Friday, April 25, 2008


Ok, I'm back dating a couple of these to fill everyone in with how life at Chez Phouka has been in the last week. I've been horrifically busy with work, so here goes:

We had a readjustments of the dogpack here over the weekend. Rowan has been subtly and not-to-subtly pushing to be "top dog" amongst the beasties for a while now. He's as big as Uulaq and seems to be a much pushier personality than she is. Up until now, Uulaq has been in charge just due to being the "old dog" and having been here the longest. As the puppies near a year old, though, Rowan is feeling his oats.

They've had a few scuffles in the last weeks -- nothing too serious, just snarking and biting and general noise-and-furor. We've separated them, and they both got scolded for that sort of behavior in the house. Sunday, though, they did it again and Uulaq backed down (well, backed down is probably not the right word -- hightailed it into my office and hid behind my desk is a better description) and Rowan was the de facto winner.

It went to his head. For the next two days, he was constantly picking on the other two -- demanding their toys, wanting to sleep in their beds, shouldering them out of position to eat, that sort of thing. Newly minted kingship made him a pain in the butt. He figured he was now very important, and lorded if over everyone. Uulaq and Berit seem to go along with this just fine, and the humans in the household reasserted our "we have thumbs" superiority easily enough.

But then...Rowan put on his "I'm So Damned Special Hat" and went to dog camp. When all the other dogs didn't immediately bow to his specialness, he apparently picked fights all day long, culiminating in a serial fight with three different dogs in the space of a few minutes. They had to turn the hose on him to get him to back off. No one was hurt at all -- just a lot of excitement and scared dogs. No one was worried that Rowan would bit a person, but he was out of control. We were informed of the "incident" and took him home -- he was all out of sorts and we figured either he didn't feel well, had been totally traumatized by the hose, or was sulking.

Most likely, he's just a teenager. He's hit that stupid stage where he is defiant, bratty, and just plain horrid while he figures out what th enew rules are now that he weighs 90 pounds and isn't a "puppy" anymore. Note that Berit is just fine through all of this. Sweet and loveable.

Wednesday, he was not much better. No more fighting, but he was definitely not his normal self. No wagging, no nothing. He spend most of the day hiding in the living room by the chair or laying on the porch outside. Most definitely something wrong. We chalked it up to the Bad Day on Tuesday and decided to ignore it.

Yesterday, though, I htink I may have discovered the source of the problem. I locked myself in my office and went to work, and at some point during the day he apparently had some sort of distress and went into the corner of the dining room and left the biggest pile of poop that I have ever seen come out of one of our dogs. Seriously -- for a second, I was trying to figure out how all three dogs had managed to hit the exact same spot. I'm talking pounds here. Circus-shovel needed for cleanup. I only passed on taking a picture because would be just too gross, but I'll admit that it did occur to me.

I know it was him for several reasons: 1) Uulaq would never do that in the house. She's explode first, 2) Both Uulaq and Berit would whine or scratch at the door before that happened, 3) I saw both of them doing their own business outside that morning and 4) he slunk around like the guilty party when I discovered it.

Process of elimination (no pun intended) led to the culprit: Rowan.

And, lo-and-behold...he's back to his happy self again. Perky, wagging, bouncing around and wanting attention. Sweet Rowan has returned.

Well, I would have been a wee bit cranky too if I'd been that backed up! Poor guy! It's no excuse for going all Cujo at the puppy camp, but it definitely would be a factor in why he was so horrid.

Regardless of why it happened, we are still in trouble at Puppy Camp. Luckly, they have had the puppies there for almost eight months and are very familiar with them, and recognize that this was really out of character for him. So, while we've been asked not to come back for a couple of weeks while things settle out, we aren't banned or anything. The owner of the camp was very happy that I understood the reasons and not upset about it (well, I am a bit upset -- it's like being called from day care and told you can't bring your kid back because they are a shithead) but we'll try again in a week or two, to see if he has gotten over his Uber-Specialness attitude.

I think he has. I think it was a combination of not feeling well and being a snotty brat, and he's probably learned his lesson. But we'll see. It's only a big issue right now becuase I'm going to be out of town for a week and the Adorable Husband has to manage the weasels by himself while being on call -- which could mean a looong time locked in my office for them. We'll see if I have an office left when I return!

1 comment:

laurafingerson said...

This was a most excellent post! I can *totally* see it with your descriptions. Yikes! Good luck while you're away.....