Every year I work the Carolina Renaissance Festival with the Hounds of East Fairhaven, and this past weekend was the opening of the season. I took all three dogs, but only Daisy went both days. H and J stayed at a friend’s house Saturday.
H and J did very well. We have an xpen this year in a room off the back of our building, and several times I put the Diva back there to rest while H snoozed on the beds out front. Seems his proin is now in the right dose because we had (knock on wood) ZERO accidents yesterday!
Daisy, on the other hand, had a bit of a rough weekend, and she may have secured a permanent place in the xpen. We have two dog beds that are really those one person futon cushion things…you know, that fold up into a chair looking thing without a frame? Anyway, they are the Beds Of Choice and Much Coveted. Daisy finally got her shot at one Saturday afternoon, and was lounging there when an ITTY BITTY kid came up to see her. Kid pats her head and touches her nose…no problem. Kid grabs her nose and kisses it…still no problem. Kid grabs nose a second time to kiss her again and Daisy showed her teeth at the same time that I felt a growl come up the leash. I pulled her up and took her out back for a Time Out.
Now, Daisy has NEVER shown that kind of reaction to anyone, big or little. I took her back in and she got back on that same bed. Another kid came to visit, looked her in the eye, and she did the exact same thing again. At the time I chalked it up to her being tired and feeling threatened by the kid looking her in the eye (and the first one grabbing her nose) and she stayed on her feet and close to me for the rest of the day.
On Sunday, she immediately ran to the big bed again and at the time I didn’t think anything of it. I was sitting on a bench next to her when a little boy came over to pet her. He kept moving his head around to look her in the eye and about the time I said “Don’t get right in her face sweetie” Daisy’s teeth came out again with the same grumble that I could feel vibrating up the leash. This time Miss Thing got the xpen with Jeany for about an hour while I walked around with my Big Man and tried to figure out what had happened.
The conclusion I came to is this: it’s the dog bed. That bed is more like a couch than a bed and I think that being on it elevated her status, in her own mind. She reacted as any dog who felt him/herself to be of higher status would to a perceived threat, IE the children looking her in the eye. I could beat myself up and say that I should have been more vigilant, but the truth is that Daisy is the low dog on the totem pole in our pack and I would never have thought to watch for that kind of behavior from her. After her time out, I got her back out but didn’t let her on that dog bed again until the very end of the day when most of the patrons were gone.
No more growlies. I’m not anthropomorphizing that fact to say that she “learned her lesson” from sitting in the xpen. We all know that the truth is she’d forgotten the growl by the time she got to the xpen. However, I think that keeping her off the Big Bed was key.