Monday, December 7, 2009

Détente

Good news! We seem to have entered into a period of détente between Beth and Bonnie.

What it has boiled down to is obedience, hyper-vigilance and separation. 

If one of them is inside, the other is out.  If they are both inside (it has been bitterly cold) then they are separated in different areas of the house.  When they are in the same room they are both dragging a leash.

My primary objective is to remove any incentive for fighting.  Prevention is key.  Watch the body language (stiff legs, raised stiff tail, hard stare etc...) when I see something I do not like, I distract their attention from each other and onto me.

It is E.X.H.A.U.S.T.I.N.G.

They both know the jig is up and Mom is going to lower the boom on their heads - and they are united in watching me for any sign of correction.   I am also working with all four (separately) of them in many different things like obedience, perch work, contacts, jumps and other things to keep their minds engaged and focused on me as the source of all things good. 

When I see Beth giving the ole stink-eye to Bonnie - I correct her (sharp 'Beth, knock it off").  If I see Bonnie heading straight toward Beth - like a moth to a flame - WHAMMO I correct her (grab her leash, or call her to me - or removal from the room). 

I have been watching them like hawks.  I still not entirely sure what the heck is going on.   Beth has been avoiding Bonnie.  Averting her head when she is in the room, hiding behind the couch etc.  In general Beth doesn't want to be any where near Bonnie.  She is receptive and and affectionate to both Ranger and Brynn. 

Bonnie on the other hand can't seem to get enough of Beth, and seems to want to 'suck up' to her constantly.  She wants to smell her, sniff her, lick her face. 

Saturday morning dawned clear and cold, so John and I bundled up and took them all to the river.

Both Beth and Bonnie started out on leash..  We slowly let them go (dragging leashes) when it became apparent that Beth had no interest in starting any type of fight with Bonnie. 




Beth was not deterred by her leash, nothing diminishes her pursuit of the all mighty ball.




The dogs took turns playing off leash away from each other at first. 



If Bonnie got to far ahead of me, I called her back.  A simple task, she is rarely more than 10 feet away from me.



Have I mentioned in this post how much I love my new camera? 



I have been playing with the manual settings.   Now if I can just get it all in focus, shutter speed and the lighting figured out I will be doing good.  I actually love this picture.  I love the ball is in focus, but the dogs behind are not.  The composition sucks..but I still love it.   I digress...



Can you tell Beth is addicted to the ball?



Ballaholic.  I wish she had this same passion for sheep.



When things became apparent they were not going to rip each others face off the leashes slowly came off.  



It seemed that Bonnie wanted to appease Beth.  Beth pretty much just ignored her.



She even ignored her when Bonnie kept doing this (see Bonnie's tongue stuck to the side of Beth's face below?).  It was VERY HARD to not correct this or jump in. 



Bonnie is licking Beth's face. 



Finally when they were good and tired....we saw them start to relax a bit.



I saw a scene I never thought I would see again.   All of them together.  No one bleeding. 



Beth and Bonnie - in the same frame - fur not flying. 



I cannot afford to relax or become complacent.  We are still going to be working with Packworks next weekend and a behaviorist to make sure there is not something more going on, or more I should be doing. 

For now, this makes me smile.



Now, for something fun. 

Do you notice something in this picture?  Look closely (click on picture for larger view) in the trees above the dogs. 



Our eagle friend met us on our walk again.  I forgot the lens I needed to get a really good shot.  So you will have to be happy with these. 




Looking at the dogs below




Looking at me. 



Eagle food?







10 comments:

Lean said...

Great walk peace and quiet GOOD DOGS.
bye bye,Lean.

sheepkelpie said...

Very good! One thing I have observed, is that most fights I have had, have been in the house, and near me. If they are all out there is no problem. I would do this outdoor fun regularly, and work on obedience with Beth and Bonnie even on ball play- always be "in their heads", and when you get home, keep doing what you are doing. Just remember, it's you that is valuable, so when you are in the mix, be extra vigilant :)

An English Shepherd said...

Great to read you had a good walk with no problems.

Hopefully its sorted out.

Wizz :-)

Ps Cool Eagle

Amy said...

You may want to do some counter-conditioning as well. Teach them that having the other dog near them predicts GOOD things. Jean Donaldson has a wonderful book called _Fight!_ which is about dog-dog aggression that you may find helpful.

Emma Rose said...

I'm so glad the girls are tolerating each other. It looks like Bonnie is trying to make peace. (Higgins does that to Bear. Then Bear growls and it drives me crazy.) It looks like you've got the hang of the new camera. Your photos are great! Also, I cannot believe how big Brynn is. Yikes! Where does the time go? Seems like just last month we were praying for her to live through parvo.

Raising Addie said...

Glad to hear your pack is doing better. Keep up the good work!

LOVE the pix! Neat catch on the ball.

Lots of Luv & Kisses
Addie, Lucie and Hailey

Pat A said...

Tigg taught me one thing. All dogs cannot be taught to come or stop when asked but they usually take to one command. Find out what it is and use it. Tigg loves to herd the dogs and will not come if he is doing it when called. For him the Sit command is the one he will do no matter what so I tell him to sit and stay and go up to him and hook on the leash. No matter what he is doing, he will sit.
Working on obedience helps to remind the dogs that you are the head of the pack and not them.

Lynn said...

Brynn looks so long-legged and tall!

Glad everyone is getting along better.

Tristan and Braun said...

Awwww! That's GREAT news! Yah.. it must be E.X.H.A.U.S.T.I.N.G!!! I can't even start to imagine if my boys at home start to go at each other. (And I only have 2!) It's the mental stress of having to be on the alert 24/7. I know coz' I have to deal with it whenever we are out in the park (only) and it's already so TIRING! (Tristan does not fancy other male dogs so when we are out walking, esp if they are playing off leash in the park, I become like an overworked r2d2 skirting the horizon for any 4 legged beings :))

But all that said, it's wonderful news that the bad air seemed to have cleared and fur ain't flying no more!

Not to belittle the horrid experience you guys had.. but I'm hving my fingers crossed that it was just a "freak" incident and maybe it Maybe it was PMS.... ;P

fulltiltbcs said...

You are doing a great job with your girls. I think once they both figure out you are going to come down on them like stink on sh*t everytime they so much as look at each other in the wrong way, it will lessen. You are the alpha bitch (I am sure some people will get upset by that statement and I am fine if they do). But you decide who gets what and when. I have 4 intact females in my house and they don't fight...it is just not allowed and if someone tries something it is dealt with swiftly and harshly...and then that is it.

Be strong, keep doing what you are doing and I am hopeful that things will work out. That being said...my dogs are always crated when I am not around...