We spent over a year searching for the perfect addition to our small pack of dogs. Well, we had one dog, three year old Brutus (a shih-tzu), but he had enough personality/mischief in his eye to make it feel like a pack. We knew he could get lonely during the days we were at work and basically just wanted him to have a best friend that wouldn’t have to leave at the end of the play date.
Chloe was the perfect match. Mature, (five years old), small, (so Brutus would still feel buff) and polite–the perfect balance to Brutie’s vivacious tendencies. Her family was giving her up because of a move and we were honored to be allowed to take her in.
Timid at first, and wary of strangers, she and Brutus seemed like fast friends.
A few weeks into Chloe’s adoption though, a power struggle began to emerge between the two of them. Tension would build for no apparent reason and we would watch them lick their chops as the growls got noisier. All of a sudden, they would be at it—fur flying, teeth bared, vicious sounding barks—a full fledged brawl. We would of course separate them, attempt to calm their frazzled nerves, and even put them in separate rooms.
It kept happening, a few times a week. There were no treats or toys around when the fights broke out though, so we could only assume that they would get riled up because of some canine telepathy-smack talking. Eventually, when it became apparent that these fights were mostly bark and little bite, we decided to just let the dogs play out the conflict until they came to an agreement. They continued to fight for long stretches and we were even worried that we may have to find Chloe a new home.
One day, after a lot of snarling, a bloody lip for Brutus and about an hour and a half of wrestling, the urgent barking ceased. We looked up to see the two shih-tzus locked, face to face. Chloe was perched over Brutus, her front paws quivering on his chest. He was submitting to her. They continued the growling stare down for a few minutes and we couldn’t help but laugh at the intensity of the whole interaction – there was clearly some serious communication happening between them. Eventually Chloe released him and they haven’t fought since.
Seemingly an innocent, sweet girl, Chloe turned out to be a determined fighter. After three months of brawls she had earned her place not only in the household, but as queen of the household. We were pretty proud of her putting bull-headed Brutus in his place, and we saw that he was a more accommodating, friendly dog moving forward, his spoiled, only-child illusions broken.
So, though we would never condone dog fights, Brutus and Chloe’s issue clearly needed to be resolved amongst themselves. Now they really are best friends, always attached at the hip. Have you ever had issues bringing a new pet into the family? Did the animals sort it out themselves?
Noella Schink is a writer from Portland, Maine. She loves travel, food and her dogs! Next time you travel with your pets, she recommends you try the convenience of a rental car from Auto Europe. Rental cars in the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and beyond are the most fun way to see the world with your pets.