Bixby and Bailey: Love and Discipline

bixby-and-bailey-in-reposeInteresting times here. First of all, Bailey had her first nail trim today and was a trooper. She weighed in at 109 lbs, which means she has gained 17 lbs since she moved in. She’s still skin and bones, but I did have to move her collar out a notch recently. She’s taller and a bit broader. If she keeps this up, I think she might top out at 140 lbs and be an inch taller (though never bigger) than Bixby.

We’ve had an interesting few weeks here. It feels like we’ve had company since Thanksgiving and everyone has been dealing with the chaos well. But we’ve had a house guest since Christmas that has challenged the status quo a bit. Especially for Bailey.

Bad Horse is hanging out for a while and I’ve been letting him find his way with the animals. Zander of course has completely welcomed him. Emma sits on his lap while we watch movies. Jake, well, Jake is in it for the treats, but other than that, he’s generally not impressed with BH. Bixby has been a bit more reluctant, which has surprised me…more on that in a minute.

Bad Horse Bakes!

Bad Horse Bakes!

Bailey is smitten…and also miffed. She cannot understand why she’s still low puppy on the alpha scale when the new guy is here now. So she spends a great deal of time making doe eyes at him and then biting him and jumping on him. We’ve been working with her on it, but I have to be honest, because of her rough start in life, I haven’t been as firm with the discipline as I should be and she has started to take advantage.

So I began to implement time-outs. I put the crate away at Christmas – it takes up half a room and I was only using it when I went to work. With Bad Horse here, they are seldom alone for long periods, so we’ve been using two baby gates to contain her when we are both gone. So I needed to figure out a time-out strategy.

They take place in the laundry room with a baby gate across the door so she’s not totally closed off. She gets time-out when she refuses to stop her bad behaviors after one warning. It only took twice for her to understand what was going on and now her behavior has greatly improved. She just needed some firm boundaries and I should have jumped in sooner. But she’s such a sweet girl…the biting and jumping took me by surprise…BH has been very patient with her, too, so I think we are past the worst of it.

Bixby, Bixby, Bixby – he’s not happy with all the intrusions – first Bailey, now BH. We had an incident about a week ago where Bixby decided he did not like how things were going and jumped up on Bad Horse and then when that didn’t work, jumped on me and WOULD. NOT. BUDGE. It took both of us to get him back down. We decided that night to each sit with a dog on separate couches, to give them extra time. That helped and Bixby now seems more at ease with everything.

But he has decided he’s going to use his size lately – he moves the baby gate and walks through it (opens it like a door), he uses his full weight on walks to express his displeasure and is basically make it clear he’s done with all of this. He instigated a game of tug with BH (which made Bad Horse very happy) only to have Bailey try and horn in. Without missing a beat, tug towel still in his mouth, he took her down and made it clear she was not to interfere. She got the message and tug went on without incident.

None of this is aggressive – when you’re 160 lbs of muscle,  you just need to be firm to get your point across. And Bixby’s point is, “I’m done being neglected, pushed around and generally having my life disrupted”. He’s still a big love, just a big love with a bit of an attitude. Extra scritches and some alone time with me and his kitties have helped.

Never a dull moment here. I have Cranberry Bean Turkey Soup on the stove…a few more recipes I need to post soon, too.

I made my first Pad Thai!

I made my first Pad Thai!

Until then….