Friday, 11 February 2011

The right way to adopt an adult dog

I have learnt that there's a correct way to introduce a rescue/adopted dog into your home - and through sheer ignorance Hank and I managed to do it totally wrong.  On Day One, we inadvertently let Tock establish his dominance in our home, by letting him cross the threshold before us (that first day and, yep, every day since) and by letting him off the leash the minute he came indoors.  Today I found a good website on adopting adult dogs and everything they say makes excellent sense.  We did none of it! It seems we were too friendly and emotional, too quickly with Tock and that's probably why I'm sporting a slight black eye after he "muzzle punched" me for wiping his back paws unguardedly on Day Two.

I'm attempting to re-establish my dominance.  Before our midday walk, I nudged Tock out of the way to exit the front door before him. Boy, did he kick off about that!  I thought he was going to explode, trying so hard to get out of the door first.  But I managed to get one foot out before he darted around me, and apparently, that is enough, at first.

The second advantage I have over Tock is a credit card and access to  His doggy backpack arrived yesterday and Hank loaded Tock's flanks down with with two heavy jars of pasta sauce (I know!) before jogging him over to Lincoln Park last night.   The dog came home exhausted and apparently hadn't chomped on any other dogs, for once.  Today, I replaced the sauce jars with rubber hot water bottles (less banging against Tock's elbows) filled with cool water, and took Tock for his midday run.  The backpack has certainly leveled the playing field.   Weighed down by around two kilos of wobbly water, the dog now has an athletic disadvantage similar to my asthma - and he can even carry the poop bags for me!

Thank you all for your words of encouragement about Tock.  I am grateful for the advice of Jake and Ian who do such good work with retired Greyhounds, an equally demanding racing breed.  I do believe that Tock will stay with us for the duration but I'm still taking each day at a time, for my own sanity.   There have been no more peeing, pooping or barfing incidents since we gated Tock out of the high-risk indoor zones and he has mellowed out in the house and stopped chewing things since we gave him the Kong and sprayed the bitter yuck.  I feel like every day is a new challenge but he has a wonderful temperament, makes no noise, smells good (for a dog) and never tried to jump gates or come upstairs.  And he is wonderful with children - utterly adores them, always sits when they pet him and wants to frolic about with them.  He is the perfect dog in so many ways,  if we can just find that balance....

Yesterday Tock drew blood when he attacked a timid bitch in the street, after seeming to want only to sniff her.  We consulted the breeder who advised that he can be a bit of a bully with weaker females.  Well that also explains my shiner.  Dogs can sense weakness and understand inferiority at a level imperceptible to humans.  This will prove a real challenge for me, an unemployed little nobody with not much to show for myself these days.  Perhaps the dog can sense what is happening to me and thinks I'm just another weak female.

I am not.

Think I'll take him for another run before dinner.  This time, I'll get both feet out the door first.

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