Ren bit me again. This time he drew blood, though not as much blood as Stimpy could hapazardly when her claws are sharp. Still, the issue is the aggression. I had half a temptation to shame Ren on the internet, except that it wouldn’t do any good or be that funny.
In the aftermath it’s really my own aggression which I dislike. My impulse when Ren snaps at me like this is to attack him back. Or maybe to lock him someplace unpleasant. To do something mean and retalitory and assholish. I’m sure doing anything like this would fail entirely to do any good. Also, it belies that I feel threatened by Ren. Not that I expect he could kill me, but he can certainly catch me by surprise and instill me with fear and rage. He can — and does — show me that I am not a purely rational being, and am much further from being one than I’d like, or than society expects of its inhabitants.
After consideration, my sweetheart and I developed a good guess as to what happened. We had given him a dried livestock ear (A cow ear, I think. These kinds of ears are common chewing treats for dogs). He didn’t like this particular ear, but he still liked to guard it as if he was going to eat it.
What I was doing with him had nothing to do with the ear, but the proximity was enough.
Really, Ren gets possessive of any treat we give him. But were it an ear he liked, it would have been consumed long ago. He would have nothing left to guard. But this time he didn’t want to eat the ear, so it remained, and he guarded it because it was still his ear.
Heh, this incident was foreshadowed earlier in the day. I was rubbing his nose, and he was conflicted between getting nose-rubs from me but wanting to guard the ear. He’d start growling and I’d stop rubbing his nose. Then he’d nuzzle me for more rubs. It was cute in a doggie-neurosis sort of way.
This incident has been framed by the warming springtime. It’s doggie mating season. He’s been more active, more eager, more needy, and more willing to assert his opinion. He’s been more opinionated about the other dogs in the complex, either wanting to fight them or mount them.
Given already his predilection to agro, we’ve been disinclined to let him express opinions that involve growling, regarding other dogs or otherwise.
Our nostrum for this has already been decided: We took away his stupid ear. (He doesn’t even miss it.) From now on, we’ll keep his chewing treats small and short term. Something he can finish in a sitting. Should old treats appear buried, displaced or forgotten, I will comb them and throw them away as abandoned. This will reduce his guarding instinct, at least as associated with treats, given he restrains himself from guarding about as well as he restrains himself from barking at passersby. (Not at all.)
The last time Ren bit me, it took me days to forgive him. Much like Stimpy, if I avoid interacting with him, he gets lonely super-fast, so it’s not really like I need to be expressively cruel. And I expected to mercilessly give him the silent treatment all week. But when we came back from errands he was clearly compunctious. He seemed to know he had screwed up. And and he does work hard consistently in efforts to be better, even when (as with barking) it was just beyond him. In that light, it was easy enough to forgive Ren. So actual punishment will probably be minimal.
Maybe I’m just a total softie. Maybe that’s not necessarily a bad thing.