Friday, April 29, 2011

teaching an old dog new thought patterns

Lamar, looking none too happily at Fozzie 
It seems Lamar Latrell is a bit more grumpy about Fozzie since Tashi passed away. Did his old lady exert a calming influence, a balancing dose of old wise woman-ness to this crew of zany boys? Hard to say for sure, but it is certain that we need to find a way to work on the nightly ritual of lunging growling snarling whenever Fozzie comes near Lamar's turf, the bed.

Time for bits of Beggin Strips, cheesy snacks, and organic training treats. Whenever Fozzie comes near and Lamar gets The Look--or ideally, before the eyes have rolled all the way to the side and the lips have curled all the way up--I tell Lamar what a good boy he is, scratch him in front of the ears where he loves it, and stuff his mouth full of yummy snacks. Fozzie gets snacks too, just to remind him that other dogs are associated with good things and not just terrifying noises and hideous snarls.

Relaxing a bit. Right paw just received a paw rub. 
After a few treats, Lamar visibly relaxes. Even more dramatically if I scratch his ears really well too. Eyes drift toward closed, ears sail out slightly, mouth opens and breath deepens. Paws extend, sometimes even touching Fozzie's.
Although it's back to square one every time Fozzie approaches the bed and Lamar's on it, I am hopeful. Its not a deep hatred like Lamar had for Lars; on walks they do just fine together and in the yard they even sometimes romp like lads in the midst of a bromance.
So do we keep looking for a home for Fozzie, so Lamar can someday relax? Do we get another little spunky girl foster dog who might neutralize the testosterone poisoning? If my history with dogs is any indication, the rational solution may not be the one that wins out!

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