Most of our foster dogs don’t like being penned and use every trick in the book to slip out every chance they get. Sometimes they play on the People’s sympathy, sometimes they use subterfuge, sometimes they attempt brute force. Not Tinker: he likes his “room”. He especially likes that Coolaroo and spent most of his time lounging on it his first day or two here.
Nearly all the foster dogs who were house-trained while here, came inside with the idea in their head that being allowed inside meant they could do anything they like, any time they like. Life for a house-dog is one big party. I’m pretty sure it’s Blondie who tells them this, but none have ratted her out yet.
We have to clamp down on that idea with heavy restrictions like being crated except for short, closely supervised “play periods” until they learn the rules. As they learn, we allow them more and more freedom until they are full-time, free-ranging house dogs like Blondie and I. When they break a rule, they go back a step.
Tinker is an exception. Tinker is an older dog (around 8 years) and was a house dog before being surrendered (aka “booted out”) by his family. We have found him to be quite calm and responsible. We actually have to encourage him to loosen up and have some fun. He IS allowed to sleep on the dog beds. He IS allowed to play with us (when we want to). He IS allowed to come into the house (or go outside) when he wants to. Blondie taught him to scratch on the metal part of the storm door when he wants in. He’s done that a couple of times, but mostly he just sits next to the door and waits for someone to notice him. I feel sorry for him sometimes.
This morning Tinker went outside to take care of business. NiceLady was asleep. HairyFace was in the den working at his button-thingie. I trotted into the room and started talking to him, “Rowr, rar, rar, rouf” and went toward the door.
Hairy said, “You want to go out, Chief?” (He sometimes calls me Chief) and followed me through the laundry room to the door.
Tinker was standing outside peering in.
“Oh, Tinker’s back.” observed the brilliant and deductive HairyFace. He opened the door.
My job done, I spun around and left.
Tinker said, “Thanks, Cochise, I was getting cold out there.”
Peoples can be so oblivious.
In the time he’s been here he has come out of his shell and is becoming a lot of fun. But we’ve never had to scold him for going counter-cruising, or getting on the people furniture. He considers carpeting ‘off-limits”. He is just now accepting that we have furniture of our own that he can rest on. He’s not fond of being crated, but when told to go “in his room” he does and is calm and quiet all night long. He is bright and obedient.
While food is being prepared he sits quietly and watches. He is interested, he is eager, but he stays out of the way and lets the Peoples get the food ready. He even keeps Millie company while they wait. Most newbies are underfoot hoping that something will get dropped. He already has a place at the table at meal times.
He eats slowly and in small amounts. Hairy worries that Tinker isn’t getting enough to eat and puts extra stuff like shredded cheese or chicken broth in his kibbles to encourage him to eat more. (I wonder why I didn’t think of that.) When he’s done, Tinker never tries to raid our dishes. He may sniff up at the table, but never tries to go after anything.
In short, there’s not much Blondie and I can teach him that he doesn’t already know. In fact, he taught us something new the other day.
How’s that for a role (roll?) reversal?
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