Peer Pressure

Peer pressure is a powerful thing not only for us humans, but for dogs, too.

One of the reasons we decided to foster was so that our dog could learn some manners. Maybe that’s not a good reason for fostering, but there it is.

Our personal dog, Gracie, is six years old. In that time we’ve been unable to teach her to come when she’s called, refrain from jumping on people, respect her invisible fence, stop chasing the cats, walk politely on a leash, or do any impressive trick whatsoever. Still, we loved her because she’s so sweet.IMG_0813

My vet told me when we lost our beloved dog Lucy, who was the alpha dog to Gracie’s zeta (or whatever Greek letter is last), Gracie would probably step up and behave better. Well, as my favorite college buddy from the south would say- that dog don’t hunt. In other words, it’s a nice theory, but no. If anything, she was worse.

One of the expectations that rescues might have of a foster family’s personal dog is that she might set an example for the nervous, young, unsure foster pup. This seems logical. Except in our case. In my defense, I did lay out Gracie’s issues in at least one of my pre-fostering interviews, so they knew what they were getting into. And yet they sent us this delightful young impressionable pup.IMG_1069

In just a few short weeks, Gracie has taught Galina…

Vacuum cleaners are dangerous and should be attacked as soon as they come to life.

Cats are for chasing.

The mail lady is a formidable threat and it’s best to launch your entire body at the door whenever she approaches.

Stink bugs are for killinghunting stink bugs

and once dead, it’s a good idea to roll on them to be sure.rolling on stink bugs

All stuffed animals must be disarmed and disemboweled as quickly as possible – shaking can accomplish this. You can find these enemy fighters under the beds of the smaller two-leggeds.

Whenever you hear the neighbor dog bark – bark louder.

But thankfully, Galina has also had some influence, she’s taught Gracie that ….

Treats are a good thing. (Up until Galina’s arrival, Gracie refused all treats considering them potential poison. I’ve never been able to figure out why she won’t take them. She was also a rescue dog so maybe there are skeletons in her mental closet. Whenever I told would-be dog-trainers about my inability to train Gracie to do anything, they always told me – “Give her a treat every time she does what you want.” This is a great idea if your dog doesn’t consider every treat a potential threat. In that case, it seems to actually teach your dog not to do the exact thing you ask.)

When it’s time to go outside, while waiting for the leash to be secured, jump directly up towards the ceiling, bonus points if you can make contact with the two-legged’s face.DSC_7918

Whenever a two legged tries to tie her shoes, lick her hands. This will help.

Eat all your food, the moment it’s served, as quickly as possible.

Follow your favorite two-legged person at all times, even when she enters a bathroom (there’s toilet paper there for the unrolling…).

I’m still not sure which dog is benefitting more from this friendship, but I am certain that they’re instilling life-long quirks in each other that may be hard to shake.

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Cara Sue Achterberg

I am a writer, blogger, and occasional cowgirl who lives on a hillside farm in Southern York County, PA. You can find information about my books and all my writing adventures on my website CaraWrites.com.

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