One dog can really change the dynamics

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.


About Success Just Clicks

I'm a dog trainer and enthusiast who moonlights as a blogger and custom tug-toy maker.
This entry was posted in Adding a pet, Dog Behavior, Dog Handler Information. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to One dog can really change the dynamics

  1. lexy3587 says:

    aww, poor kitty. hopefully nothing turns out to be wrong.
    I use dog parks, but have definitely found myself leaving after less than 10 minutes there – the assortment of dogs isn’t right, and either Gwynn’s bothering another dog (oh no, says the owner, it’s fine… no it’s not, he’s going to harass your dog until your dog snaps), or another dog is bothering gwynn (sometimes it’s like they think he’ really is a sheep, not just a lookalike), and Gwynn’s not freaked out yet about it. But, other visits, everything’s perfect, and the dogs run around and have a great time for as long as the owners are willing to hang around for.

  2. Tucker's Mom says:

    You’re so right … it really only does take the addition or subtraction of one or two dogs to change the whole landscape. I do like to take the dogs to the dog park, but when we get there I usually spend ten or fifteen minutes just observing things before I let my own dogs out of the car and into the park. This has also helped with my dogs’ own excitement level, as I would often still have to wait at least a few minutes for them to settle as I never wanted to take excited dogs into a gathering of dogs – it can be like a lit match in a room full of gasoline. My dogs are small and non-threatening, and for the most part have good social skills, but nonetheless. In any case, those ten or fifteen minutes spent observing the dynamic between the present dogs really does help, because a few times over the years I have gotten bad vibes and left, and one time I know for sure that a bad fight broke out shortly after I left, having never taken my own dogs out of the car. By the same token, I’ve also left precipitously once we’re there if I saw a dog or dogs enter that seemed like they had the potential to cause discord or drastically change the dynamic of the group. And there is one park I won’t go to anymore because there always seems to be at least a few really rowdy dogs that make me nervous, or, rather, their owners’ complete lack of awareness really makes me nervous.

    Sorry about your kitty … have you tried the Cranimals? I have not used them but I know Tanuk’s kitties get them regularly and she has said they really help.

    • I haven’t tried Cranimals but just looked them up! I may give them a go at some point… they are a bit expensive and I’m not sure my ultra picky kitty would eat them (he is super picky… won’t eat anything but cat food… no chicken, tuna, steak, cheese, or kitty treats… nothing). Thanks for letting me know about them though… may see if the company has samples.

      It’s really amazing just how drastic a change it makes! TOTAL MAYHEM to two dogs sleeping… it’s crazy! It sounds like you do dog parks the way i’d use them (on the rare occasions i do use them)… observe for 10-15 minutes, go when there aren’t 50 dogs in the park, make sure my dogs are relatively relaxed… and leave if anything feels off.

  3. Jacqueline Young says:

    Your comment about dog parks is so valid. I get livid when I hear a fellow shelter staff recommend that they take their new fearful under-socialized puppy to the dog park “for socialization”. Eek!

    Also, I want to invite you (and anyone else) to join the FLUTD/FUS yahoo group if your kitty has recurring urinary issues (poor kitty). It has been a god-send for me and my cystitis cat:

    • Thanks! I’ll give that Yahoo Group a look-see.. HOPEFULLY the UTIs don’t become a regular thing…with how close it was to the last one the vet suspects the last round of antibiotics didn’t completely kick it so it never completely healed.

      That IS scary advice… and definitely something i’ve heard a lot of from people who think they know a lot about training/dogs… definitely not a good plan.

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