Once in a while Tommy surprises me with an impressive zen attitude, like when he lounges on the patio ignoring Italia, the neighbor’s German shepherd, barking through the hole in the fence—a hole, I might add, that she created.
Unfortunately, Italia is a trigger that sets off an aggressive response in Louise.
Hear that whining? That's Louise on a leash by my side.
A few weeks ago, when Italia stuck her snout through that hole and roared, Louise flew over the patio fence and shot straight up into her face in two seconds flat. They fought a quick, fierce battle through that hole, tearing into each other with terrifying sounds. I thought Louise was going to climb through that hole and wreak havoc in my neighbor's yard.
Somehow the fight ended and I got Louise into the house. She was back to her sweet self, but my view of her changed slightly. Holy moly, she's got a bit of the Tasmanian Devil in her. She's not really alpha, but she's extremely reactive to any provocation from another dog.
The dogs stayed at Starcrest in side-by-side kennels while I was out of town. I picked them up yesterday, and Louise cowered when she saw me, trembling outside my car just as she had at the shelter. She warmed up as soon as we got home, but her distrust of people is another issue.
Next Saturday, I have a training session at my house with Jenina Schutter from Smart Paws Dog Training. When I described the problems, she said it sounded like Tommy was an insecure leader, "the worst kind of leader, same as with people." What an astute point.
So, we have a house full of issues. I wonder if I should go back to therapy.