Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Proud of the Pit Bull

There was a time I wondered whether Suvi would ever be able to handle a brother or sister. NOT because she is aggressive (oh gosh, let's not perpetuate the pit bull stereotype), but rather because she never really learned to take cues from other dogs...she's a bit socially awkward, perhaps.

Now, I've had dogs throughout a large part of my life before Suvi, and I never really paid much attention to how they learn from one another. Maybe my other dogs were more naturally socially savvy, or maybe I was too young to catch the behaviors happening, or to understand.

In the past, when another dog growled or snapped at Suvi, telling her she was playing too rough, she didn't learn to back off. I'm not sure why - I am sure I could have done something differently to help her learn. She went to daycare, socialized with other dogs, did play dates, etc, etc - but I think I probably didn't choose the right daycares, or the right dogs or settings in which to socialize her.

Then came Ramsey.
Oh, momma Ramsey - and somehow, she's managed to teach Suvi all the doggie social rules. Ramsey growls when she plays, but she has a different growl for when she's had enough, and Suvi can tell the difference. Often, when Ramsey's growl tone changes, Suvi (the crazy, swear-she-got-into-the-espresso, pit bull) walks away, climbs on the couch, and lays down.

Suvi plays pretty rough outside - much differently than her indoor play style - and Ramsey has been able to teach her when enough is enough. Sure, it's taken a few occurrences of Ramey snapping at Suvi - not in a harmful way, but definitely in a teaching way - for Suvi to learn. And we let it happen - they have established their own relationship, and it works for them. And apparently, Ramsey has been a much better teacher than I could ever have been....

This weekend, we brought home a foster dog. It took a LOT of time for us to socialize Suvi with Ramsey and Pablo. There were certainly reactions of every kind, and we didn't trust playful Suvi not to swat Pablo across the room when he started barking at her.

Jones, however, pranced right in to the house and after we did the requisite sniff intro (which is incredibly important for Suvi to accept another dog), Suvi walked away and ignored him. Excuse me.....is this OUR pit bull??

Then Jones started following her around (perhaps she was playing hard to get??), and jumping at her, trying to get her to play. I jumped, expecting her to swat all 10 pounds of him across the living room. Instead, she gently, with an open mouth, corrected him. She nudged him away, and he came back at her. She pushed harder, making her silly little grunting noise, and we just watched. Incredibly gently, she pushed him to the ground, and he rolled over submissively. This continued back and forth for about 10 minutes, and by the end, tears were rolling down my cheeks.

SHE was teaching JONES the social rules, perfectly.....I think my baby is officially all grown up, and I couldn't be more proud of her.







22 comments:

  1. and we care about suvi why??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. you saw the title (she's the only pit bull in this family), and clicked on the link, so....you tell me :)

      Delete
    2. I am so glad u ask! We care about Suvi because her mom has used her experience to advocate for pits everywhere. Suvi and her Mom have done more for raising awareness than any efforts I have recently seen. Suvi has made me proud to be a pit owner and I no longer stammer when someone ask me if my dog is a pit. I smile now and answe with a resounding yes! That is why I and so many others care about Suvi. Thank u Anamous

      Delete
    3. we are having a hard time getting our 4 month old female pom and our 4 year old female chi to get along. the pom is so playful and the chi is so submissive and lazy. our 8 year old male chi is just like Ramsey. he will play with the pom and when he has had enough he breaks out the adult dog growl and the pom leaves him alone and goes and finds mommy or myself. dogs are the best.

      Delete
    4. And we care about your opinion, why? If you came here to complain, why come here at all?

      Delete
    5. Aren't you all amazing :) Thanks for the support (and validation that there is enjoyment in reading what sometimes feel like my silly dog stories...whew)! I do love writing the blog - I know I'll especially be happy to have something to look back at someday.

      Delete
    6. I love Suvi, and I "care" about her as well as the other family members. Your description on Suvi holding down Jones, reminded me of my two, now passed on, big black dogs I had (Lab and rotweiller/terrier mix). One of the dogs I grew up with (also black and terrier mix) had an attitude problem. My two seemed to decide to cure him. One would hold him down, while the other would lick his face. It was so funny, and it did seem to help him not be so grumpy.

      Delete
    7. Wow, I'm sure Chad, Ramsey and Pablo consider you their BFF now that you made that comment! Who doesn't love it when an anonymous commenter tells them they so don't care about their beloved family member?

      Personally I'm really awed to hear about Ramsey putting so much effort into getting her new sister understand her and Suvi understanding, learning and remembering. That's some hardcore healthy, boundaries-respecting love right there.

      Delete
  2. Great blog post! And clearly there are many humans who could learn a thing or two about appropriate interactions... take the Anonymous and very negative poster above. It's apparently very easy to be an ugly face behind a mask of anonymity. I think that's a sign of a sad, angry and/or unhappy human being.

    Yay for you and Chad! I love Pablo! And Ramsey and Suvi and Jones...

    Best to you!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I can never remember the Star Wars quote...something about the student and the master....

    In short, good job, Ramsey, for teaching Suvi, and good job Suvi, for passing it on! It's pretty awesome what dogs can do, isn't it? I definitely sympathize with doggie social awkwardness. Elka doesn't know any other dogs, and isn't really quite sure what they're on about most of the time. She has a super-shy Irish Setter mix friend who she'll run in circles with at the park, but they both seem to stipulate that there will be no touching and no sniffing. His owner is amazed that he'll play that much! The dog's name is Murphy; isn't it funny that I don't know his owner's name?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha! I love it! We did dog parks when Suvi was younger, and it was always funny to hear folks refer to the other people at the park by things like "Suvi's mom" or "Rex's dad" - no one knew one anothers' names! :)

      Delete
  4. I love reading about these dogs!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I love reading about these dogs. I have a socially awkward doberman who can be unpredictably sassy with dogs. I never know when she's going to love them or hate them, but I watch with a cautionary eye. My chihuahuas are sweet and accepting of all dogs and people so I don't worry so much about them. But reading your blog about Ramsey's behaviors has given me a new perspective about my Tasha's behavior. I can tell she's far more protective of all of us than I would have guessed. Thank you for your insight. It really opened my eyes and give me a new perspective of my rescued doberman.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I can't believe you allow anonymous posters. Also. Suvi is so adorable.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hehe. I know it opens a can of worms, but honestly, I've only had a couple of comments I'd prefer not to see, and as you can see, others take the chance to jump on those folks. It's worth it to allow people without a valid account to also comment. I haven't yet had to delete anything, but it is an option if necessary :) Thanks for reading (and commenting)!!

      Delete
  7. I think you guys are doing a wonderful thing, speaking out for the Pit Bull and Doberman, two highly misunderstood breeds. Both breeds are incredible and need people with the great insight and care you take to write about them to describe their true personalities and temperaments.

    I speak from experience :-) I have shown and trained many Dobermans. Our family includes a 130 lbs RottenDobe(lovingly named- Rottweiler & Doberman mix),a 110 lbs Dogue De Bourdeaux (French Mastiff) pup, a 68 pound Pit Bull (my sons dog) and my sweet five pound Chihuahua.We all live in peace and harmony. No problems and it was my Dobe mix that taught them all. I believe it's a Dobermans "thing" to teach.

    You wrote a beautiful story, thank you for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much! I love to hear others' stories, and appreciate the comments!

      Delete
  8. Wonderful Dogs, Wonderful videos, Wonderful doggie parents and truly enjoyable blogs. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  9. HI!! I follow you guys on Facebook and LOVE reading your blogs/status updates/pretty much everything having to do with your doggie family. :) I have a Dobie pup myself, and I love Pitties and (well, all dogs basically) but do have a fondness for the "bad rep" breeds. ANYWAY, I was always so very curious on the inspiration behind the names of your dogs.

    Maybe you could feature a blog on the inspiration behind your three fantastic dogs names and how they came to be? :) I think I read somewhere that Suvi came from a Finnish word for summer? I could be totally wrong, lol, but I've always been curious on Ramsey and Pablo's names and the "almost names." We went through about twenty names before deciding on our boy. :)

    Keep writing!! <3

    ReplyDelete
  10. amazing amazing amazing!!! I love your little canine family! :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. Can I borrow Ramsey for a few weeks??lolMy doberman Jack has the same problem Suvi use to have! He doesn't know when enough is enough. He gets really rough with other dogs (had to stop taking him to the dog park because of it), and my beagle tries to tell him stop, but he doesn't understand! I don't know why, we've had him since he was 4 months and took him to the parks as soon as he was all set with shots and got fixed. He's a perfect gentleman (almost haha) with people but a little rough with other doggies.

    Huge fan!!! <3

    ReplyDelete