Friday afternoon, Rufus and I had a special visitor. And guess what? Apparently…she was not welcome.
We recently applied for a dog through a rescue. Part of the process was a home check. No big deal, right? We are renters (which always goes against us), but we do have the benefit of a small fenced-in yard so that’s always a bonus!
Anywho I wasn’t even that worried about the whole ordeal. The person coming to scope out the place was a woman with tons of dog experience, obviously. History tells us (me) that 1. Rufus does much better with strange women than strange men, and 2. He usually picks up on people that are dog savvy and keeps his cool for the most part.
Epic fail, guys. Epic FREAKING fail.
Not only did Rufus bark at the woman the entire time she was in my home, but he actually scared her! I was mortified. I tried to gain control of the situation, making him sit and treating him for listening to me (and her). He took treats out of her hand once and even sat and laid down on command for her, but was noticeably stressed and uneasy about her presence.
I’m not sure what triggered such a negative reaction from him, but here are some educated guesses I’ve come up with:
1. She came in suddenly, without a proper greeting and immediately started scanning our place. She could definitely be viewed as an intruder by a dog with trust issues.
2. She was somewhat loud and boisterous and went out of her way to try to make friends with him, even when I told her to ignore him. He would quiet down for brief periods until she would start talking at him again.
3. He could sense that I was nervous about her being there (for obvious reasons) and picked up on my energy.
4. He thought she was there to take him away. Obviously kidding, but hey! He can be pretty suspicious sometimes.
Even though I felt pretty defeated after she left, I was mostly hurt by her mentioning that my dog scared her. Then I remembered what kind of dog we were applying for and the size/personality types she is used to. Rufus isn’t a big dog, but he does have a big bark and it can be off-putting to some.
I also reminded myself that we JUST had a friend come stay with us for 5 days. Rufus was unsure about her for about an hour (never once barked at her though) and then became a total snuggle bug around her.
Whatever made him so nervous Friday, we’ll try our best to learn from this and figure out a solution so that he can become more comfortable once again around strangers. Before our big move, Rufus was in a good place with strangers – if he was uncomfortable, he would avoid and if he was interested, he would approach them calmly and we always had treats to dish out. Sometimes when you don’t keep up with your homework, you fall waaaaaay behind.