A rare moment between Zappa and Brut
"You don't know what you are getting into." The exact words of a trainer I spoke with over the phone about my situation of the aggression between Daddy Dog Brut and his son Zappa. The trainer sounded as if the entire situation was hopeless and that my only real means of a solution was to get rid of one or more dogs. Yes, things were in dire straits at that time period, Zappa was growing up and the challenges between the two boys were intensifying as Zappa refused to submit to Brut. Giving up any of the dogs was not an option. With such few dog trainers in the area, I relied on books, tapes and a lot of observation to understand what was happening between these two dogs and the rivalry that ensued between them.
When Brut was almost two years old and Zappa was around 8 months, for some reason Brut started to let up on Zappa. It was if something in him began to calm and accept that this kid wasn't going anywhere. Somehow there was an unspoken truce between them, that I had little to do with. They were actually playing and chasing each other when they were alone through this period. It was magical to watch. The fights became few and far between.
They rarely play together anymore, but love chasing squirrels around the wood shed. We go through phases when one acts up or the other, but most of the time they ignore each other. When they pass each other, they always turn their heads away from the other. They have worked out a system during TV time if one is on the couch, the other is on the floor or in the bedroom. Sometimes I just watch in amazement of how they respond to each other in what can be a close quarters. While Brut is considered the alpha dog, I have seen him back down from Zappa countless times, just as I seen Zappa surrender to Brut with a warning bark and then walk away. It really takes you aback that two such powerful dogs each being strong willed have a respect for each other that many times makes me hold my breath with hope and fear at every encounter between them.
Fights are inevitable but only happen occasionally now. They happen with less intensity and usually when someone oversteps their boundaries. What if I'd heeded those words of that trainer and many others who suggested that I should get rid of my dogs? What if I'd given up on either of them? Isn't it amazing what love and a little hard work can do? It took us three years to reach this point, and they said it couldn't be done.