Friday, April 3, 2009

Sibling Rivalry...

The first couple of days was definitely a battle for dominance. Jamie was bigger and sat on top of Jemma who sneaked in nasty bites to Jamie's ears. At times it became so intense that the fur stood up on their backs. When I waded in to try and keep the peace it only made things worse as they competed for my attention.

I realised that this was one battle I would have to sit out. They would have to sort this out themselves as my presence often made it worse. The first night they declared a truce and slept together.

Strangely enough, it was Jamie who seemed to be more insecure and more easily startled than before. Was it the confusion of the change in homes, the new rival or just a stage he was going through? Jemma on the other hand was a little trooper. She took everything in her stride - her new owner, home, a bullying brother and never once did her little flag-like tail droop. Fearless Jemma.

By day two I noticed that playtime between the two was getting less violent. There were fewer yelps of pain and more fun barking and growling. My puppy trainer said it would take at least a week for the two of them to settle down.

But what concerned me was whether or not I was giving Jemma enough individual attention. Again my trainer assured me that separating them would only stress one or the other. I was to try and dole out equal measures of love and have them sit on either side of me on the floor while we watched TV.

I also had far more "accidents" with Jemma as I was not able to watch her with the single minded intensity that I had watched Jamie to ensure that he peed and pooped outside. "Nevermind, girls learn much faster than boys," soothed my trainer.

But man oh man, will I be pleased when I stop having to clean and disinfect the kitchen floor every morning! Here's a tip. Diluted vinegar apparently neutralises the smell of urine. It's the smell that draws them back to the same spot over and over again. Well, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.

Maybe I'm just not good at cleaning kitchen floors!

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