A little about Cassidy’s new pack (part 2)
Ripple was the youngest dog that we’ve adopted. She was just three months old when I brought her home, after she had been transported up to Jersey from the South. Surrendered to a rescue group by her owner who was too busy to care for her, Ripple was listed on the registry as Australian Shepherd/Boxer mix. These are two breeds that Mike and I love, so I immediately put in an application for her.
Rescue groups will often find that they have to guess at the breeds of the dogs they take in, which is no easy task. Consider the Heinz 57 dogs, that can be the culmination of many generations of mixed breeds, and young pups like Ripple, because they change.
We had the dog DNA tested and she came back as Boxer/Lab, etc. It matters not. We love Ripple, even if she has become my biggest challenge.
As a puppy, Ripple loved three things: jumping, running and chewing. She destroyed all of my couch pillows as well as one of the futons they had accented. She also ate part of a wall. (Crate training her would have saved us from all of this, but we hadn’t done that until later.)
As a young dog, Ripple had all of our other dogs beat when it came to jumping on people. She would get so friendly-excited when someone came to call that she could easily knock over a guest. If a visitor stopped by, I would always have to leash The Tornado, and by the end of their stay, I would be exhausted and sore.
Mike and I love having well trained dogs. Lexi and Chloe had been very well behaved and well socialized. They could be trusted off-leash in almost any situation. Even Zach, who had been a challenge because of his aggression, had become good with people, tolerant of other animals, and reliable off leash.
Ripple was not like our other dogs. She has always been excitable and insecure, with the capacity for overwhelming any situation. She could also be a brute to other dogs. Whenever we go out on our walks the smells and sights distracted her so that she ignors our commands. And in the event that we encounter another canine, even though we’ve had many dog visitors that Ripple had gotten along with, and I had taken her to group obedience classes, the hair rises on her back and she growls.
I believe this behavior is rooted in a fear of strange dogs for which I am responsible. In the picture on the right, Zach and Ripple are posing so nicely together. Immediately after it was taken, Zach attacked her. This was a common occurrence for Ripple early on. Zach did not like her excitability and he despised being encroached upon by others. Although, the two pack-mates eventually got along, and I think that Ripple grieved when Zach passed, I did not do enough to insulate her from Zach’s wrath when we first brought her home.
I am determined to prevent a similar dynamic for Cassidy and Ripple.
Friday’s blog: Planning for a smooth homecoming.