|Barked: Thu Mar 14, '13 11:30am PST |
|Actually, I am going to differ on the age thing. Very often, these SSA issues explode with age or some sort of decline in condition. I cannot tell you how many times I have seen or heard of this scenario....literally girls who had gotten along fine for quite an extended time. Just seemingly peas in a pod....and then, WHAMMO! Sometimes, it comes after a move and the stress shown by the older girl is seen as a weakness and thereby an opening. Sometimes, escalating toughness as she slows down. Sometimes, after a medical procedure or due to arthritis.
I had this real "aha!," going back quite a few years, when Animal Planet used to run this emergency vets show. They had an urgent surgery on a wolf, who lived with a pack in a zoo, where she was the boss. She needed a leg amputated, and the zoo fearing keeping her out of the pack for any amount of time at all....this was to be a very fast surgery and then putting her right back in. When they did, clearly there was one wannabe right under her she was concerned about, for she very distinctly held her one legged side away from this other bitch and was giving her a very stern and intense posture. So there it was, she knew she had a weakness, and was trying to hide it long enough to diffuse anything from her competitor and to underscore to her...."do not mess with me." It just really connected back to when things explode between females.
We don't have a clue as to how our dogs interrelate a lot of the times, IMO and experience, because it is all very subtle and on that front we are pretty daft. In terms of natural biology, young females very often won't challenge an older dog for quite some time. I know with the intact males I have, they may be grown, but until they really fill out they are not yet really willing to engage in a challenge. They become quite used to, beyond our perception, deferring to their elder. But they will wait...particularly the girls, who are cagey. They will wait until they see some chink in the armor. And then start to test waters, challenge more. Equally unbeknownst to us, the elder is quite happy with her role where she is deferred to, and as much as that is true is unwilling to let it go. Slowly, this escalates....the younger testing, the older unwilling to budge. And then one day, all this interplay going on under your nose, it erupts. It has gotten to the point of a fight, and once it has both are willing to yield no longer. The fights between females are particularly intense, and there is no settling it because they have gotten to that near "fight to the death" point, each aware of the intent of the other.
My best advice to you is to memorize like nuts the body language and interplay of the two girls. You probably will see nothing change over time....this is strictly precautionary. But the most minor of shifts, take that as early warning. If you can prevent it from getting to that "battle on the mount" stage, then you have averted the problem at its worst.
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