A blue nose pitbull and a catahoula hound draped over a red couch, half asleep

How do Dogs Decide Who They Like

How do Dogs Decide Who They Like

Dogs form friendships along a straight line.

Dogs take time building trust. They can accept another without much fuss, if their personality is open to options. Forcing a personality to be something they are not, is unreasonable. Dante, our blue nose pitty was introduced to Angus, our Catahoula Hound when Angus was two years old, Dante a young pup.

Angus has been a dog's dog since day one. He just wants a pal to play. Dante just wanted to know the rules and who he could sit on, since day one. Not much different than two humans. We generally just need to know if we are safe, if we will be given a fair option, if the rules are clear.

Of course, introducing a new dog requires the new guy learn the established rules. The only thing your current dog needs to learn is; who's the new guy? Don't change his rules to accommodate. Let your current dog teach your new pup. That's where they can learn about each other. It's that simple.

Dogs don't run in straight lines, though. 

Our backyard held a 22-foot Sea Hunt boat. The first year Angus and Dante shared the backyard, the boat was an object to run around and under. Now that our boat is sold and gone, Angus and Dante have the entire backyard to run unimpeded. It's as big as the small dog park I take Angus to after vet visits. Longer by about 25 feet. Which is the exact length a hound needs to gain speed of sound. Dante counters with stop, drop, and roll. It looks like Angus took him out, but in reality, Angus was jettisoned forward by a log rolling Dante. Angus turns around after running into the fence. He seems hopeful that there will be Dante body parts scattered everywhere. Alas. There is only a drooling Dante with a big pittie smile.

Time to tag team. I jump into the yard with a favorite ball. Just smaller than a soccer ball. It has geometric shapes inward. A dog can grab anywhere and get a good mouthful of grip. Angus sees the orange and white glory in my hand. Dante sees Angus see and takes position to my right, but 10 feet behind. Dante crouches. He waits. He has zero plans on running.

Angus bolts off the deck like an Elon Musk rocket. Runs to the other side of the yard looking over his shoulder. I am Tom Brady. I throw aiming for a pocket just beyond a hound. Angus leaps and nabs it midair. Lands. Spins. And runs straight for Dante.

Dante's legs quiver. He yips a growl of anticipation. Wait. Wait. Wait for it ...
Angus dips to Dante's right to no avail. Dante pitches himself full body into Angus' head. He dislodges the ball from Angus' mouth, knocks Angus lateral, steals the ball, and runs the opposite direction.

Angus spins again, gains on Dante grabbing some of the ball still attached to Dante's mouth. They run, like matched buggy ponies. Growling, drooling, pacing each other, full on run. Matched tongues waving under their portion of ball. They turn hard left at the fence. You couldn't train matched ponies better. They run, still attached. Matched. Growling. Drooling. 110 feet of matched stupid pony action.

Angus wanes. He releases his portion of the ball. Dante pitches left, runs a loose semi-circle to head the other way. He barks a mouth full of ball. Angus doesn't join. Dante stops, drops the ball, barks. Waits. He barks, noses the ball toward Angus. Waits. Angus is busy gacking up sand, pitch, and leaves. Dante grabs the ball, runs back to Angus. Drops the ball at his feet. Growls and falls over on his back and whines like a four-year-old unable to reach a cookie jar.

Kathy LaFollett is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

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