|Barked: Wed Oct 20, '10 5:05pm PST |
|When I first rescued Ember, she had never been around small dogs at all. My roommate had 4 special needs Chihuahuas, a Chi/Pug mix, and a Fox Terrier. You could literally see the confusion in her entire body the first time she saw one of them. She would flip back and forth between stalking, hunting crouches, and trying to greet them like dogs in a matter of seconds. Her eyes were red and dilating and contracting like she was on drugs. She kept shaking and sneezing from the stress.
Dogs like her are a huge killer of small dogs. They have no reason not to think they're squirrels or rabbits, especially if the small dog is running free across a field. I know many people who report seeing a large dog kill a small dog on sight, then become extremely distressed and attempt to wake the small dog. The poor large dog had no idea they were hunting another dog - this is why socialization with all types of dogs is so, so important. Since Huskies typically have a strong prey drive to begin with, it's even more important for them.
It took about 2 months before Ember could be with my roommate's Chi/Pug and Fox Terrier. They were small, but well socialized and clearly looked and acted like dogs. It was another 4 or so months before she could reliably be around most small dogs regardless of appearance and action. It took about 8 months before Ember could be free with my roommate's Chis in a large social setting, and another month or two before she could be free with them in the house. Even so, we never, ever leave them unsupervised together. If they are all loose, Ember is not allowed to leave the room I am in.
Ember also has "the pick me up thing." If a dog is picked up, she will go on high alert and try to grab it, even if the two of them were just standing calmly side by side. No one is exactly sure why this happens, but it is a derivative of prey drive. She's not awful about it - there are dogs who will grab and try to tear the other dog from your arms, leaving multiple punctures. Some dogs will try to grab humans as well. It's definitely something to be aware of.
Huskies do like to play by stalking and grabbing necks, but, that's also how they hunt and kill. I don't allow mine to play like that. It can easily go over the line, dogs can get hurt, and even if not it tends to scare other dogs. I don't want mine traumatizing less confident dogs, or getting in fights with dogs who will not put up with such rudeness. There are lots of good ways to play that don't involve grabbing.
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