Book signing in San Diego, Boogie’s Sleepover…
This past weekend was the APDT conference in San Diego and thanks to Grisha Stewart, I was able to attend the exhibit hall/book signing part of the event. It was so great to meet Grisha in person at last! I also met up with Dr. Sophia Yin and visited the fantabulous Cat’s House.
There were many vendors in the APDT exhibit hall and some were giving away free treats and toys… an offer that I couldn’t refuse. See the Little Jacs treats? They are really really disgustingly smell-won’t-easily-wash-off-your-hands-STINKY and Boogie loves them.
I received a sample Thundershirt (not sure yet when I would put this on Boogie who can sleep through alarm clocks, thunderstorms and earthquakes…) from a lovely lady whose name I can’t remember, and I bought a new Freedom Leash and Harness combo at a very discounted price. It was also lovely to meet up with Dorna Sakurai for whom I have done some illustration work.
While I was away Boogie slept over with his buddies, Rosie and Popeye for the first time. You can see videos from their last play date in this flickr set.
According to Rosie’s and Popeye’s parents, the dogs had a wonderful time, there was a lot of playing, no issues with walks around the neighborhood, Boogie was well-behaved and did not bug Cosmo the cat. (Whew) The boys in particular – Boogie and Popeye – hit it off and became best mates.
Well, everything was fine and dandy until I arrived back in LA to pick Boogie up.
There we all were in the yard. The excitement level was high, the dogs were running around, a tennis ball was thrown, the humans were chatting… and suddenly Popeye and Boogie were locked in a fight. We weren’t sure how the fight started exactly because none of us were paying attention. Popeye’s dad and I struggled to pull the dogs apart. Both dogs held onto to each other very tightly with their sharp teeth.
And then we were washing and bandaging bite wounds and an hour later, Boogie was at the emergency vet getting his leg wounds stapled. Popeye too had to have his paw injury drained and wear the cone of shame.
Yeah, tough guys. What did they learn from this? Probably nothing good.
And my wallet is hurting.
Popeye and the Boogs are healing up now. Boogie is on antibiotics and Rimadil and thankfully no longer limping nor showing any signs of reactivity toward strange dogs on our walks like after the last time he got into a dog fight. In 2 weeks, the staples will be removed and hopefully soon, when both dogs are completely physically healed they can meet and play again.
I was chatting to Sarah our trainer about this fight incident and she brought up Trigger Stacking. In the BAT book, there’s an illustration about Trigger Stacking which basically means that when a dog has a bunch of stressful experiences, all the stresses add up in his system and he suddenly blows a fuse (or reaches his “Bite/Reactivity Threshold”). It is not ONE thing that starts a fight, but several things added up over a short period of time and as a result the outburst may seen unpredictable or over-the-top when it really isn’t.
In this case, the easiest assumption to make is that the dogs fought because both wanted possession of the tennis ball (which was being thrown for the first time all weekend) , but it could have also been that a couple of minutes earlier, two German shepherds had walked past the front gate and triggered raised hackles on both Boogie and Popeye. And a little time before this, I (Boogie’s mom) had arrived which is what started all the excitement in the first place. Perhaps the tennis ball was the last straw rather than the primary cause in the context of two toy-possessive macho boys with short fuses (aka “low reactivity thresholds”).
* When Boogie and Rosie were playing fetch with the tennis ball , there were no issues. Rosie is really sweet and flirty and gives in to the boys.
The major lesson that I am re-learning here is that it is not safe to play fetch with Boogie when there are other dogs present AND I need to do some sort of “impulse control training” with him (not clear yet what this should be) so that he is less toy-obsessed and will learn to nicely share his toys….
Unfortunately due to this incident we won’t be going to the Boston Buddies’ Boston Tea Party tomorrow. Which is a shame because I wanted to bid on the silent auction’s “Boogie On Ukelele” tote and grab a copy of the new calendar.
Look, the munchkins are on the cover! :)