Dog Update: Four Weeks In

8 Oct

We’re still letting Mosley bark freely at the neighborhood teenagers. That’s bad, isn’t it?

So, in other interesting news, all that advice about showing him who’s boss? Doesn’t work for this dog. This dog wants love, not authority. In the last two weeks, he’s fallen almost as much in love with Andrew as with me. Because Andrew decided to start getting down on the dog’s level, hugging him, talking softly to him instead of trying to provide the structure that’s supposed to soothe his pack instincts. As usual, hierarchical behavior is overrated.

So, let’s see, what’s up? We’ve lost count of the number of times Mosley has caught his frisbee in mid-air. Neither of us has lost any more shoes to dog bombs. Mosley goes to bed happily, in his den (our library) every night between 11:00 and midnight. Last night he went outside for his before-bed business and got tucked into bed without me. The cats will sniff his nose and paws at length and hang out near him, but I wouldn’t call anybody friends yet. But Mosley sure wants to be their friend. When he sees them, he gets very quiet and gentle, wags his tail slightly, sniffs them back. A couple of times the mutual sniffing has freaked one of them, Griffin, completely out, and he’s taken off running. Know what a dog does when you run from it? So that hasn’t been particularly helpful. Still, there’ve been a number of evenings when we’ve all hung out in the same room together, both cats, the dog, Andrew, and I. Considering that our house is a 1920s bungalow, with a couple of rooms as small as 10 x 10, this is a pretty impressive feat, I think.

And here’s a detail I find hilarious: When he has peanut butter, he finishes off by methodically licking the fur on his front legs. Only with peanut butter. I think he’s cleaning it off his tongue, then cleaning it back off his legs, slowly. He seems like a pretty smart dog, no?

You can tell things have gotten easier by the fact that I’m running out of stuff to say. It’s still really hard to get up at 7 a.m., even more so now that it’s cold. Sometimes he refuses to act right on the leash, and there I am getting dragged all over the neighborhood before it’s even fully light out. He’s an absolute terror to the resident squirrels–I’ve heard two scream while he was chasing them recently, though I continue to hope for everyone’s sake that he will never catch one.

Oh, welcome home! Andrew just came in the front door after spending a day with his dad in St. Louis, watching our Cardinals lose. Note to self: Use the back door. ‘Cause the barking fit he just threw was ear-splitting, not to mention that he tinkled all over the floor and had a little turd scared right out of him.


2 Responses to “Dog Update: Four Weeks In”

  1. Jodi Paloni October 8, 2012 at 10:18 am #

    I freely bark at my teenagers all the time. It doesn’t do a bit of good, but it makes me feel better. As for hierarchy vs love…now that’s a big question, is it not? When you figure it out, let me know. There are so many parallels between dog-rearing and living with teenagers. When in doubt, I eat more peanut butter.

    • Victoria Barrett October 8, 2012 at 10:30 am #

      Yes to everything you said.

      This particular pooch doesn’t respond terribly well to the kinds of behavior usually advised to establish Alpha-hood. Some structure and authority, absolutely. But I suspect, even if he wasn’t physically abused in a past life (by which I mean, pre-rescue), someone was too overbearing and made him constantly nervous.

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