Wednesday, January 2, 2008

the "pack" dynamic

Just a short post on the power of pack dynamics and my true lack of understanding regarding it! I mean, I get the gist of it, layman's terms colored by a fair amount of dog knowledge, but I am not 100% sure the best tactic to deal with it. Management is, of course, always high on my list!

I took Ike and Carmen to see Dr. Anne yesterday - they both had appointments. Anne did the second pelvic adjustment for Carmen (1st one held) and will do a full body adjustment in February. Ike is doing well on the Canine Thyroid Supplement and Anne wants to leave him on it until at least next appointment (2/20), so I picked up another bottle.

We were leaving the room to pay and there were two greyhounds in the waiting room (with two humans). Carmen's reaction to fear is to act like she is incredibly tough and this generally means being vocal in addition to standing up on her hind legs, which is what she did. Ike thought, Oh really? and decided to join in. I immediately opened the door and brought them out to the car. For a joint-reaction, it wasn't bad at all (just minimal barks, not ferocious saliva splattering growling/barking/lunging) but it reminded me of how they feed off of each other and how much more insecure Carmen is than Ike.

I suppose the upside is that she hasn't had much exposure to the world-at-large in general, so she hasn't really developed a well reinforced pattern of bad/inappropriate behavior. (My in-laws tend to take her for walks and that is about it.) However, this reaction is something I want to start trying to modify sooner rather than later. Since Carmen's trigger is dogs not people I think the easiest thing to do is go to Petco or the dog park in Sharon and do lots of c/t while she is well under her threshold.

Carmen has class tonight at the Shelter (finally, the forecast cooperates!), so that she be a positive reinforcing experience.

Funny, I think I jinxed myself with my little love note about Sir Ike. Walking out of the appointment room I just wasn't on my toes. Back to work, girlie!!


Katrin said...

You might think too about a GL for her.

And if you can taking them in and out seprately, you don't want Ike reverting to past behaviors because he's 'joining in'

JULES & IKE said...

And yes, seperate trips in it will be from this point forward.

Cat and Tessie said...

Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. They can't feed off one another if they aren't together.