Yesterday My Brown Newfies wrote about the trying behaviours her dogs perform when she hosts gatherings at her house. Reading through the comments I was increasingly surprised by the number of people who commiserated with problems of their own. There were a lot of dogs who steal food from tables and drool on unsuspecting relatives. I think mine was the only comment out of fifty that went something like this:
“Guests? In our house?? With our dog??? Are you joking????”
Am I truly the only one who avoids having people over at all costs? Maybe Shiva really is a monster after all.
Or maybe I just don’t give her enough credit.
As you know, Shiva’s fears have been greatly reduced over the years. Sometimes I wonder if we did too good a job at restoring her confidence. One area we have grossly neglected has been her in-house greeting manners. And when I say neglected I mean she has none.
Shiva has always been territorial. It sounds like such an awful word but it just means she can be protective of her space. It’s not something we planned for or trained, it’s just in her nature to watch out for her own when it comes to intruders. What constitutes “her space” is only something Shiva can define. For instance, if picnicking in the park, our blanket is her zone to patrol. However, in agility class, she doesn’t bat an eye if another dog or person approaches her mat. Don’t ask me what the difference is.
Naturally, our home is definitely hers to defend. She isn’t going to attack anyone – at least, I hope she won’t – but she will definitely let a person know she isn’t thrilled with them being there. It can be comforting at times, even if hardly ideal. If I am alone with her at night, she will even bark at my PH when he comes in the door. It’s nice to know she is looking out for me.
Now we probably would have worked on this barking and charging a lot more if we were more social people. It’s just not been a big enough deal. We have focused our energies on outdoor issues, things that affect our daily lives. The only strangers who have ever entered our home are delivery drives, maintenance workers, and our landlords.
Which leads me to a brief story.
On Friday last week our prospective landlords wanted to come by our home to meet us and get everything finalized. Of course, this sent me into a state of absolute panic. They were going to come by around 5:30 and we both get off at 5, giving us about fifteen minutes to stash the dog.
We got home as fast as we could, pull into the driveway, and notice a car sitting outfront with a gentleman waiting inside. My PH looks at me.
“Is that him?”
“Shit, shit, shit!”
Before the man can get out of his vehicle, I – as nonchalantly as I can manage – emerge from our truck and head inside our house. While my PH stalls our future landlord and our future hopes and dreams, I grab as many treats as I can and guide Shiva downstairs to our bedroom. The Cat is lounging on the bed so I pick him up, dump him in the hallway, throw the treats on the floor, and close the bedroom door in my dog’s face, all with my heart in my throat.
Amazingly not a peep was heard from our crazy dog the entire time the gentleman was in our home. I am still pretty shocked about it, to tell the truth. She didn’t give away any evidence she was even there. As soon as his car drove away, I flung open the door and we had the biggest party the Shivster has ever seen.
Maybe I’ve misjudged her?
Are we really the only ones who have a choreographed routine for ordering pizza? Do you think it’s absolutely necessary for dogs to enjoy having strangers in their home?
Time for more kitties! For Petfinder’s Adopt a Shelter Cat Month, each day I am sharing the stories of a few of the cats waiting for their forever homes.
Here is Lyman at Potters Angels Rescue in Vermont. One doesn’t see that many pure white cats very often and Lyman is quite eye-catching as a result. He’ll take as much attention as he can get and enjoys playing other cats and children.
To the right is adorable and adoptable Athena at the Central Conneticut Cat Project. Unlike my cat, she loves to have her belly rubbed and will readily flip over to give access. Athena has perfect manners and would make the perfect addition to any home.