Sunday, September 30, 2007

my three kids

Murray and Tango have grown accustomed to Gabe. I'd venture to say that Tango, in particular, even likes Gabe now. He will bring Gabe his bones and balls, and wait patiently for Gabe to pick them up. They play a complicated game where Gabe will hold the bone out to Tango, wait for Tango to grab it, then steal it back, then Tango takes it again, then Gabe steals it back, and so on. Both of them seem to enjoy the game quite a bit, and sometimes Tango will bring Gabe a toy, and watch Gabe expectantly wondering why Gabe doesn't participate immediately. Meanwhile, Gabe just hasn't noticed because he is engrossed in whatever he is doing. It is really cute. Really, really cute.

Murray, on the other hand, is still not Gabe's biggest fan. He will say hello to him in the morning, and will even give Gabe a couple of quick licks when he first sees him. Gabe has pulled on his fur a couple of times too many, though, and he is understandably wary of getting too close to the baby. So Murray's style is to just steer clear of Gabe most of the time.

This morning, the pooches were curled up on their bed in the hallway, and Gabe was crawling around while I brushed my teeth and straightened up the bathroom. I came out into the hallway and sat down on the floor in front of the dogs' bed, and Gabe made a bee-line straight over to me. After a couple minutes of playing, he realized that the dogs were within scooting distance and turned to say hello.

And Murray snapped at him. AT HIS FACE.

Now, I understand that the dog was on his bed. I understand that they need their own space. And I understand that maybe he was startled that Gabe came over to him while he was lying on his bed. BUT STILL. I was pissed. I grabbed him instantly and rolled him on his back while saying "NO" firmly. Then I sent him out of the room for a while because I was fuming. FUMING.

Murray wasn't anywhere near biting Gabe, and it wasn't even very close to him. Murray kind of turned his head to the side, slightly away from Gabe and then snapped at the air, almost as if he was warning him not to come closer. It didn't look like he was really trying to nip at him. It doesn't matter, though, both Tango and Murray have to understand that any biting behavior is totally, completely, absolutely unacceptable. Once Gabe is old enough to understand, I will teach him that the dogs need their personal space and that their beds are off limits, but for now, the dogs have to understand that if they don't like what the baby is doing, they need to move. Leave the room. Whatever makes them happy.

Any advice on this situation? Earlier this week I also saw Murray snap at Tango, so I'm mildly concerned that maybe he doesn't feel well or maybe something is going on with him, because generally they get along famously. I'm probably going to ask the vet about it, but I suspect this has more to do with crawling baby, annoyed dog.

Also, just to preempt any worries, Murray weighs 9 pounds and his mouth is so small he can't even get it around my finger. It is teeny tiny. Even if he actually bit Gabe, which I don't think he'd do, he really couldn't hurt him. We call him pinhead sometimes (behind his back of course, never in front of him), that is how small his mouth is.



chris said...

Maybe Murray is annoyed that Gabe keeps getting bigger and bigger, while he is staying so small ;-)

But you are probably right about him being tired of having his space invaded.

Chatty said...

Remember how unsure Lovey was around kids? He was the same way with Lady. It was bliss while she was too young to move after him and he could lick her feet at will, but once she could crawl after him, he started finding his escape route. His big thing is to curl his top lip to show off his teeth when she gets too annoying (because her favorite thing to do these days is drag him around in a deathgrip under his armpits like a cat), but once or twice he actually did tell her to buzz off.

I asked our Vet about it, and he assured me that it's like a sibling relationship. Lovey has never tried to bite, or do anything other than tell Lady to piss off when he's had enough. For our part, we'd get him out of the situation while telling Lady why we were moving him, or why Lovey didn't like to have his eyelid lifted while he was napping, and how we can't do that to him. It took a lot of "Gentle Sweetie" before she started to get it.
These days the relationship is much better, Lovey has even been known to nap with Lady in her bed (love it!), and now with Mister, it's all old hat.

I personally can vouch for Murray's harmlessability, and I'm positive he'll figure this out. Especially since Tango is so well adjusted. He'll come around.

Yankee T said...

No advice, just virtual hugs. I would be pissed, too.

liz said...

May I suggest that you make T & M's bed somehow inaccessible to Gabe but still accessible to them? Like, maybe, up higher? or through a dog door? or something? So they have a place to go to be unmolested? It may help with both the snapping behavior and the opportunity to snap.