Good Luck to Tieson

Back in January I got a dog named Tieson. Even back then I knew he'd be a handful. But, over the last 5 months or so, I worked on his quirks. I took him to an obedience class at Dogs At Play (75 Howell St.) which helped a lot. I figured out how to keep him from peeing in the house: I just kept him confined — at first to his travel crate (which he didn't seem to like too much) and then to the foyer which gave him a little more room to move around (which he seemed fine with.)

But there was always his Jack Russell Terrier tendencies. His high energy level was not a problem for me, nor was his desire for play and attention. But he needed someone who was always dominant. And that was the problem.

Any chance he had to take his "rightful spot" as alpha dog, he took. For instance, if I was sitting on the couch to watch a movie and I invited him up, after a while he'd snarl a bit if I tried to pet him. If I persisted he'd eventually bite me. He was, however, a good and obedient dog, so I could just say, "get off" and he'd get off the couch (with a begrudging growl sometimes) and then I could call him over and (as long as he was on the ground and I was on the couch) I could pet him without any problem.

But I want a dog that is a companion, not a servant. And after he tried to attack a neighbor who came to trim the hedge row on my side, and after he attacked Ali and Lucy (the dog she and I have joint-custody of) I decided enough was enough.

I looked on the Internet and found Russell Rescue, Inc. who specialize in rescuing and adopting Jack Russell Terriers. There are only three contacts in the northeast and one happens to be in Irondequoit. I sent an e-mail and called but I got no response, so tonight I took Tieson to The Humane Society at Lollypop Farm (99 Victor Rd., Fairport).

Because of his history of biting, he's got an uphill battle. I think he'll get to a behavioral evaluation, but then it's up to him to not growl or bite. He's a pretty smart dog, but I hope he figures out that it's do-or-die.

Literally.

The house is now much more quiet with just me and my cat Pumpkin. But I am overall relieved. As I described to a friend, it was like living with a roommate you barely tolerate. Even though the good times were nice, there was a lot of tension and stress. And now I'll be able to sleep in when I want to because I'll actually be able to set the alarm clock rather than this:

6:30 a.m. wake-up call from my dog

The Tieson Alarm Clock

Good luck, buddy.

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I Have a Dog Now

Last month I saw an ad for a dog to a good home. I replied and got the new dog, Lucy (Ali's and my dog), and Pumpkin Pie (my gray American short-hair cat, named by a crazy cat lady) all together and they seemed to get along acceptably — I know things would be rough, but the behavior of the new dog was key.

So last Monday the 23rd I got "Tieson" (the etymology of which I still haven't inquired about). He's a Jack Russell terrier who's 9-year-old (as of today, actually).

The first day I had him his behavior was better than I could have expected. Pumpkin was very patient and only a few skirmishes broke out. His previous owner said he had bladder issues when home alone, and I presumed it was due to separation anxiety. In fact, when I went to Genesee Bakery (1677 Mount Hope Ave.) for all of 10 minutes, he soaked a pillow pretty good. He only had one such "accident" so far.

That night, I let him sleep in my bed. During the night, I noticed he started to intensely regard the vacuum cleaner. After an hour or so, he decided that it was, indeed, an infernal machine and must be barked at. I turned on the light and he was startled to see me, transferring his agression to me. Before I could get him out of the bedroom, he managed to bite me pretty hard on the hand. Being kind of aggressive, I have learned this particular Jack Russell is happiest if he's kept in his place (e.g. lower than eye-contact with people.)

The next day went well as well. I learned some things he didn't like and mostly avoided them. However, when returning from a walk, I expected him to get bite-y when I toweled off his wet belly so I put on leather gloves and, when he inevitably did snap at me, I pinned him down firmly to show that I was "alpha". I didn't like doing it, but it didn't hurt him, and I had to do it again later when he snapped at me on my bed. I gather it's not harmful, per se, especially if used sparingly, but I don't want him to have an "alpha dog" relationship with me. It should help that I signed him up for obedience class at Dogs At Play (75 Howell St.)

By Thursday we were running together in the morning. Jack Russells are known for their speed and endurance: he kept up for all 4 miles or so. During the day, cat-dog relations had a setback when I picked up Pumpkin to pet him and Tieson, apparently jealous, seemed curious to see what I was doing and then he decided it was a good idea to bite Pumpkin's tail. I ended up with a couple scratches on my face and on my hands from the ensuing body launch.

Today he was thrilled to "go for a ride" and was even thrilled to visit the vet at Penfield Veterinary Hospital (1672 Penfield Rd.) for all his shots and more. Now he's all set for his dog license, so he gets to be a real little dog.

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