Friday, February 24, 2012

Dog vs. Dog

January 1, 2012

Clearly we ended up keeping Alfred, but M and I didn't come to that decision right at the start.  There were a lot of factors to take into account before we could agree to let the big beasty become a part of our clan: one of the most important being whether or not he and Bruce Wayne could get along.  Alfred had come back from the vet with a relatively clean bill of health, and it was confirmed that he was free of any contagious diseases that might be threatening to other dogs.  Still, I was nervous about their first meeting and worried we'd be forced back into the position of bringing the poor lug down to Animal Care and Control where he wouldn't have a second chance.  He didn't have a strong reaction to neighbor F's two smaller dogs, so that was promising, but his resource guarding and mouthiness with humans was concerning...there was nothing to do but wait and see how their first meeting would go.

After all of my nervousness and worrying I had expected something big to happen. Either they were going to love each other and instantly be the best of friends, or they would get into a huge fight and I would feel terrible for ever putting Bruce in danger.  Instead, the first meeting was fairly uneventful.  First they sniffed through the fence and said hello.  Then we let them both out in the back yard to run around and play.  They were like two boys on the school playground and everything was going fine.  Alfred was showing signs of submission toward Bruce and I was beginning to calm down a little bit.  Bruce seemed to enjoy playing in the yard, and we had ourselves a foster dog.

Bruce wasn't convinced at first (he still might not be 100% sure) that he liked having a foster brother.  The play in the back yard was all well and good, but now the big meat head is going to come inside?  He's getting all of the attention from mom and dad while I'm stuck out in the living room by myself?  Why is he getting so many treats just for letting you pet his head??  I didn't sign up for this!

Bruce had gone from being a spoiled only child to playing the part of older brother, and nobody even asked his opinion on the matter.  Although Bruce could handle Alfred's rough style of play, it didn't really stop once we were inside so the house was often divided in two.  Instead of spending time taking Bruce to the dog park and bringing him with me on errands, I was consumed with working on Alfred's behavior and taking him back and forth to the vet.  Was it really worth losing all of the time and attention with mom and dad to gain a backyard playmate?

Bruce Wayne sure put up a stink about it, but I think at the end of the day he's glad to have another dog in the house.  To all the other multiple-pet families: do your pets always get along, or do you think they ever have secret plots against each other?


  1. Our pets actually don't get along, but it's only been 3 weeks, and hopefully getting behavior counseling will help.

    1. Badger and Mushroom - ha! Maybe you need a snaaaaaaake to round out the family, anyone?

  2. They are so cute together in that video! So Alfred has resource guarding issues with humans, but not other dogs? Zoe has no issues with people, but if another dog or cat comes near something that is hers... it doesn't go well. She also can be really mouthy. I can't wait to hear what you've learned about stopping these behaviors!

    1. Yea, it's really strange. We think he was most likely abused by humans in some way before we found him so he's always had a much stronger reaction to us than to Bruce (whom he absolutely adores). I'll work on some training posts soon, but I can tell you there are a lot of treats and "time outs" involved.