Day #3 of Conditioning Month
Of course, something to remember here is that although Nacho is the one who has had the difficult life and needs a whole bunch of attention to get his confidence and security back, Jasper has a few issues of his own; namely – he’s a pup!
Children of every species (except maybe…I dunno…sheep or something) require a certain amount of guidance to get them growing up properly adjusted and aligned. Jasper is no exception.
He came to us when he was just eight weeks old when some neighbors who had recently had pups needed to move away at short notice. All of the pups found homes quite quickly (not really surprising because they were all fluffy). For the first few weeks it was just like any house with a newborn coming home. Crying at night, frustration, eat-sleep-poop (the dog…not me…). But he settled down ok.
His biggest problem all along has been that he bites. He’s only playing, and at least now that he has his adult teeth it doesn’t hurt as much, but as much as we’ve tried, we haven’t been able to get him to break the habit. He also boxes…
Shi Tzus are generally thought of as small dogs, but Jasper is a cross, and we aren’t entirely certain who dad might have been. Jasper is now definitely bigger than his mother and a few of his siblings, and he’s grown really quite strong. When he isn’t biting his playmates, he’s rearing up on his back legs and boxing them, before pouncing on top. It’s very cute to watch when he does it on a Labrador or a Great Dane, but when it’s on a similar sized dog you expect them to get squished! Nacho is taller than Jasper by a few inches but he’s a much lighter weight dog…and he has huge and attractive ears. So poor Jasper spends half of his time trying to bit those flappy ears, and the other half of his time trying to flatten the other guy.
Clearly Nacho has not been socialised well. Maybe it’s just that he’s grown a little old for puppy antics, but whatever the reason might be, he just won’t tolerate the sort of things that make Jasper happy. For his part, poor Jasper just looks at him as if saying “what I do??” whenever he gets snarled at. Or more often “oh hey, it’s the snarl game. I like this one. Wait while I pounce on you one more time!”
I don’t know. It’s difficult. Jasper is a great little guy and I love him to bits. Nacho is a great dog when he’s on his own, and he’s fine all of the time while he’s able to ignore Jasper, but when Jasper doesn’t allow himself to be ignored sparks tend to fly.
I don’t really know how we’re going to resolve this issue.
At the moment whilst I’m here on my own with the pair of them there seems to be a real contest for affection going on. I have two dogs following my every move, with each desperate to be the one who’s closes. When I sit down I get one on each foot – as long as this does not involve excessive direct contact. Jasper (being Jasper) tends to shuffle himself over, slowly nudging Nacho out of the way until Jasp has both feet under his control. During this process he may suddenly decide that he can no longer resist a nip at Nacho’s tail or ears, in which case we get a snarl match.
At the moment I’m trying just the firm words technique, but it’s hard to know which of them to reprimand. I can’t blame Jasper for wanting to play but equally I can’t blame Nacho for not wanting to get bitten – especially when he’s got such a skinny little thing. Nips have to hurt.
So I will continue to see how things go. We have peace in the house right now…let’s see how long it lasts.