White Dog had to step in and lay down some rules to the new boy in a physical way on Sunday night. All afternoon things had built up. Dragon and Sen-ge came in the door wanting to tag team YoYoMa but for the most part things were kept to trash talk and macho barking charges. Nobody was hurt and everyone ended the afternoon on good terms...except there was a heightened sense of testosterone within the White Dog Army. The newest boy, YoYoMa, who had spent the entire day using party manners, now started pushing and bullying his siblings. Gentle Quinn, headed for the front porch to totally avoid confrontation but was upset by the tone in the house. Nuka got yippy in response to YAWD's bravado, but remained at a distance. White Dog sat next to Steve; she tensed as YoYoMa swaggered up to her and tried to wedge himself in between them. She growled a warning as he pushed against her...and our sweet little baby girl became the Alpha dog teaching a lesson as she lunged forward, teeth bared and put YAWD on the floor (he is about 10 lbs heavier than she is). It was impressive and scary at the same time. YoYoMa got the message and (finally!) went to lie on the hearth. We looked up to see TOWD so frightened by the event that he was relieving himself on the kitchen floor.
This morning I called the vet for a recommendation of a trainer to help us through the wrinkles in the WDA's adjustment. Cindy, Dr. Julia's #1, asked lots of questions and told me she would talk to her choices to see which would be best in our situation. She called me back early afternoon and offered a number, but said that both she and the trainer had spoken at length about our dogs, our situation, our story, and what we were doing. Both felt that we were already doing what needed to be done and that hiring a trainer would do little more than offer moral support.
The compliment was very flattering but...Cindy pressed. You are walking the dogs in groups? Yes. You are body blocking bullying behavior? Yes. Time outs to return to calmness? Check. Giving Quinn encouragement to come out of hiding? Yep. Respecting each individual and demanding the same behavior standards from each? uh-huh. Well, she said, that is exactly what Rebeca would work with you and the pups to accomplish.
I did take the number and called for a phone consultation, as Cindy ultimately suggested. Rebeca reassured us that we were already instinctively doing the right things but asked if we would consider rehoming one of the dogs. Never, I responded, we have made a commitment to each one that they are forever safe and home. We are committed to making this work.
Then it will, she said. It will take time; maybe lots of time. And patience. (And a good support network, I silently added).