This week, I took the pups to the vet. $215 later I decided I should have just had children because at least their health care is covered. And eventually, they grow up and get jobs and pay for their own crap. But I digress.
This was a new vet at the old vet place and I think I like her very much. At first (with Dez and Davy) we had the kind and friendly be-mustached woman. Then we had the gruff, I-am-so-important-because-I'm-a-doctor, middle aged be-mustached man. (He was the one who put Dez down for us and was annoyed when we interrupted his lunch because she was finally ready for her last shot and then we decided we just couldn't watch.) Finally, we had the kind and friendly, middle aged, be-mustached man. This new one seems very sweet and caring and likes the dogs and told me I'm a good dog mom. I like her. But I digress.
I talked to the new vet (with no mustache!) about Vicki's behaviour of late. Vicki has been more and more aggressive with Montel. Most of her attacks result in Monty's blood or mine. The vet explained that neither is Vicki a bad dog, nor am I a bad dog mommy. Apparently, Vicki is sensing that Montel's status is changing within the pack. Being that she is used to be over him, this is causing her great stress. The vet says its not that she's a bad dog, but we have to either teach Montel how to maintain authority over Vicki or we have to help Vicki re-establish her control over him. If we can do that, order will be restored and no more late night bleeding and crying sessions. At least, not over dog fights.
Since moving all three dogs into the same house, we've been giving Montel extra attention -humans tend to coddle the weak. This has been confusing to Vicki. She thinks we are trying to establish Monty as being ahead of her in the pack. That's why she attacks him and that's why after we separate them Vicki immediately runs to Montel and bites him - even if her heart's not in it anymore. It's to establish that she is princess. (Lyn does this too - suddenly it all makes sense.)
The vet sent me an article with all these interesting things to do for the dogs to get them back in the right pecking order - like giving treats and food in this order: Maddy, Vicki and Montel. The article also said for humans NOT to get in the way of the fight - Vicki senses it as just one more thing she has to fight.
The article also explains why they NEVER fight like that on walks - dogs have different pack levels in different areas. Montel is the lead dog on the walks. So he calls the shots (and eats Vicki's leash) and Vicki just goes for the ride. But in the house, it's totally different.
The only problem that I can foresee is the article also said that if we can't get the balance of order re-established that the aggressor dog (Vicki) will have to be moved to another home and won't be able to be back with the lesser dog again. Since that would make me very sad (and SiL Mel and brother Grae already said they don't want her) I will have to figure this out.