When does a dog learn to be a dog?
I was watching a dog trainer on tv talking about how dogs communicate and it got me thinking...would it be possible to remove a dog from its mother and litter so early that it doesn't learn these cues? Nature or nurture?
My fiance's mutt, Banshee certainly doesn't seem to get them. No matter what Lupa does (snarl, growl, bark, snap, nip, bite, grab and shake, throw on ground, any combination of the above), Banshee doesn't get the concept of "Leave me alone, I need my space right now." Lupa pinned her to the ground, pinched some flesh and shook the dog, but she only jumped up, ran behind Lupa and grabbed her tail. It's all fun to her!
Banshee was found on the side of the road in a milk crate when she was roughly 6 weeks old. She was packed tight with worms and underweight. The 3 lb sack of bones and worms now weighs 55lbs and jumps on Lupa, who weighs 58lbs. Lupa tried her best to teach this dog manners and I thought Banshee would surely benefit from Lupa's very strong maternal instincts, but nothing seems to be getting through. I think Lupa has hit a point where she is doing all she can without harming "her puppy."
I try to reinforce Lupa's wishes and "guarding/claiming" her from Banshee, but Banshee starts playing with me instead. It's frustrating and I don't want Lupa to get hurt and I don't want Banshee to go up to an aggressive dog and unwittingly become someone's meal (the dog's, a vulture's or a vet's $ for a meal).
Communication with Lupa is second nature, and I'm currently trying different approaches with Banshee. Part of me is certain this will all turn out to be a silly misunderstanding of Banshee's particular needs/personality vs Lupa's (they are total opposites!), but the other part of me wonders if she really understands canine body language, hence the question.
1 German Shepherd (Lupa), 1 Cat (Hungry Joe), 1 Corn Snake (Caduceus), Banshee (pitt and/or boxer mix)
RIP: 1 Betta Fish (Quasimodo)