Freckle — Week 4

Did I say that we thought the first two weeks were the hardest? Well, let me revise that. As one of the trainers Mary Doug talked to said, “After the first two or three weeks with a rescue dog, the honeymoon is over. Now they begin to push the boundaries.” In our case it’s not as ominous as it sounds but it needs attention, nonetheless. The fact that we live in an extremely densely populated area with too many creatures of both the two- and four-legged variety is having an impact on Freckle’s behaviour. In the apartment diagonally across the street from us is a dog who spends a great deal of time outside on his balcony. He’s a big furry dog and I’m sure he probably loves being outdoors. However, he barks frenetically at any and all four-legged individuals within range of vision or smell. For the first few weeks, Freckle’s muscles would tense but she didn’t react otherwise. Gradually though, she has become more and more irritated at Sparky’s tirades and now growls and sometimes barks back. And if Ceilidh is with us, she goes into a barking frenzy just to get everyone’s adrenalin flowing nicely. Since Sparky begins barking as soon as we emerge from our front door, Freckle is in a state of preparedness each time we go for a walk and it seems likely that this heightened alertness is making her somewhat more wary. We also have a huge Golden Lab teenager nearby who believes that “in your face—knock you down friendliness” is the way to greet anyone and everyone. Since he literally drags his owner around at the end of a leash, we are very cautious about Freckle taking offense when he gets too close. While she has met many dogs on leash, said hello and invited play, over the past week, Freckle seems to be getting a bit less dog-friendly. She has growled when a dog turned to walk away with his owner—typical dog-aggressive behaviour familiar from our first two Boxers. Mary Doug has begun a search for a training class with a trainer who is experienced with the Boxer personality. I think that Freckle is still trying to find her place and trying to understand how she fits into the household and neighbourhood. We will eventually work out a comfortable relationship all around.

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