Saturday, 13 April 2013

Barking, Biting, Chewing and Jumping

Yes, you've guessed it.  I'm talking about my band of happy dogs.  I haven't mentioned them for a while for fear of boring you, but also because it's been hard work helping them to settle.

Sammy, Megan and Blondie have all recovered well from their operations.  Megan had the season scent for 5 or 6 days so we kept her in the garden and balcony, while Blondie and Sammy were in the dog area behind the house.

Sammy is as lively as ever...and he is the jumper.  I can get him to stop but only if I'm not holding his food bowl.  He's a big boy, so when he jumps he knocks the bowl out of my hand, no matter how high I hold it, and the food scatters everywhere.  If he is in our garden he also jumps all over the flowers and plants, much to Mr A's dismay.

Feeding time is the biggest issue.  It is impossible to feed all three in close proximity to each other.  There is a tendency to fight for food.  Sadly a habit with street dogs.  Even though they are fed twice a day, the street dog habit is hard to kick...every meal is attacked as if it's the last thing they will eat. So separating them at feed time is essential until they eventually realise that they will always be fed.

Megan in particular intimidates Blondie, who loses confidence and backs away.  When Megan bullies Blondie, Sammy joins in....I think this is mostly territorial, because they arrived before Blondie.

I have taken each dog into our garden, on their own for a while.  It seems that two in the dog area get along better than three.  Even Blondie and Megan seemed better together for a while, until Megan bit Blondie quite badly on her ear, which left her very frightened.  This was because I gave them each a biscuit and Megan resented Blondie having one.....it's all about food again.

Blondie spent several days last week in our garden and on the balcony.  Blondie is the chewer.  She chews everything she can get hold of.  She has annihilated two pairs of Mr A's shoes and one pair of mine, a blanket that was her bed on the balcony, several plastic plant pots, a cushion, and the old sofa which we put under the gazebo now has a hole in it with all the stuffing removed.

It was time to do another changeover.

For the past three days Megan has been in our garden and balcony, leaving Sammy and Blondie in the dog area.   It's working.  Sammy and Blondie get on well without Megan and Blondie is so much more confident.

Megan, although having bitten Blondie once, is such a softy when she's away from the other two.  I can control her completely.  She does exactly as she is told.   She adores Poppy and vice versa, so they spend much of the day in the garden together.

And who is the barker?  Well all of them really.  Poppy often starts it off when she spots a cat or a chicken in the lane, followed by Megan.   Then Sammy joins in, and finally Blondie.  It is particularly noisy when the flocks of sheep or cows pass by.  However, they all settle down at night and we hear nothing from them at all, which avoids complaints from the neighbours.

They are getting used to some of the people who pass by now and don't bark at familiar faces.  All in all I think we are heading in the right direction.



14 comments:

  1. I think you're right about the food anxiety.
    The dog who turned up here is a sweetie about everything except food...so I feed him on the balcony and let him in when the others have finished...if not, he is going from dish to dish, trying to gobble everything available.

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    1. It's the best way Helen, to make sure there are no squabbles and they all get equal shares.

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  2. I suppose, in the past, they have had to fight for food just to survive. I hope as the meals are now regular that they will come to know that they don't have to do that anymore.
    Glad they all got over their ops ok.
    Maggie x

    Nuts in May

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    1. Yes they have had to fight for food for the first year of their lives Maggie, so you can understand how they must feel. I think it will take a while yet for them to feel reassured.

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  3. Fantastic work Ayak. Your recent dog posts triggered me searching the INet for the fate of turkish dogs and suddenly I was facing horrific pictures I wish I had never seen...

    So every dog saved (and of course taken out of the production line) is a little ray of hope. And possibly a tiny step to change the habits of the locals.

    I also follow now Karen's amazing work with the streetdogs.

    Regarding your pack, I think it is a wise choice to kind of form two pairs - Poppy and Megan - Sammy and Blondie. Having been forced to fend for themselves, it might take time to form one working pack. This intermediate step seems to be a good solution.

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    1. I've rescued a number of dogs over the years here Johanne,so I know it's trial and error. It's the first time I've had as many as four in go, so it's a little more difficult to find the best solution, but this seems to be working well so far.

      Karen does amazing work. She is totally dedicated to the dogs here.

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  4. I'm so happy things are working out with Megan, Sammy and Blondie...but, oh dear, your old sofa and all the other chewed up things! I remember when DJ, our collie from years ago was literally eating the house...separation anxiety!? But I wonder why Blondi is doing this...is she still young enough to be considered a puppy?

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    1. It's strange how some dogs chew and some don't Theanne. I'm pretty sure it's anxiety as far as Blondie is concerned. She is still timid, but gaining confidence more each day. I am not absolutely sure how old she is. Our vet reckons 6 or 7 months, but Karen thought she was nearer a year old like the other two. So I guess she could be considered to be a puppy still.

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  5. Excellent news, Ayak. Around here, many people have dogs but I'm not always convinced that they are very well looked after - many bark in quite a hysterical manner. Darwin is fascinated by the conversations that go on across the little valley and occasionally joins in but I can tell his voice is different from the locals! He's always been very laid back, unfussed about his food and not at all territorial - but he will still steal things to chew from time to time. He can't seem to help it. They're all different.
    Axxx

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    1. There are many dogs scattered around this village who bark hysterically Annie. Mostly they are not cared for well at all. Half starved, tied up on short chains, etc. I wish I could rescue them all.

      I knew it would be quite a task to rescue these three, and it will take quite a while for them to feel really settled. I really didn't want to give up on Blondie. I felt that if she was so unhappy and kept escaping, as she did at first, that I would have to re-home her. She hasn't attempted to get out for well over a week now so the signs are good. Darwin sounds a lot like my dog Beki was when she was alive. It's how we look after them that helps make them what they are I think.

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  6. Glad to see you're doing so well and have three new dogs! I was MIA for a while but I'm back (sort of). Hope the dogs settle in well over the next few months for you!

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    1. Thanks Cross the Pond. I thought I hadn't seen much of you in a while. I'll pop over to yours to catch up x

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  7. Despite the chewed stuff, this all sounds like real progress Ayak. I am so pleased. Will the heat of the summer calm them down a bit ? It would be good to think you could have the summer to get them really used to their new lives. Once again.. well done, you are doing a brilliant job. Jx

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    1. Thanks Janice. Well it's quite hot today and they are very quiet, and just lounging about. It will get considerably hotter so yes they will calm down quite a bit. Fortunately there are lots of shady spots in the garden for them.

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