A few of my favorite houseguests arrived last night – DOGS! My brother’s family is headed to Tennessee for a wedding this weekend and that means their two dogs will be staying here. Both dogs are easy guests, well behaved (better than some of my nuttier crew truth be told), and fit pretty seamlessly into the pack. It’s just the initial hour or so that can be a bit chaotic.
Emmy has been coming here since she was a youngster, so she knows all of my dogs and our routines. It’s funny because whenever my brother is here dropping them off, she whines and fusses at him the entire time obviously anxious about whether or not she’s being left here. After my brother leaves, she whines and stares at the door for maybe minute at the most, and then just settles right in. Of course she misses him, I know that because she gets a little mopey now and then, but usually all it takes to make her feel better is some extra attention or a few treats (or both!) I also remind her that he always comes back. Somehow that doesn’t seem to convince her – treats work better. Em is a dream to have as a houseguest, she never causes any drama and is a lady in every way. She has a good, solid, balanced personality – she isn’t pushy or aggressive with other dogs, but she doesn’t take any crap either. Her “go to” move if someone is pestering her is usually to just walk away.
She also respects Rex which always goes a long way in my house – but that’s probably because of her first visit here. She was a young rambunctious 4 month old, and got very excited when she saw the other dogs. She started jumping around wanting to play. Nemo loves to play so he joined her, but when she bounced over to Rex and tried to jump on his head, in a split second she was firmly put on the ground. Rex didn’t hurt her, he has never hurt another dog, but he makes it VERY clear that he does not tolerate nonsense, particularly from a young whippersnapper. He is not a bully by any means. If another dog growls at him for a legitimate reason he respects that. Emmy has done this on occasion and Rex leaves her alone and doesn’t push it. All of my other dogs respect and love him, and some of them even seem to have a bit of “hero-worship” going on and will grovel and postulate whenever he is near them. Over time I’ve come to recognize that those are often the dogs who may challenge other dogs, but never Rex. It reminds me of teenage boys who act all cool and tough until the star quarterback from the football team who they all worship shows up. Then they all just want to impress him and be his best pal. Although I’d love to take credit for Rex’s behavior with other dogs and claim it was because I did such a great job of raising him, I’m pretty sure most of it is just innate. He’s just one of those amazing dogs, and I was lucky enough adopt him. Ok, maybe I had a little bit of influence in how he turned out, but not much.
Our other houseguest is Link, my niece’s first dog. She has done a great job raising him. At the time of his adoption she worked at a doggie daycare, and was able to take him to work with her. The family also takes both dogs to dog parks several times a week. As a result, Link has been around a lot of other dogs since he was a pup. He is also what I would describe as a natural follower so he doesn’t typically come on too strong with other dogs (I was told by my niece Mia that he was a bit much at times with little dogs at the daycare, but he was still a puppy then.) Both nature and nurture have helped him to develop some good doggie etiquette and he can now “read the room” fairly well. This is only his second visit here, and I admit I was a bit stunned at how much he remembered from being here this winter. He knew his way around and politely greeted all of the dogs which is more than I can say for Henry, the youngest of my pack. Henry is insecure when greeting new dogs – his hackles go up and he gets growly and bit snarky. He’d been being a jerk since they had arrived, partly because he was so excited to see my brother Tim again and wanted all of his attention. Even after Tim had gone, and things were settling down Henry was still being weird particularly towards Link, so decided to put him in his crate for a “time out” so he could chill.
When I was asking Henry to get into his crate, Link ran over and jumped into the crate next to Henry’s! It is exactly where I put him at bedtime the last time he stayed with me. What a good boy! Luckily I always have treats with me when I’m crating anyone so I was able to reward him right away. Then I let him out immediately since it wasn’t bedtime yet. When it was bedtime, everything went smoothly and I didn’t hear a peep out of anyone all night.
This morning Emmy and Link fell right into the routine again, and as I had suspected would happen Henry had settled down and was fine with both of them. He even had several nice play sessions with Link today. They had played together a lot during the last visit, so I figured Henry would eventually remember. Looks like it’s going to be a fun holiday weekend.