Saturday, 14 January 2012

Once bitten, Twice shy

I've always been a dog person.  I grew up with dogs and to me, a house without a dog is just that - a house, not a home.  Unfortunately, rental properties rarely allow pets, so at the moment, my canine family members reside at my parents' house - and my sister's resides at my grandma's.

about 2 years ago or so - Whiskey & Cara  [courtesy of my sis]

I am aware that introducing a new family member can be an awkward situation - especially when it comes to babies and dogs.  I've been asking around to see how different people coped with the intros.  I've been given more or less the same kind of advice by both pet-owners as well as people who work with animals.

I don't know if their advice will work - as in my case I have three dogs to introduce Creature to.  I am not really concerned about Whiskey and Cara - they are very outgoing dogs.  Whiskey is extremely friendly and energetic, but very obedient as well.  He is used to not jumping up to greet me nowadays whenever I see him, so   I don't think it will be an issue walking in my parents' house with Creature.  
Although people may say it is a bad idea to ever trust an animal - I do trust Whiskey.

Cara, on the other hand, is more shy in her approach but she is still very friendly.  Being a small dog means I'm not overly concerned by her jumping up to greet me as with her forelegs outstretched she barely reaches my knee anyway.  I find her trustworthy as well.

Whiskey & Cara

The one dog I am a bit concerned about is my sister's dog.  I never trusted him - for some reason he has a very odd character.  He can quite easily snap at you for no apparent reason at all - quite a moody dog.  When I voiced my concern to my sisters, they both said we would need to keep an eye out to ensure things run smoothly.  I am not sure how to proceed though.  I myself have been snapped at by this dog - and all I did was try to pet him.  I happened to be sitting at the table when this happened - he clearly was wanting food, not to be petted.  Other family members have been snapped at but thankfully no one has been actually injured.  I'm just worried that the injured person will end up being Creature - you can't really tell a baby/toddler not to be all fussy around a certain animal and expect them to obey.

It is a bit of a dead end as I don't know how to go on about this issue.  I'm guessing my best bet would be to keep Creature as far away from this grumpy dog as much as I can - this though would mean that whenever my female siblings, or my mum, would be babysitting Creature, it would need to be done either in my own home, or at my parents' house.  This is quite unrealistic since my Grandma needs to be looked after as well.  It is why I'm stumped.

Enough rambling, anyway.  What I've been advised to do is to get someone to take home a piece of clothing, or a burp cloth for example, which has been used by Creature and give it to said dogs to sniff at.  This would help them familiarise themselves with Creature's scent before taking him/her home.  I'll be giving that a try and see how it goes.

In the meanwhile, here is a site I found with some guidelines of how to prepare well in advance for similar circumstances.  I've only mentioned the one solution of sorts as that is the only one applicable to myself since I don't live 24/7 with the aforementioned Dog-people.

1 comment:

  1. I know it might be awkward but maybe ask your sister if she minds if you get the dog a soft muzzle for the first few meetings till her dog is used to creature.