Saturday, April 18, 2009

Dog fight...

Nope, not that kind of a dog fight.

Yesterday when I came home from work, it was a nice day with a cool breeze blowing through the holler, so Mrs. JP had the windows and the back door open, and the dogs were able to come and go as they pleased; in, out, in, out. After the excitement of everyone greeting my arrival, the dogs ran back outside to play and I went in my room to change into some casual, comfortable attire. I had just gotten in the room when I heard a little bit of dog growling, which quickly increased into what I realized was an all out fight.

Mrs. JP states that Charlie and Scrappy were playing the stick game,
but when Daisy began to referee, for some reason it turned into an all out fight between Daisy and Scrappy. Knowing Scrappy, my guess is that she instigated it, but Daisy responded with a ferocity that, although normal for a GSD, not one we had seen directed at another pack member before.

Mrs. JP was screaming "NO", "NO", a command that Daisy should have responded to, but they were too engrossed in the all out battle. Corrie, who was in the kitchen, ran outside and proceeded to also jump into the fray on Daisy's side, so Daisy had little Scrappy by the throat, and Corrie was going at Scrappy also.

This all happened very quickly, and as soon as I recognized the sounds had gone from playing to serious, I turned and ran out toward the back yard, growling in my loudest alpha male voice, which usually sends dogs running for cover. This time, however, while the three innocent parties, Speedbump, Violet and Charlie, ran for cover, the three that were involved in the battle just did not realize I was coming. At my age, I just don't have the grace on my feet that I used to when I was younger. As I hit the back door, beyond which are two steps, a short concrete patio and then the ground, I stumbled. I was moving too fast to stop, but managed to stumble forward for a couple more steps before I completely lost it, and came flying right into the middle of the fight. Now you have to picture this. For those that have never met me in person, I'm a BIG guy, about six foot two, and weigh, well, quite a bit, somewhere in the neighborhood of 350 lbs. Now, picture me running out the back door out of balance, trying to recover my balance for about two steps, and finally going into a short horizontal flight pattern, bellowing like a barbarian all the way out.
Hearing my quick approach, Daisy turned Scrappy loose and they both fell back out of the way. Corrie was not so fortunate and before she could move, I landed on top of her. I managed to get both hands and one knee down first, so she was not hurt, just flattened to the ground a little. Her reaction was to quickly back out from under me, and which time, unfortunately, I moved my left hand to begin my recovery, and she instinctively bit it. Fortunately for me, she caught my hammy, calloused hand, so she barely broke the skin. I was not angry with her because I knew the bite was instinctive, and as soon as she realized what she had done, she ran in the house for cover. Mrs. JP initially thought I had broken my kneecap or something. As hard as I hit the ground, she was sure I had broken something, but I was fine so she proceeded to help me up as best as she could.

Now, besides the comedic value of the incident, what with my graceful and efficient method of breaking up the fracas, and all present agree that it was quite hilarious, I decided to blog this incident to let you know that yes, occasionally fights break out between the dogs. But we don't allow dogs to fight in our pack.
We are usually on top of things and able to stop the little "disagreements" from escalating, but when they do, we make sure to let the offending parties know that we are alpha, especially me, and that they are not allowed. After I recovered my composure a little (don't laugh, Mrs. JP!), I went inside and put Daisy, who was the most aggressive party, into a submissive state for a couple of minutes. I gave her the "DOWN" command, rolled her over on her back, and made her stay there for a couple of minutes while I kneeled over her and the other dogs walked around above her. It is a method for letting her know that she is not allowed to compete for the alpha position. We have used this method for several years and the dogs do indeed seem to understand the message and learn from it. Fights in our pack are very few and far between. I suspect that when both Mrs. JP and I have been absent from the house, there may have been some little animosities building over who lays on the bed or some such conflict. For a little while, we are going to separate the parties a little while we are gone to try and calm some of the animosities. Not that they are very evident. Mere minutes after the fight, everyone was calm and playing with each other as if nothing happened. Dogs live in the now. None of the dogs involved had any serious injuries, no broken skin nor bleeding. Scrappy did have a little swelling under her throat where Daisy had hold of her, but the swelling has gone down quite nicely.

And just in case you were concerned, my left knee was a little sore and stiff today, and my hand was a little sore, but I'm fine. What did you expect from an alpha male, extra-extra-extra large, barbarian Superman. Here I come to save the DAY!!! ;o)


Mrs. JP said...

Yep, it happened just that way. I must say that I'm glad that I didn't see JP's short flight from the door to the ground because I'm known around here for my nervous laugh. It's a bird, it's a plane........It's super JP!! What a guy I have. He works hard and then comes home and turns into our superhero.

Lena said...

Oh my goodness - I am so glad that everyone involved is ok. Superman indeed, Mr. JP. :-)
I think you're doing the right thing in keeping the guilty parties separated for a little while.
Dog squabbles or fights are something you have to deal with when you have a pack like yours, but congrats to you for handling it well.
One friend advised me to use a baking sheet (pan) and put it between two dogs that are squabbling (but not yet attached). It's a good way to gain some time to get your hand on a collar.

Bell said...

It's hard for me to get a mental picture of this incident without it seeming like a cartoon. I'm glad you weren't really injured and I'm sorry for laughing, but it just seems so funny. That's one way to stop a fight---just belly flop on it! :)

YD said...

I'm glad no one is hurt terribly. Hope you knee and hand recover soon. Good job in handling the fight.
I wasn't sure if I should laugh or not while reading this post.

JP said...

@Lena: I'm able to separate dogs in pretty much any situation, but Mrs. JP might be able to use the baking sheet idea. Thanks for the info!

@Bell: Don't feel bad for laughing. I laughed about it all weekend... :o)

@YD: Feel free to laugh. I did, it was a serious situation that ended in a very funny way...