Friday, March 16, 2012

Learning the Ropes

Since we're new at fostering, we can't help but draw comparisons between Doji and Melia-- our only two foster dogs so far.  Doji was a more mature golden who was convalescing from surgery and had a long-time injury to her hip.  It was apparent that she had been quite loved in a home at one point in time.  Doji loved attention, but was secure enough to just hang out with you.  Melia, as we're finding out, is much more puppy-ish and insecure about affection. 

Melia is quite playful.  As each day passes, we see more and more of this.  She does the nip and flop with Toby whenever the mood strikes.  She also will self-entertain with his plush toys and has to be monitored. Melia has yet to destroy a toy, but I can see the glimmer of joy in her eye as she starts to pluck the toy's "fur".  She hasn't performed any of the typical puppy-isms-- like destroy furniture, have accidents in the house or be mischievous (yet). 

The difference between her interaction with Toby and us is severe.  With Toby, she throws puppy caution to the wind and plays to her heart's content (or Toby's tolerance).  With us, there's no playing.  She has real security issues with people.  If I move suddenly to play with her-- like you would with most puppies, she immediately lays down (flops) in a submissive state.  She much prefers to keep our relationship one of affection.  Whereas Doji would wag her tail and insist on affection, Melia really begs for it in a very submissive and unassuming way.  It's hard to explain, but if she's contently laying in her snuggle bed and you say something that she interprets to be directed towards her (usually with a soothing voice), she'll hop up, immediately walk over to you, perhaps rest her head on your knee, give a little whimper and hope that you'll pet her lovely ears or scratch her chin.  If I'm on the floor giving Toby pets, she'll nose her way in between, and even lay down on Toby if he's in the way of her getting some affection.  At one point yesterday, she was resting her head on my leg, Toby was resting his head on her chest and I was petting If you stop petting her for a second, she'll either give a little whimper to remind you she's there or nose at your hand a little.  When you get up and walk away... she'll follow you just in case you change her mind.  She is so willing to please you for affection-- a great trait when it comes to her obedience training.  Now that she's almost sure she has a name and that it's Melia, she eagerly comes when she's called (or when she's not called and you just mention her name or look in her direction).  

It breaks my heart to think of how her interaction with people has made her so submissive.   

We left her to roam free in the house last night to see what she would do.  She came into my room a couple times, but I think she slept in her open crate.  No signs of getting into trouble this morning!

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