As some of you may recall, my Jess and Rocky are littermates who do not get along and about a year ago were fighting pretty bad with Rocky ending up in ER a couple times. Since then, we have kept them separated at all times - rotating them in and out of their crates and outdoor kennels. Each of them gets along great with our collie and schipperke though.
They lived together for their first 6 months and then Rocky's peeps gave Jessie away. She bounced from home to home before we intercepted her at age 15 months. She had serious issues. She's was toy aggressive, dog aggressive (except toward our other two male dogs), had separation anxiety, food aggression, fence jumping, window breaking, rude with humans (punching in stomach, punching in mouth, knocking over), and had also suffered from malnutrition. Her fur was short and greasy looking as she had been fed Alpo most of her life.
Now after a year of super premium dog foods and supplements (HundNFlocken, Nupro), her fur is medium hair length like her brother and for the past month, she has stopped growling at him completely.
We had one accidental fight in the last 12 months, about two months ago. Rocky was in his outside kennel and I was throwing the ball to Jess and Rocky got upset, became frantic and managed to open the kennel and came charging at her. He stopped when he got right up to her and they looked at eachother for a minute. Then she initiated aggression and he got an immediqate throathold. It was more difficult for me to break up this fight because he wouldn't listen to me but finally after screaming at him long enough, he ran off. Now I cable tie the kennels closed and don't throw the ball for either of them in front of the other.
She has made a million baby steps. Or maybe 2 million. These things happen gradually and you don't notice until one day, you're struck with some new behavior that makes you realize it.
Rocky was in his outside kennel and he had the Kong ball (they tend to disappear) and we only had one at the time (the other two were missing). Jess was running around his kennel and saw that he had the ball. They sniffed each other's butts and wagged their tails happily at each other.
I was sitting in a chair in Jessie's kennel with the door latched so she couldn't get in (what's wrong with this picture?) because I was eating breakfast and didn't want her knocking me over. She continued sniffing and nuzzling with Rocky through the kennel bars.
My jaw dropped when I realized she was making friendly with him instead of her usual head down, teeth bared, growling and snarling at him.
We are always careful to put Jess out first, throw the ball for her, then bring her in, crate her and bring Rocky out. Since the above incident, now she comes in and licks Rocky through the crate bars!!!! Sometimes she'll go lick him several times within a few minutes!!! She's comforting him!
She has matured. They turn 3 in late September. I am now hopeful that someday, they will be reunited. DH and I have to have a very strict protocol on the order in which we do things with them, very strict rules. It has been working and I guess Jessie Jane is starting to find security in those rules and leave her old pains and sadnesses behind. Also, as DH wisely says, 'she knows this is it, she knows she's here forever.'
When I am better, later this winter. We'll try the new CAT theory featured in a recent issue of WDJ. But I have been ill for over a year now and as soon as that's behind me, Jess and I are going to go full force again into training and pursuing harmony in the pack.
I can't wait!