A Bad Influence
Posted at 12:44PM - Comments: (10)
Not two weeks ago, I posted a piece about the possibility that competition among the dogs in my “pack” had encouraged my dog Otto to develop previously unseen swimming and fetching skills. Here is the flip side: An un-socialized, formerly feral dog who I am fostering seems to have inspired both Otto AND Tito the Chihuahua to start chasing my cats off my property!
Otto has never chased my cats. Tito has, occasionally, but he’s the same size as my cats, and if they stand their ground, he halts in mid-charge and seems to pretend that he was in the middle of something else, like trying to remember his cell phone number. But suddenly, with the arrival of a mid-sized foster dog who has no qualms about chasing the cats, both Otto and Tito have decided that the activity *is* great fun. And I’m having trouble convincing one of my kitties to come home (from the far side of my fences) at all.
If I hear the sound of thundering paws across my back deck, I can step outside quickly and Otto, at least, will immediately change course and run for the house. Whoops! Sorry! If I catch Tito in the act, however, he persists in chasing the cat in question, in full hysterical Chihuahua cry, even if I’m running right behind him threatening his life. Only after the cat is over the fence will he turn around and face the charges, albeit defensively and without a shred of remorse. And the foster dog – well, as a former feral, he’s already got it all figured out. Sit pretty as long as the humans are around, but if they are busy inside the house, it’s on, kitties!
For now, it’s all about management. I have had to more closely monitor the location of all the dogs than ever before, and make sure that the three dogs are never all together in the backyard unsupervised at the same time. And at night, when the cats are most active (especially now, at the tail end of a hot summer), I’m crating the foster dog, Tito is sleeping inside, and only Otto – the most reliably cat-friendly dog – is free to wander the backyard with the cats.
So far, this is the only naughty thing my dogs have picked up from the foster dog, but it’s enough! I’m curious, though: Am I alone in this? Have one of your guest dogs ever taught, encouraged, or inspired your dog to behave badly?