We are still working with the best way to completely integrate our Pet Haven foster dog Jonah into our home. It turns out, what’s best for him right now may be not to continue to try and integrate him. As Jonah has become more comfortable in our home he has started to show some other behaviors that his massive amount of anxiety was most likely overwhelming. Our hope is with the anti-anxiety medication, patience, space, love and training that these behaviors will dissipate and we will be able to re-visit full integration.
While we have continued to prevent Frankie and Jonah from climbing all over each other anymore, we have allowed them to lay on the same couch a foot or two away (as seen above). Up until a couple of days ago, I would have said this was working well for both of them. Then he growled and moved for Frankie after she had gotten up (still in her little corner) to do a couple more circles in place to get comfy and lay down again. He did not bite her but did really scare her (and us). Our new normal is one dog on the couch unless a person is between them. Understand that this doesn’t mean that Jonah is aggressive. It means when he feels uncomfortable or threatened (like when he has another dog near his space and what he considers his things like bowls,etc) that he may react aggressively.
This distinction is an important one to me because it is not an insignificant detail that Jonah’s bite inhibition has been flawless. He is a strong, fast dog and if he really wanted to bite Frankie, he would have already–no matter how quick our responses. This incident (and his other incidents) would all be considered a Level One with an ‘excellent prognosis’ according to Dr. Ian Dunbar’s Bite Assessment Scale.
Everyone draws the line on what dog behavior they can manage differently. Although we have had to deviate from what we typically do, Jonah is manageable because he is overall very good with Frankie, and we know now to not put him in situations with anything we think he might try to guard. Once his medication kicks in a little more and he is overall more relaxed, we will start trying to counter-condition him to having a dog approach his space/things. Right now he is still so hesitant and shut down that training doesn’t work with him the way it does with other, more neuro-typical dogs.
We are happy to try to help gentle Jonah become a non-fearful, stable family member.