Saturday, February 11, 2012

Changing of the Guard

The most interesting thing has occurred.  It seems a change has happened within my pack.  Last month I would have told you that Tessa is the boss dog, followed by Ryder, with Diva pulling in the third position.  Yesterday out at my parents farm I was stunned to see Diva walk off with Tessa's ball.  This is something I've never seen.  Tessa willing to let one of her treasured toys go??  Never!  We're talking a new B-A-L-L here.  There it was - Tessa turned her head and Diva walked up with cat like feet, daintily picked up the ball and walked back under the table.  Tessa didn't move a muscle.

The next clear clue occurred between Ryder and Diva.  Ryder is a temperamental eater.  He often won't eat his meals unless I'm near by and relaxed.  I've taken to feeding him in the kitchen while I eat my breakfast/dinner.  Diva, who gobbles down her meal, I feed in the living room.  Last night Diva shoved aside the barrier walked up to Ryder's dish (with him at it) and began eating.  What did Ryder do?  He walked away.  I was flabbergasted.  Little Diva has made and conquered a run at the top of the pack.

*On a side note - hot chocolate made with water just isn't as satisfying as when made with the real thing.* Said as I sip my treat, berating myself for not stocking up on groceries.

Back to the story....

We're having our pre-bed play.  I've been working with Ryder on waiting.  Diva tends to be a watcher and I want her to have opportunity to play as well.  I often separate them when playing just for that reason.  Because I'm lazy, I've been working on lying down Ryder, encouraging Diva up for some play, then switching off.  Last night Ryder voluntarily took himself out of the action and Diva stepped in to play.  Even when it comes to things like sitting beside me, Diva is starting to take the place of honor more often than Ryder.  He stays back.

This has left me with questions.

Ryder has been a bit of a brat when on leash in public lately.  Could the two be related?  I had chalked it up to him finally realizing he was a boy and made plans to work on it.  The other thing I've noticed is when the two dogs are free playing in the yard or on a park walk - Ryder has been really rough with Diva, complete with making her yelp.  I recognize dogs play different than we do.  I also recognize that what seems rough to us is often normal for them.  However,  it's different than it was before.  Again, I had thought he was just being a rough boy.  You know, like the little boy's boy on the playground rough-housing.  I've started intervening in the play.  Making him tone it back a notch.  Yesterday he knocked Diva so hard she rolled a good metre (about 3 ish feet).  And yes she let out a hey J...a..s that wasn't nice yelp.

What strategies do you use when dogs are getting rough or starting to posture?

1 comment:

Liz Stout said...

Kenai knows I'm the boss above all and when he gets really rowdy I walk over, grab him by his back and scruff and slam him onto his side and then hold him there until his breathing has calmed just a little. Then he'll get up and be a gentleman the rest of the time. But having one dog and not multiple may make this an easy solution for me and not the answer for you? Maybe you can just put headphones on Ryder at night with subliminal messages telling him to be nice?