Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Let sleeping dogs lie...

One on my left foot, and one on my right.

Not quite snuggling up with each other, but darn close.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Not Poetry

Note: These events are a bit old - I've been waiting to see how things fall out before posting.

So The Girls settled in togther in a satisfactory manner - Not quite closest of friends, but tollerant of each other, and somewhat social, with occasional bursts of play. Life was good!

Then the wheels come off...
Dakota went counter-surfing, and got caught (I knew she was doing this, it was just a question of catching her in the act), and so was corrected. This seems to have set of a social reaction of disturbing proportions. At least, I believe this is the proximate cause. About an hour after being corrected, Dakota jumped Suka from behind, right at my feet. OK, Rule #1 for breaking up a dog fight: DO NOT GET BETWEEN THE COMBATANTS! Fortunately, I was immediately behind the combatants, and in place to use my favorite (and maybe only safe) tool for breaking up fights: Grab one of the dogs by the hind legs, and back up - fast. Turn as you do, to force the dog to side-step to keep on her feet - this keeps her too off-balance to turn and try to bite you, if she's so inclined.

Ideally, you should have two or more people - one for each combatant - to prevent one dog from following and continuing the fight. If you don't have enough people, isolate the dogs in seperate rooms, behind fences, or if not that, then take a lead, hook it to a collar, loop it once around the dogs waist, and tie it off to something solid. Then you go after the other dog... Ideally, you want to get the dogs out of sight and sound of each other.

Within a second, Dakota had Suka pressed to the floor, still upright. Suka had twisted her magnificently flexible neck around to engage, but was still at a terrible disadvantage. When I grabbed Dakota's legs and jerked her backwards, Suka was off like a shot - headed for her crate. One combatant I needn't worry about following up! Dakota whipped her head up to look at me - I daresay she'd forgotten I was present at all, and I literally hiked her like a football back between my legs, grabbing her scruff on either side of her head, just behind her jaws. That's 100 pounds of dog, all four paws on the ground, going backwards like a pigskin at the snap... Adrenalin is potent stuff! With her head immobilized, and her attention suddenly and totally focused on me, it was clear the fight had completely gone out her. I must've roared, too, at some point, as people came running from all corners of the house. (My wife says I'm scary when I roar. Go figure.)

Dakota's head still immobilized, I frog-marched her to her crate and shut her in. Suka, I had to literally haul from her crate, so I could inspect her for injuries... And there were some. A pressure cut to her lower right eyelid, and a minor puncture about an inch below that. Messy, but minor. She allowed me to give her a complete and thorough checking, though it was clear she wanted back to the safety of her crate. Put her back to her crate, then hauled Dakota out to inspect her, too. Again, I had to haul her out - She was clearly reluctant to face me, but put up with her inspection with proper manners. No blood, but a LOT of saliva on her throat - Suka hadn't been screwing around in defense - Any better angle, and Dakota'd have taken a serious injury.

A couple stitches, and everything is well, health-wise. I became the Fun Nazi - Only one dog out of their crate at a time except when I'm immediately present, and extremely close supervision even then.

Two days later, came a near-exact repeat, dispite the close supervision, only this time with Suka getting a solid piece of Dakota in return - A seriously bloody lip - with Dakota actually doing no damage to speak of. I was now the Fun Gestapo. No more than one dog out of their crate at a time, period, no matter who is present. Both dogs sleeping in their latched crates at night. Both dogs on-lead in the house.

Since that time, some time back, Dakota has been much more obedient. She apparently had some reservations about who was in charge. Not any more - Getting man-handled like she was a puppy seems to have made an impression. Since that time, she and Suka are both at once more snarky with each other, and more tollerant of each other, if that makes any sense - They express their opinions, but also seem to get along better. Certainly the 'play' aspect of their lives has improved. I suspect that the clashes, and my immediate and very dominant response, have sorted out the relative relationships.

In retrospect, I should've gone all 'Fun Gestapo' right out the gate. Lesson learned - they're both good dogs, but dog society and people society do not correspond exactly. I need to think like a dog, and I still watch them closely. People wonder why I don't let the dogs oiut into the back yard unsupervised. I don't, because I'm thinking like a dog - I'm The Boss, and I want to make damn sure that The Girls know The Boss is watching. Dakota is huge, powerful, and fast. Suka is if anything, even faster, and has very sharp teeth. They don't get the chance to get at each other without someone responsible and capable to stop them if they forget their places again. They can play, and run and pace, and bark, and all the rest, but they also know that if they step out of line, The Boss is right there to put them back in their place. It means less screwing-off time for me, but if I wanted my time all to myself, I would've never married, much less brought dogs into the house... :-p

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

And now for something just a little different...

Pale clouds float
betwixt silv'ry moon
and silvered earth,
the breath of life
whisp-etched icy wakes
hang in the still air.

Orbit and counter,
the shadows pace
their appointed rounds.

Dark and light,
Yin and Yang,
greater and lesser
spirit and soul
boldness and caution
each within their heart
mirrors the other.

I don't often write blatent poetry - It usualy sucks rather nastily. Not, perhaps, today.

Awakened in the very early hours by invading chill, the girls decided that, seeing as I was up, it was a good time to see about their business. Under an immaculate clear sky, the full moon flooded the neighborhood with a clear silver light, bringing to ghostly life the frost-gilt landscape. The girls left pale breath-cloud wakes in the still air. The magical illumination gave substance to their forms, whilst redacting inconsequential detail. All I witnessed were two kindred spirits, the same yet different, dark and light, large and small, bold and shy, dominant and submissive, as they orbited; checking their perimeters, each other, me.

In perhaps-related news, Suka came to me this morning, and dropped a ball at my feet, backed off, and barked - tail wagging and eyes bright. In the nearly fifteen months I've known her, this is a first.