Thursday, February 25, 2010
The Leader of the Pack
How did Abby and Father first get along? Not too well considering that Father tried to kill her in the first week she was here. This is not an exaggeration or hyperbole. Agitated and confused with Abby’s attempts to roughhouse and play, Father knocked Abby on her back and went straight at her throat. Abby cried out, and I immediately jumped up and gave Father a beating. I didn’t think twice about it. This was the only time I would ever spank Father. Once the spanking was over, Father ran to the fence, jumped over it and ran away.
After the second day that Father was gone, I was sad and concerned that Father would never come back. I was starting to like him, but maybe it was for the best if he was going to try to kill our puppy. However, on the fourth day, he came back.
I had already been keeping a close on eye on Father whenever he interacted with Abby, but now I was going to have watch him even closer. Because Father was a stray and was ‘semi-feral’, I had no idea what his temperament would be, especially around other dogs. It’s very easy for a dog to revert to a ‘pack type’ mentality if it is confronted with what it deems is a threat or a challenge. I imagine that in Father’s mind, Abby’s trying to play with him was an affront to his perceived status in our family’s ‘pack’, and that he was trying to put her in her place
Abby, rambunctious as a puppy and always headstrong, didn’t learn her lesson and within a few days after Father’s return, was giving him hell by tugging on his collar, barking, and growling at him. This was the moment of truth. Father looked up at me sheepishly with a look on his face that read “I know the rules. I’ll behave.” He didn’t attack her, or bark, growl or even snarl his teeth at her.
There would be many more rounds of this when Abby would harass Father relentlessly. Sometimes, Abby would grab Father by the collar and start running at full speed, dragging poor Father with her. Father suffered in silence and never again reacted with hostility to her.
Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?