Even the Sunshine Boyz have an occasional cloudy day. Just because the pictures and stories I post depict them as happy and living in a doggie utopia does not mean that we are without our challenges. Put three male dogs together and chances are they will have their occasional hey-I'm-better-than-you moments. Just like three buddies in a bar trying to one-up each other, Ortiz, Carbo and Diesel have their moments of self importance. As pack leaders it's our job to evaluate who is instigating, who snapped first and who is the innocent by stander. As you can imagine, this is impossible to do all the time. On those occasions when you do know the roles they played, I believe it's good to take full advantage and SHOW them what behavior you do expect from them as their leader.
Ortiz is the second in command to our position. He takes his job seriously and is always overseeing what the other two "clowns" are up to. Ortiz is slick. He dominates the others through head-games and his death stare. It's very subtle to humans but very obvious to other dogs.
Yesterday we had a breakthrough moment. After giving the Sunshine Boyz a bath, I rewarded them each with a treat. Afterwards, Diesel was the first to express his "joie de vivre" by doing his little bunny hop dance. Carbo joined in and it was a lovely moment of bonding. Ortiz thought this was foolish behavior and gave Diesel the signal to stop. Well... that really pissed Diesel off and he snapped. Diesel exploded all over Ortiz. After a few moments I was able to break it up and put them in a down position. These Weimaraners are so sensitive to correction that I've learned that all I need to do is stand over them with my hands on my hips and they submit by giving me their bellies.
Once there was peace in the valley again, I brought them all together and tried something I had been thinking about... I had them lay down next to each other and simply relax. This may not sound like much but after their brawl and considering Ortiz and Diesel's lack of affection for each other, this WAS a big deal. With patience and treats I gently brought them together to accept each others physical touch. My goal was to have them recline ON each other and be in a peaceful state of mind. It worked. I rewarded them with treats and calm assurance.
I was able to snap a quick picture with my iPhone. While it doesn't do the moment justice, it does remind me that they need us to SHOW them what we expect and what we approve of.
Actions are always louder than words :o)