Thursday, January 28, 2010

Unexpected Life

We had a surprise coating of snow this morning. It made for a messy morning commute to my first day of classes, but Marge thoroughly enjoyed it when I got home. Here, I egged her on and she did all kinds of zoomy/bitey stuff with the snow.

Today, we saw a neighborhood teeny tiny Boston Terrier who Marge absolutely loves. We met one day in the field a while ago and on subsequent meetings, we would approach each other and they'd begin playing immediately. I was shocked upon approaching them today alongside the road when the owner said, "he bites!"

I thought maybe she forgot who I was, but she remembered me and Marge. The two dogs did approach each other, Marge play bowing and wagging her tail wildly, and he was okay, until all of a sudden, he let out a few big-dog-in-a-little-package sort of noises and the owner quickly pulled him back.

I do not know this woman well at all, but we spoke a little bit about it. She explained that one day, all of a sudden, the little guy just decided to get snarky with a neighborhood Schnauzer, unprovoked (at least to her eye), and after that, he's been iffy with dogs.

He was fine the rest of the time, as Marge sniffed him and he sniffed Marge. He looked like he genuinely wanted to socialize with her, even from the start. To me, I think he became either overstimulated or unsure for that one moment, "spoke up" to make sure he wasn't going to get hurt, and then felt confident enough to continue interacting. It could have been any number of things, but, to me, he did not look inherently aggressive.

I don't know the whole story, or if there was some other triggering factor, but it reminded me so much of when Marge's dog-selective (and wholly fear-based) snarkiness started in June. Here you are, an unassuming dog owner trying to do the right thing, when something goes horribly wrong and you get an unusual reaction from your dog. I wish that no dog had issues, but they are out there, so in one way, it's kind of a comfort to know I'm not alone.

It's so easy to fall into the belief that a given dog's behavior problems are uncommon or unprecedented - I am guilty of doing this myself sometimes. It's a real wake-up call to hear or read the stories of other dogs - some raised by their owners from puppyhood - who have similar or even more severe problems. As I become a part of the dog world, I now find that a very large number of dogs have at least one reactivity, anxiety, stress, or fearfulness demon that they and their owners have to face. Here I thought I was alone - but, I'm not!

I do hope that the little Boston Terrier and Marge can continue to see each other, but Marge isn't exactly the kind of dog who can take a lot of rude behavior from others - I have enough trouble finding suitable playmates for her as it is and don't need to make things any worse. I hope I will see them again in the field someday and hear better news about his behavior.

I think Marge will get a good old fashioned dose of Buddy the spaniel this weekend - absolutely no dog beats that happy, super social little guy who I trust to be a complete gentleman with my quirky girl.


NAK and The Residents of The Khottage Now With KhattleDog! January 29, 2010 at 12:46 AM  

I hope some of Marge's snow zoomies were fur me!

We hope she khan see her BT pal without incident going furward -

AND we hope she has lots of fun this weekend with Buddy!


Kari in Alaska January 29, 2010 at 12:56 AM  

I hope she gets a good dose of Buddy :) And those zoomies sure are cute

Lorenza January 29, 2010 at 1:20 AM  

Sure Marge enjoyed her zoomies there!
I hope they can play together!
Kisses and hugs

Kathy Mocharnuk January 29, 2010 at 2:06 AM  

OH that was so much fun to see those Marge Zoomies. Hope she gets some good friend/buddy time soon!

Sara January 29, 2010 at 6:17 AM  

I have a really hard time trusting other dogs around my dogs. Mostly due to the fact that I've had two of my dogs (including Oreo) attacked by other dogs, to the point where they required serious medical attention. Both times, we were simply out for a walk, and the dogs charged out of their yards and used my dogs as chew toys.

Therefore, I tend to keep my distance from other dogs, unless I really know them. I just can't take that chance.

It's too bad, but it is so hard to know what may trigger another dog.

Chris and Ricky January 29, 2010 at 6:48 AM  

Thanks for the advice you left me on my blog! Unfortunately when we walk in my neighborhood it's sidewalks and you can't get away from the road unless you go up into people's yards. But we will think about everything you said.

Love Marge's zoomies in the snow! She was having a great time!

It is very difficult to find good playmates for dogs - lucky for you that you have Buddy!

Cyndi and Stumpy January 29, 2010 at 7:36 AM  

Have fun with Buddy, Marge! I wish Stumpy's cuzzin Fenway could come and play more frequently. He and Stumpy are perfect together!

Diana January 29, 2010 at 7:39 AM  

Snow zoomies look like so much fun. We never get snow. Diana

houndstooth January 29, 2010 at 8:02 AM  

It looks like Marge had a great time in the snow!

I hope she does get to see the Boston again. Maybe it will be good for both of them!

Frankie Furter and Ernie January 29, 2010 at 8:53 AM  

Marge, maybe you can help the B.T. with his problems. Wouldn't that be grrrreat???? I'm just sayin'.

AC January 29, 2010 at 9:58 AM  

Oh, I love Marge's snow-play! I always feel that having a fearful dog makes playful moments like that all the more special.
I'm with you that the more I enter the dog world, the more I realize all dogs have their issues.

To answer your question, Kona isn't noise phobic in the traditional sense. She's fine with fireworks/thunder/sonic booms (had one of those last summer). But, she has trouble with noises that come from a distance, especially if she can't see the source. And certain things, like kids squealing, can make her panic.

KB January 29, 2010 at 10:17 AM  

That video is priceless. Marge looks ecstatic and runs so beautifully. What a very happy girl. She's so lucky that she found you or vice-versa.

It is funny - K has her small issues (small when her thyroid is OK, big when it's not) but everyone looks at the goofy lab and assumes that she's completely stable (everyone except my awesome dog trainer who saw the little signs when K was 8 wks old). Then, when I tell people that she actually has some fears that I have to be careful about... people are shocked.

On the other side of the coin, from reading blogs like yours and Roxanne's, I've learned to absolutely always ask before either I or my dog approach another one, no matter how happy they look. Even with K's fears, I really didn't have that lesson learned until the past couple of years. It's been a great education for me.

The Army of Four January 29, 2010 at 12:18 PM  

Wheee! Snow, snow, snow!!! We got a little dusting over night. It's very nice to have some again.
Zimmie made friends with a BT the other day! He was very calm for a terrier and Zim... well, Zim gets along with EVERYONE.

kissa-bull January 29, 2010 at 1:56 PM  

your zoomies look super pawsome
we've never done zoomies in the snow before
wiggles and piitie sugars
the houston pittie pack

Natasha January 29, 2010 at 4:47 PM  

I love watching dogs have a blast romping in the snow!

That's too bad about the little boston. It really sucks when your dog starts off great, but then develops behaviour problems and/or fears down the road. Hopefully everything will turn out fine with the boston and not get worse!

Cinnamon and Mint January 29, 2010 at 5:02 PM  

Running aroung in a field covered with snow looks so much fun!! I hope you and your neighbourhood Boston Terrier can play in peace again.

Gus, Louie and Callie January 29, 2010 at 5:19 PM  

OH what a great video.. We are sure that Marge will get over her fear..

Big Sloppy Kisses
Gus, Louie and Callie

T January 30, 2010 at 3:55 PM  

Excellent video! I love watching them get the zoomies. We don't get snow, which would be a blast for the dogs for sure. Jarie gets zoomies in the house everyday, it is hilarious to watch them have so much fun!

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