Changing Pack Dynamics

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.

My Menagerie of Breeds


It seems like in the dog sports world, most people find a breed and pretty much stick with it. And then there is me. LOL. When I had Tatum and Levi at the ASCA rally and were walking around with just them, I found it odd that I had only two dogs with me on leashes and they were both smooth collies!

I will admit, I am not as bonded to my two Border Collies as I am to the Smooth Collies and the Danish Swedish Farmdog. I don’t think I’ll be getting any more Border Collies.  They are fun, but just not really my breed.  Which may be odd to say since they are such a common agility breed.  In the future I plan on getting at least one more Danish Swedish Farmdog. Hopefully a girl.  And I’d also love another Smooth Collie. I have a name for a boy Smooth Collie, Quinn, I’d love to get a dog to match it someday!

So eventually I’ll probalby go down to two breeds. But I don’t think less than that.  I love the Collies and the Farmdogs!

Oh, and as I was making up new pictures for the pack… I thought I’d say that I always list them in the order in which they came to live with us.  For those we have now, Lucy came first, then Levi.  Then Angel, but she is gone now and I was very sad that I didn’t make a new picture for her.  Then Chase, then Tatum, Muffit, and finally Jet.  So it’s not in order of age, it’s in order of who came first.

I Love All My Six Dogs


I do, I love all my dogs. This pictures is not of my dogs, though! LOL mostly the dogs here are Marie’s dogs when we went to visit a couple of weeks ago and looked at property. Tatum is in this picture, she’s the big smooth collie. 🙂 Oh yes, big compared to most of Marie’s dogs, LOL.

But I do love all my dogs and you know what? I am no longer embarrased by having six dogs. In fact, yes, I’d add number seven if the right puppy comes along, hopefully a Danish Swedish Farmdog!

All my dogs have great, unique personalities.  We have a nice calm house even though we have six dogs and they are all herding dogs and they love to bark. Still, I absolutely love knowing each of them as individuals.  And my life would be emptier and bleaker if I didn’t have each and every one of them in my life.

Our house may be small, but my dogs get to do a lot of things. Flyball, agility, obedience, and mybe more in the future. And my husband takes the older dogs to the park so they get exercise too, that they need.

So no, even though maybe heated mattress pads would benefit the older dogs, I love each and every one of them and am not worried that we have so many. I wouldn’t give any of them up for ten million dollars.  They are my passion, my life, and I think they all have very good, full lives.  I am glad we have all the dogs we have. Though much of the time I feel like I need more time to give them all, I just have to sit and relax and realize they all have good lives, and I am so lucky to have them all!

Yup, It’s a Dog Shelf!

Making the Shelf
Making the Shelf

Well, I was sitting here watching TV a few days ago, with three dogs on the couch and more wanting to be on the couch, when I thought you know, dogs like to be on the backs of couches and our dogs are no exception. So why not put a shelf back there, make it comfy for them, and let them have their way? I proposed the idea to my husband and he emphatically agreed and so we put about to make a shelf for the dogs to lay on behind the couch. I had to move the laundry hamper out of the way as we built it, as well as the table and my laptop and some other stuff, but it worked out well. This first picture is of my husband putting it together. We have had this wood for a while, got it free a few years ago, and it’s coming in quite handy!

Comfy Dog Shelf
Comfy Dog Shelf

I tried to crop myself out of this picture because I looked horrible! LOL.  But the dogs don’t really care. And, as we suspected, Muffit is the first dog to take a liking to the dog shelf behind the couch.  He climbed right up there and laid down like he knew it was his spot.

We want to get some better padding up there, though. Because one reason the couch is so popular is because it’s cushy and soft and comfortable. Of course it’s also popular because it’s where we, the humans, like to sit and everywhere we like to sit must be the best place.

LOL yeah we know, we know… our house is made for the dogs.  Well, maybe for us first, for our own comfort, and then for the dogs. And yeah yeah, we know, our dogs are spoiled rotten. However, they know they are not boss (most of them know this lol) and our pack gets along quite well.

So here ya go, pack! A comfy high shelf to lay on!

Which Crates for the Minivan?

Levi Van-1Okay, and now the big search for the perfect crates begins. I don’t know why… is it a dog people thing? But I love to buy crates. They are nothing exciting, really, so why are they so fun to buy and collect? I dunno. Oh well, a mystery, but it’s fun anyway.

The Minivan is about 48? wide at the bottom of the back, and 40? wide towards the top. As I measured, and believe me, I’m not too good at measuring so these are estimates. 🙂

First, I need a fairly largish crate for Levi. Currently he lives in, I think, a 36?L x 24?W x 27?H. And it’s a bit too short for him. And with the Minivan only being 48? or so wide, I think I want to stick to a 21? wide crate for him… which I hope he’d be okay in, and I think he will, I have a friend who I think has one so I can try him out in there. I like the side by side SUV/Minivan crates, they are 42?L x 21?W x 30?H which would be good, made by Midwest.

Then there are the rest of the dogs… usually I just travel with three dogs. Either Tatum, Chase and Levi, or Tatum, Chase and Muffit. Muffit is a lot smaller and can get by with a smaller crate, but Tatum and Chase are both about the same size, bigger than Muffit, so I’m not sure if I’m going to get a small crate for Muffit that I take out when I don’t need it, or get a bigger one that Chase/Tatum can fit in and just leave it there all the time. I’m leaning toward the latter.

I would love to have crates with doors on both ends. The narrow one above has this, which is great. I have not found other crates (yet) with doors just on both ends, but there are the tri-door crates by midwest. I am concerned that the single door on the side might catch with another crate (it did in my Dad’s blazer a bit), so that might be something to think about. But I could get two of these, the 30?L x 21?W x 24?H size.. I have two this size already (one single door and one two door), so I guess maybe what I should do is get the big one for Levi, and then put my two other ones in there and see how they all fit. Then I can decide on the smaller ones.

Hrm that’s a good idea. I just thought of that myself. 🙂 I was kinda hoping I could stack the two smaller crates on top of each other, but the van is only 40.5? high, so two won’t fit stacked unless I get Muffit a fairly small one, but then if I don’t take Muffit I’ll need the bigger crates anyway.

Decisions decisions, they are hard to make! But fun too! I really want to just buy a crate… but I have to have patience, grasshopper! LOL