Pittie Trails: Otis & Other Dogs

We had a Pittie Trails walk on Saturday, and it was a great turn out. We had six dogs come, most of whom were working on something or another. While we did run into a few horses along the trail, the hike was very nice and rather uneventful.

I was curious to see how Otis would do around other dogs because he has been in so many different situations in his life, all resulting in different reactions.

It’s hard to describe the way Otis feels about other dogs. To put it simply: he does not do well with other dogs. The more correct answer? He is fine with them in most situations, but cannot actually live with another dog. But it’s probably not what you think from either of these explanations.

There are all sorts of implications with both of those short answers – either of which I am forced to use in the short period of time I have to introduce him to potential adopters through writing or conversation. The first statement always immediately raises red flags – whether intentional or not – sparking “HE MUST BE DOG REACTIVE. DOG AGGRESSIVE. CAN NEVER BRING HIM AROUND OTHER DOGS” thoughts. Extreme, I know – but I think most of us are quick to judge what “does not do well with other dogs” means.¬† But Honey Bunches could not be farther from these assumptions.

On the street, at the shelter, in the park, on hiking trips; basically anything outside of the house – Otis is great with other dogs. He even often solicits play. Other times he is shy and doesn’t feel like saying hi, but he really isn’t life-alteringly timid around other canines.

Inside the house, though, is somewhat of a different story. Inside his home, Otis is so meek with other dogs – no matter their demeanor – that he immediately begins showing submissive behavior. No aggression or reactivity – just sulking, whining, and peeing. Yes, peeing. Otis suffers from submissive urination, which explains why his last home thought he wasn’t housebroken. Unfortunately this behavior was only reinforced when his doggy sister was particularly nasty towards him all the time (for the record – he is 100% housebroken in my house).

It’s a bummer that he’s regressed to this behavior, because over the summer he lived in the same house as my cranky old Wheaten for two weeks, and would put up with everything Barley did (which included snapping in his face and being a total you-know-what). I’m hoping there is something we can do to help Otie feel a little more secure around other dogs, so I’m going to do my research (I’m looking at you, Aleks…) and see what projects I can come up with.

While it means he needs to be in a specific home (one without dogs) – this reaction to other dogs reveals something more about Otis’ personality; something more positive. Dogs do this type of behavior – along with cowering, raising front paws (Otie’s signature move), lip licking, yawning etc. – to show that they are not a threat. Otis is so easy going, and he won’t try to bully anyone for anything. He isn’t pushy, he looks to you for how to act, and I don’t think he could hurt a fly if he tried. These traits combined with how well he does with dogs on the street make him ideal for someone looking for an only pet that they still want to be sociable outside the home.

So, that’s how Otis felt about our first adventure to the Potomac this weekend. Told you it was complicated!

For more information on adopting Honey Bunches of Otis, check out his adoption page or email peacelovefoster@gmail.com.