Time for a new foster dog at our house! This is one of the longest stretches that we have gone without one. It had been around three months since, Blitz, our last one, got adopted. This is Sweetie. She is a 35 lb sheltie that the vet said is no more than three years old. She has been at our house for a week and a half now and she is very sweet, if a bit needy.
Sweetie came from a local dog pound and was adopted directly by one of our previous adopters . She got spayed, brought up to date on her shots, and was treated for an ear infection. She had a couch to sit on, humans to pet her and walk her. She was living the good life. Unfortunately she had one trait that was not very sweet. She liked to threaten the other resident dog in the home and attack him when he came too close to “her” human on the couch. To their credit the family gave it a go and consulted two private trainers and also asked our rescue for advice which they tried. It was a Herculean effort. But things didn’t improve very much and in the end they feared harm would come to the other dog they had for several years before Sweetie came on the scene. So Sweetie came into our rescue and the family will wait for a more mellow dog to come through our rescue. This is the way it goes. Not every dog can fit with every family.
And since our house seems to specialize in challenging, dominant dogs, she came here. I have come to realize that not only do my husband and I have experience with rehabilitating problem dogs, but our own dogs have experience too and are a part of the process. The pack we currently have is very well adjusted and help to show new dogs the ropes and what is to be expected.
Baxter and Shelby in particular are very good at acclimating the new dogs. So I knew if Sweetie got threatening beside me on the couch, I would just remove her to the floor. Sitting with us on the furniture is a privilege and if you don’t behave, you don’t get the privilege. And if she threatened our dogs at other times I knew they would handle it. Baxter especially is very benevolent. He never starts anything but if other dogs threaten him in his home, first he will hold his ground, then if the other dog keeps at he doesn’t use his mouth but pins the other dog to the ground with his legs. It is actually impressive to see. Shelby won’t take any guff either. First she curls her lip at the instigator to warn him off. If this is not effective she will usually do it a second time as if to say “didn’t you hear me”? After that she will rush the offending dog possibly nipping them or running them over. Neither Baxter nor Shelby will do this without cause. They usually look to see if I am accepting of their behavior as well.
They have had to do this with Sweetie a couple times so far. She seems to avoid them now although earlier this evening I saw her try to play with Shelby. The two look very similar. It is hard to tell them apart from certain angles.
As I have gotten to know Sweetie I have discovered that she really isn’t an aggressive dog. She is insecure and needy. She is looking to see where she fits in and wondering what she can get away with. I have noticed that she frantically seeks petting. I just ignore her until she lays down so she learns to calm herself. As she finds her way, some of these behaviors will fade and she will become better adjusted.
Sweetie’s name does fit her. She is sweet and affectionate and cuddly. Though I think the best bet for her would be to be an only dog or to go to a very experienced multi-dog home.
Northeast Ohio Shetland Sheepdog Rescue dog number 356.