When you live with 2 packs of dogs, the dynamics are constantly changing. While in each pack there is an Alpha male and an Alpha female, if they were left to their own devices one pack would take out the other. Which is why they are divided in the first place. But there is another dynamic that considers the totality of the 2 packs and makes them a whole unit. This is where it gets really interesting because it is in this whole unit when all the members are fighting for the position of being next to an Alpha human. They compete for my attention to be the number two. This has nothing to do with the other dogs. Their focus is on me.
Every time I'm with the Front Pack, (Chance and Blaze) Fiona will bark and bark by the sliding glass door. Not to go out, but she is vying for my attention. Zappa does the same thing, but is more direct about it. For example, if treats are involved with the Front Dogs, Zappa demands my attention away from the Front Dogs. Sure, he wants treats too, but he's also driving for equality or complete control of the situation.
And the Front Dogs are the same way. When I'm on the Back Dogs side (Zappa and Fiona) Blaze will bark and bark to pull me from the Back Dogs to her side. Even if it is only for a moment or two. She wants that reassurance that she is my #2 dog. Chance who used to hardly bark, has now found his voice after the fight he had with Blaze. He took the Alpha position from Blaze and is now top dog of the Front Dogs. He too now uses his voice to draw me in his center for the reassurance of being #2 with me.
If that wasn't complex enough, if the truth was known, the position they are all vying for, that #2 placement, is the one I had with Brut. (their father) Total equality and a sharing in the Alpha human position. Brut was as close to an Alpha dog as was possible to me. Most decisions about the packs we made together, especially with the Back Dogs as they were Brut's pack.
So of course the dynamics took a fatal blow when Brut died. Most of the impact was cushioned by Silver(Momma Dog). So much so that there was very little changed in the hierarchy. This is until Silver died and the monarchy collapsed and has been in the process of rebuilding, even two years later.
This is where I find myself and the packs today. One thing I have always strive for is equality among all the dogs. If someone gets a treat, they all get a treat, time, training, etc.
And now I'm beginning to question myself in this strategy and wonder if it fits with these two packs of dogs with such dynamics? Maybe being equal with them is hindering some of their placement questions that they are fighting for? Does it take a little more to realize that Chance (my heart dog) is the next second Alpha to me? He already has Zappa's attention.
Or am I to be the Alpha to them on an individual basis? Striving for all their unique qualities? Must I change with the dynamics? Or stay the solid rock they need as they twist and turn into their new positions of beings?
Time will only tell.
See, Zappa ad Fiona are equal Alphas to each other. They take turns being the boss. Whereas Chance doesn't. He broke away from being equal to Blaze when he challenged her in that last fight. I wonder if he is trying to be my equal?
This has been happening slowly for the past couple of years. I swore I would never have another equal like Brut. I still don't know that I'd ever be ready or want it, yet here it is happening all along. Once I accept that, everything is going to change again.
And the cycle of life continues...
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Current blog look inspired by and dedicated to Chance, Blaze and Fiona who all kicked ass against cancer and liver disease.