I started a couple of weeks ago with step 1 of integrating the two dogs packs, which was separating them while fixing their food, because they were fighting at the door that divides them. It is something that has went on for some time, on occasion, but since Brut's death and recently with Silver's passing the fighting (growling, snarling, snapping, teeth bared) has increased in frequency and intensity. So I took them away from the door, by putting them in their rooms while I get their meals together. Worked out great!
That same day after they ate for the first time without all that worked up anxiety, I started blocking the door with my body, making them back up from it to stop the barking at the door. When I got one side settled I went to the other side and settle that dog. And I just kept going back and forth until they gave up.
Now Chance has a habit of rushing the door when he comes in from outside and Zappa is always on the other side ready to do battle. I couldn't figure out how to stop him for the longest time. It took a couple of days before it dawned on me I could open the fridge door and block the hallway that leads to separation door. Don't worry, hubby is making me a board to slide back and forth. No need to pay the energy company more than they need! So after Chance circles back after seeing the blockage, I give him a treat when he comes to me. Then I go to the other side and make Zappa back up and sit then treat. Problem he's caught on how to get a treat, bark and here I come. So one time when Zappa was being a royal pain and wouldn't stop barking because I wouldn't give him a treat, I put him in his room, he shut up and that worked out great.
And for those times I don't make it in time to stop a debate, I have a shaker can and a cowbell to get their attention. Thankfully I have only had to use them a few times, but they are nice to have around.
So far it is going good. The first 4 or 5 days were a little hairy, but now they only bark at the door with each other, instead of fight. At least the ones I don't get to in time. They are short burst of "talking." Things have really calmed down this last week. I doubt it is all over, given the chance they would do it again, but for now we are moving forward with our "plan" as it comes to me. :)
Here's a short video of our progress: (or on YouTube)
Forgive me if this post may seem a little jumbly, for some reason it was difficult to write.