December 3, 2010

White Dog and Nuka, each with different agendas, spent the day sending poor timid Puff scurrying out of the dog door to hide in the yard. I was torn whether to let the dynamic work itself out or to intervene on Puff's behalf.

White Dog felt the need at every opportunity to remind SAWD that SHE is the pack leader and that all others were expected to abide by her whim. WD expressed this by purposely being intimidating in tone and stature. Poor Puff, wide eyed, tried to make herself as small as possible, and to evade confrontation, but WD followed at her heels until the dog door slammed behind the terrified exiting little girl. I called White Dog and put her in "time out" next to me but still she continued to make threatening noises...I tried explaining Puff's weakness and illness and the fact that she is a broken girl we are trying to mend. White Dog was not in a mood to be very compassionate.

Nuka, who is settling in comfortably, is starting to investigate her position in this pack. She already knows not to push WD but finds Puff an easy target to stand in front of and bark at. Part of the bark is an invitation to play but it is also to let Puff know that AWD feels at home enough to be bossy. SAWD gets very nervous at Nuka's insistence and again heads outside.

Quinn, gentle, peaceful boy that he is, seems to be the only one who understands that Puff needs to feel safe before she can be taught "the rules." He slowly approaches Puff and nudges her nose, which she accepts. He walks away when he senses that she is feeling trapped and he goes out in the yard to check on her frequently.

When Steve got home tonight we made the decision to bring Puff out into the living space and hold her more often so that the other White Dogs see that we are granting her status and that she is not an ignored outcast. I held her until she asked to be put down (about 10 minutes) and every eye watched us closely...when I put her down she bolted outside. When she shyly stuck her nose back into the room, Steve sat on the floor and focused his attention on her as the others milled around beside him. The others didn't protest while Steve interacted and all got their own time after.

I grew up in a large family and it amazes me how much our current situation is like that experience. The dynamic is a shifting, hard to balance dance that in time, I hope, will turn us all into a happy blended family. But today was just hard.


Khyra And Sometimes Her Mom said...

They will all know they are safe and loved and destined fur GREAT things!

PeeEssWoo: yes, we have a transport this weekend!

Teddy Bear said...

We are so sorry to hear about the though day. We know they will get better and everyone will start loving on one another.:)

Teddy Bear

Ginger Jasper said...

Sorry to hear that Siku is making her new sister afraid. I hope that settles down and that soon all is harmony. Sounds to me as though you have got the right methods going on and I am sure will win through. HUgs GJ x

Kari in WeHo said...

Quinn sounds like a most remarkable boy :)


♥♥♥ The OP Pack ♥♥♥ said...

With all the love that you have to give, this will all work out. From our experience, it is much harder for the girls to work out pack order than the boys. And it could also be partly due to the fact that they sense a weakness in Puff with her illness. Just keep doing what you are doing and it will all be fine in time.

Woos ~ Phantom, Thunder, and Ciara

Brian said...

I guess tough days are to be expected since sweet Puff had it so hard. The pay off will be worth it though, she's a love bug, I just know it!

Jacqueline said...

First, we want to say how much we enjoyed the videos posted the last few days; the Christmas song was so adorable and beautiful Dancing Nuka was just precious=she made our day!!...We are so glad to hear Puff has a sweet, understanding friend in Quinn and know with time, she will find her way in the pack, forging loving friendships with Siku and Nuka as well; Puff is so lucky to be part of your family and she will slowly realize how special it is with the safety and love offered to her...You guys are doing a wonderful job with your lovely babies...Happy weekend, sweet friends...kisses and hugs...J, Calle, Halle, Sukki

The Thundering Herd said...

First, I agree with the Op Pack - females do seem to be so much harder than boys - at least neutered boys. Boys can scuffle and pick on each other and then be best buddies five minutes later. The girls seem to hold grudges and take longer to sort things out.

I would be careful about showing preferential treatment to Puff (the holding her more often than the others). I tried that once and found it set me back because the alpha female worked HARDER to prove that she was in charge.

That being said, Puff also needs to know that you will step in when either of the others goes too far, so feel free to correct overly strong behavior. They need time to work out the pack order, but you have every right to assert boundaries to that.

How does Siku act with Puff if no other pup is in the room? Same question for Nuka? Sometimes, the one on ones can be beneficial to build a bond because the alpha is not showing off to the others. It also sound like playtime between Quinn and Puff could give Puff some confidence.

Finally (sorry for the long message) - have you read Patricia McConnell? I highly recommend "The Cautious Canine" for this exact circumstance. "Feeling outnumbered" is also perfect for you. Her best books are "The Other End of teh Leash" and "How to be the Leader of the Pack." She has a blog ( http://www.theotherendoftheleash.com ) and a website ( http://patriciamcconnell.com/ ) or just download from Amazon or wherever you get your books. She is my favorite dog behaviorist.

Email me anytime if you need anything.

Casper said...

Awww poor Puff. Hope they will get used to each other soon.

Sagira said...

I think we all have some hard days, but it just makes the good ones that much more worth it in the end. :)