|Left to Right: Chula, Scooby, Gypsy and Caly|
|Jasper, Nicki, Zoe, Bridget,and Betty .|
|Rayn and Mazy|
Bugsy and Comet walk well together (after much practice) and often accompany me on hikes or long walks
Wonder walks best by herself as her wild enthusiasm seems to be contagious and she excites any dog she walks with. She walks much more calmly if she is the only dog on the only leash in your hand.
Captain can walk with anybody, but he follows the same rules as Wonder, getting excited, pulling and barky if he is with the group. Captain walks best alone or with just Comet or just Bugsy.
Miles is still figuring out that the leash doesn't disappear when he sees a leaf blowing in the wind. I have sometimes walked him with Captain, but he often tackles Captain and chases his butt-fur, which annoys the heck out of Captain.
While I do occasionally refer to my dogs as a "pack" I more often call them my "dog crew". I hear the word pack thrown around in misleading ways, for example during a trip to the dog park a mans dog ran near mine as we walked around the park and he commented "they really seem to want to pack up". As if a sniff of the bum at a park creates a bond we could call a pack. Or maybe any group of dogs running together is a "pack" when, in that moment, they are together and running. Also because of some TV stars who use the term "pack" we see people saying they are the "pack leader" which to some equates to a status symbol that may or may not involve physical manipulation of your dog such as the "alpha role" a maneuver I have come to believe to be misguided at best. That said, I do think it is imperative that we are leaders in our households and teach our dogs how to enjoy life in this very human world. The term pack when discussing wolves describes a group of related individuals who roam and hunt together.
|Posieden and Pandora|
|Cane and Angel|
For instance, Comet was a very food aggressive puppy. With work conditioning him that good things happen when when I take food or bones away from him, he has given up the habit of growling and snarling at people to protect things in his mouth. Still Comet always prefers to eat where he can't see another dog, and if no person is watching that is good too. He will carry his food away from others if given that chance. So I feed him away from the group, outside or in a separate room so he never feels he needs to act out protect his food.
|Brian and Zelda|
Having an understanding of what motivates or scares each dog is important when managing a group. Learning to understand subtle body movements, like facial tension and eye contact can help you avoid or manage conflict among dogs, but these signs can be anything but obvious.Boning up on your animal behavior knowledge is a big step in the right direction and don't be afraid to seek out professional training advice if you have exhausted the limits of your own knowledge.
Feeling outnumbered? is a great book to start your dog crew learning journey. It's full of helpful tips about how to avoid conflicts for example in high traffic, high arousal areas like the front door, where everybody wants to get out to play. For more reading suggestions to help you manage your pack check out the reading list at the bottom of the blogger page.
|Hope, Taylor, Sealy, Julia, Lark and Gracie|
|Cambria and Stella|
|Zeus and Ray|
|Gretta and Wally|
|Zues, Maggie and Loki|
A few of my favorite things-
|Zia and Suki|
Dog motif daybreak scuffs from L.L.Bean. Seriously comfortable and warm these.....are they shoes or are they slippers? They are both!.....are great for slipping on in a hurry when you are potty training a puppy in the middle of winter.
|Duchess and Bandit|
When I decided to try hiking with Comet and Wonder together, I was glad I had this EZ step shock adsorbing leash on hand. I nearly ended my hike well before any of us was done hiking because Wonder dog became more and more excited. Omigoodness a rabbit! A squirrel! Another hiker, Weeee! The JRT influence was coming out in spades. I had to decide to give in and let her pull on her harness/leash and keep on hiking or end the hike. On this day my desire for my own exercise and enjoyment beat out my training goals and we hiked on. Thanks to a shock absorbing leash my back and shoulder didn't suffer the wrath of Wonders erratic behavior that day.
A good story....
Mazy and Rayn were adopted last fall by newly engaged couple (Congrats!!!) Kellie and Sean. Soon to be first time dog owners the couple visited shelters and Kellie spent a lot of time on the internet looking at Petfinder.com. When Kellie and Sean met their dog-to-be now named Rayn at an animal shelter it was love at first play! Rayn was so happy to interact with them she bounced around quietly. She played with toys. It was clear they found their match. They took her home as soon as the shelter allowed, and on the way out the staff mentioned that Rayn had a sister who would miss her.
As the days turned into weeks and the couple struggled with the issues a first dog can bring, potty training and chewing issues mostly. When they took Rayn to the vet and got some startling news, Rayn had been shot several times and likely beaten. Several of her broken back teeth had to be removed. The vet said she had received repeated blunt trauma to her face. As the history of Rayns past became clearer and the couple struggled to keep up with the young beagle/coon hound mix the thought of her sister alone in the shelter, and Rayns sad past haunted Kellie.
Weeks after adopting Rayn, Kellie and Sean returned to the shelter and adopted sister Mazy. Mazy too had been shot, the vet determined. But now, in good health and in a safe home, the two sisters are flourishing. No doubt there was some potty training set backs with Rayn after Mazy moved in when Mazy began her training from scratch, but the two sisters play together and wear each other out better then a neighborhood walk could ever do. From human only house to multi-dog household- congrats to Kellie and Sean for adopting a pair of adorable muttly sisters.
Also, congrats to the Dougls-Cox crew(featured at the top of the page) for their 5th and newest addition Khaleesi who I couldn't help but include here. She is so dang cute!