Hey everyone! I'm running into a eensy weensy problem this weekend and need some advice on what to do.
I'm/we're puppy sitting. Bandit and Milo (my friends mini Australian shepherd) are best buds, and love to play together. They share toys pretty well and all that (they only get territorial over food, which hey, I do too so not a big deal we can work around that). When each puppy is isolated from the other's view they are calm and stay out of trouble enough to have free reign of the apartment. HOWEVER when they're together all they want to do is play fight. As time goes on they get more and more into it until I have to hold them both apart to calm them down. Just a little bit ago it actually got to the point where both of them sounded like it wasn't really play fighting any more and when I went to pull them apart neither of them let go of the other (normally they don't bite each other w/any sort of grip). For a min or two after that Milo limped a little. I checked and he's ok, and so is Bandit, but I'm worried. We have Milo for 3 more days (this is day 1 of his visit) and I don't want to spend every waking second staring at them and constantly making sure they aren't ACTUALLY ripping each others faces off. Also, if Milo looses visual contact with people he flips out and starts yelping, so I can't just section them off to vastly different areas. I refuse to neglect my own puppy just because the one we're babysitting has problems being alone. Basically they're both a couple of only children, spoiled brats that are used to getting all of their parents attention and only living by their own schedules. Now that they have to deal with each other this long, share Ben and myself, and both have to compromise their schedules (slightly different eating/sleeping habits for both with visitors), it's not going so well. I want to stress though that by themselves they are very well behaved. Both get along really well with other dogs too. If anything Bandit's a little timid w/other for the first couple of sniffs, then he's excited and ready to play.
How do I make it so they can play together for more than 5 min without them getting too rough and hurting each other? I thought for a while that if one of them started to get hurt they'd both lay off, but neither one of them did and both were making angry and pain sounds. That's the main advice I need. How to help them be as calm together as they are apart. Are they too little for that kind of maturity? Bandit's 5 or 6 months old now, and Milo's a couple of months younger. The only time they can stand next to each other and not be fighting is when I'm in the kitchen (if they think they're getting food basically), but I can't be giving them junk constantly. Any advice you have on this would be greatly appreciated. Oh yeah almost forgot, Bandit's almost got all of his teeth in now and he's hitting puberty, I think maybe that's contributing?
So far my best idea is to use the pen to section off 1/3rd of the apartment for Bandit, and then use the gate and doors to section off the 1/3rd of the opposite side of the apartment for Milo. And I'll sit in the middle where neither of them can (play) attack me and watch tv, do homework, or sleep. Is that the best arrangement possible? I plan on trying this after I wake Bandit up from his nap.
Here's a picture of them playing a couple of weeks ago. Yes, this is when it's still all friendly fun. (I love Bandits face in this one so much I made it my LJ icon)
Sorry this was so long and thanks for the help!!