The Adventures of Gary the Foster Dog, Day 3

Day 3:
Ursa, our own wonderful pit, just spent about 30 minutes teaching Gary how to play.
Yesterday, Ursa was a little reserved about playing with Gary. I watched the two of them closely while they were playing.
Gary was coming at Ursa with teeth & giving her a bite each time he lunged at her. She wasn’t going for that.
This morning, as I noticed what was going on, I began to say “no” when Gary would lunge with teeth. I blocked his muzzle a few times too.
Ursa was very glad. She really wants to play with him, but he apparently was too rough. Maybe it was that before he came here he had been playing with his same age kennel-mate in the way that puppies play – rough.
Sweet Ursa just now played with him, but on her terms. She seemed to change her attitude when she saw I was on her side, and defending her in a reasonable manner. She picked up on it. Knowing Ursa, she wanted to be reassured she was doing the right thing.
She had started the play this time. Gary was still biting at her & landing his hits pretty much. She started to roll slightly away from him & stopped him with her own muzzle. She doesn’t really bite when she plays. Just play bites. No real ones.
She threw herself on her back a few times & let him come at her. When he got there, she responded by moving quickly so he couldn’t grab her leg or her neck. She pinned him once & held him there for about 30 seconds. She really worked hard!! What a girl!
They finished their play on congenial terms. Gary is learning to play. Learning it doesn’t have to be painful for either player. Ursa is such an incredible dog. Instead of responding with a like bite, she taught him, in a few minutes, what he needs to know to become a good playmate for possibly another dog in his new family.   I just love you, Ursa! You make my job so much easier.
Just busted Gary beginning to chew on a bookcase! He had two toys he had been chewing on then apparently nonchalantly switched over to the bookcase. A good, strong “No” put a stop to it. I didn’t even need to leave my seat at the computer. He’s now napping. He seems to be just learning what he can and cannot do.
Since we don’t know anything of Gary’s background, we know nothing about what he knows and doesn’t know.
When he first came home with me, he immediately shuffled next to the trash can in the kitchen. It has a lid on it, but he was taking a sideways wiff with his little nostrils right next to that lid. “NO” I said. He turned away & hasn’t revisited it since. Good boy! He just needs to learn the rules.
I approach all my fosters with the assumption that they know nothing about living inside a house with people & other animals. I find it a necessary and helpful stance. I try to anticipate their moves BEFORE they do the wrong thing. Watching and learning their body language can really tip you off.
I’m sure everyone doesn’t look at or need to see fostering as I do. I take home dogs that needs a little “etiquette” added to their personalities. I also have taken very young ones, rowdy ones and one recovering from some trauma. Gary seems to be all of the above!
But he has the basics of living in a house. He just needs a “tune up.”
He has started letting me know when he needs to go outside! But, again, I need to watch him closely for his signal. Every dog seems to be different on signals.
Oops! Gotta run.  Gary just came into my office & looked back at me as he walked away. Must be time for an outside trip.  Odd how little things come to mean a lot.
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