What Fostering has Taught me about Shayne

For years I have been so very perplexed by Shayne.  She was never really reactive in the typical sense of having some big display at the sight of another dog.  She wasn’t aggressive toward other dogs and has never hurt another dog besides a few incidental nicks (no punctures).  She was not completely comfortable around other dogs… yet wanted to interact.  After a short walk together, new dogs could come into my house no problem… yet greeting a new dog while outside was definitely bad news (on or off leash).

Poor Shayne's nose got cut off a bit.. oh well! Happy kids chilling out!

Some days, I’d watch her behavior around other dogs and think she’s scared… other days she was very bossy and controlling… yet other days she would just overreact to another dog’s actions… etc.  She was over reacting to corrections from other dogs… delivering over the top corrections… then there were the very rare typical reactions.  She really is hard for me to read–I suspect that I’m just too close to the situation to really get a feel for exactly what her deal was (and never could afford to have an awesome behaviorist take a look-see and give me their opinion).  Although I may not have the best read on her in the big sense, it hasn’t stopped her from improving with lots of work and a new greeting plan.

When I brought Rio home, I did so expecting the worst and hoping for the best.  I was prepared to keep them separated for a time until they learned to like each other…. I hoped that since he was a puppy that all would be okay and such but I really wasn’t sure.  Even though bringing Rio home was an absolute breeze (to this day they haven’t ever even had a spat), I wasn’t sure just where she stood in terms of her dog-friendliness. I brought him home, carried him up to the apartment, quickly leashed Shayne and took them both for a walk.  There was really no chance for Shayne to snark or react to the puppy I had protected in my arms and once they were on a walk and greeting more casually, they were perfectly fine and have been fine ever since.

Loook we play!

What having Dexter has shown me is that while she may be loud and sometimes over the top in her corrections and may not be capable (yet) of normally greeting another dog… she is also ridiculously tolerant of his persistent antics.  She may grumble about his behavior, but she hasn’t ever taken it way over the top.  He jumps on her, steps on her, steals her toys, bites her feet, bites her face, he knocks her over, pulls her off the couch, barks in her face, and gangs up on her with Rio.  With all of this, she has only delivered a very small number of over the top corrections (that Dex sort of deserved but not entirely).  Most of the time she was simply grumbly when he was being rude, not aggressively or really upset.  When he’s being rude trying to get her to play, there are moments–glimpses of moments, where I can see her on the verge of letting go and having fun.

Hiking together at the farm...

I’ve really gained so much confidence, not in her social skills (which really stink), but in that she really does enjoy the company of other dogs and likes to be with other dogs even if she’s awkward with them at first.  She is indeed safe around dogs who won’t overreact to a correction she may give (and really is safe even if they react to her correction since she generally is the one who gets pinned and even then there are no puncture wounds, just some incidental nicks).  Not only is she safe,but she can even be really tolerant of rude behavior.

Uh Dexter.. I do believe you are laying down ON SHAYNE'S HEAD!

It’s been quite an adventure getting to watch her learn how to cope with a new dog (an adult male who is pretty pushy and very physical with virtually no understanding of a space bubble) coming in the house.  It’s nice to see her so successful… I just wish she’d pick up some of his social skills… but not quite… maybe one day LOL!  Until then, I know I’m just pretty excited to have gotten the chance to see her interact with a brand new dog in such a successful manner.  Perhaps with enough fosters she’ll really turn a corner in her doggie relations!


About Success Just Clicks

I'm a dog trainer and enthusiast who moonlights as a blogger and custom tug-toy maker.
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9 Responses to What Fostering has Taught me about Shayne

  1. Again, I think Shayne and Risa are very similar. Though Risa might be a bit easier to read and is more ‘classical’ reactive dog. Risa also really enjoys the company of other dogs though she has problems with the pressure of social interaction. She likes to be around dogs; she just doesn’t want to play or do much with them. You also know first hand from Risa’s interactions with Rio that she’s much better around dogs who will back off when she overreacts. Even if it’s a stupid reason. 😉 So she and Shayne are definitely similar in many respects.

    Way to go Shayney Shayne!

    • They are very similar … which is why we have to be so careful with them together… if things go wrong neither of them know how to get out of the situation nicely LOL (though fortunately both have good bite inhibition and just make noise). I’m not sure i’d say that Rio BACKED OFF… he was pretty persistent LOL… he just plays the “i’m not touching you” game regardless of her grumbles (or the “i’m sitting on Jamie!” game).

      Oh we can’t wait to see you guys again!

  2. hornblower says:

    My Daisy is sort of like this though she’s more of a bark, bark, bark, OMG it’s a DOG, bark, hackle, stare! BUT, once she gets over her terrible greetings (I’m gonna kill ya! I AM!) then she’s all LET”S BE FRIENDS! She’s been rock solid with every single one of my fosters, even a snarky female who tried to instigate a fight. Daisy just went – um, what? You need to chill dude. And after a few days even those two were buds (though I was sweating that I’d need to find another foster home and worrying about female/female aggression & how ugly that can be.)

    Daisy’s BFF is a similarly snarky female whom we see for regular play dates. Those two are hilarious because they both like to play rough, they roll each other & it’s like they really GET each other. And I now have two more dogs (both male) in the pack. Living with dogs has definitely been good for her. She is ever so slowly improving at greeting dogs & while I think she’ll never be great, at least living & interacting with some members of her own species keeps her dog skills up.

    I too had that great moment of realizing that my dog actually has some pretty rock solid skills. It’s just the greetings that she’s really bad at….. Fostering is an excellent way to get these dogs interacting frequently with different dogs !

    • It certainly is nice to be pleasantly surprised by our dogs who may not look like they are that proficient…. Shayne’s not quite as rock solid as Daisy sounds but the good feeling is certainly the same! It’s also good to know that she’s improving as she’s learned to live with the fosters… I certainly hope for the same!

      Shayne doesn’t have the social confidence to be too successful with another snarky female (plus she’s a bossy female to begin with). She has taken snark from a male who got tired of her being pushy….and really did back off after he asserted himself… but it took him really snarking to get her to back down (though she was so appropriate after that and they are now good buddies).

  3. She is fortunate to have found someone with such patience and willingness to work through her issues.

    • And i don’t let her forget just how lucky she is! JUST KIDDING! She’s really been great… it’s been a project but i’ve become a MUCH better trainer, handler, and canine advocate… so i have a lot to thank HER for.

  4. gotspots says:

    We will have to get together again soon and take another walk. Maybe one day she can play with the spots. 🙂

    • She may never play but if they are chill they can probably go for an off-leash walk together and mingle that way… heck even Shayne and Risa were good off-leash together for the most part because they tended to leave each other alone LOL!

  5. That is so wonderful to learn that she is more tolerant than it sounds like you originally expected her to be. And, I bet she probably IS more tolerant of other dogs than when you originally took her on, thanks to your careful introductions. Congrats! Looking forward to seeing what her future holds.

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