Well I wasn’t able to make it to the class at Care-A-Lot after all. I told Miranda there were no guarantees, and she was fine with that. She said she would put my name down and call me in the future if she started any new classes. I guess now what I’ll do is wait for Merrimac to start taking registrations for Spring classes at their facility. Their website is terrible, though. I’m going to have to go by and sign up in person.
On a side note, Helo’s new best friend came over again last night. He and Jack ran around the living room and dining room like maniacs, chasing antlers! It’s stressful for Sammy when guests come over. I have to keep her on a leash until the guests aren’t strangers anymore, otherwise she might try to nip someone’s leg. It’s also especially stressful when Jack comes over, because it’s another dog in her territory.
She gets very worked up, and starts shaking and whining, sometimes even barking when Helo and Jack are playing together. I’m not really sure how to respond. I just ask her to keep it quiet, and eventually she lays down beside me and relaxes. I try not to pet her or anything because that would only add to the stress. Maybe it would be better to keep her confined to a different room until the guests leave, but I want her to get used to seeing new people inside the house.
People don’t understand that these dogs are territorial. It drives Sammy insane when she’s on a leash and feels like she can’t do anything to protect her territory.
But hopefully if I remain calm and assertive, that confident energy will rub off on her and she’ll look to me for reassurance about these new friends of ours.
I know that keeping her on a leash makes things feel worse for her, but if I don’t leash her I won’t have as much control over her behavior. It just takes one person to stand up suddenly to trigger those protective instincts. Even a flail of the arms would cause her to be alarmed.
Plus, Sammy is quick to correct puppies and I don’t want my new friends to think she is bullying their dog. Jack likes to egg Sammy into play, and doesn’t seem to respond to some of her warning signs. He’ll continue to paw at her face, or play bite. At some point, if her body language doesn’t get through to him, she’ll nip him. She’s not going to hurt him, though. That is the way dogs communicate.
He also likes to try to mount Sammy, which is one thing she NEVER tolerates. Many of our dog friends at the park like to try to hump Sammy, and Sam will whip around and nip them right on the face to let them know they better back off. But just because she does this, doesn’t mean she doesn’t like that dog. Again, it’s a dog’s way of communicating. They can’t speak to each other like humans can. Dogs have to growl and show their teeth to communicate. Sometimes they also use their tails and other body language to get their point across to another dog.
Anyway, it will be better for her once we can get all three dogs out in a spacious, neutral area. Sam loves other dogs and is the most non-confrontational dog ever. But I will admit that having Helo around for the last year has taken a toll on her intolerance for annoying puppy behavior. I figured the two would work things out by now, but Helo is very insistent on testing his limits with her.
Oh dogs… The story of my life. <3