You'll probably recall from my last post that the other day Cassie evinced a moment of snappishness toward Ruby the (former) Corgi Pup. One reader expressed concern that some dominance aggressiveness might be developing. Further discussion of dominance issues appears in a new discussion string, where the OP describes using a technique that readers view as out-of-date.

Well. I must say that given reader response that a dominance problem could be in the making, I was given pause.

However, things are looking up in the Corgi Reign. The cause of the quarrel, it appears, was Cassie's having run altogether out of patience with Ruby's habit of jumping on her back and grabbing her by the ruff of the neck. Interestingly, after the second angry outburst -- both of these were very brief and neither dog was bitten -- Ruby completely stopped this annoying behavior. She does not, apparently, even think about playfully pouncing Cassie. Period.

And no further disagreements have ensued. They play happily. They putter around the house together. They walk the human up the road in cooperative tandem. They sleep peacefully on the bed. And Ruby resides agreeably in her crate whenever I leave the house.

But also interestingly, although Ruby has learned the neck-ruff-grab is out of bounds with Cassie, she's not above trying it with Charley the Golden Retriever.

My son brought Charley over last Friday for a half-day visit. That was great fun. Charley and Ruby get along splendidly and do a great deal of hilarious puppy frolicking. And lo! What should we see but Ruby trying to climb on Charley's back and grabbing him by the fur around his neck!!

Charley, who might better have been named Casper Milquetoast, is totally cowed by this behavior. He gets a "oooh please don't beat me" look on his face when she jumps up on him. He doesn't try to stop her. He just puts up with it. That's pretty hilarious, because Charley weighs at least four times as much as Ruby and he's probably three times taller at the shoulder.

So I assume the back-jump/neck-grab frolic is some kind of canine social behavior, possibly to establish a young dog's relative position vis-a-vis the other critters in the pack or pack-like unit. Cassie, not being what you'd call the submissive type, put up with this nonsense while the pup was little but drew a line when Ruby reached adulthood. The law having been laid down, Ruby has registered the message and peace is now re-established.

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Comment by Vicky Hay on March 11, 2015 at 1:27pm

@Susan: No, Charlie is about four years old now. How exactly that happened in four months escapes me... ;-) His personality has always been accommodating to the extreme, especially where bossy corgis are concerned.

Ruby seems to have taken the message from Cassie. This morning she was sorely tempted when they invaded the bathroom to supervise me on the throne...you could tell that OHHH! She WANTED to jump on Cassie and grab her neck fur. But she did not. No way. Don't wanna get snapped at again.

Comment by susan on March 11, 2015 at 12:15pm
It sounds to me that Ruby has lost her 'puppy license ' with Cassie and she is teaching some manners. All good stuff as long as Ruby respects her elders. That's sort of a different issue than the dominance discussion that has been on going. It might become a dominance issue with Charlie, though, as they get older. Is Charlie a young dog too?

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