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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Robin Update #2

Play Date!

If you haven't yet heard about Robin, please check out our previous post: Meet Robin

Last week we had a really successful meeting between Dante and Robin, she was even initiating play! This week we decided to try a play date between Dante and Robin, Ziva got to go on a trail run with dad. 
The goal of the play date is to see Robin in action, off-leash, and see how she interacts socially with another dog. We know that she loves her new brother, a senior mutt named Tweeter and her previous interaction with Dante ended on a good note so we felt pretty comfortable taking them out together.

Because Robin is not yet trustworthy off-leash, we went to our friend's mother's home to let the dogs off in a large open area.

We met up in the morning and sure enough Robin's first reaction towards Dante was negative but I halfway expected this to happen. She was with her mommy who she loves, and she just needs some practice.

As soon as we started walking though all her fears went away and she was bouncing around like a silly pup because she knew where we were headed. She loves going to her grandma's house because it means off-leash, things to sniff, puddles to roll in, and space to run!
Turns out this girl LOVES to run!

As soon as we got in the backyard, both dog's were displaying very positive body language: excitement to explore, relaxed language around each other, Robin bouncing - play initiation/excitement.
Robin didn't mind that Dante was there and both dogs were keen to start exploring all the scents left from the critters during the night. (They live in the country so raccoons, nutria, and other animals frequent their property at night.) So feeling comfortable with the vibes we let them off, and off they went!

Priorities first though! Dante had to sniff and pee on everything that was vertical and Robin had to find out what he was peeing on.  Silly dogs!

Dante was a bit of a goober, Robin kept trying to initiate play and he just kept ignoring her so I brought out my secret weapon...his favorite toy!

His most favorite toy EVER!!
I'd throw, Dante would fetch, and Robin would chase. It was perfect!

The only problem we ran into was actually Dante!
My naughty, naughty boy kept mounting Robin...

Now I know plenty of people who find this funny, they post videos on youtube and make gifs out of the videos but it is not actually funny nor is it a good thing.   Lets be clear: Mounting is Naughty.
Humping is usually sexual in nature, male dogs will sometimes hump a female when they become excited or aroused.

Depending on the situation and the dog it can mean different things: It can be a way to show excitement, it can be a very bad habit/obsessive compulsive behavior, it can also represent dominance.

The bottom line: Humping is a sign that a dog has not been properly socialized and thus does not know appropriate canine behavior.

Humping is a problem, please take care to stop/redirect your dog if he/she starts to mount another dog. Mounting can start fights between some dogs because it is considered rude in the canine world.
Our daycare for example - if they notice a dog mounting another dog they immediately pull the offender off and either crate or just walk him around on a leash until he has calmed down and can once again resume playing nicely with the others.

But now back to the fun stuff!

Let the Chase Begin!

Look at this girl run!! "Game on Dante!" 

Robin it turns out, loves to run, roll in the grass, roll in the mud, and she loved having Dante to chase around the property!

Look at her face flaps! She was adorable!


It's wonderful to see her personality starting to shine out, she is very attached to her mommy and she is starting to bark less at her new dad. Things are still a bit shaky between her and the family cat but so far so good! And she gets to sleep with the kids!

What a great life for such a wonderful little lady...although mud puppy may be a better title!

Of course she had to find the ONE 
mud puddle on the property!

Mud Princess!

Our play session went really well, she mostly just chased Dante around when he ran. They explored the property together, and when she needed a break she found a nice piece of grass to lay in.
She still hasn't quite figured out, "come". But they are working on it, she even approached me for some belly and back scratching!
Maybe next time Ziva can join us.

As for now they are still working on:

Rewarding her for approaching her new dad, walking nicely - rewarding for not pulling on the leash, crating her to prevent chewing, and giving her space when she is tired. The idea is to build her confidence in her new family and the only way to do that with an abused dog lacking in confidence is through positive reinforcements. Harsh discipline can send a dog back, it destroys their trust in you, and affects your relationship as you move forward.

In Robin's case - if she is displaying unwanted behavior the best thing to do is either redirect it (for example intense staring at the cat), ignore it, or send her to her bed/crate to "calm down" and relax before rejoining the group.

She did really well playing!
Please Note:
One thing we would never do, is put our dogs in danger. If Robin was having a bad day, or their were any signs of aggression, nervousness between the two dogs, anxiety, or if one dog were bullying/dominating the other dog we would not allow them to play off-leash but instead continue working together in a controlled AND LEASHED environment.
We also were careful to supervise the play, watch the body language, and put an end to rude behaviors such as humping.


  1. What a happy story! I love bullies, and it's great of you to help out socializing this new addition.

  2. Fun photos, happy story - beautiful animals. Thanks for sharing :)

  3. We love it when pawrents actively work on socializing their dogs. Too many do not understand why it is impawtent! I was remembering a time we went to a dog park and this crazy humping dog was driving poor Stanley nuts. The owner was clueless!

    Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley

    1. We avoid dog parks, to many stupid/clueless humanoids. :-) Poor Stanley! That would be very frustrating indeed!

  4. Sounds like progress! Robin sounds like she's coming along great! She sure is a muscular little thing, isn't she? Wow. I'll bet you a dollar both dogs slept deep last night after all that running and rolling and chasing around. Ahh. What fun. Thanks for sharing!

    1. I wish it wore Dante out! His stamina is pretty high so it takes a lot to make him tired. Robin certainly was tired though! All her chasing and she just wanted to nap when she got home. *wags!

  5. Robin is adorable! How nice of you to help work with her! :-) I look forward to reading more about her progress. Oh and btw, I nominated your blog for an award. ;-) Stop by and pick it up when you get the chance. Paw waves and nubby waggins!


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