Thursday, June 28, 2012

Dog Lessons

After a week last Christmas, they got this close.

I sometimes watch "Dog Whisperer" and now "Dogs in the City." Our dog Chipsy is fairly well-adjusted, but he does have one glaring obstacle that we've yet to overcome: he's scared to death of my son.

We've tried to figure out the cause. There may be many contributing factors:
  • We didn't get Chipsy until Mac had already left home, so when Mac comes home to visit, he's always a stranger suddenly staying in our house. BUT, Mac's friends come with him and Chipsy isn't afraid of them. It's not all men that he's afraid of. Just Mac.
  • Mac is a big guy: 210 lbs, 6'3" and he's usually wearing military boots.
  • Mac has a deep voice.
  • Mac probably smells like cats and ferrets, since those are his household pets.
But our two predominant theories are that:
1. Chipsy is protecting my husband Mike from Mac. Mac is bigger than Mike, and Mike is Chipsy's master.
2. My theory is that Chipsy subconsciously remembers that Mac is the one who carried him away from his mother when we adopted him. Mac set him in the grass for the first time ever, and then held him on his lap during that scary, scary car ride to our house. It seems like that could have made Chipsy love him, but maybe in some dog way he connects Mac with leaving his mother? (Only a mother could come up with this theory...)

Anyway, we watch these shows looking for clues on how to get Chipsy over his fear of Mac. We've done almost everything Cesar and Justin say to do in these cases, but nothing has worked. It's a shame because Mac always wanted a dog and is very good with animals, but when he comes home for a weekend or so, we spend at least one full day listening to Chipsy bark his head off and tremble every time Mac moves.  We haven't figured out the solution yet, but we'll keep trying.


  1. The height and the voice thing are factors for Riley. Really deep voices kind of freak him out, and it took him quite a while to get used to our taller friends (who we started to hang out with after Riley was already done being a puppy).

    When we first got Riley, I started watching Dog Whisperer too, but at some point I stopped. Now I actually just picked up one of Cesar Milan's books to try and help me get some insight on how to manage to Riley's high-strung personality.

  2. We don't have a dog. We do however, have a cat...a cat we got so our daughter would have a pet. And for the last eight years, the two of them have either "bickered" or ignored each other! I wonder if the issue is that your son isn't there long enough for your puppy to get to know him?

  3. Animals. They all have minds of their own, don't they? We're not done trying to reconcile Chipsy and Mac, but it is wearing. And you're right, Liza, part of the problem is that he's not home very often. And he's tall, and deep-voiced, and, and, and. You know what I'm saying, Kristan. Good luck with Riley!