Opie the Misanthrope

No, I did not sleep in this bed. Why am I on it? Uh..uh…

Opie’s not too fond of men.  We are not sure why this is, but we are working on it.

We don’t know much about Opie’s past.  We only have a copy of his Kennel Card and what the Rescue people told us. 

Near the first of June, his original owners surrendered 8 month old Opie  to a shelter.  We don’t know why.  The Lhasa Happy Home Rescue picked him up from the shelter about a week later.  He was with them for a bit, and then they placed him with a foster family.   About a week later, we adopted him.  From June to now, he’s been in five different locations —   His original owners, the shelter, the rescue home, the foster parents and finally us.    We don’t know what kind of movement he had with his original owners.  They probably got him from somewhere.   With so many placements you’d think he would have been a nervous wreck when we first met him. However, he was great. That’s why his misanthropy was such a surprise.

As you know we found Opie through Petfinders.com.  We met Opie at the home of the organization’s founder and owner.  Randi had decided to take him on little walk before we arrived.  We were early and met Opie on the sidewalk in front of her home.  He behaved well. No barking or growling.  Randi picked him up and all of us held him including my husband.  I stuck my face in his fur and inhaled deeply to determine if he was truly hypoallergenic. If I started sneezing, we might as well have gotten back into the car and saved everyone some time.   But, there was no sneezing or itchiness or anything. He was quiet and affectionate as all of us took turns holding him.

Then, we went inside of Randi’s home. She had several Lhasa type dogs running around her living room. Opie was the biggest guy in the room. He was totally calm and placid. He wasn’t nippy or demanding of attention.  My husband approved and so did I. The boys wanted him. Unfortunately, I had no idea that we would actually get Opie that day.  My check book was sitting at home in a cupboard.  My husband had a meeting so we went home and got the check book and he went to his meeting. The boys and I picked up Opie and took him to the pet store and loaded up on his supplies.

Later, that same evening, my husband came home.  Opie barked and growled at him.    We didn’t know quite what to do. We figured it had something to do with him entering the house. Perhaps Opie viewed  hubby as an intruder or a non pack member.  We surfed the web, read Cesar Milan’s book in one night and sought advice. We finally got some that seems to have helped a great deal.

Part of Opies problem seems to be that he’s turned himself into my devoted body-guard/furry son. He has a bit of an Oedipal complex regarding my husband. The behaviorist suggested that my husband take a much more active role in Opies care.  Opie is already devoted and well bonded with me and the boys.  He needs to build a bond with my husband. What does that look like?  Well, hubby walks Opie twice a day, prepares his breakfast, lunch and dinner and hand feeds him a portion of it.  He’s opened his home office door so that Opie can wander in and get petted. Is it working?  I’d say yes.  Opie now sleeps on a pillow on the floor on my husbands side of the room.  Daddy is the first person he sees awake in the morning and the last person he sees at night time.

The other part of his treatment is a weekly visit to the dog park.  Opie’s been twice now — Saturday and Sunday.  He’ll probably go again this weekend.  However, I am a little suspicious of the park. Opie developed his second bout of tummy troubles after visiting the park. I think I’ll bring him his own water bowl and not let him share the communal bowl. I suspect some creepy parasite is reeking havoc with his guts.

We’ve had two male visitors since we started his behavior training. Opie barked and growled crazily at both of them, but eventually settled down.  Last night our good friend Peter visited. Peter has a huge Ridgeback of his own named Fergus.  Fergus stayed home, but his lingering essence was probably all over Peter. Opie of course growled and barked, but eventually settled down enough to fall asleep during Peter’s visit. 

Clearly, this will be a slow process.  Opie gets along wonderfully with every human in the dog park – male and female.  It must have something to do with his natural territorial nature.  We’ll know more soon. We have an appointment this weekend with the behavior guy. He’ll probably give us some more homework and more insight into our little misanthrope.


About Opie and Opie's Mom

Snorkie with attitude. My mom writes about me and sometimes she lets me write something too. I was rescued July 11, 2010! I am so happy! I love my family and I hate squirrels. I don't know any cats but the neighborhood cats are fun to bark at. Read Opie's Mom's Blog to find out more about me. View all posts by Opie and Opie's Mom

5 responses to “Opie the Misanthrope

  • fermentingdesign

    Hi, Opie. I found you! You sure are cute. My Mom & Dad found me through Petfinders.com also! That is a really good place–at least for you and me! It sounds like you are having fun getting adjusted in your new family. Oh, and let me tell you a secret (don’t tell your Mom and Dad)–I get to sleep on my Mom & Dad’s bed. I start out in my crate, but think it’s a really good thing to wake up with them in the morning. My brother, Toby, sleeps beside my Mom.

    Have fun today!

    • lillij

      Hi Sage,

      I would have gotten to sleep with my Mom and Dad, but I was naughty and barked and growled at Daddy when I first came home. Mom didn’t like that so I was never allowed on the bed because that’s where Daddy sleeps with Mommy. I do sometimes sleep with Michael, my youngest human pack mate, but only at the foot. Michael thinks I smell bad sometimes. I don’t smell bad. I smell like a dog.

      Since I stopped growling at Dad so much, I’m now allowed in Mommy and Daddy’s room at night to sleep on a pillow on the floor. I could sleep anywhere on the floor I want to. I could even sleep on Mommy’s side, but she keeps the window open and it’s cold. Daddy and I like our side of the room. It’s cozier for us. Now I see him first thing in the morning and at night. He’s okay, I guess. He likes to walk fast in the AM and Mommy is not so fast. I like going fast! We practice my sitting while waiting on Mommy to catch up. Mommy pants more than I do on the walk!

      Daddy gives me lots of treats on the walk when I sit or settle. He gives excellent tummy rubs. I still like Mommy best, but I’m starting to like him too. He feeds me all my meals but the one in the morning tastes a little funny because of my medicine. I don’t really like medicine, but I’m hungry in the morning.

      Well, I’m sleepy again. The boys played ball with me and I’m tired now.

      Have a great day Sage! Smell you later, compadre!

  • Arlette Godges

    I always liked dogs. It took us a while to get one, and we happily had one dog for 6 years. Now, we have 3 large dogs. A shepard/lab mix, a great dane/huskie mix and a St. Bernard, all together 300lbs of dog and Osa is only half her size at her current 90lbs! I say this, because I have learned a LOT about dogs. We have trained them all ourselves, and used a combination of techniques.
    You have a breed of dog, that is territorial and protective in nature…his territory is your home and he will protect you and the “things/humans” you love are “part of you”. It would actually help, if Greg would wear one of your sweatshirts. Feeding him is crucial to be done by all of you…also, the adults need to take his bowl away and give it back without him having a fit…he has to know who is boss, and it’s NOT him.
    Another thing that really is important is to physically over power him with play, so he also knows his order in the pack…he is last.
    Just some thoughts!
    It’s amazing to me how we do this to ourselves after surviving little kids! ha!

    • lillij

      Hey Arlette,

      We figured that Opie needed to know that Greg was not only in the pack but Alpha in our pack. We hug and kiss a lot in front of Opie. We do anyway ( blush!) but we made an extra effort for Opie, much to Gregory and Michael’s disgust. We think he’s getting the message. And his food bowl is never left out. One of us will pick up his bowl right after he’s finished eating. We pick up his doggy toys throughout the day as well so that he knows that they belong to us and not him.

      We also don’t allow him on the furniture. We made an error early on. We let him on the couch and chairs and beds. Our stuff is pretty hardy and he was pretty clean. Our Cesar Milan reading helped us there. Opie had determined that all of this stuff was his domain. Well, we immediately started limiting that domain. “Off” is a favorite word here now. He’s a good boy though and has really gotten the message. He has his own doggy bed which is also ours. He limits himself to that and a good spot under the coffee table now.

      He is definitely improving. He wags his tail when he sees Greg. He still barks at the mail carrier, and the UPS guy. However, he’s stopped barking at the little old lady who walks with a giant steel cane. We are making progress.


  • Gloria Kirven

    Josette, I am enjoying your postings about Opie. He is going to love reading them when he grows up.

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