Saturday, July 11, 2009

Popeye & Reese

Popeye doesn't like new dogs in the house, unless they're accompanied by a new person. Maybe he thinks a new dog without a person is an infringement on his territory.

Day 1 (Thursday):

I pick up Reese, with Boomer tagging along. (Reese has met both Boomer & Phoebe before.) We try a new approach with introducing the new dog to Popeye--taking them to neutral grounds. Tyler meets me in front of the house upon return and immediately takes Reese & Boomer for a walk up on the hill behind our house.

Several minutes later, I follow with Phoebe & Popeye. Everybody meets on the top of the hill. All goes well.

Return home and dogs hang out in the backyard. Reese is very clingy with me so he spends most of his time following me around rather than interacting with the other dogs.

Once inside the house, however, Popeye starts his snarling and snapping. He follows Reese everywhere and continually bears his teeth at Reese. If Reese tries to walk past him, Popeye snaps at him. By now, I realize this is little more than posturing on Popeye's part but it's enough to intimidate Reese, who luckily, is a submissive dog and will not retaliate. We correct Popeye for this behavior but it doesn't do much to stop him from doing it again and instead just scares the other dogs.

Day 2 (Friday):

More of the same. But wait, Reese picks up a stuffed animal in the backyard. Light bulb goes on in Popeye's head. TUG!!! His favorite thing in the world. They engage in a very short game of tug.

Back in the house, Popeye still growls a bit at Reese but only half-heartedly. Things are looking up.

Day 3 (Saturday):

Reese's playful nature kicks in and he starts to go wild with the stuffed animals. He's no longer intimidated by Popeye and suddenly they are best friends, Bandit-style. Nonstop wrastling ensues.