June 13, 2011

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).


TwoSpecialWires said...

We have little doubt that, if there is a family that can and will make this work out, it is yours.

That said, we have two tidbits to offer.

1. Mumsie (Lacie, Scruffy and Stanley's mom) suggested something we really liked the other day. "Make him work for everything. Teach him who is alpha by having him 'sit' for each hand-fed bit of food. Have him 'sit' before he joins you on the couch." Etc etc etc. Though that's no in our usual repertoire of behaviors, it sounded like a really good suggestion.

2. Remember that three years later Fergi is still making obvious, measurable weekly progress. These week? She is finally beginning to let Moma reach down and pet her, without bolting. Progress may be slow ... but every step is exciting and a huge cause for celebration. Hang in there.d

Much love
Jake and Family

Teddy Bear said...

We know that everything will indeed work out. I am still not too comfortable having Sierra sit or lay down too close to me...and it's almost been three years.

Teddy Bear & Sierra

24 Paws of Love said...

Sounds like you are going in the right direction. Some dogs just need more time than others. But with love and discpline it can be done.

We have seen leaps and bounds of progress in our two packs and the differences between them. It just takes time and patience and a whole lot of love. And we have no doubt there's a bunch of that in the White Dogs Army!! :)

Brian said...

That is the dedication that will make it work. I think that lady sure did ask you a silly question!

Mr. Pip said...

It is wonderful to hear someone so dedicated to making it work. So many in your shoes, would give up! Keep doing what you are doing, believe it will work, and it will work!

Your pal, Pip

KB said...

I love your attitude and dedication. You'll find a way to make it work - I have faith.

I'm a little surprised that the trainers declined to help you. I find that skilled trainers can see subtlies in behavior (mine or the dogs') that I have no idea are there. A small difference in my body language can make a huge difference in my effect on the dogs. Similar, tiny differences in a dogs' body language speak volumes about the issues at hand.

I hope that things calm down soon!

Random Felines said...

It can be scary but it sounds like you got the reassurance that you are doing it. I think sometimes we just need that third party to say - yes, it will take time, but you are on the right track and doing it right! The only thing mom can think of is keeping their brains busy - maybe with food puzzles or something like that.

Kari in WeHo said...

yes you are doing the right things. Its been a big change over the past year but I am certain things will settle down soon


Remington said...

BRAVO! It will all work out and bless you for saying NO -- they ARE home! You rock, my friend!

5puggums2mamasanddadandhiscat said...

You are experiencing the same thing that we the 5 pug family are experiencing between our youngest girls, Lily and Mimi, with Lily being the bully. The vet assures us that being of the same gender and so close in age, they are just trying to find their rank in the pack. I, too, will not let her go...but...it is trying at times and I do mean TRYING...
Much love,
Mama Mindy of The Slimmer Puggums

Amber DaWeenie said...

Mom can understand your frustration wit dis situation. Every once in a while a couple of our 10-pack decide to argue bout sometin....but I never argues wit my brudder Max (DaOdderWeenie). It'll all work itself out.

Bailey Be Good! said...

I remember way back when you told me that same thing... it will take time. Back then none of us ever imagined that Nala would even consider laying next to me on the floor without panicking. Now look at us -- she is so much more comfortable around me, though she still doesn't like it as much as I would like.

Hopefully things will continue to get better in time. :)

Woofs & hugs,

PS.. Congrats on your award!

pam said...

We feel so bad for YOWD, he is still so new to having a family and he must be so confused. Thankfully he has all of you to be patient with him and assure him he is indeed home.

Bobo and Meja

Sally Ann and Andy said...

Wow, y'all are very brave. I have to, well, want to live with my little brother. I do love him, but y'all can be loud and jumpy at times. I mean always running and jumping demanding atttention. I do after all love my little Eskie brother, and I just know in time everything will work just perfectly.
Sally Ann

Tweedles -- that's me said...

You will find the answers you need, we just know it.
You have not given up, and you keep searching,,, you will find the answers

Sagira said...

It is good that you guys are reaching out for help and seem to be doing everything that needs to be done. I sure hope that things work out for you guys soon and everyone is happy campers again. :)