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.