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The advent of my newest babies and their integration into the group has changed the group dynamics again.
Previously, when I first got Helen and Troy as puppies,

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they grew up with Caesar and two of his daughters.

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While they were growing up, the two daughters passed away and only Caesar was left. He was a grand old gentleman and ruled his clan with an iron rod, though he was a very loving, gentle dog. After a month of the advent of Helen and Troy, Petra came.

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Helen immediately took exception to Petra’s presence, and Petra did not help being of a teasing nature. So Helen started getting aggressive with Petra, but Caesar kept a lid on that aggression and kept all three in line.
After one year I got Millie and Max,

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again a couple of puppies. These grew totally under the thumb of all the previous dogs, though still Caesar was top dog and kept all in line. But Caesar was starting to show his age and when Max and Millie were only five months, Caesar passed away.
The disappearance of the top dog of the clan left a big vacuum which Helen promptly tried to fill. She became very aggressive with the rest of the clan, but especially with the females. She was always aggressive with Petra, but now she started biting her viciously, even drawing blood. Worse still was her aggression with Millie. One time she hurt her very badly and Millie had to be medicated for a week.

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I was going out of my mind trying to correct Helen’s behaviour, as never in my life would I ever abandon a dog no matter what the problems.
So a new concerted effort was launched of modifying Helen’s behaviour. Part of that effort was the discipline exerted during their walks. All in all I must admit that we were partially successful. Helen no longer was vicious in her attacks, but she still showed a great deal of belligerence towards the other two females, Petra and Millie.
This was the state of my clan when I decided to adopt Prince and Queeny.

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I had some misgivings about Helen’s behaviour towards the newcomers and therefore decided to introduce them very slowly. But this did not happen. Within three days all the dogs got together, started running around together in the garden and started going out for their walks together.
With the introduction of the two new fully grown members of the family, the group dynamics changed again.
Prince, my lovely three year old, came to me in an emaciated physical condition and a depressed state. Queeny, my spunky four year old, despite still recovering from surgery, very quickly established her presence among the group. In no time she was the one dashing around with the rest of the pack trying to keep up with her.

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Of course things were building up towards a confrontation between Helen and Queeny, and I was dreading that. Helen is three times the size of Queeny, but here it seems size does not matter.

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When Helen tried to establish her top dog status, she was vey quickly and very decisively disabused of that notion by Queeny. The standoff was classic. Helen started barking at Queeny, who in turn barked back, then the latter took the situation up a notch by actually charging Helen. The tables were turned in that one moment. Helen retreated and Queeny then became top dog! And just like that peace reigned over the clan.
Queeny is now given the respect of her new status, while Prince, being deemed as belonging to Queeny, is now gladly accepted by all including Troy

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who was somewhat jealous at first. Queeny, being the lovely, loving dog that she is, is ruling more with love than with violence as Helen had tried to do. Still she is very clearly ruling the clan. Prince is now more relaxed with the rest of them and has even started playing with Helen, Troy and Petra, with a bit of tough-housing, though physically he is still not quite up to it.
It is a big weight off my mind that again the top dog of the clan is a strong but loving one who rules with an iron fist in a velvet glove.

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I am looking forward to Prince’s full integration into the clan once he regains his health and is able to keep up with their antics. Already his hair is getting softer and his energy is coming back. He is no longer crying most of the time, and though he still prefers to sleep apart, he is now voluntarily approaching them and even participating in some of their games. I am really looking forward to all of us being one big happy family.
The best Christmas gift ever.
25 December 2015

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