Over the past couple of months, I have had several friends adopt a new dog into their household. Given the fact that each already had a resident dog in their home, it is understandable that each one of them worried about how to introduce the new dog into their home. They also worried about how the new dog would make their current dog feel and whether they would get along.
I remember how nervous I was in bringing each one of my dogs into my home. (I think you would have to be a fool not to be a little nervous and anxious!) Every dog is different and every situation must be managed to ensure success.
When Cupcake first came into my home as a foster, it was a tough go. Not because she wasn’t an awesome and very sweet dog, but because she felt like she had to establish her place as top dog right away. She claimed the couch and snarked at Daisy and Jasper whenever they came close to her. Jasper and Daisy were intimidated by her behavior. Daisy started staying in her kennel to avoid her.I think it was at this point I seriously considered giving her back to the rescue.
But then, I remembered to use the skills and knowledge I had gained from so many other trainers. I took away Cupcake’s couch privileges to eliminate any snarking. Then, I started enticing Daisy back to the couch with treats and rewarding Cupcake with treats as well to show her that staying on the floor was a beneficial spot to be. Soon, the snarking had stopped and Daisy was feeling less stressed. We worked on other things too: waiting for dinner, not stealing other dogs’ food, sharing toys, etc.
Introducing a new dog into your home when you have another dog can be difficult. I’ve been offering my own advice and suggestions when asked (think baby gates, crates and slow introductions), but then I remembered that I had attended a webinar earlier this year put on by the ASPCA. The guest speaker was well-known author and animal behaviorist, Patricia McConnell (PhD, CAAB, Author). The topic? Multi-Dog Households: From First Date to After the Honeymoon (You can find more materials and information here as well).
It was a great seminar and discussion and one that I suspect would be beneficial to many an adoptive parent and/or rescue or shelter. I’ll definitely be sharing it with my friends. You can check out her presentation deck here.
So how have you handled introducing a new dog into your home? What worked? What didn’t work?
Unfortunately, WordPress.com doesn’t allow Java script so I can’t provide a direct link to the linky, but you can join here.
Now that the trick and treating fun is done, it’s time to put away the pumpkins and start planning for Thanksgiving (or if you’re Target, Christmas).
If you’re like many people I know, you’ve got a few pumpkins left over from Halloween that are just hanging around on the front stoop waiting for the trash man to cart them away. I saved my larger (sugar) pumpkins for roasting, but I did stick a few smaller ones on the front step for decoration. The squirrels have been having a hey day with them. Every time I come home, I find them in strange spots around the yard. Their pristine surfaces are now marred with teeth marks.
Yes, it appears squirrels love pumpkins just as much as we do. In fact, they may even love them more than we do (see video #2 below to see what I mean).
I thought this week’s video, featuring an artistic squirrel, was the perfect ending to a candy-filled holiday season. The music is perfectly arranged to accompany his handiwork. I hope you’ll enjoy it.
And if you’re not impressed, perhaps the drunk squirrel video will make your day. This is what happens to a squirrel’s brain on fermented pumpkin. Let this be a warning to you. A drunken squirrel is not a pretty sight. :)
Happy Friday everyone!
I try to always be present and conscious of my dogs’ behavior when we are out and about together, but like many dog owners, I can be easily distracted by what is going on around me and who I am engaging with at that moment. It can be easy to miss something when so much is going on around you. We can’t be hyper-attentive to everything all at once.
I imagine that many dog agility people can relate. Events like agility require an owner to do many things at once. They need to read their dogs’ behavior and the cues they are giving them so they know how they feel about it. They need to know the course and the task at hand so they can accomplish their goal. They also need to be hyer-focused and attentive to what we are doing so we don’t make a mistake.
Being hyper-aware of how a dog is feeling in these moments can be hard.
Although I think the owner in the video below is aware of her dog and his behavior in certain settings (since she mentions his avoidance at one part of the course), I wonder if she was aware of how he was feeling throughout the course? Maybe she was and was trying to help him work through it. Either way, it makes for a great study of dog behavior.
Watch the video below and share what you see. How does the dog look as he travels the course? Are his ears up or down? What is he doing with his head? His feet? His body? What does he do when meeting new people? What does he do with his mouth? Can you see what his eyes are doing?
I have put my own observations below (due to the length of the video, I assess the first two minutes), but see what you see before taking a look at my observations and summary. How good were you at reading this dog’s behavior? What did I miss?
Dog body language before Working Aptitude Evaluation (WAC) begins (first 30 seconds):
- Ears back
- Panting (it might be a hot day so this may or may not be stress induced)
- Circling handler
- Couple of lip licks
- Body is facing away from the man with the clipboard and as far away from as possible. His butt is closest to the man and his head is the furthest away from him.
- Red starts to trot alongside the owner, and then ahead of her, as they move towards the woman in the blue top. His ears are alternating between up and down and then going to straight down and back as he approaches the woman (the neutral stranger).
- As they get closer to the woman, he veers off to the left, creating distance between them, only to come back around as he reaches the end of the leash, and circle behind her. His ears are down.
- At 32 seconds, his mouth appears drawn tight and his body hunched. He gives a lip lick.
- Red moves around the woman and closer to his owner, ignoring both, but placing his body so his head is further away. He looks away from her and in the other direction.
- Red completely ignores the woman and moves further away from both his owner and the woman,. almost taking up the full length of the leash.
- At 38 seconds, they continue to the next woman (called the Friendly Stranger).
- Red trots ahead again and as the approach the friendly stranger he lowers his head and keeps his ears down and back. The friendly stranger leans down, puts her hands on her legs and looks at him.
- Immediately, he veers off to the left in an attempt to avoid interacting with her.
- When called by his handler, he veers back towards them. his ears are down and his head is lowered to the same level as his shoulders. He is panting.
- Instead of stopping at the Friendly Stranger, he walks right between her and his owner and keeps on going.
- He turns around when he reaches the end of the leash and heads back towards the women. His head goes up briefly as if to say hello, but then lowers and he goes right back through the middle again and off to the other side. His head is lowered, body hunched and ears are back.
- He quickly circles back and lifts head again, but only briefly, He then sees the man with the clipboard and does a lip lick and a couple of head turns.
- At a little before the one minute mark, the handler and man discuss next steps while the dog paces. He does not interact with the man or owner, but instead paces or turns so his head is away from them.
- He does a couple of lip licks, head turns and pants.
- At 1:13, he hides behind his handler’s legs.
- They turn and head towards the white truck, there appear to be no people around besides his handler. His ears come up. He trots along. His gait looks more relaxed. His tail is up.
- He goes around the back of the vehicle and then heads back towards his owner. He looks up at her briefly.Hi ears go back and as he sees the man with the clipboard he changes directions and circles back towards his owner.
- A couple of look aways.
- At 1:30, the man and handler move to the right. Red follows, trotting alongside his handler and then ahead of her. His ears go up and down. Tail is up and he briefly sniffs the group before a shot goes off from the gun.
- When the shot goes off, his ears comes back, his mouth is drawn tight and his tail goes down (1:38).
- His ears go up briefly, but go back down when the 2nd shot rings out. He circles his handler several times as shots 3 and 4 ring out.
- He trots ahead of the handler as they move away from the woman with the gun and his ears go up and prick forward.
- At the 2 minute mark, he stands next to the handler, touching her legs. He looks away several times as she speaks with the man. His ears are back and his eyes appear to have a ridge between them (2:06).
- They head towards the woman in the chair. Red looks away as he walks by his handler. His ears go up and down, but at 2:13 they prick forward as he sees her handle an umbrella.
- The umbrella opens and he veers back, ears are back on his head. He checks out the umbrella very briefly and then looks around it and then at the woman. He turns his nose up towards her and then veers back towards his owner. His ears are way down (2:16).
Based on my observations, I would say Red was very uncomfortable throughout his evaluation. His body language indicated he was nervous, stressed and most likely would have preferred not to have been there at all. His body language indicated that he was stressed. He used avoidance (creating distance between himself and the people and looking away) in almost every circumstance to distance himself from the people in the assessment. Even at the end of the video, Red cant wait to distance himself from all of it, pulling on his leash and removing himself from the area quickly.
My guess is that Red is not a confident dog in new situations or ones in which he is forced to interact with strangers. This type of activity is not fun for him at all.
More than any year before, my voting concerns weigh heavily around animals and animal welfare. I’ve never been a one issue voter. I’ve always tried to look at the whole picture and make the best choice based on a wide variety of issues. But this year we have a Cat and Dog Breeder Law in place. This year we are finally heading in the right direction when it comes to puppy mills and the treatment of cats and dogs in these facilities. I don’t want that to change.
There are those who want to gut this bill or rescind it completely. There are those who want to eliminate nine years of progress. They want to maintain the status quo. So for that reason, this year, I am more motivated than ever to vote for those candidates who support the legislation that passed this year to help dogs and cats in breeding facilities.
I also want to support candidates who support the Beagle Freedom legislation that made it a law that dogs in testing facilities get a chance at a life in a home when they are done. No more euthanizing dogs after testing is done. Not without a real chance at being adopted. There were other wins this year too. You can read more about the progress made this year in the Minnesota Humane Scorecard.
Progress like this is unusual. My vote matters because it means these laws can stay in place. Your vote matters too, so I hope you’ll get out and vote. No matter what. Get out and vote.
If you’re curious about who in Minnesota is on the side of animals, the group Minnesota Voters for Animal Protection has posted a list of state legislators who rate high on the list.
Need help on other voting issues? There is a great app that will help you decide on the best candidates for you. It’s called isidewith.com. Answer a few questions and get a full list of candidates to vote for. No need to register or log in.