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.