Sunday, August 17, 2008

Becoming an alpha dog

If you read the previous post, you have probably been on pins and needles waiting to hear about the wonderful accomplishments that we made with Rusty and the trainer on Friday. Well, you're not going to hear any of that. Things did not go so well. In fact, things were downright sour. I am embarrassed and not amused by Rusty's behavior.

Kristen came into our yard and met Rusty while he was on leash and the initial meeting was a whole lot of barking and lunging, so Scott took Rusty inside and we started talking. Kristen had me fill out a questionnaire of sorts, to find out what the key behavior problems were that we wanted to deal with, and find out a bit of Rusty's background that we knew of. We told her the only history that we knew...that he was a stray...that we didn't know for how long... the condition that Rusty was in when he was found...his various ailments he overcame, his foster care before us, his return to a kill shelter...and so on. She compiled a sort of plan to deal with his issues.

Once we were done with the initial consultation, Kristen wanted to meet Rusty. She had me go inside and get some cheese so that she had something that he liked to offer him. She had been briefed on his biting and was not a bit scared or nervous. I was also not a bit nervous as Kristen is a dog trainer and if she came to this house after all the warning, I thought she could handle him. Things didn't go as I planned.

Kristen was sitting, and Rusty made a beeline to her. She had treats, I know he knew that. He jumped in her lap at first. She gave up the treats. She stood up, and he grabbed her inside elbow with his mouth when she did. I think she probably has a bruise there now. He didn't break the skin, but I did see some purple teeth marks after a few minutes.

So, we are left with the realization that we have an aggressive, dominant dog who may never allow guests into our yard let alone our home (we need to nip this in the bud!). Since this most unfortunate realization, I have been changing my behavior. I am becoming the alpha dog. It sounds silly, but it is working. Tonight, he actually followed me slowly up the stairs instead of plowing me down to be the first one up. I have made some changes in the way I treat him, and I think this may work.

He has become defiant, stopped listening to me, but he has also begun showing a few signs of stress, so I think that he knows that there is a change in power taking place.

So in recap: Friday night after the unfortunate incident, I had become temporary alpha. Saturday all day, Rusty was in denial (he ignored me as much as he could, which was a lot) so to me, he thought he was back to alpha (although I was not buying it). Sunday night (I was gone most of the day) Rusty is starting to follow me. I am becoming the alpha dog. Pray for me and him! This is truly his last chance. I think if we return him to the rescue he will not make the cut. He is too smart for his britches, and he doesn't have any chances left. We're it.

I WILL be the Alpha dog!!!!!!
Rusty WILL look to me for guidance. It's my wish. For him to live. Fucking dog!


abstractjenn said...

Go Alpha dog GO!!!!!!

We had a dog like this when we moved to Maine - you just have to dominate. You WILL win!

By the way you can download the new Saul Willams album for free if you are so inclined!

nancyrosetta said...

I am dominating more than I ever imagined. Even without the stiletto heels and fishnet stockings. Thanks for your encouragement. Do you want a dog? Haaahaaa!!!

I listened to some Saul Williams songs after visiting your blog, and I have to say that my fave is the song you freaking rocks!

Suzanne said...

As long as you stay strong Rusty will follow! You can do it!

Holly said...

Nancy, you can do it!

Stick with him, I promise it will be worth it. Make sure you always enter and leave the house before him. It will be tough at first but it's something pack leaders always do.

And watch The Dog Whisperer. He's no replacement for a trainer but he can get you to notice things that you may have overlooked before.