Throwback Thursday: A Rugby Memory with Cahill

For being a little speckled hot mess of a dog, there are times when Rugby honestly has moments of sheer brilliance that both amaze and astound me!  In today’s post, I thought I’d share one of those stories with you!

Cahill at about 12 weeks

Several years ago I was training a little Norwegian Elkhound puppy who was the cutest little guy you could ever imagine!  I swooned over this puppy and my heart melted anytime I got to train him!  His owner had a work trip out of town, so I offered to let his puppy, Cahill, stay with me for the week that he’d be gone.  Cahill was a really rowdy puppy with lots of play biting and jumping up….and his owner hated both of those habits.  I told him I’d do some training while I was keeping him, and hopefully see some improvement while he was gone.

Once the dogs had met and were able to be safely be around each other, I started to see Cahill initiating play with Rugby.  Typically Rugby doesn’t engage in play with other dogs; he’s not very comfortable with them, so he’s not fond of being bounced on.  He does seem to put up with puppy nonsense, and allow play from them that he would never ever tolerate from an adult dog! Cahill was 5 months old at the time, and weighed about 25 pounds….a near match for Rugby’s 23 pounds.

Cahill at about 5 months

As the boys wrestled and tugged with toys together, I noticed that Rugby was increasingly more comfortable with Cahill’s rough play.  However, I observed a brilliant education that Rugby was providing to his young friend.  Cahill was fond of biting Rugby’s ears, and clearly, Rugby was not impressed with that!  Every time Cahill went too far, Rugby turned the tables on him, and Cahill found himself on his back, looking at the ceiling with an adult dog standing over him.  Rugby would gently mouth him around his face and neck, and then he moved up to Cahill’s ears, being so kind and very gentle.  After a short time of this regime, Rugby would let Cahill get up, and they’d resume their play, repeating this pattern of play, and correction over and over.

During the course of three days, I saw an amazing transformation take place.  Up until then, Rugby’s ears were soaked with dog spit.  But as Rugby’s lessons continued, I noticed that over time, his ears themselves were starting to stay dry, and only the long fringe around his ears had dog spit on them.  His neck fur was wet with spit as well.  Rugby had successfully taught his young playmate to leave his ears alone, and bite only the fur and not the skin!

Many years later, I’m still so impressed by my little speckled dog who typically is so socially awkward!  In spite of his poor social skills, he did a wonderful job of parenting this young puppy in an appropriate way that got results for his efforts.


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