The Struggle for Power!

My foster Labrador Lucas has been here for a week now. He arrived last Tuesday and although I was very excited to have him, it was a day from HELL! I knew it was going to be an adjustment for Oscar, especially in his own  house. We went to meet Lucas at HIS  house the Saturday before he arrived and it was interesting to see the dynamic between the two of them. They clashed a bit… Oscar is VERY dominant. And he is a herder. I think he has Australian Shepherd in him and it is something that is obvious when he is around other dogs (he herds me too sometimes). He definitely tries to control not only the situation but their movements, cutting them off and veering them one way or another as they walk. He also mouths their faces, necks etc. So when Oscar discovered that Lucas did not like his legs touched, that was ALL Oscar focused on. Such a jerk! Poor Lucas could not relax at all and it was a constant battle between them all night.

So Tuesday morning bright and early Lucas arrived at the house and as I expected and feared, all Hell broke loose. Lots of barking, rough housing, jumping, growling, whining, herding, biting, jealousy, running around the living room, stealing toys from each other, pacing, panting… just general unpleasantness and exhaustion. Oscar was relentless in his biting, herding and  mouthing. Poor Lucas could not catch a break ALL DAY LONG and by bedtime both dogs were wiped out completely.

Day One. Competition over the antler and lots of panting...

Day One. Competition over the antler and lots of panting…

Trust me… Mommy was wiped out too. I lost my voice from correcting them both all day long, breaking them up at times when they would get into it and start barking relentlessly at each other I had to yell to be heard. Lucas has to be 100lbs and his bark rattles the windows… so it gets a bit much when they both get going.

But everyone started to settle in and once Lucas realized he was not going anywhere else that day, things got better. All my animals are so well adjusted it astounds me. The cats were both fine with this new addition and their routine seemed unaffected by any of this excitement. They laid right in the middle of the floor without a care of being stepped on or bothered.


Lucas fascinated by Albert and his apparent lack of interest

Day  two was a bit better. I think both dogs were wiped out still from the previous day. That being said I let them both out on the patio with me in the morning as I cleaned the pool filter before I had to get going with my day. I honestly was distracted for maybe a minute taking the filter out of the casing and Lucas walks up to me and shakes himself, covering me with water! HE WAS IN THE POOL!!!! Ugh! I was trying to get out of the house early and now I had to readjust my schedule to dry a gigantic dog. Oscar was wet but not nearly as wet so I grabbed him and pushed him into the house and while again I was not looking, there goes Lucas back in the pool!!! Not only is he HUGE but he has a coat like a Polar bear. It is thick and deep and he stays wet all day… so drying him was… a work out. You know how dogs are when you towel dry them… it is their cue to pace, avoid you, rub up against you and bite the towel.

Suffice it to say I did not get out of the house on time. He IS  a Lab… what did I expect letting him out by the pool unsupervised? Ha! Serves me right! Trust me that was a lesson learned and he has not been in the pool uninvited again.

As the week has progressed things settled down and everyone seems to be getting along fine minus the small bouts of jealousy. The dogs are still jockeying for position here and there. Oscar still likes to show Lucas, who outweighs him by at least 60 lbs, who is the boss of the house (Oscar THINKS it is him but it is really Albert, see picture above). July 4th is always crazy in my neighborhood with fireworks and the dogs freaked out as was expected… but it was over before ya knew it and they passed out. I spent the weekend with both of them in the pool and it was hilarious to see Lucas teaching Oscar swimming and jumping techniques when Lucas does not have a pool at his house. I love Labs! Total water dogs! Oscar was timid in the pool before Lucas arrived.




The pool time wears them both out so well it is perfect in this hot weather. I loves me a tired dog! I have also braved the double walking and taken them both at the same time for my three mile jaunt in the mornings. The first time was awful but by the end of the walk everyone settled into their place in the small pack. Oscar HAS to be in front and will not let Lucas pass him at all. It is quite interesting to witness the communication that goes on. I am only 4’11” and Lucas weighs a little less than i do… so getting yanked all over by two dogs is probably hilarious to the bystander who sees this fiasco in the mornings. But we have done it now a few times and they are getting better. Every now and then Oscar loses his cool because he is used to running with me, and Lucas does not run yet. He is a bit overweight but already getting more into the walks and pace. So the frustration Oscar feels comes out in crazy antics like hopping straight up in the air in front of us and biting the leashes, pulling, yanking and barking. Today I took the big dog home and then took Oscar for a short run just the two of us to get his ya yas out.

All in all it is going well and I LOVE having two big dogs in my house. I would have three more if I could. It has been an adjustment for Lucas too. Normally he eats twice a day and in my house the animals all eat three times a day, smaller meals and all together. It keeps their weight down and they are more active, and social. He is already looking leaner and he is also getting a good amount of exercise every day which I don’t know if he usually gets. Or at least not this much. Between the walks, all day play and the pool, it wears him out…


And so does this crazy one…


In fact they wear each other out and I love it…


So all in all Lucas seems happy and well adjusted, just like everyone else in my animal kingdom. And he is a handsome boy….


~ by Michelle Sammartino-Zeto on July 9, 2013.

One Response to “The Struggle for Power!”

  1. What a treat to see, if exhausting for Mummy. We’re in the midst of a heat wave and all are collapsed on the floor in front of the fans! Cheers

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