Dogs and preference choices

Long time no blog!

Once again I am asking questions about how dogs think. There is more to the dog than meets the eye and I know I have so much more to learn about them, my current knowledge and experience is expanding daily and yet still there is more.

To my current thoughts: I have recently adopted another rescue Bull Terrier, a red female called Tallulah which is fateful as Jellybeans’ kennel name was Tallulah Sunrise. Tallulah has a fantastic temperament and I knew as soon as I met her she would fit into our family and would be accepted by my other Bull Terriers. They took to her immediately and in no time at all Tallulah made herself at home running upstairs and sleeping on our beds. Given her history I chose to allow this while she was in transitional period and I could work on retraining her as time goes on.

Tallulah took a few days to settle but her potential as another co-star was obvious so I began planning her re-training. This got scampered by her damaging her knee: not a cruciate injury as suspected but after a week of 10 minutes of exercise a day and strong anti inflammatries the diagnosis from @emersonvets was a sub-luxating patella. Basically her ligaments were not where they should be and I needed to be careful with her exercise. Darn it! Ok so not the end of the world but potentially a problem if she has recurring injuries.

So I altered my plans for her training and decided to film it for prosperity, learning and see if anyone liked it on YouTube. This went quite well until I ran out of handycam discs and had to wait ages for new ones to arrive in the post! A harness with 2 points of contact arrived for her which helped improve her lead walking skills along with my 19 year old daughters’ help and a tube of prawn flavour Primula cheese!

She had no problems meeting other dogs and very quickly learned to leave my cat Lego alone! She did have a rather dangerous habit of running out of open doors and taking herself for a jolly around the neighbours houses over the road. She also had pretty poor recall and still running upstairs every opportunity she could take. All this (aside from the recall which is still on hold while she is in season) has been achieved through positive reward based training, patience and consistency. I’ve had to get to know her and she has had to get to know us as humans and this has been utterly fascinating I will never tire of this feeling when taking in a new rescue dog. The recall training will begin next month and I will try to film it!

I mentioned she is currently in season. Now when my Jellybean was in season my male neutered dog was not in the least bit interested in her often desperate advances. However Koda has paid a lot more interest in Tallulah and even seems more respectful of her than he does with Cassini whom I have always jokingly referred to as his wife. Even Cassini, which by the way is knocking on for 10 years old is keen on Tallulah in this way, so I have to be mindful of how much time I allow them unsupervised as Cassini may hurt Tallulah due to her sheer weight and muscular difference in size to both Koda and Tallulah. I don’t want any more knee injuries and Cassini seems blissfully unaware she is getting tighter in her hips!

There is also the sweet moment the other day. Tallulah had begun humping her duvet (she has thus far got through 2 duvets, a furry dog bed 4 cushions and a dog igloo in her day long humping epics) Tallulah was lying on my rug exhausted and Cassini came up to her, nudged her then sat next to her sniffing her and nudging, even gently pawing at her. My daughter and I found this a tender moment and another demonstration of how empathic dogs can be. I did begin filming but as luck had it she moved away to come and lick me instead.

This raises questions for me:

Do dogs understand if a sick dog is not worth mating with? Is this why Koda would not mate with Jellybean?

Do dogs have favourite housemates (not human) in that do they have predetermined preferences?

Are dogs truly capable of empathy toward each other? I have seen many videos attesting to this as well as the actions of my Jellybean when she was alive.

I’d love to hear thoughts on this!

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