Tag Archives: lorian lipton
From left to right: Sofie, Noel on the couch, Charles on my foot pillow, and Louise on her bed. Such is a nice quiet afternoon at the zoo.
This is a Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop. Thanks to BlogPaws for the hop. Head over there and see what they are blogging about.
Charles here. I want to tell you about my day. Once a week, Louise and Sofie go for a play date with Sonya and her pack for a few hours. That leaves me home with Mom and the silly cats. I get sad when my sisters leave but Mom always gives me something special to chew on while they are gone. I am a really good chewer and make quick work of every chew treat she gives me. Then I pine until the girls return. What is your favorite chew treat?
What kind of mischief did you get into today?
Don’t be lulled into believing that Sofie likes Charles, even just a little, she doesn’t. I know she can really hurt him (55 pounds vs 15 pounds) and I am very watchful. Charles will be with us a year next month and it has been a learning for all of us. Even though all 7 of my animals have all learned to live together, it does not mean they are bonded to each other or are a pack. Sofie would probably throw Charles down the stairs if I wasn’t watching. The challenge I have with the two of them is mostly due to resource guarding.
When a dog is resource guarding there are 3 levels of escalation :
Low level guarding: Dog growls and bares her teeth
Medium level guarding: Dog snaps and lunges
High level guarding: Dog bites
After years of trying counter conditioning and all the lovely things that behaviorists and trainers have taught me to do, I have settled on the following methods to keep everyone safe.
Avoidance – I care less about what causes the behavior and more about keeping everyone safe. Charles eats in a pen (he’s aggressive towards animals and humans). Cats eat up off the floor. Sofie eats with a leash on. (Sofie is not aggressive toward Louise or humans).
Exercise – I try to walk everyone before dinner (never after because of bloat). “A tired dog is a happy dog.” More importantly, I believe that dogs like to work for things and this way they work for food.
Training – I make them all sit/stay when I put the bowls down until I give them the release word (Let’s Eat!). I like to think I have taught them a little control and this keeps them focused on the meal and less on each other. I also have trained them to ‘Leave it!” when I don’t want them mouthing something, whether food or not. This doesn’t change the anxiety or fear-based aggression tendencies but training should always be part of any program.
Don’t feed while humans are eating and don’t feed from your plate. Alpha’s in the wild do eat first and also scraps are just bad for dogs. I lose this battle at home often, so don’t feel bad if you do too. I am better at training animals than people.
In my multi-animal household, I don’t try for bonding or love or anything like that between the animals. The number one rule is to keep everyone safe. I respect that each animal has its own temperaments and quirks. I accept that animals will be animals and I don’t expect them to reason or to change certain anxiety or fear-based behaviors. Never trust that a growl won’t turn into a snap which then turns into a bite.
How do you keep your furballs safe when they are eating?
A question popped up on my Facebook feed this morning that said, “If you could have one minute to say anything to your dog that they could understand, what would it be?” Truthfully, I don’t need one minute. I talk to the dogs, and cats, all the time and I really think they understand what I mean because it isn’t the words but the energy behind them. What do you think? Do you need a translator to speak dog? Sofie says she understands me purrfectly.