Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Mina's Bad Behavior

I should get a video of this, except it might make people think Mina is mean. She is not. She is a dog who gets excited and redirects her excitement inappropriately in certain circumstances (never on people, it is not in her nature).

When Celeste and I play tug-o-war, if Celeste starts growling, this gets Mina amped. She gets in Celeste's face. This results in Celeste dropping the toy and nailing Mina with a loud bark, snap and nip. Mina acts quite surprised that her behavior would result in such a response. She always backs down and finds her own toy. She also comes back five seconds later, undeterred.

Of course, I've been trying to avoid that whole scenario, because it annoys Celeste and leaves Mina confused. It means watching Mina and diverting her attention before she gets all excited. It's easy to tell - she stills herself and stares really hard at Celeste. She's waiting for the growl and then she will pounce.

There are several solutions. One is I tell Mina to get her own toy. She is greatly impressed and acts as if she thought that one up herself. Two is to invite Mina over and give her my half of the tug. Mina and Celeste take tugging very seriously. That really is a rabbit between them that needs eviscerating. What is interesting is Mina loses at tug of war every single time. She may have a strong grip, but when Celeste is determined, her bite is stronger. Three is to keep them separate, which I can do with a baby gate, but this really offends Mina sense of pack-hood. She'll give me the sad eye. I try to avoid the sad eye. Four is to tell Mina "leave it", but I like to save "leave it" for important situations like dead fish on the sidewalk. Fifth is just to stop playing tug with Celeste before she starts growling. This appeases everyone, except Celeste, who wants to play tug.

Dogs make life interesting. Some say they make life simple. I disagree. My life is way more complex with dogs in it. As it stands, I would not have any other way.


Amanda said...

I hear you, life is way more interesting, but not in any sense "simple." I have to admit, I recently experienced a dog fight in very similar circumstances to those you describe rocked my world to say the least. I'd never had to break up a fight alone, and I also had mistakenly thought any such problems were so far behind us they were nearly out of the realm of possibility (HA to my idiocy, oops).

I am not telling you this to say, in any way, "watch out, it'll happen to you." Actually, I don't know why I'm sharing this. ;) At any rate, things happen, dogs are dogs and they use their mouths at times in ways we wish they wouldn't--it is what they have available. It's nice to read how aware you are of all the signals being exchanged between your dogs and the ways you have learned you can circumvent potential problems.

Mina's sad eyes must be killer. Darn dogs, they know how to play us, don't they?! ;)

Rinalia said...

@Amanda: Dog fights are scary, serious business. I hate them. I hope everything turned out okay for you and the doggies involved.

I trust Mina and Celeste to be dogs. Mina is going to back down 99% of the time. It's that 1% I seek to prevent. And Celeste is a lot more snappy than Mina.

So prevention and redirection is what I seek. I just wish Mina wouldn't be so committed to her silly behavior.

Mina's sad eyes ARE killer. She does emo like no other. :)

Retrieverman said...

Mina is just being dominant.

Call up Cesar Millan, and he'll straighten things out!


Rinalia said...

@Retrieverman: Ha! I should just alpha roll her and let Celeste sniff her. That solves all problems!

Kari in WeHo said...

oh we understand the growling getting the pups amped up. This is why we have quiet wrestling at our house. Or at least we did until BC came along. Now we are having to teach it all over again!

Mary said...

People say dog's make life simpler? Who are these people? They are liars.