One day, as I was discussing how dog-friendly California is, with a friend in San Francisco, he told me about the dog he used to have and his "out of the ordinary" behaviour, to say the least.
"My parents had me quite late, in their early 40’s, especially by the standards 30 years ago.
At the time of my arrival, my sister had a Doberman, Rhett, named after a character from the movie “Gone with the wind”. Naturally he became a family dog that grew attached to my parents, who took care of him the most.
By the time I was born he became very jealous of me, a newborn in the house getting all of the attention...
Doberman are very territorial and a lot of them have neurotic tendencies, and this one was no exception. He started to display growing frustration and hostility towards me. He began to lash out at my parents as well when they would attend to me. It went as far as blocking the doorway to my bedroom not letting anyone attend to my cries.
I know this might sound crazy but I think me crying in my crib and keeping everyone away from me he was perhaps hoping I would die...
Rhett was a very smart dog. One summer he stayed at my grandma's house. He woke her up in the night tugging away at her to get her attention. When she got up she discovered there was a gas leak from the stove. He saved her life that night.
In the meantime, his behaviour towards me was escalating out of control so my parents ended up tragically giving him away to our close family friends. This way they could visit him frequently yet I wouldn’t be exposed to him.
Even now It’s hard to imagine that my existence meant his separation.
As years went by when we'd visit Rhett, I’d try to pet him and every time he would get irritated shaking me off instantly. I didn’t know why this dog would reject me when all I wanted was to hug and pet him.
It took me many years to understand his behaviour and feelings towards me but when I understood the context explaining his behavior, I stopped blaming myself, rather got impressed at his intellectual capabilities".
Funny how we automatically question ourselves and feel responsible when somebody (whether dog or human by the way ;)) displays hostility towards us.
Often, the vibe just isn't there, but quite as often, it's a matter of jealousy..