Wanna see something cool? Check this out...
It may not seem like much but, for me, this is a huge step. You see, I never learned to be social with other dogs when I was younger. At least, that's what Ana and everyone else tells me. I get really excited when I meet new dogs, so excited that I can't "hear" when they tell me that they need their space, so I tend to make them grumpy. I can't help it, I just get so excited and I wanna play now now now and ohmigod lets go have a party now weeeeeeee!!!
But other dogs don't like that. Especially Xdog. She's an extra grumpy kind of dog. She has a very large personal space and does not appreciate fast movements or in-your-face greetings, both of which are my token moves. So how is that we are getting along? It's because we went really slow.
For the first two weeks or so, we didn't spend any time touching at all. Either I was in the crate, or Xdog was in the crate while I was on the tie-down. It was that way at home, in the car, and at work. We were together a lot, but never directly interacting. Slowly, around the third week, we started doing some supervised fun stuff together, like walking to the car, or sitting for treats together. I was always on leash, but when the day came and Ana noticed that I so didn't much as raise an eyebrow when Xdog ran right under my chin, she let the leash drop and started letting us hang out in the same vicinity while supervised.
It's been a couple weeks and we're not exactly the best of friends, but we're roommates that actually like each other. A lot of my social issues stem from things being too exciting, but when you see and smell the same dog every day for weeks on end (which is practically an eternity in dog years), then things become boring, and boring in multi-dog households is a good thing.
Wanna see something else that's cool?
Hard to see, but there's a cat in that planter above my head. It may surprise you to hear this, but I like chasing cats. I can smell them from half a block away I can tell you where they've been, and when I see one... watch out, I'm after it! But Ana knew this about me from the beginning and did the same thing with Pirate that she did with me and Xdog: crate and rotate. Fortunately Pirate is a very well socialized cat and didn't mind being in the crate, even my crate sometimes! She also is not scared of dogs so she doesn't run.
Eventually, Ana let me sniff her up close.
I realized i already knew that smell very well, I'd been living with it for weeks. It was not so exciting any more so I could turn my attention away.
Ana says she still will never trust me 100% not to chase the cat, but I am learning to tell the difference between this cat and other cats. For instance, the other day as we were leashed up leaving for work I saw Pirate jump up on the fence in my peripheral vision. My body reacted, I whipped my head around and I went into "CAT!" mode. But then I realized it was just Pirate and just as quickly as I switched on, I switched off again and said, "Oh never mind. Let's go to work now!"
Small steps, but we're working toward a peaceable kingdom.