Changing Pack Dynamics

Chase

Chase

It’s been a month since Levi died, I still miss him terribly, and it’s interesting to watch how our pack dynamics have changed. We only have four dogs now, down from our high of seven. Four dogs is like having hardly any dogs at all.

The biggest change I think has been Chase. He’s the oldest now (8.5 years), and he has space issues with dogs he doesn’t know. He will attack without warning when we go out and he’s too close to other dogs. He will still do this. He always hated having foster dogs in our house. So he’s the happiest one of them all that we no longer foster. He’s very relaxed at home now and, strangely enough, he’s becoming our mediator dog. Chase and Levi never got along. Levi would grump at Chase on a regular basis.

But now Chase loves to play with Jet (he did before, but he’s more relaxed about it now). Chase plays with Tatum too, and kinda tolerates Muffit. Muffit barks at Chase when he (Muffit) wants to play, which annoys Chase to no end. But after years, Chase is showing lip and teeth when he gets annoyed. We think that Chase’s warning system was punished out of him before we got him. So he’d just explode without warning. At home he gives warning now (he was giving warning before Levi died too). Chase hasn’t started a fight at home in probably over a year. It’s quite nice.

Jet has been having issues with being unable to stop when he starts fighting. I believe he learned it from Levi. Jet didn’t learn a good way to tell another dog that he’s been hurt or he wants something or needs another dog to stop something. I blame Levi, and myself, of course. Hopefully we’ll work this out. But anyway, a couple weeks ago Jet was going off on Chase, and Chase just stood there in the back yard with Jet latched onto his cheek. This is HUGE for Chase. Before, Chase would have fought back and not have stopped. But now, Chase is like our medium dog that has taken on the role of smoothing everything over. It’s really cool.

Anyone in a multi-dog household understands that dogs fight. It’s what they do. Our dogs have good bite inhibition and don’t break skin. But they sure sound mean. And they don’t fight without reason. People yell at each other, dogs growl and snarl and fight. And our house is kinda small, so the dogs are close together a lot. Maybe we need some wood pergolas to lighten things up, but we can’t afford anything now!

My husband and I aren’t sure who is highest ranking dog anymore. It’s probably Tatum, our only girl. But it could be Muffit, he doesn’t put up with anyone’s crap. It’s not Chase, he’s just the middle ground dog. And I don’t think it’s Jet either, even though he’s intact. Though we think Jet wants to be. It’s one of those flowing easy going packs that just get along. It’s quiet and nice. It’ll be interesting to see how a puppy throws them all for a loop again. Chase will probably have the hardest adjustment, he always does, but hopefully he’ll adjust quickly.