Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Ridley meets more of the family

Little Ridley met two more family members today: Roya and her son, Bart. Roya is Cooper's mother and Bart is a full brother, from a previous litter. Because she had not been exposed to other dogs and seemed suspicious of their intentions, I have carefully introduced Ridley to new adult dogs whom I know will be good with her. It wouldn't do at all to have her meet a new dog who acts aggressively toward her and reinforces her opinions, so I do not take her into pet stores or (never, never, never!) to a dog park. If all goes well, she will learn how to understand and speak appropriate dog body language and will not react aggressively.

She met Cooper and adores him. Next she met Arec, the Small Munsterlander and she likes him, too. He outruns her and doesn't play like Cooper does with her, so she doesn't find him quite as intriguing. Cooper runs in circles around her, engaging her to play. She met Pre, a young male malinois, within days of coming home and his enthusiasm was too much for her! He threw himself into an exhuberant play bow and when his front legs slapped the ground, she gave a shrill little half-bark, half-shriek. She was brave enough to follow when he moved away, but the face to face was a wee bit much for her at that time. Still, he was not aggressive toward her in any way that would leave her with a bad impression.

So today it was time to broaden her horizons and meet two more adult dogs. Ridley lacked exposure with adults, and if she does not learn how to respect them and respond properly she may start unintended fights. The time to learn those lessons is before she is big enough to fight rather than submit. Roya is a wonderfully patient teacher of puppies. Bart doesn't have a mean bone in his body. Ridley accompanied me to the kennel, where I let Roya and Bart out. They came tearing out into the grass, chasing and leaping and Ridley jumped right in. She did not show the hesitancy that she originally did when meeting new dogs, so that is good.

I took the gang of three for a walk (me: walk, them: run, run run!) around the property. Ridley chased them both, and jumped on their heads when she had the chance. I was surprised with Roya's patience, as Ridley made growly puppy noises and bit at her.

Apparently it did not cross the threshold to requiring action, Roya ignored it and Ridley stopped. Go figure. I have seen Roya squash devil puppy antics by pushing her shoulder into them and laying on them until they cease resistance, and I watched Cooper do the same thing to Ridley last week. But today, Ridley was allowed to be a puppy and none of her behavior rose to the level of correction. I called the three of them to me and fed them and also threw food on the ground. Wisely, Ridley did not attempt to guard the food or challenge the big dogs for it. And the big dogs both knew this striped squirt was no threat, so they just ate what they wanted.

It was a good walk, and a good lesson for Ridley.