Tag Cloud
1950s television Alsace animal behavior Asbestoses Bakewell Tart baking banana coconut upside down cake bananas Barefoot Contessa beach beans beauty beer can chicken Ben E King blueberry Book Review Boom De Ya Da Bradenton Florida cabbage cake canine lung worm carrot salad casserole cassoulet Celebrity Constellation Celebrity cruiseline cheese chicken chicken and dumplings chicken fricasse'e Chicken Salad chicken thighs chihuahua chocolate christmas pudding coconut commercialization of Christmas Condor Ferries contrived ignorance cooking video Cornwall COSTCO cottage pie couscous Cream of Tortilla Soup Cream Recipes cream teas crockpot croutons cruise ship menu cultural awareness current event Curry Dauphinoise Potatoes decorating desserts Dick and Jane Ding Dong School Dinner Discovery Channel diversity dog psychology dogs Easy Recipes eggs enamel coated cast iron English Cooking English trains Enzos on the Lake Epcot extrovert Fall Food Fast Easy Fresh Fennel Recipes fish florida food preparation France Frances Horwich French cooking fresh green beans Fresh Market fresh pasta fresh vegetables fruit tart gardening genital euphenisms George Pullman grandchildren greek yogurt grilling ground lamb ground beef guardian ad litem ham hocks Handicaps Havanese healthy food home decorating how to clean leeks I Have a Dream Ina Garten Indian food introvert Italian Cooking Italian Food IVIG Kix Cereal lamb lamb curry lamb palak lamb shahi khorma lamb shanks Lasagna leek and potato soup Leeks leftovers literacy love song low-carb main course Mallomars Marissa Tomei marriage Martha Stewart Martin Luther King Mary Oliver Meat Recipes meatloaf mental illness Michael Portillo Mickey Rourke Miss Frances modern omelet monkey bread Moroccan muffins Mushroom Recipes Mushrooms Nelsonian knowledge New England Style Cooking Nixon NY Times Obama one dish meal onion tart onions oscar nominated pack dominance pack leadership pakora parenting Parmesan Recipes pasta pate brisee Paula Deen peach cake Peeps peppermint bark photo photography photos pina colada monkey bread pineapple poached poem polish cooking politics poverty pullman dining car raspberries recipe recipes refrigerated rolls riding the rails roast chicken Rush Libaugh RV lifestyle salad Sally Field salmon Samsung Appriances Sand Hill Crane Sand Sculpture Sausage Recipes sausages Schizophrenia school children hear Obama speak self-perception shepherd's pie Siesta Key Florida snails souffle soup South Florida spaghetti squash Spinach St. Malo Stand By Me Whistle Blower summer meal sweet bread Taffy Tandoori cooking Technology Ted talks The Help theme park This Was the Week That Was Tin Can Tourist Tom Gross transatlantic cruise travel trailer tropical plants UK UK Guardian article urban blight Valentine's Day vegetables vegetaria video VIMEO viseo welsh terrier white blood cell count wild salmon Willful Blindness Willful Ignorance wood look porcelain tile World Showcase Youtube Youtube video zucchini Zuni Cafe Roast Chicken

« Sunday Supper Refrigerator Clean Out | Gettting Laid »

Sadness then Relief at Chez Dana and John



We've had big dog problems here in the land of dog lovers.  There has been escalating aggression from Taffy against Rico.  Taffy had "issues" with Rico from the day we rescused  Rico and brought him home.  You can read about their shaky start in a journal entry from 2009 titled De'tente.  

Over the years, Taffy has  asserted her dominance at varied times.  A dog fight is a scary thing, lots of growling and teeth  flashing and "screaming."   There's generally a loss of blood from a nip on the paw and often some blood from John who sometimes gets nipped in the process of breaking up the fight.  While all this is going on, Poncho runs around the other two dogs like a whirling dervish, franticly barking  his high pitched Chihuahua bark. During the past six months or so, fighting has increased.   Always Taffy and Rico, never ever Poncho who arrived here eighteen months ago at  the age of seven months.  When daughter, Stacie, moved back home, he was part o fthe package.  Taffy loves Poncho and so does Rico.  They play, but never three  together.  Taffy and Poncho play.  Rico and Poncho play, that's it. When Taffy and Poncho play, Rico hides.  

When our friend, Emma, arrived here for a visit last month, things went crazy.  The last six days of her visit, Taffy viciously attacked Rico five times.  We were exhausted and frustrated, not to mention so worried  about poor Rico who was afraid to move and clung to me.  There was a vicious attack last Wednesday during which John was severely bitten in the hand.  Taffy is twelve and we considered if it was age related.  We know she is healthy because she just had her yearly vet check.  We discussed options such  as muzzling Taffy or seeing the vet about doggie tranquilizer  or the very worst thought eve,r that something was so wrong, a brain tumor or something, having  to euthanize her, dreading the thought.  I couldn't eat or sleep.

 Before we called the vet, I decided to call Taffy's breeder.  We bought Taffy way back in 2002 when  we lived on the other side of the state.  We got her the week before we got married, my wedding gift to John.  There are only three breeders of Welsh Terriers in  Florida.  They are not a common breed, fewer than 1500 are registered yearly by the AKC.  The three Florida breeders work together to control the market and to control the quality of the breeding.  So, even though Taffy came to us from Vero Beach, she was born here in Sarasota to the west coast breeder,  I knew all of this and called Karyn of Sea Plume Welsh Terriers.  When I told her who I was, gave her Taffy's number, she knew exactly which dog she was. We got her at the age of six months because she was a show prospect until her bottom adult teeth came in crooked. 

I explained the history of Taffy, the addition of Rico and then Poncho recently and how awful things had become. A quality breeder will always, no matter how many years go by, stand behind their pups.  Karyn said she would talk to her partner and call me back. About an hour later she called and said they wanted to send a  behaviorist to my house for an assessment. I was relieved and asked Karyn how much the behaviorist charges.  She said, "We breed for health and temperment.  We stand behind our dogs.  We will pay the behaviorist for the assessment and we'll go from there.  This woman shows Airdales and Welshies and she'll figure out what's going on.  Let's give it a try."

Two hours later, a woman named Pat arrived.  She took a brief synopsis of the problem from us and then told us to go about our day and pretend she wasn't here.  She sat  on the sofa, occasionally chatted to us, ignored the dogs mostly.  She did hold Taffy, examine  her eyes, check her hearing, check her submissiveness level etc.. She picked up Rico and  Poncho briefly, took the three dogs out to the yard for a romp. After two and  a half hours she gave us  her  evaluation and  you could have knocked me over  with a feather...

 Two year old, eight pound Chihuahua Poncho is the dominant dog!  He is not an aggressive dominant male, but a cerebral dominant male.  He rules by his intelligence, not his size or power.  The reason Taffy is so affectionate to him, playing with him, grooming him etc. is that she is  the only female to his alpha male  Taffy was the dominant dog in the Taffy/Rico pair.  Poncho came as a puppy and was still emitting the "puppy hormone" therefore no threat  to Taffy or Rico. Pat noticed and we have often commented on how Poncho has replaced Taffy in John's chair and always gets between me and Rico when Rico lays next to me on the sofa, moving Rico over.  The recent Taffy attacks have been when Rico has tried to come in the door after Poncho but before Taffy, when Rico has tried to get into John's chair when Rico was on John's lap and when Poncho and Taffy are in the kitchen and Rico tries to enter.  I've remarked how Taffy and Poncho are besties and Rico is the odd man out.  Pat also pointed  out that the cute  way Poncho always rests his head on Taffy's butt when they stand together is highly dominant animal body language.

Pat therorized that Taffyy being elderly and a female, has allowed Poncho to become the dominant dog.  It was a bloodless coup that developed as Poncho went from puppyhood to adult male. Poncho didn't have to fight for it.   Taffy allowed it  and gave up being the one on John's lap, in charge of kitchen and first in and out the door.  But, Taffy would kill Rico before she'd let a weak low status dog like Rico, get above her in pack rank.  Taffy isn't mean and is, in fact, fairly submissive.  It sounds complex and it is, but it makes perfect sense. 

While Pat was here, we called Stacie, who now lives one mile away, to come and get Poncho, who is, after all, her dog.  She did want to take him when she moved, but we has grown so attached to the little Martinet and really did think that he was so bonded with our pack that it would be detrimental to him to be taken away.  Stacie was also surprised about the whole Poncho As Dominant Dog theory, but thrilled to take him home.

We have had two and a half days without Poncho.  All afternoon and evening Friday and a good part of yesterday, Taffy and Rico slept.  It was as if they were on Prozac.  There was no pacing, no in and out the door when  Poncho barked to demand it be opened, no playing with Poncho when he demanded it.   Rico was still leery about going in or out  with Taffy there. Last night Rico slept in my bed.  Taffy had previously been displaced by Poncho in John's bed, and while she hasn't reclaimed that spot she did sleep under my bed the past two nights.  Today she has gotten in the chair with John and earlier she swam with us.  Rico is no longer plastered against me, but has claimed sofa and is over there just chilling.  He's gone in and out the door a few times.  Another surprise is for the first time in over a year my nose has stopped running.  Taffy and Rico do not shed. Stacie did call to report that her allergies have come on full force.  She said Poncho was  quiet at first, but that he appears very happy now.

So far, we're good.  We'll see how it goes.  Who knew?????????????????

Reader Comments (2)

Now I get the full picture about the dog fights. It's the same as in human relationships, isn't...three being a crowd?

Looks like the answer might be letting Poncho stay with Stacie permanently.

Poor old Taffy...she's lost her #1 status twice.

August 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRosie

I've been wondering how Taffy is. Glad there is now peace in dog kingdom. Taffy is two months younger than Rooney who will be 13 in April.

Rooney's been seeing a dog chiro every month (she can't jump onto her couch anymore and has several sleeping pads in our house.) She's going to start a homeopathic protocol to treat the fat lumps in her body.

Glad all is well with you.

December 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRosie

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>