Saturday, November 14, 2009

Takin' a break.exe

Friday nights at my in-laws has been a family tradition for years, now. It's a time that my husband and I go over in the evenings, usually with a few other friends, and we hang out, eat dinner, watch a movie, play games, swim in their pool, and otherwise just relax and unwind from the week. Since these hang out days were important to us, we looked for a rescue that could get along with other dogs (and possibly cats) so that he or she could tag along with us.

Enter Koji, the ideal house guest! Well, sort of. He plays well with my in-law's dog, Goose, and wants to play with the cats (waggle butt and all) much to the dismay of Reese, but they pretty much leave each other alone. We let the dogs go nuts in the back yard, which Koji enjoys more than Goose, and usually stays out longer, and when they come in they rough house a little bit. It's the Shiba style of play, a little rough, rather mouthy, and full of funny vocalizations. While it sometimes looks like Koji is beating up on Goose, the mini Schnauzer usually charges right back in to try again, and they are usually broken up before anything gets bad, but we know they both have a good time since they are just DYING to get to each other to sniff butts and generally see how life has been since they last met.

Unfortunately, after Thanksgiving, I don't think Koji will be coming over with us for a while. It has little to do with my dog's actions and more to do with the other people's reactions.

With excitement and new people, Koji will sometimes think that humping is a good idea. It happened, he got caught in the act, promptly taken off and carried to time out in a closed bathroom. 10 minutes later, he was able to come back out and rejoin the fun and he did not try that again with anyone, proving that my method works (and I was paying attention to him throughout the night, as well.) But while Koji and Goose play fight all over the living room, with Koji on his 20' lead and Goose having free reign, people felt inclined to break the two up occasionally as Koji looks, well, downright mean when he plays. I have no problem with that, but the problem I have is the way they break them up then only punish Koji, with rough shoves and alpha rolls. One offender in particular will break them up, Koji will stop and move on (either in thought or physically move on) and then this person will shove Koji after the fact and when it has no relation to him of anything he was doing the 30 seconds before.

What happens when you shove Koji (or any Shiba?) That's right, they shove back harder, which ends up in Koji not respecting these people and I saw a few instances of him motioning to mouth people as he was coming back for more. What's more surprising to me is how my in-laws have NO IDEA how to deal with this kind of dog even though they've had several American Eskimos and used to work with the rescue. Didn't Hawk or any of the million Angels they had in their home have similar tendencies? But I feel it is immensely unfair that my dog gets shoved and forced to the ground while their dog goes away free, though he instigated many of these "problems" as well and was just more quiet about it. I mean, don't get me wrong, when a bop on the snout is what is going to stop him from playing rough with people (for instance, he kept trying to charge and mouth one of our friends, because unfortunately Jeff allows it with him) then sure. He certainly didn't try that again, but was still content to sit near us and have us pet and mess with him in a nice way. But bullying my dog around, yelling and pulling and pushing him to the ground is NOT okay, and I don't feel like I need to babysit the actions for two dogs and 6 other people.

Why don't I just speak up right then when it happens? I don't believe they share my same training thoughts and I don't feel I am ready now to stand up to them and be prepared to take the negativity. And while I keep an eye on him, if I'm not doing anything, I don't see it as a problem, because I know my dog, and I know their dog better than my in-laws do for that matter.

So, until I feel more okay with these people, my friends and family, who tend to use aggressive Cesar techniques that would never work with my dog, he can relax at home in his bed while we're away. It's just not worth it right now, and I'm uncomfortable raising the point with them that what they are doing is essentially taking my child out back for mouthing off and slapping him upside the head instead of letting me take care of it with methods I feel more comfortable with and I know that work. Koji still needs some more work and training, I know this, but he actually does fantastically well and is only a year and a half. Though I still believe that this has more to do with the people than the dog.

Next weekend, Koji and I visit the Alamo to meet up with other Shibas and have lunch, and it's inevitable that he should be with us at Thanksgiving, being it's an all day family affair and we might be staying over till that Friday evening. Perhaps instead of going over to their place, he'll get to have more dog park time. I just wish I was strong enough to say something.


Anonymous said...

You can always bring Koji over for some rough shiba style playing. Jiro and Yuki are masters at it.

-thepaisleyfox said...

That would be awesome, Nicole. We should schedule a play date or 50. ;)

Anonymous said...

I don't watch dog whisperer anymore since I don't get that channel anymore, but it amazes me how many people misuse the teqniques employed on the show and cause problems for their dogs in the process.

For them to grab your shiba and wrestle him to the ground/punish him for what amounts to PLAY is really backwards and confuses the dog. I took my shiba to a party once with other much smaller dogs, and everyone was punishing her because they thought she was playing too rough. I was so offended! (I let them know though hehe)

I like your time out method. I've used it with Suki with 100% success. I think you're doing the right thing by keeping Koji away from certain people!