This week, Miss Grace Kelley joined the #rahspaws pack. (Yes, we have a hashtag.)
It’s always so exciting to get a new dawg, and this time I was particularly jazzed. I’d talked it over with the furkids and we decided that Christmas just wouldn’t feel complete without a foster running around.
So GK moved in, and friends, she’s absolutely wonderful!! Loyal, patient, responsive, and eager to please, she has now settled in to her spot in the pack quite comfortably–somewhere between Alpha Marley and Omega Jude.
It was very clear early on that Gracie was full of SO much love and appreciation that she just couldn’t quite contain herself. So we brought out the Boundaries Bottle—an old Windex spray bottle decorated in puff paint that we use to help overly affectionate dawgs learn the concept of personal space. I spoke to her regularly as I would an adolescent child, calmly explaining when I felt displeased with what she was doing. We created strict rules around when she may receive affection, where and when to take space, and created an overall distance between her and us that was only lessened as she respected our boundaries. After getting over the initial unsettled hump, Grace learned what is expected of her and now takes great pride in being a good dog.
Once we made it clear to her what specific behaviors will make us happy, she wanted to do them because she wants to make us happy. This is the beauty in dawgs—generations of domestication have produced a biologically pre-programmed best friend to humans. Their number one goal in life is to be the best sidekick that ever was.
Humans are also hard-wired for connection though, and so I suppose this approach translate to our two-legged world as well. Maybe we can’t go around spraying everyone who intrudes on our personal bubble, but speaking calmly, declaring your space and what is not okay with you… these we can do! Setting boundaries is crucial as we enter into the Holiday Season where demands are high and we are often spread too thin. You can make life easier for yourself and for those around you if you are sure to communicate your expectations of others to them.
Just another well-timed lesson from the world of dog rescue! Welcome to the house Miss Grace Kelly, I’m eager to see what else you have to teach us!