The Pack Changes

Our original pack consisted first of Cosmo, than Jasper and Sable. Jasper was very protective of Cosmo and would often use a distraction with Sable to prevent her from rough housing with an older Cosmo. It always amazed me how Jasper, would grab and toy and redirect Sable’s attention and than as soon as she was interested in the toy, he would relax knowing he had done a good job. Jasper’s ability to redirect Sable’s attention using toys and play always amazed me, he is such a gentle boy.

Now Jasper is the older dog and Rogan is the middle dog, with Gracie being the youngest. Although I am working with Gracie, she gets very high in drive and excited every time Jasper has to go outside, trying to get him to play. She is very aggressive in play and Jasper tries to avoid her. Rogan has taken on the role of protecting Jasper doing an astounding job. Rogan will grab Gracie and start playing with her, and when this doesn’t work, Rogan has used her body to shield Jasper from Gracie trying to grab him or jostling him. It is truly remarkable how she will even block Gracie from getting close to Jasper. I have seen her do this quite a few times as Gracie is so quick and powerful when in drive or excited. I am continuing to work with Gracie and teach her that her play style with Jasper is inappropriate. She is used to rough play with Rogan, but Jasper is not interested. Ironically the only time Jasper with rough play is when he is loose in a field with the girls but he will not do this in our home or yard.

Watching how the pack changes over time and when one animal is either old or sick is so interesting. I have learned more about dogs and how they communicate by the dynamics of the pack. Each dog is different and has a different style but it is easy to see the bond between the animals and how they relate to each other. Even the cat is in the mix and lately I have noticed that Gracie is starting to play in a gentle manner. Although the cat does antagonize her and she chases him, their relationship seems to changing in a positive direction.

Always controlling the pack and teaching them appropriate manners with training is vital. I do not let my dogs make the decisions with two dominate females I would have major issues if I did. Gracie is still young very determined and requires additional training which I continually work on. I am starting to see positive results but we still have work to do while I continue to learn and build my skills as a trainer.

Until you have owned a pack and watched the changes over time as some dogs pass and others join the pack you really cannot understand the dynamics. It is so interesting and such a learning experience that cannot be taught any other way!