This was last Friday when Hannah and I went in the back yard to frolic in the 5" snowfall with the dogs.
Playing, which always has an edge of hierarchy for dogs, turned in the blink of an eye into fighting between Wash (the Boxer) and Kif (part Staffordshire Terrier). Wash won, but that was only because Hannah hit Kif over the head with a plastic lawn chair to make him stop. She wielded it like a Valkyrie, doing this mother's heart proud, especially as I was racking my brain to think of how we could shock Kif enough to get him to stop.
Otherwise, I shudder to think what might have happened. I had Wash's collar but he kept on fighting and with Kif underneath no one could get a hand inbetween them to grab Kif's collar.
Hannah grabbed Kif and moved him across the yard.
Zoe and Zapp had been bouncing excitedly around the edges (mentally chanting, "fight, fight, fight!"). They had no doubt who "won" and immediately ran after Kif and attacked him. Luckily, they weren't as passionate and I was able to call them off with voice alone, because I couldn't let go of Wash.
Wash had multiple puncture wounds to both legs with a few bad enough to need stapling.
Kif had to have his ear sewn up in a couple of spots so the honors were about even.
The next day, we were filled with trepidation about how to have these two dogs in the same household. However, we followed the Barkbuster's lady's advice. We reintroduced them to each other in the yard where the fight broke out, with a hose ready and waiting in case of renewed trouble. But both dogs knew that Kif had disengaged first. Neither cared it was because of a lawn chair and both felt Wash had won.
So, unbelievably to me, we are now back to where we began.
Except that it seemed to clear the air in some way that we humans couldn't really see.
Wash has a new bounce in his step and a take-charge manner in the pack proper. Questions about chew bones get settled by him, he gives a sharper reprimand when the others try to push him around and he is first up for guard duties.
Kif, surprisingly, has gotten braver around me and now will look me in the eye. Crazy. But it is as if he now knows just where he belongs and feels more secure. Hannah thinks it is because in Wash he sees a strong leader.
Whatever the reason, we have peace and it seems to have done both dogs some mental good. It is just too bad about the wear and tear on our mental good. Not to mention the vet bills!