Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Pack dynamics

Been thinking about the whole dog dynamics lately. We have old dogs, young pups, teenagers(human and canine) plus girls in season, altered or visiting males. Foster dogs, dog sitting dogs, and stray dogs, you name, it I’ve it.

As I tell many of my puppy owners, boys with boys is good. Boys with girls is good, the issue will arise when girls are with girls. I’ve had some nasty bitch fights over the years. I ended up returning one girl two years ago and I haven’t had one major fight since then. A few spats over bones but nothing like I had with that dog here. What I have found is this, when girls don’t get along, there really will never be peace and you will constantly have to watch them. Usually the best solution is to place one of the girls, the instigator if you can. Boys will be boys-they might get into a pissing match-so to speak and in 5 mins will be grooming each other, goofing around and they are over it.

In my house, currently, all my dogs but one can run as a group. Run might not be the right word. I can comfortably have intact males, females and puppies in the house loose, with no issues. Okay a few issues-Eddie likes to pick on Turner and Moose likes to make sure that Eddie doesn’t get to hog my lap. But in all honesty, I make sure that everyone gets along. They respect my decision and I let them sort out the lower rungs of the ladder. I only ask that they leave the couch slug alone, don’t herd Max into the corner too much and my Boyd Mooses are off limits!

Outside is a little different but only because of certain loud mouth dogs who if separated, don’t bark or the young lady who likes to scale pole gates and play in the pasture. So for the sake of not having to retrieve dogs from forbidden territory or not having a bark fest, some are allowed in the back, some in the front and I alternate the rest of the gang. There’s also the issue of watching puppies and small dogs in case the resident red tail hawk, eagle or heron dive bombs the yard. We don’t need to feed the wildlife ;0)

The dog that can’t run with the group, well he can, but only if there are no blue dogs loose. His nickname-Death Wish, his mission-die. Really and truly, the 6lb griff wants to die at the paws of a blue dog-doesn’t matter which one either, preferably the blue smooth male collie, but hey, he’s not picky, anyone of them will do. Ah yes, the joys of a dog with baggage. He is also a climber. I was told once that they are either climbers or diggers, he’s a climber. Anything under 4 feet if fair game. Again, he’s banished to the back yard and 6’ fences.

We routinely take a handful of dogs to the creek for play time. No the pasture is not completely secure. It’s high tensile wire-I hate it, so the dogs can go under it and routinely do. But for the most part there are too many cool things in the pasture, wandering is rare. Everyone has a blast, they all hang close and are ready to head back after an hour or so. What I don’t do is walk my dogs on the road. Too often I have seen people walk with their dogs-leash or not and when the dog gets loose from their yard, they immediately head out to the road and off they go. More dogs get picked up, hit or lost for good that way. Makes it a boring walk when I go, but rather have safe dogs then dead dogs. Mine don’t even get to play much in the front hay field, or walk up the drive to get the mail. If they do, it’s because we are working-running tracks, obedience or what not. They know it’s serious business out there.

So there you have it. It’s not that hard. One person still doesn’t believe me that my boys do so well together-minus Death Wish. My question is why can’t they? 7 boys-all different ages, sizes and personalitites. Heck, I do ship off a boy or two when the girls are in season, not for fighting but I can only tolerate so much whining and pining at the door of the girl’s crate, but when they do go on vacation, they just melt right in. Pain really, no one wants to send them home.

Lator gators....


Kathy and Kim Gibson said...

Yep, I can attest to how well your boys blend into "vacation" homes. I have had two of your boys and they fit right in with my boys--even with a then little baby puppy--Shaker.

Dawn said...

Don't you think though, that it depends on the pack involved? We often have guests, and have had no problems at all. I don't have as many dogs, but have had and will have again a dog come stay with us that didn't do well in a different environment, but who has had no problems here.
In my house its Magic and Kazin, my 2 neutered boys who are separated. They would like to seriously hurt each other. This just started in the last year, as Kazin has gotten older and just won't tolerate hijinx. Magic has never had a problem with any other dog though, but won't any longer tolerate Kazins snarkiness and crate protective behaviors. The girls though-we have never had any problems and I have had a couple of the visitors stay with me for up to 6 months.
So perhaps it has more to do with individual dog dynamics, than sex of the dogs? Now, my pack no longer will tolerate cats-too many neighborhood strays to chase. But thats another topic.

Sharrie said...

Does the problem with two girl dogs exist if they are spayed? I want another dog and I have one of each sex now. I don't know if I should get a girl or a boy. None will be intact.