Today is our 2nd full day at home with Felix and Jack. Jack seems to be getting a little more comfortable all the time, and we have had no fights in more than 24 hours - a really good sign! We have continued feeding them in separate locations. Jack had been refusing food, but FINALLY, he ate last night! After some coaxing, he ate again this morning, but he still seems to wait until Felix finishes first. Even though they are on opposite ends of the house, he can hear when Felix is eating and waits until he is done. Really interesting behavior! My sister also mentioned that her two dogs do this. We have tried not to give either one preferential treatment, but Felix still seems to be coming out on top.
We have had trouble deciding on sleeping locations for bedtime. Felix has been sleeping in our bed for months, and most of the advice I have read indicates that changing anything for the first dog is not a good idea at first. So we decided to keep Felix in bed and put Jack in the kennel each night. Jack, unfortunately, is not as crate-trained as his owners made it sound. He throws a fit at first when we put him in there but after a few minutes calms down. We want him to get used to the kennel - there are so many times we have to kennel Felix for various things, and we need Jack to be willing to go in there. So for now, I think the kennel at night is a good place for him. He needs to realize it's a safe place and a comfortable place for him to be. Hopefully we aren't traumatizing him to much!
We went on another walk this morning, and again the dogs did great. Both dogs were really excited to go on a walk! Felix, as always, wants to wade into any body of water he can get close to. But Jack is a little more timid around water. However, today he actually put his feet in to get a drink and seemed a little more courageous about being in it. I think seeing Felix go all in might help him like wate a little more. At least he doesn't smell like rotting fish like Felix does at the moment...
One problem that we are seeing is that Jack has no interest in playing. The first day we had him up in Kansas, he actually played really well with Felix! They showed no signs of aggression, they chased, they wrestled. It was great to see them have so much fun! But since then, this hasn't happened. Felix has tried so hard to get him to play, but Jack usually growls at him and walks away. He's acting like an old dog, but he's the same age as Felix. We came across several other dogs while we were walking this morning, and Jack reacted in a way I did not expect. He was excited and acted really playful towards them - something he definitely does not do with Felix. I'm hoping this is a temporary reaction to Felix and that he will eventually be comfortable enough to play. We are considering taking both to the dog park tonight to see what happens with other dogs around. This might get Jack's spirit of play back so that he'll be ready to play with Felix at home! Many websites have said it is a bad idea to do this so early on....but I think we're going to try anyway.
Another conclusion we have made about having two dogs: No matter what we do, there seems to be a pecking order coming out between them. Cesar would tell us that we are the pack leaders and that there shouldn't be dominance between the two dogs at all. We have done what we can (aside from the sleeping situation) to make sure that no one dog is favored, but Felix is most definitely coming out as the dominant dog. It's little things we can't control, like Felix going out the doggie door first, eating first, and small body language things that Felix does to push Jack around. I don't think this is a bad thing. We have to realize that dogs don't have the same feelings we do. In a pack, there would be someone in charge, and there would be ranks beyond that. No dog is upset by not being the pack leader - in fact, they may not be qualified to be pack leader. What they do need is to know where they stand and where their place is in the pack. Jack seems perfectly happy putting Felix first, and Felix doesn't seem to be doing anything directly mean to him. I have been proud of how Felix is handling this situation, and I think Jack will only get more comfortable and happy as we go along.
Thanks for your comments and for keeping up with our progress!