Dependent on the Group
It’s been about 9 days since Linus came to into my home and I have to admit that even though this pup has zero training, he is one of the easiest dogs to live with (is it sad that he’s easier to live with than Shayne and Rio?). He settles down beautifully, will entertain himself with a toy, and will just sleep on the couch. He’s been trusted off-leash in part of the house (baby gated to 2 rooms plus an entry way) since day 2 and after a few days experimenting with crating when I leave, he’s been left gated in one room with the other dogs for the last 5 days with no issues. It’s really been quite easy with him but, as I started working with him one on one, I discovered that much of the confidence he’d been showing in the house was dependent on being with the other dogs. Once I got him alone, he was clearly rather stressed to be working and interacting with me.
This was not really surprising in general but the level of stress/concern he was showing without his furry friends was more than I expected. As soon as I gated the dogs in the other room, Linus pretty much clung to the couch and wouldn’t even come off for the chicken I was offering. He was quite conflicted… he wanted the chicken but was worried about the pressure of one on one interactions. He did eventually come off the couch and once he was off the couch he was much more apt to interact with me when on the ground, even if ‘hiding’. We did some training and then I put him in his little xpen and brought my dogs out to do some training. After a few minutes of watching, I let him out with my dogs and he was a totally different dog again… eager to interact… wanting my attention desperately… and willing to work.
This insight is really important because it will help me with his remedial socialization process significantly. He will have a “buddy” or two with him everywhere he goes for the first few times before we try it alone. I want him to feed off their confidence in that environment and gain a few positive experiences in that environment before trying it alone. I’m happy that he finds so much comfort with the other dogs but I also have to be very aware that he needs to also learn how to function away from them because he won’t always have them (though I will suggest that he absolutely goes to a forever home with at least one more young and friendly dog).