Holy cow. Add one dog or take one dog away and the dynamics in this room change so drastically!
Rio and Chase are really so very poorly matched. They are SO similar and those similarities really get them in trouble with each other. They bug each other and steal from each other and pester each other. There is NO peace in this house if they are free together in the same room. It is a loud ruckus party that is mostly play but occasionally toes get stepped on and they get grumpy.
Rio likes to sleep in my bed most of the time so tonight I kicked him out of the gated room so he could go sleep in my bed. Within 5 minutes chase was completely settled down and sleeping on the couch with Shayne. They slept like this for probably an hour before Rio decided he needed to go potty so I let him back in the room and within a second Chase was up and bouncing. He was nipping at Rio, play bowing and starting to vocalize. The change in energy was absolutely incredible. Chase went from completely asleep to full frontal attack (friendly attack) in the flip of a switch.
Even when they came inside from their last potty break, Chase was insisting it was play time. It is like if Rio is around Chase really struggles to settle down and relax. As soon as I put Rio on the other side of the gates (to go to my bed) Chased hopped right up on the couch and went to sleep.
This got me thinking about dog parks and one of the reasons I am extremely cautious about using them (if I use them at all). You can have a small group of dogs negotiating play beautifully but add one dog or take one away and things can get ugly very quickly. The pairing of dogs can be so precarious and it doesn’t necessarily just result in straight-up aggression but some other more “nagging” behaviors that build over time or it’s something completely different and quite possibly intangible to us humans.
All of this leads me to find so much more value in selective play groups or socialization excursions. There is a sense of predictability we have an idea of how the dogs interact and who should hang together, and how they all interact when X dog is not in the mix or if Y dog is added. Things can go wrong, yes, but knowing all the dogs and knowing how they deal in social situations, we are able to prevent a lot of the mismatches.
And now I must bow out to get to bed for I take Joey kitty to the vet again in the early morning… it seems he may have another UTI. Poor kitty…poor wallet…. poor Tena.