12:52AM
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What a nice story! Thank you!

    Bookmark   June 8, 2009 at 8:57PM
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