A Long Time Coming

“I’m just silly enough to win her over.”

Having a foster dog has been going relatively well. Jagger is really starting to fit in as far as understanding the rules and learning to control himself. He’s no longer blasting around the house like his little nub of a tail’s on fire. His jumping and mouthing has also decreased significantly. Although, if you change things up, it all shows up again. I had my parents over to meet him and he was crazed. Most of it is that he simply does not know what to do with himself. I understand that and expect it. He’s making great strides, though.

I took him with us when we went lure coursing yesterday for more socialization. He was much better about keeping his feet on the ground and being appropriate with strangers. I also inadvertently created another lure-coursing addict even without letting him run. I think it might be a requirement that his adopter takes him lure coursing. 🙂

The weather was supposed to be amazing today so I decided it was time to let Risa really meet Jagger. I had allowed them both to be out together over the last week (Jagger in the x-pen for his own safety) and it had gone well. Risa didn’t show any signs of overt aggression towards him. In fact, she mostly ignored him or showed curiosity and interest in him. I knew an introduction inside would be doomed to failure; Risa has trouble with other dogs in close quarters. There is less room for her to flee. So I planned on having them meet in our yard.

I took Risa for her usual 4 mile walk and played with Jagger in the yard before the introduction. I didn’t want either of them really jazzed up. I then gave them time to relax so no one would be overtired when they met. When I did let them out together, I had a harness on both dogs just in case I needed to break up a fight. Jagger also had a leash on and I had him already in the yard when I brought Risa out. (Sudden environmental change can trigger reactive moments so it was safer to have him already out there.)

They greeted nicely immediately though Risa had to tell Jagger off for trying to jump on her. She doesn’t like that and, with her back problems, I cannot blame her. Both dogs were very appropriate. They spent some time sniffing around the yard on their own and then finally started playing. Both dogs took frequent pauses and switched up roles. It was totally appropriate dog play. My heart swelled with pride that Risa could be so comfortable with a dog she barely knows. She hasn’t played off-leash with another dog in over 4 years.

The only time we had any issues was when Jagger came over to me. Risa guards me from other dogs and I knew this would be a potential sticky spot. However, Risa did not go over the top about it so I let it play out. Unfortunately, Jagger thinks I’m cool and he really didn’t want to listen to the cranky old bitch so he kept right on coming. By the end of their time together, Risa was getting a bit more upset about his proximity to me so I decided to put them both away before it escalated. This turned out to be a tricky situation since Risa didn’t want Jagger near me but I wanted to put him inside first. (I trust Risa alone in the yard but not Jagger.) I ended up letting Risa inside first, put her in the bedroom, and then let Jagger back in the house.

Both dogs are totally exhausted now and I couldn’t be prouder of my girl.

About Jamie

I'm just a traditionally-trained artist with interests in dog training. I currently teach classes at the local obedience training club (tricks, freestyle, and Rally-FrEe) and I also teach classes professionally for an organization who helps veterans train their own service dogs.
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