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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Dominance

Tonight, Boyfriend and I (along with Shadow, of course) are house-sitting for Boyfriend's mama (who travels often for her job). Now, because she travels often, we rarely spend the night at her house. But tonight, we have something small, warm, and cuddly to watch over.


The small, warm, cuddly thing is little Madison. She's an Australian Shepherd puppy (just like her big brother Beni, Boyfriend's mom's other dog) and just a few weeks old. She's adorable and both Boyfriend and I love her already.

As soon as we got here, we carefully introduced Shadow to her. Keep in mind Shadow is a 70+ pound dog and is still a puppy, really, just over a year old, so he gets a little... rambunctious. But he did great! He licked her face and sniffed her very carefully. The biggest issue right now is Beni, who is also a puppy but has so much energy that he just barrels around like a bowling ball. He's been a little rough with Madison, playing too hard, so we were a little nervous about combining the three of them.

Our worries were not unjust. Beni came rushing at Madison, who started crying immediately (from previous experiences with him, of course). She's just a few weeks old, of course, and Beni is practically a giant to her... an uncoordinated, energetic giant.

Imagine our surprise when our dog, our wonderful, handsome, sweet dog Shadow, growled the deepest growl I've ever heard, jumped in front of Madison, and squared up with Beni as if to say "Back off, buddy".

Beni didn't hesitate; he rushed again at Madison. This time, Shadow snarled and pinned Beni to the floor, standing over him with a low warning growl rumbling in his chest. Whenever Beni got too rough with Madison, Shadow growled and pinned him. If Beni ran at her, Shadow jumped in the way. Only when Beni was gentle and sweet did Shadow allow him to come close to her. Madison, in return, licked Shadow's snout over and over. I think she was saying thank you for protecting her.

Since we've gone through so much with Shadow when he was sick as a puppy (check it out here), I've always been in total mom mode, protecting him from anything I can, be it cactus needles, slippery floors or the garbage truck (Shadow's mortal enemy). I never thought of him as a vicious, vicious guard dog until tonight when I saw his protective side. I've always felt safe with him (mainly because his bark is so deep that I figured it would scare off any potential muggers/ruffians), but tonight, seeing him protect Madison so fiercely, I knew that Shadow has grown up into a great guard dog and a great companion.

Shadow is not an aggressive dog, he's not a rough dog. He's sweet and gentle and loving, but when he saw something small and vulnerable being bullied by a bigger dog, he sprang into action like a little, furry Superman. I know now that he'll protect Boyfriend and me from anything and when we have kids, I know he'll show them the same protection and love that he's shown us. Dogs are the best.

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