Here’s what a nice sunny day can do even for an “Old Blind Dog”..
What a transformation for the Champ in 4? weeks!!!!! He’s in the hallway like at Ceese’s but he looks 100 percent happier and younger!!! He is so cute. the official greeter!!! Give him a kiss for me please. I love how Debby reorganized his Gallery pictures and blogs!!!!!! All’s well????
Okay, here’s a new wrinkle in Champ’s story. Today my friend KR brought her dog over to visit. Tashi comes here to visit all the time, and stays with us for up to 10 days when KR travels. Whoa….Champ was a complete disaster !!!! Well, it was almost funny to watch him bang his head into doors and furniture as he ran in circles around the house trying to get “at” Tashi. Whenever he got near him he attacked him. Sigh….
None of my other kids has ever been this kind of aggressive; and Tashi is scheduled to spend 10 days with us here in March. We are all curious and concerned….Poor Tashi; this was always his very favorite destination; this time he left as fast as he could get his little butt out the door.
What do you think I need to know/do next/first????
I would … find an area/room that could be gated off and keep Champ there for the duration, rotating “free” time between the two dogs. Done this several times with my dogs and fosters. Just ask Dante.
Vickie it sounds like Dante may have reacted similarly, except he can see and was able to ‘get’ that ‘strange’ dog quicker than Champ. Am I right?
Although Champ’s blindness affected his approach to the Stranger Within, this behavior isn’t abnormal. I slowly, ever so slowly, integrate new dogs into my kennel. If I’m caring for someone else’s dog, I don’t even attempt integration because in my situation, there’s little benefit. Instead I manage the situation. Vickie’s suggestion is perfect.
Given that Tashi comes often, I’m sure you’d like to integrate him into your pack. You and KR should meet several times before March with just the two dogs on neutral ground…say, for instance, a vineyard. I’m serious. You’ve taken Champ wine tasting, so he’s familiar with the experience. Tasting wine provides a distraction for you, not to mention some fun! Don’t force the issue with the dogs. Don’t introduce them. Don’t do anything but drink wine with your friend. You can keep Champ in his backpack, perhaps working towards having him out with you on his leash. Keep him on a short leash to start with. Tashi should be on a short leash too. If Champ shows interest in moving away from you, exploring his immediate surroundings or meeting the new dog he’s smelling, slowly, slowly, give him more lead. Again, don’t force any introductions. Pay particular attention – on alert humans!! – if Tashi moves toward Champ first. Becasue he’s blind, he may lash out. I suggest KR keep Tashi on a short leash and the only dog allowed to move towards the other dog is Champ. Watch for body posturing and allow it to happen as long as it’s appropriate Canine Language. I think you ordered Canine Body Language, right? Famialrize yourself on how strange dogs meet and introduce themselves. Be prepared for Champ to overreact because he can’t see. If this happens, simply pull in the reins or place him back in his pack. Don’t say anything. Just do it. You might try again in a few minutes or simply wait until the next time.
Susan, after you and KR meet several times on neutral territory, bring Tashi to your house, but only to the garden, not inside. Let Champ out, possibly your other dogs too. I would determine this based on the moment.
Perhaps my description of how I integrate a new dog will provide additional ideas for your home situation. Or at least some understanding of pack mentality. The new dog arrives and is put in a run. I do not make over the new dog at all. The new dog has to integrate into my pack, figuring out where s/he fits in. It’s the rest of the pack I focus on, paying very close attention to body posturing even though the dogs haven’t been one-on-one with the new dog. The first day or two is always noisier than usual. HEY! LOOK! A NEW DOG! LOOK! LOOK! When I let the dogs out (new dog goes out last and comes in first), most of them will dash to the gate on the run with the new dog, sniffing, smelling. I expect it, act as if nothing is different, telling the dogs to get outside. Same thing coming back in. It takes a few days, sometimes a week, for my pack to ‘ignore’ the new dog. It is only after that I put the new dog within its appropriate outdoor pack; the boys or the girls.
This is when it gets tense! Depending on the age of the new dog (puppies are far easier to integrate because they’ll almost always listen to what the pack is telling them – you’re low man on this totem pole!) I may start the introduction by putting the new dog out with a couple, three of the pack, not the entire pack. I always directly monitor this, staying out in the dog yards, watching the posturing, making sure it’s appropriate posturing. By direct monitoring, I don’t mean I’m right there in the middle of the introductions. I’m standing back, so my presence isn’t interfering with communication. If things start to look tense, I may step forward and warn them in a low stern voice, “knock it off.” As the days go by, I pull back with the direct monitoring, keep the window to the kennel open, go about my chores, listening all the time for sounds of a skirmish (I’m all over that like stink on you-know-what), looking out the window frequently to see what the dogs are doing.
The steps I’ve laid out:
– Arrange to meet several times on neutral territory.
– Arrange a meeting in your garden only.
– Bring him into your house when KR leaves for her trip.
– Put Tashi behind the baby gate (if necessary given the opportunities the dogs have had prior to Tashi entering the Sacred Den).
– After Champ is no longer interested in the dog behind the gate, remove the gate and closely monitor.
– If needed, put the gate back up and try again the following day.
Even though Tashi has been coming to your house since KR got him and your dogs know him and accept him, remember that Champ doesn’t. Champ doesn’t know he’s actually part of your extended pack. He’ll learn this if you implement the above steps. In the course of all this, DO NOT feel sorry for Tashi. He’s a dog. He’s hard-wired to understand canine communication. If you sympathize with Tashi through your actions, you can inadvertently make integration more difficult.
Wow !!!! I am so grateful to you for taking so much time spelling this out for me. I have shared this information with KR, and she and I will work out a schedule to get us as up to speed as possible before her trip.
I will keep you posted….surprise, surprise….(grin)
>>> Vickie it sounds like Dante may have reacted similarly, except he can see and was able to ‘get’ that ’strange’ dog quicker than Champ. Am I right?
Somewhat … if it is a female, he just wants to say “hello” and check them out. Males are more problematic. At the moment, we’re working on stacking dogs side-by-side on a grooming table
Well, KR and I just finished our second attempt at re-introducing the dogs….with no progress so far. We met at KR’s house a couple of days ago and here today. Tashi stays as far away as he can get; Champ barks and lunges; it’s not feeling very friendly. I’m expecting a few people and a young puppy here on Sunday; I assume I will just have to keep Champ closed into a back room by himself? Is this when I should re-consider a crate? Would he be happier in a crate than in a room if he’s being confined?
Keep trying with Tashi and Panchen..on neutral ground. I will see if I can come up with another tidbit to try. I haven’t looked recently in Living With Blind Dogs, but I do recall introducing a blind dog into a household with the use of an x-pen until all are more familiar. It is important to upset both Panchen and Tashi as little as possible. I wonder if other blind dog resources would have advice… Perhaps, given time ‘together’ in March, they will become used to each other.
It is possible your choice will be to ‘manage’ the situation when there’s strange dogs in the house. Yes, do reconsider a crate, the airline shipping kind, not a wire crate. The sides are sturdy, providing a safe den. In your shoes, I would crate Panchen Sunday. I do think he’d be more content in a crate.
Keep us posted. I am very curious to follow the progress of this wrinkle.
Okie doke….back to the shop for a crate then. What you said about not upsetting the dogs struck a chord. For the first 10-15 minutes, Champ was lunging at Tashi and Tashi was just cowering behind KR. Eventually he got p****d off and started snarling back. At that point KR and I decided we had only aggravated the situation. (We had been sitting on the front porch with the other dogs closed inside, by the way.)
Please let us know how today goes. Panchen was always quiet in his crate, so that’s what I’m expecting from him. He traveled to and from the grooming shop in a crate. He remained in a crate all day at the grooming shop. He never made a peep. If he does vocalize – either in objection to Strangers Within or in protest to being separated – you have two choices, in my opinion. Ignore it. In training lingo, this approach is called extinction. The behavior ‘extinguishes’ if unrewarded. The other choice is to tell him ‘quiet’ in a firm voice. I find this often escalates the behavior, because the dog has just been ‘rewarded’ with attention. However, it’s nice when dogs respond to the cue ‘quiet’.
I’m afraid tomorrow (Sunday)will be too soon to really use/try out the crate. Thus far when I have popped him into it, he has popped out as fast as he could. I am loathe to make him weird about it, but so far we haven’t had time for him to go in and out and just decide it’s a fine space. Rinchen, on the other hand, is often to be found sitting in there, watching us….wouldn’t ya know.
Ask yourself. Is it better to jump another hurdle, quickly shut that crate door with Champ in the crate or to let him lunge at the dog that will be coming to your house. Being in crate will not make Champ weird about it. Crates are in his life experience, in the experiences of many, many dogs. It is a good skill to have, useful at veterinary clinics, grooming shops and for wrinkles in a dog’s life.
I think what I am going to do today (while you are off showing dogs and guests are arriving) is to throw Champ into his chest pack and have him on my body. That way he will have the experience of new and different people being here without it being in any way threatening to him. At a later time I will get him used to the crate again. (I’ve been luring him into it with his after-dinner crunchies, but he still hasn’t shown an interest in staying there)
IF I ever got a new puppy again, I would definitely start it right off in a crate….no question.
Often when we would go out to do errands and Pippi was with, I would put Panchen in the crate and he was fine with it…never a word from him…sometimes I would put Pippi in the crate….just so when they were there together and I wasn’t, they couldn’t get into a tussle….Now Pippi wasn’t crazy about it and would jump out…Panchen would never complain ….(in other words, when I would return to the car, he would never cry or bark). So he is used to being, for a while, in the crate. What is it that is making you uncomfortable about crating him? and give him a tiny treat in the crate…
So, here’s how Sunday went. Just as I saw the guests arriving, I tossed Champ into the pack I use to carry him on my chest. My sister and brother in law brought in their new sheltie puppie (Loola Mae) and she got all the attention, including from Sammy (who fell totally in love with her) and Rinchen who told her to get lost but didn’t give her any real trouble. At some point I put Champ down on a leash, and he lunged right for LM, so I put him back into the pack. When it was getting time to sit down and eat, I closed him into my bedroom, but he barked incessantly. So, I popped him into the crate and he barked incessantly there. Eventually Sammy decided we had forgotten we had left Champ in the crate and he went over and barked and whined on his behalf. They took turns until they finally both gave up. I dunno. I guess it was good that I had to tough it out and leave him in the crate, because I’d have taken him out almost immediately, but….that’s why I have the bunch I’ve got and they are only middling well behaved. In my own defense, however, they are getting really good at coming and sitting for any treats; they walk well on their leashes; and one of these days Champ won’t feel that he has to kill all intruder dogs. The crate is staying; it may never have a dog in it; but….who knows for sure.
Oh yeah, Champ has moved himself to the dog side of the bed now. Instead of sleeping isolated between me and the edge, he has moved to the side where the other dogs are. He’s working on becoming part of the pack instead of a momma’s boy. (Well, either that or he got tired of falling off the bed onto the floor…..)
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