One Chow for You and One Chow for Me


Peter Wellinga
(Exclusively written for CHOWCHOW.at, the Chow-Chow-Portal © *)and Chow Cousins ©.)

THE FIRST TEDDY

Humans, what can we say about them? They can be very mean and hard. Strangely enough, our hearts melt when we see newborn life, so pure and innocent,

Can you remember your first teddy bear? Probably it all started there; falling in love with a chow puppy. Your first contact with a chow must have been one with lots of excitement. That little fur monster, so cute, so innocent, immediately stole your heart for sure. And did you take it home, not realizing the consequences when that little puppy is growing old? I really hope not!

There he was our little Beer. Only 7 weeks old. Not only had our family fallen in love with him, but the whole neighbourhood too. We went through the whole process of socializing and having him adapted within our family. Of course we had read about how to keep dogs, but I have to admit that we didn’t practice all what was written and said. Yes, a dog knows the pack-order rules. But what does that mean? We didn’t know much about a chow character. But who cares?

Beer was getting all attention and in fact we changed more becoming ‘chow like’, then Beer becoming ‘human like’. With Beer around we started ‘learning on the job’ and became more interested in chows. Talking to chow owners, reading articles and since we were of the opinion “only the best for Beer” we considered getting him a playmate.

A FRIEND FOR BEER?

The discussion started. Is it possible to keep two chows under one roof? What shall it be; another male or now a female? Many so called experts advised to neuter Beer or his (future) playmate in order to avoid serious (fighting) problems. Another important question became the point; ”Do we have the time and commitment to keep two chows?” Of course these are very crucial questions.

We all know that breeders keep often more then one chow. Most of the time, these are only females and maybe one male. But we are no breeder; neither we are interested to become one. Just a simple owner now being interested to extent his ‘chow’ pack in a peaceful way, where all could go freely in our home ‘territory’.

There he came, our little Pau Lin at 9 weeks. Beer was near 2 years old.

We introduced Pau Lin to Beer during a walk and when we walked home, both were wondering. You could see Beer thinking; “Do we have a guest or is he a kind of intruder I have to live with?”


OUR MISTAKE

The months that followed both Beer and Pau Lin became acquainted with each other and we learned that having two chows means more work.

We made one big mistake in spite of all the warnings. Both Beer and Pau Lin were equally treated like children. Pau Lin clearly was showing being a dominant chow. We complete ignored these signals, and even punished Pau Lin.

The first confrontation, when Pau Lin was about 1,5 years old, was very unexpected. Both started a fight in the living one night and in spite of the power release and so the danger, I interfered and took off Pau Lin from Beer.

We discussed the fight with our vet, since we considered Pau Lin being neutered in order to reduce his strong dominancy behaviour. Our vet advised first a so called ‘chemical neutering’ and when after a couple of weeks there is an effect noticeable then a physical castration is making sense. The chemical castration showed no effect!

Due to that fight we became cautious and showed fear for a next fight. We started to separate both from each other until that other unexpected moment…… Again Beer became attacked by Pau Lin and this time it was much more a fight of life and death. The event took at least half an hour and finally both were so tired that the fight stopped by itself. Was there a winner? That is difficult to say. We even started to consider looking for a new good home for Pau Lin. Keeping him would only cause trouble.

I have been always interested in observing and explaining behaviour in humans and after that big fight I started thinking ‘our’ situation over. Finally! Very simple I was able to withdraw several conclusions.

  • We have not been consequent
  • We treated both Beer and Pau Lin being equal, which is not according to the pack-order rules
  • We started to show fear which was easily sensed by both
  • After the first fight we separated them more, which is in fact wrong. It’s better to (controlled) condition both with each other.
  • What about the Alpha in the house?
  • In fact I concluded that Pau Lin was the victim of our mistakes and why should he then leave? We changed our attitude and focused much on being consequent and respecting the real pack-order rules. We had to accept that our beloved Beer had to play the 2nd violin.

    TRUE FRIENDS


    Initially it wasn’t easy but slowly the new approach and efforts showed the desired effects. Yes, Pau Lin and Beer became mates, true mates!

    FROM TWO to THREE


    Many times Pau Lin had been asked for off-spring. We never fulfilled such requests until a couple of years ago. With the ageing of both it wasn’t a bad idea to have at least a son or daughter from Pau Lin in our family.

    We realized the consequences and it was very clear that a female definitely would cause problems between Beer and Pau Lin. Shadow was near 9 weeks old when he was introduced to our place. The little, blue coloured fur immediately started teasing his father and uncle.

    Shadow was sleeping with his father in the same room and we hoped by doing so that the new picking could be set smoothly. After a couple of months it became clear that Shadow wasn’t an easy chow at all and prepared to take over Pau Lin’s position. Shadow was about one year old when he started to challenge his father for the first time. Beer had already accepted the last rank in our family and was only smiling seeing both Shadow and Pau Lin spending their energy in becoming the leader. Thanks our earlier experiences with Beer and Pau Lin it’s much easier to handle the new situation with three (male!) chows around.

    THREE OF A KIND
    Three male chows, all three intact, living under one roof and freely could move in our ‘territory’. We called them the Chow Cousins.
    The three differed in character, but all three had one thing in common. They were really Chows, who could be stubborn and went their own way. However they knew very well what the limits and restrictions. We showed them respect and treated them to the best we can.

    Is it easy to keep more then one Chow?

    Adding a second chow to your ‘pack’ with the idea; “he needs a mate” isn’t always working that way. It’s not fair at all to give it a try and when it’s not working to bring the poor one to a shelter or kennel. When you have decided for a second chow in your pack then go for it. Not for 50% but then for the full 100%. Important aspects in such a decision are having time, being patient and having space.
    It was  a pleasure to observe our 'Cousins' in the way they interacted among each other and with us. Showing respect and love for them, being consequent and keeping control were not only investments but you got lots of love and joy in return.
    Unfortunately Sir Beer crossed the Rainbow bridge, due to his age (13 years and 10 weeks) and his suffering from arthroses. It wasn't easy at all to say goodbye and we noticed that in particular Pau Lin started to suffer. He missed his mate.
    Thanks Shadow's dating Vita Texla Susie, Kaya, a smooth Chow lady, joined her father and grandfather from May 7, 2004 on. Three chows, three generations under one roof.

    It was only for a year... Pau Lin passed away, due to a tumour, on July 15, 2005.  He is missed too.

    FOUR OF A KIND
    But The Chow Cousins Story continued. Shadow mated in 2006 again Susie and on December 16, 2006 Xiong came to our place. So, three again. And....on July 21, 2007 Kiang (Meinte v/h Bossche Front) made the number up to FOUR!

    Now it's for Shadow, Kaya, Xiong and Kiang and..... We go for it!

    Chow Cousins...Forever !

    Peter Wellinga, Netherlands
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