Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Angel, the follower

Angel is a submissive dog.  Peanut was dominant and Angel was fine with that.  Bogie is now dominant, and unless he is getting too rambunctious, Angel is fine with that, too.

What I hadn't realized was how much her behavior is dictated by her pack mate.

Peanut was afraid of the vacuum cleaner, she ran barking to the front door when the doorbell rang, was nervous at the vet, and wouldn't cooperate enough to have her teeth brushed.

Angel had these same characteristics when I adopted her.  I thought they were part of her personality.

So I was amazed after Peanut died that when the doorbell rang, Angel said - nothing.  She went to the door with me, but didn't bark.  Her barking was in support of Peanut's decision to bark.

Bogie also doesn't bark when the doorbell rings, so I am no longer bombarded by a cacophony of noise when the doorbell rings.  And any solicitors that ignore the No Soliciting sign are shocked when I open the door and two large, silent dogs stare at them through the screen door.

Bogie is so unafraid of the vacuum that he follows me from room to room, generally standing on the electrical cord.  This weekend, I was surprised to see Angel standing near me while I vacuumed, instead of hiding outside.  She even let me reach over and pet her without turning off the vacuum.  Progress!

Angel's behavior at the vet was the most revealing instance of her follower mentality.  Bogie is too laid back to care that he is at the vet, despite the multiple visits we've made since I got him.  Since he's relaxed, so is Angel.  So much so, that the vet and technician commented on how friendly and calm she was.  Angel greeted them, wanted petted, and begged  for treats.  In the past, she has hidden behind me.

Angel is devoted to Bogie, despite her being older and having the longer tenure.  When he goes outside, she follows.  If I give them a treat and he spits his out, she does the same.  She won't fetch, but she brings toys to me to throw - for him to chase.

It appears that, for good or ill, dogs are also affected by their peer group.  I'm just glad Angel's peer group is a laid-back Great Dane who loves everyone.

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