Should you choose your dog’s friends?

Posted by Raja on July 10th, 2012 — Posted in friends, Parks, Social Commentary

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Probably not. Arranged friendships are fairly perilous.  When I was in primary school, my grandmother had high hopes I’d befriend the children of people she approved of. We both ended up disappointed.

Unsuccessful photo session 1.

Perhaps for similar social, demographic, geographic reasons, we hope our dogs make friends with our friends’ dogs.  That way, everybody can have a good time at summer get togethers.  And the photo ops will be so charming.

Well dream on…  In our house, we have always hoped that Raja and the lovely Coco Bella would hit it off like peas and carrots.  We humans all get along just fine.  At our socials however, Raja and Coco Bella occupy different social strata.

Michelle and I are friends; why can't Bella and Raja just get along?

That’s right.  If he’s on the floor, she hops from couch to table to tuffet to chair, always at least 8 inches above his head.  When she comes down from the heights, he goes up. He even gives up his dinner to her if she even glances at it.  Maintaining distance is everything.

Who is Coco Bella’s special friend?  We don’t know if she has made her choice yet, but Raja’s friend is the lab next door.  Oh yes, they do look like the odd couple.  Ginger’s tall; he’s small.  She walks through puddles and rolls in the mud; he wears boots and outerwear.  She occasionally eats a stone or a bug.  He hardly even eats his food.  She’s submissive; he’s dominant.  What?  Yes, that’s how it goes.  He chooses the route and the pace.  If he barks, she sits.  If he stops, she lies down.  And if I pick him up, she cries at me until I give him back.

"I know who I like and who likes me."

But, hey, they’re happy together and, even though Ginger is six times Raja’s weight, she plays appropriately with him.  He has a strong sense of self preservation and doesn’t choose to hang with a rough crowd, either.  Well, last month he was attacked by a bantam Papillion, but Raja’s hair trigger flinch and sideways hop saved him from the goofy little nipper.  He didn’t really see it coming that time, but the Papillion was incapable of inflicting too much harm at any level.

So this summer at the dog park, as long as your dog seems to be aware of his surroundings and his options and all the dogs seem to be playing nice, you probably shouldn’t try to make your dog be friends with the dogs or people you like.  You choose who you want to hang with and leave that important decision of choosing a best doggy friend to your dog.

Update on Cy: Cy is doing much better.  He has an evaluation for his disk at a sports clinic this weekend as well as an agility session with his teacher.  Cy’s getting back on track!  Thanks to everyone who worried about him!

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