Thursday, 7 July 2016

A Development: In Which We Get Even More Official But Melon Learns How Much She Really Has to Learn

So this little dude is Charlie.

mini Labradoodle
Charlie the mini Labradoodle
He's quiet and independent.

And this goof is Scruffy.

Wire Fox Terrier
Scruffy the Wire Fox Terrier
While younger, he is bigger in size as well as enthusiasm --  boisterous and playful.

As brothers (ie. from the same household), they couldn't be more different, but they are both staying with me this week as their owner is on a trip.

During the day, I feel like a boss keeping them on a good schedule and walking two dogs at once. I'm also marvelling at their overall cooperation, ability to settle and solid housetraining (touch wood) in an unfamiliar environment. I've got this, I'm doing awesome. (It's also been pouring rain and I have a cold, so I must be superwoman or something.)

In the evenings, though, I go to bed freaked out after humping and scuffles -- anxiety in my stomach and praying it won't happen again. What if something happens that I can't control?

I have so much to learn -- how to recognise a 'normal' household scuffle vs. what is likely to escalate, how to react, how to read behaviour (I'm totally flummoxed by a strange repeating sequence where Scruffy humps my leg then forcibly removes my sock/shoe, triggering quiet meek Charlie to suddenly bark warningly at Scruffy), how to compromise for two dogs at once while also not compromising individual needs, the list goes on. I know most of this comes with practice, but... any advice?

And can anyone drop me a line to talk humping? (There's one for 'things I never thought I'd say'...) 

I really have no experience with this and would dearly welcome some better understanding and advice!


  1. Oh my...certainly something to be reluctant to put into google! Sounds like you are having your own 'witching hour' experiences with these munchkins.

    I don't know too much about the biological side of things, and perhaps the behaviour in question is inherently reinforcing (!), but is it feasible to train up a competing behaviour from which he cannot engage in the undesirable behaviour? I am considering doing the same with scooting, only Ava's 'drop' is not yet at the point of verbal instruction from a distance.

    1. Witching hour indeed, Chris, as they don't give me any trouble during the day! Glad to have an empathic ear!

      Reading tells me that humping can be a) for pleasure, b) out of excitement or c) out of anxiety. You are right that a) there isn't much that can be done, b) sounds like a good candidate for redirection/ignoring and c) address the anxiety. But I haven't yet found anything about OTHER dogs reacting to the humping when they're not involved. Scruffy's humping my leg wouldn't bother me (as much!) if it didn't aggravate his brother.

      That's a good suggestion for all circumstances though, including Ava's scooting. I'm in the process of charging the clicker to help clarify communication to Scruffy, but it's tricker than you'd think with two dogs and a bunch of other factors to juggle!

  2. No real idea on the humping and barking. My best guess would be they are over tired and that's their way to work it out. I would probably try to enforce an extra nap in there, probably more for the young one. When I fostered Linus I would make sure he had naps otherwise he would be crazy. Naps were not a punishment, just something to help all of us stay sane.

    1. Ooh, that's so interesting. My motto for sanity with dogs is 'a tired dog is a good dog', so I tend to wear out my boarders with walks and play so they don't have time to fuss. Ava's owner tells me she gets 'cranky' when she's overtired though so I should consider that, I guess. Thankyou!


Thoughts? I'd love to hear them!