Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Oh the Wrestling

Most of today has been spent with one eye on the computer and one eye watching the whirling mass of black, tan and gray fur on the office floor in front of my desk. Baxter and Kirby have decided that non-stop wrestling is a fine form of entertainment. I don't know if it's because Kirby and Baxter are now on a more even footing hormone-wise or if it's just because Baxter is getting used to the little guy, but the wrestling matches seem a bit less about Baxter fending off the little guy and a bit more like play. Baxter is actively engaged in the process.

In the past couple of days, Baxter has even been laying down on the floor to get closer to Kirby's height (probably in part to keep Kirby from jumping up at his face), and he lets Kirby crawl all over him. Kirby always obliges by pouncing on him and making play-bites to Baxter's neck. When Baxter's had enough, he jumps to his feet, flips Kirby over and holds him down at the neck until he stops squirming. Of course, being the relentless terrier he is, Kirby usually pops right back up and starts again. When Baxter has had enough, he lets Kirby know and, much to my amazement, Kirby is now occasionally backing off.

Of course, it's always a bit daunting for peace-loving humans to watch two dogs wrestling -- it seems like such a rough and, at times, near-violent activity. But for dogs, it's an important part of learning their boundaries and establishing their places in the pack order. I have to resist the urge to break up every tussle, because Baxter and Kirby need to sort things out in their own way. I do step in occasionally, when things get a bit too rough and furniture is in danger or when I think Baxter deserves a break.

Baxter seems more secure of his place now, but Kirby hasn't given up trying to move up in the pack order. Sorry, Kirby, you may be tenacious, but Baxter gets to keep the "top dog" designation.

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