Getting along with our doggie in-laws

This Christmas we went over to my parent’s in the Seattle area. They have a great black standard poodle named Monty. He’s around 5, has a bad hip and generally likes everything that walks in the front door, especially if he can manage to stick his nose in its crotch. Unfortunately Ellie, my border collie, has never been so happy about living with him (even if its only for four days). Ellie has a snarkilpetic tendency and Monty is playful: like a little brother that likes to poke his older sister just to annoy her.

Ellie and Monty Sharing a Bed
Ellie and Monty Sharing a Bed

When we first got Ellie and she would come with us to my parents house I had this ‘let the dogs figure it out’ mentality. I am now of the ‘don’t let the dogs get out of hand’ mentality and I can actually see a difference in the way Ellie and Monty interact. Her first three visits to Monty’s house never had any fights, but there was plenty of freezing, growling, staring, etc. going on and we just sat back and watched… The last time we went I changed my methods and did my best to keep them distracted from each other and when they did feel like posturing at each other I would instantly say ‘No!’ and separate them. This being her second trip to Monty’s with out the freedom to be as pushy as she’d like she did great!
I was very impressed with both dogs. Of course they had a couple of instances where we had to remind them that they we’re going play nice or ignore each other. On the whole they were very people orientated and behaved much nicer. They seemed to have figured out that if one dog was getting attention from someone there was another person the other dog could be getting attention from. This took care of the human resource issues they were having. Their food resources were improved by keeping Ellie from gaining access to Monty’s food (which since he’s a slow eater is left out). I’m not sure if Monty stopped caring if Ellie would eat his food or if he enjoyed watching her get caught red handed but he didn’t guard his food as much either. Maybe didn’t feel as threatened by a dog that was now more under control and respectful of him?
Another factor was making sure they were exercised… 🙂

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