Thursday, October 8, 2009

pack resettling progress

So as I posted a while back, our dog pack has been reorganizing itself with the advent of Ezri's adulthood. Phoebe decided to take the opportunity to attempt to move up in the pack order, or at least to force the border collies to acknowledge her. This led to multiple spats where Phoebe would attack Jadzia, Jadzia would defend herself, and sometimes Ezri would also jump in to defend Jadzia. What a mess!

Curzon is a smart boy and has been staying out of the girl fights raging around him.

Originally we were separating the dogs and punishing Phoebe, but that was not solving the problem on a long-term basis. So about two weeks ago, I decided to take the "supervise and wait" approach where I would simply watch the fight occur, keep Ezri out of the fray, and not interfere unless someone was seriously injured. In one day Phoebe initiated two fights and Jadzia decisively won them, bringing a measure of peace to the house with only two injuries to Phoebe and none to Jadzia. Since then we have only had one fight in the house, which was shorter than the previous ones and which Jadzia also decisively won. Phoebe has been much better behaved as a result, typically hanging out quietly on a dog bed or playing when we're active and able to play with the dogs.

Unfortunately, we are still having problems when we are at flyball. At the Gig Harbor demo two weeks ago, I was running Jadzia while a friend was running Phoebe, and Phoebe got pissy over this and decided to attack Jadzia in the ring. I couldn't let them fight it out in public, so Phoebe was removed from the situation and I alternated who ran for the rest of the day. This past weekend at practice, Phoebe would not run if Jadzia was nearby - not in the same lane, and not in the lane next to her. Jadzia will run but will blow jumps to give Phoebe a wide berth when she returns, probably afraid of another attack. So for the moment at least, Jadzia won't run around Phoebe for fear that she'll attack her, and Phoebe won't run around Jadzia for fear that she'll finish the fight.

Again, what a mess!

This will hopefully be resolved soon, as they both ran perfectly when not around the other dog. I'm hoping to run them in a full group this weekend to see if they are OK running on the same team as long as they're not passing each other. They're not only on different teams for the Auburn tourney, but in different divisions, so they should not be running against each other at all. Our next tournament is in December, however, and chances are good that they will wind up on the same team, so we're going to have to settle the problem sooner or later.

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