4 weeks ago, we got a new dog; a 3 years old German Shepherd lady called Rufa. It sure stirred things up around here! The other 2 dogs, Big Black Beauceron Pandour and gentle Hovawart lady Kookai, were used to be Lord and Ladyship of the house. And Rufa had been alone all her life so was used to being the sole ruler of her non-existing pack. Well, it took some getting used to but I think that after 4 weeks the pecking order is established more or less.
When we took her from the shelter and arrived at our house we first got Pandour out of the house to get acquinted with Rufa. As he’s the biggest and probably the most dominant we expected the biggest clash with him, although it’s a sweetheart. As we expected Pandour was more curious than agressively dominant but Rufa had other ideas and went straight for his throat!! Not a good idea when you weigh 35 kilos and take it up against a 50 kilo male Beauceron. Within 3 seconds she was on her back with Pandour towering above her, whining.. Ok, that pecking order was settled.
Next came Kookai, our 7 years old Hovawart. She is a gentle sweet thing and had recent surgery on her knees so she was still a bit limping. Rufa seemed to sense that and wasn’t as rough with her as with Pandour. But a week later she tried to get second in ranking by attacking Kookai. What a fight! Kookai lost that fight although she tried to stand her ground (with Pandour helping from behind biting Rufa’s rear 🙂 We felt sorry for Kookai but we also understand that they have to establish rankings in the pack.
A week later, when Kookai had recovered from her surgery she went for revenge and put Rufa back in her place by attacking her full force. Got her by the head and did not let go. It resulted in Rufa back in third line.
Now, after 4 weeks peace has returned to our house. Rufa is getting more and more at ease and starts to understand that she doesn’t have to fight her way in. We try to acknowledge the ranking by handling the dogs in pecking order; Pandour gets food first, then Kookai, then Rufa. Same with petting, or letting them out of the door etc. It seems to work.
Pandour and Rufa play more and more together. But with dogs this size it looks as if they are in a massive fight! Rest assured, neither of them had so much as a scratch..