Doesn't react well in chaotic environment


Life for the six dogs and the parrot is chaotic.

Two months ago there was a big change in their lives. This coincided with the start of their unrest.

Jack Russell X Alfie, on the right, attacks Yorkshire Terriers Benjie and Archie. Benjie (on the left) has sustained injuries.

In the chaotic heat of the moment, the two Yorkies may also redirect onto one another and fight.

Then there will be a lot of barking and shouting.

There are also two females, a very old German Shepherd and another Jack Russell, and an old Yorkie who is at the end of his days – in the bed behind Archie (below). They keep out of it.[divider type=”white”]

The parrot shouts Shut Up!

Benjie has sustained injuries


The dogs live with a middle-aged brother and sister. What makes this situation especially difficult is that the gentleman, being at home all day, is the main carer. He had an accident as a child which has left him with certain cognitive problems.

In addition, the lady is extremely stressed and this will be picked up by the dogs.

Even the parrot shouts ‘WILL YOU ******* SHUT UP’ at the dogs – a clue to the level of stress in this chaotic household!

The lady loves her dogs and doesn’t want to have to part with any of them.[divider type=”white”]

Jack Russell mix Alfie is the instigator.

Alfie is very close to the man and now spends most of his time in his room upstairs where he’s made to feel very special. He growls if the lady approaches when he’s on the man’s lap.He growls particularly if one of the male dogs comes near.

All the fights occur only in the presence of the man.

He has to walk them in relays to avoid walking two boys together. The first two to be taken are those who happen to squeeze through the door first!

At the end of each walk, when dogs reunite in the kitchen doorway. Fights kick off at the man’s feet. This is unsurprising really when there is such, chaotic, manic excitement and jostling to get through the door first.

Fights also occur around food. The man simply puts three or four bowls down around the kitchen and it’s a free-for-all.[divider type=”white”]


Archie and Bobby

Archie and Bobby

Simply with safety in mind, the situation has to be managed before we can go any further.

It’s a logistical nightmare. There are just two downstairs rooms and the only entrance to the house leads directly into the sitting room. This leads through to the kitchen.

We need a gate in the kitchen doorway so that Alfie can be near the other dogs but safely. It will make comings and goings easier.

They will get a puppy pen for the kitchen as there is currently no way to separate dogs when necessary.[divider type=”white”]

Role play

Now the chaotic environment needs sorting out.

The man is unable to read so a written plan doesn’t help him. I role-played with the him the quite complicated routine for taking the dogs in and out for walks.

He takes Alfie first, then leaves him upstairs before entering the kitchen where the other dogs are.

Now he sits down and has a cuppa, waiting for all the downstairs dogs to calm down.

Then he chooses the next two, leaving a couple in the pen. On returning he sits down and waits for calm again …. and so on.

We also role-played a routine whereby the dogs were fed separately from their own bowls in their own areas. No food was left down.

I so hope the pen idea works and that the gentleman can remember the routines. With all the swapping about and dogs left in different places it will be a bit like a doggy Whitehall farce!

Once peace is established we can do more work on the behaviour side of things.

Three days later: I’m over the moon! I called, almost dreading what I might hear, and the man has taken all our role-play completely to heart. The first words the lady said were ‘Absolutely fantastic’! No fights. Much calmer. In a couple of weeks we will work at gradually integrating the dogs again.
Nearly three weeks have now gone by, and things are going from strength to strength. The gentleman is sticking to the plan to the letter, and is now enjoying the dogs. Alfie is much happier and waggy-tailed, and is gradually being integrated with the other dogs. He plays with Archie and Maggie and has short periods when he is together with all the other dogs including Benjie – with no fighting.