Tuesday, April 10, 2012
The Two Dogs-- A Trainier's Expert Opinion
Kelly reacted to sharing her food, toys and me. Moses growled back. Again, I understand both sides. Sometimes they avoided each other, sometimes they played. Because Moses is so big, he sometimes played a bit rough for her. But not malicious. Kelly wasn't malicious either. She gave warning tussles, but never took it too far. I think she was just not used to sharing. Once she approached him and tentatively stuck out her little pink tongue and tried to groom him. He wanted no part of that. He was the boss!
When they were separated, they barked and whined. Did they want to be together or not? I was confused.
So the rescue group, which has been amazingly supportive, sent over their trainer. Cyd entered, prepared with a squirt bottle of water and a pocket full of tiny treats. We put the two dogs on leashes and watched them interact.
When Kelly approached Moses, Cyd talked to her in positive, upbeat tone. When Moses tried to mount Kelly, Cyd talked to him in positive upbeat tones. Cyd has a wonderful way about her. I love that she is not correcting, scolding and harsh. I can tell at once that she is in tune with the dogs. Cyd observed keenly, and came to these conclusions:
2. Kelly is dominant female
3. Kelly is protective of me
4. The house is on the small side and Moses is on the huge side, so it is hard for him to get away when they squabble.
5. Moses's mounting behavior shows that he wants to be dominant over Kelly
6. Moses will not submit to Kelly-- he won't roll over for her, or allow her to groom him
Cyd helped me understand the dogs' body language. She doesn't feel that they would hurt each other intentionally. But she does feel there is the potential for someone to get hurt, mainly because of the size difference, cramped quarters, and personalities. Would you recommend this match? we asked. "I think Kelly really needs a submissive male," she said.
She gave us some tips for working on the situation:
1. Separate them with a baby gate, so they can see and interact through the gate.
2. Take them on lots of walks together
3. Relax and talk positively.
Next time: How did it work out?