Dogs also train puppies

Day 11 of Life with Adagio. Things are going well. He’s a champion sleeper, which means we’re not chronically exhausted. We also appreciate his appetite for long daytime naps. Mistakes are still being made in the toileting department, but mostly Steve and I are the ones making them (forgetting how often we need to take the puppy out to relieve himself.)

I’m also fascinated by the way our canine housemates are training each other. Although Tucker initially greeted Adagio with a smile and a wagging tail, we think he’s begun to think of the little one as a houseguest who has overstayed his welcome. (“Um, isn’t it time for him to leave now?”) In the first day or two, Adagio tried pestering Tucker to play by barking at him loudly. That didn’t go over well. Here’s one example of how it played out:

Note that Tuck never laid a tooth on Adagio. He just scared him off.

The interaction between Adagio and 7-year-old Darby (whom we raised years ago and are hosting for a week) has been a quite different. Within a day of her arrival, I watched Darby and Adagio having a great time together in my office, despite the difference in their sizes:

They’ve continued to play, and I’ve noted that Tucker has begun standing nearby. Occasionally he emits a geezerly “WOOF!” Adagio seems to be catching on that this is the old guy’s idea of fun. Adagio responds by flinging himself down, belly exposed, the very portrait of submission. Then he bounces up. Tucker does it again, and Adagio follows suit.

Even sweeter was what I witnessed the other night. Tucker had curled up on his dog bed in our bedroom, and Steve brought up the puppy. But at first we didn’t kennel him. Ever so cautiously, he crept onto the bed and inched close. Fractionally.

012018 Adagio and Tuck

Tucker is now so old that when he falls asleep at night, he’s in a state of consciousness approaching comatose. So I think he was unaware of Adagio’s presence. We didn’t push it, but after a minute we locked Adagio in his kennel. But I’m confident that soon the very old and the very young dog will teach each other that it’s safe to snuggle.


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