Been a tad too long since I've posted! For those of you that are still nestled in to this blog, thanks for your pawtience!
We've had lots of snow adventures this past week, some great, some not so great. I'll begin with the not-so-great.
As many of you might know, despite his regal looks Loki is far far from pawfect. The sanctuary told us that he he needed proper canine introductions. He can be quite reactive around certain dogs, and he's been doing really well with on-leash introductions these past few months. He has lots of furry city friends.
I took him up to the Valley this weekend to spend some time in the Grove and in the fields. While heading out for a walk in the rural town, a lovely female Golden was strolling by just as we were leaving the house. Her owner seemed welcoming, and Loki showed no signs of real concern, just interest so I proceeded with an introduction. We walked toward the other dog and its owner, Loki and the Golden took about a 2.5second sniff before a mutual I EFFIN' DON'T LIKE YOU dominance dance started. At least that's what I'm going to call it because I've never seen it escalate like that. They snarled, growled, snapped, flailed, mounted, pinned....while getting entangled in their leashes, very unsettling to see two dogs at their seemingly primal worst. Myself and the other owner did what we could to pry them apart without injury which we did. I'm really not sure if there was really any biting but certainly lots of throaty noises. The other owner was a tad stressed but by no means overly dramatic during this, which I appreciated because often Loki faces Doberdog prejudice but nobody was to blame. After we separated the dogs, the owner said somewhat sympathetically "Well, that was a meet and greet" She smiled, and I thanked her for her patience.
Now, preferably we would then reintroduce the dogs again and again until they gave up the good fight, but the lady was in a rush to keep going on her way. I brought Loki right back onto the door step and he lay down in place with that guilty "What did I just do, oh lawwd I'm in trouble" look. After about twenty minutes of Time-Out in the vestibule, he was extra well behaved on the walk that followed.
Now, I really don't speak Doganese. I read about behaviours, I watch certain shows about trainers and "whisperers" in an attempt to try to improve my vocabulary......but at the end of the day, we can't read every signal that a dog sends to another dog.
There are things we may not even see, dog language lost in translation. Who knows, perhaps the Golden gnashed her teeth silently upon first approach and he overreacted, or vice versa....perhaps he was defensive because he was in unfamiliar territory.....there are too many unknowns, so I try not to take it personally.
At the end of the day, I can't put Loki on the therapist's chez lounge, put my reading glasses on the tip of my nose, bust out the clipboard and ask him existentially reflective questions about his puppyhood/doggyhood and why he is the way that he is. Certainly, there must have been episodes that moulded the clay that is Doberdog but these moments will always remain in the heavily coded canine lock-box of the past, in which none of us have the key, not even Loki himself..
The silver lining to this Doberdog-play-book (sorry I couldn't resist) is that often the more negative moments I learn the most from, in any aspect of life. We continue to move forward, onward and upward, and wagward!