Monday, February 15, 2010

Single White Female

Srsly. Dexter is not just trying to be like Piper, he is trying to BECOME Piper.

It's real good for Piper to have a buddy she can play with. Tweed's too scared of her to play with any regularity, and Wootie likes to torment her, but has no attention span to keep up a good game for any length of time. Also, I'm not even really sure he speaks border collie very well.

Of course, he still likes to indulge in old habits from time to time.

But Dexter speaks Piper's language, man. They have invented this ridiculous game where they run parallel to one another about 20 feet apart, usually with one of them up on the dyke, and the other in the field below. They'll both drop into a crouch and eyeball each other, then one takes off and so does the other one and then they're racing like Nascar.

And, just like in Nascar, sometimes they collide.

I have lectured Dexter on the importance of becoming his own person and not trying to borrow the attributes of another to form his personality, but he's not listening.

Shut up. I'm not listening.

Sometimes he tries Mr. Woo on for size...

...but mostly he prefers to adopt Piper's personality.

It's getting so that I can't tell them apart. Aside from Piper's hillbilly teeth, that is.

But one thing Dexter is, that Piper is not, is a DICKHEAD. He's becoming a real shit again with other puppies in his age range. Yesterday at class he embarrassed me to no end by snapping at Nixie several times, biting Chili in the face and making ugly face and snapping noises at Joey. None of this is okay! And I'm not sure where it's coming from either - Dexter goes to a dogpark almost every single day of his life and has mingled with hundreds of other dogs and he does just peachy, greeting dogs politely. He's been socialized up the wazoo and has not had bad experiences with other dogs at all. He let Sean walk into his house and make himself at home without issue and he plays with Ginny all the time. But I'm not really sure what to do with his new asshole-to-other-dogs business he's decided to take up. What do you think?

Sometimes I feel like Dexter moved in and replaced Wootie. When we go for our morning walk through the fields, Mr. Woo vanishes, but I still have The Three Muskateers.

Apparently, we are just too boring for Wootie-Mac and the jet setting lifestyle he wishes to lead.

He thinks if Piper and Dexter want to be one-dog-same-dog, that's fine with him.

More time for hunting wabbits.


riosmom said...

The first picture is hysterical and the last one shows how big he has gotten.

I assume he is on leash in class when he is not working - could that be the cause if he is normally off leash around dogs? Is he being a dickhead in any other ways? He is young to be going through the rebellious phase.

Shape up and tips down, Dexter.

Lynn said...

Wonderful post today! You really got me with the "hillbilly teeth" comment. LOL And looove the last photo!

Benny and Lily said...

Holy crap..we thought it ewas siamese twins!
Benny & Lily

Alex93andme said...

That is funny! Great post!!! I love the pictures...always! Time to hunt wabbits...they look like they are ready to!

Anonymous said...

Like riosmom -- My first thought was the on leash (dickhead) in class vs. off leash (mr. social) when he is everywhere else.

dogzoomies said...

If I recall correctly, you were worried how Piper would receive the lil guy. So it's awesome to see Piper in cahoots with Dexter. The hillbilly teeth comment had me rolling.

Redbirdie said...

The only comment I could make is whether or not Tweed goes to class? If Dexter usually has his family around him when he is around other dogs but doesn't in class, maybe that is the reason he acts differently?

EvenSong said...

Don't know as much about dogs as horses, and the ill-mannered neighbor border collies are a pain in the arse, but WUV WUV WUV Dexter's sometimes up/sometimes down ear!

Alaska said...

I'm gonna go with the "something about class is making Dexter edgy" theory.

2halves said...

What does he do right before and right after the assholeness? Can you recreate it elsewhere? Like...leave him on leash at the DP...take him to the DP by himself...see what happens. ??

Carly said...

I don't expect to have any kind of miracle answer regarding Dexter's dickotry to other puppies in class, but maybe this will help? I teach puppy classes and supervise play groups twice a week, and I've seen a number of dogs/puppies that go through stages when they just don't feel like playing appropriately. I'm probably not telling you anything you don't already know, but maybe! :)

Some dogs I've seen just turn into a bit of a Tarzan (swing in on the chandelier, eat all the food with their hands and don't notice all the appalled stares). But I've also seen some puppies that become annoyed with other puppy play styles as they get older. Often, the Tarzan puppies are pups that are very well-socialized with other dogs that are older and larger than they are, but may not have as many playmates their own age. They seem to adopt more adult (and more rough and tumble) play styles, which means that when they end up playing with other puppies their age, they don't shut off when they ought to. This also seems to happen as puppies are put into play groups with other pups significantly younger than they are, even if they do fine with puppies their own age. I don't know if Dexter's behavior is snarky or just over the top play- you've got so much dog body language experience, I'm sure you've got a pretty good idea. But hopefully it will set your mind at ease to know that most of the dogs that go through either of those stages come back out of them at some point- I usually tell the owners to watch the body language as closely as possible, and reward any appropriate or tolerant interaction you can, and deliver a brief time out if you see over the top or snarky behavior. (The time outs obviously have to be done based on the dog- trauma shouldn't be part of the equation.)

My own crazy pup is a nut job and can turn into a bully when she gets tired, so I have learned to cut off her play times when her tongue starts hanging out, before she wears out completely. I hope you don't feel intensely embarrassed- lots of the owners in my puppy classes are frustrated occasionally by their pup's behavior, but I can pretty much guarantee that every single puppy is going to have an issue with some dog at some point. Most of the other owners are very understanding and want to do what they can to help *all* of the puppies succeed, not just their own.

Whew! *climbs off soap box* Short story long, hunh? :)

Debra Kay said...

I am fascinated by the Dexter/Piper dynamic, as Solo has decided to be Molly's shadow. Whatever Molly does-he mimics.

We are starting a puppy class next week-it will be interesting to see how he relates to peers vs. older dogs who boss him around. Remember, Solo was an only puppy-so he's a little short on the whole peer experience.

Tristan and Braun said...

MY inhouse dickhead was socialized almost everyday of his life at the dog park. No bad experience as far as I could remember. He started going to puppy class at week 12. Played like crazy. Started pre-agility class at 6months old yada yada yada...

BUT sometime on his 9th month, he started to be a complete bad ass to other dogs. Male exclusively. I really have no idea what triggered it and even till now, I don't know where and when did that line crossed or even if there was any line there at all.

So I'm up somewhere with you there FL. When you find THE way, please give a shout out here because I really would love to know. His bad-assy behavior is rather managed now, but that can always be improved and it'll be great to hear from someone with kinda same problem, though on a different timeline.

Thanks in advance!

riosmom said...

Just had another thought - maybe Dexter thinks he is being Piper in class and developing his own Mad Teeth (tm).

Looking forward to an update. Tips down, Dexter.

Fenway said...

It's an act and don't buy into it.

Dexter is just trying to get out of going to class with this lame excuse that he's not social enough.

It's no different than a kid with a sudden stomach ache on test day.


Emma said...

Dear Food Lady,

I just want to thank you for your wonderful pictures and your amusing and thoughtful posts. Reading your blog gives me great vicarious dog-ownership joy.

Although I now blame you for making me want a BC.


CanineCritic said...

I just love all the pictures that you post. They all have their own unique look to them. I wish I could take photos of my dog but being all black they don't show up well.

Anonymous said...

He's just being a teenager, Food Lady. He'll grow out of it. And, damn, he's cute! (You know how really cute guys can be, especially teenagers).
(why does google always say my password is no good????)

3aussiemom said...

He's just a teenaged boy, Food Lady, He grow out of being an asshole. You know how drop dead adorable teenaged boys can be!

nickelsmum said...

Tristan and Braun wrote: "BUT sometime on his 9th month, he started to be a complete bad ass to other dogs. Male exclusively. I really have no idea what triggered it"

Easy one -- hormones. They are peaking in male dogs just about 9-10 months, even if the dog is neutered. And this tends to translate into intolerance of other males. This could not be more textbook. Is he still intact?