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  1. #1
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    Apr. 2, 2004
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    Default Please help me teach these 2 canines to co-exist

    I have a 6 year old 12 pound mutt and my boyfriend has a 40 pound mutt, 2 years old. Both dogs are neutered males. Here's the issue...

    My little guy spends all his time in corners growling. My boyfriends dog thankfully is patient and doesn't have a mean bone in his body. He is completely unphased by the growling and just goes about his life and continues to try to be friends. He'll walk right over to him while he's growling and stand like a statue to be sniffed and has been over the top friendly.

    There have been no altercations but this behavior has been the same for 2 months now and it's wearing on everyone. We were hoping it would work itself out but no luck. If I scold the little one for growling he stops but it always starts up again. And he's fine coexisting quietly if there's food involved or if were going for a walk but not in the house or in the yard if there isn't something "fun" going on.

    It's reaching a point where the thought of finding the little grumbled another family where he'd be an only dog is floating around in my head. But I love him and would really like to try and make this work. He's never been like this before. He's always been grumbly with new dogs but gets over it quickly and has canine friends in all sizes. I guess he just doesn't like this guy?

    Any suggestions would be appreciated.
    Strong promoter of READING the entire post before responding.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr. 1, 2008
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    Default

    what is the history on the little dog?

    has he been with you since he was a puppy?

    has he ever been in a dog fight or injured by another dog?

    The first thing I would do is not allow the bigger dog near the smaller one. I would teach the larger dog to stay away from the smaller dog, and I would make a certain place a "safe zone" for the smaller dog. Like behind me. If I were in the room and the dogs were with me, my smaller dog could be near me or behind me and the bigger dog would be required to stay across the room.

    I would also start working on a Relaxation Protocol with both dogs.



  3. #3
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    Apr. 1, 2008
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    Default

    and one more thing, I would absolutely-under no circumstances-ever punish the growling. It's your cue Little Dog is uncomfortable. You don't want to lose the early warning system.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec. 14, 2006
    Location
    VA
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    1,733

    Default Been there, done that

    with the bf's big goofy dog.

    I echo Threedogpack: teach young dog to leave small dog alone. Standing like a statue while little dog is in a corner growling is no bueno. If young dog is forming the top of a T perpendicular to little dog, there is more going on than letting himself be sniffed (but hey there's lots of communication between animals us 'evolved ones' miss).

    I would put a small crate in the common area the dogs most hang out in so the little one can get in there but bigger one cannot. That can be the safe place. You could also teach bigger dog a "place" or "go to mat" command so both dogs are resting/relaxing under control of a human. You have to protect small dog so he doesn't believe the best defense is a good offense .

    Please never leave the two dogs loose unsupervised. Even if you're just running out for 10mins to get the mail or milk, separate them.

    PS- bf and I broke up after years and years. Never crossed my mind to rehome my dog. My dog was here first and will be here last . But I wish I could take his pup: he would rock in agility!



  5. #5
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    Nov. 1, 2007
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    ....in a classroom in Fl, by the ocean
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by threedogpack View Post
    and one more thing, I would absolutely-under no circumstances-ever punish the growling. It's your cue Little Dog is uncomfortable. You don't want to lose the early warning system.


    Totally agree with this statement. If you take away the growling, his warning sound, he will go straight to biting because you took away a layer of his defense.

    And then he would have bitten with no warning and he will really get in trouble.

    I would like to know if he hides in the corner at your house and your boyfriends house? Or is it just at "his" (your) house?



  6. #6
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    Apr. 1, 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bicoastal View Post
    I would put a small crate in the common area the dogs most hang out in so the little one can get in there but bigger one cannot. That can be the safe place.
    this is a good solution if the little dog can get to it and the bigger dog cannot reach in, should there be trouble.

    Please never leave the two dogs loose unsupervised. Even if you're just running out for 10mins to get the mail or milk, separate them.
    yesyesyes! Dog fights happen in seconds and 10 minutes alone could be a disaster. Good catch Bicoastal.



  7. #7
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    Sep. 7, 2009
    Location
    Lexington, KY
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    Default

    Yes, cues for dominance can be very subtle. Sometimes it just takes a look. Keep them separated (crates are best) unless you are there giving them one on one attention.

    We've finally gotten our two to the point where we can leave them home alone without crating. It was a tough adjustment for them when our other two dogs (both females) died in the last year. My cocker used to keep everyone in line..she was boss.
    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." ~Immanuel Kant



  8. #8
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    Apr. 2, 2004
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    Louisville, KY
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    Default

    Thanks for the suggestions thus far. They are never left alone loose and unsupervised. Big dog has a crate and we have talked about getting a crate for the little guy.

    They are together at my boyfriends house. I live in an apartment and can't have a dog his size here even as a visitor.

    I'm not actively pursuing the idea of revoking but if they can't get along and this does escalate to fighting mine will be the one to go. My boyfriend has a young daughter and the dog is hers. It would be complicated enough for me to be moving in. You can't then get rid of her dog too.

    This is all just things on my mind for down the road nothing immediate. I'd just like to get past these dog issues before we get to that point.
    Strong promoter of READING the entire post before responding.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec. 31, 2000
    Location
    El Paso, TX
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    Default

    Are you walking them briskly together a couple times a day for about 40 min or so? I've found that doing so, really helps dogs bond with each other and releases excess energy which can contribute to anxiety. It needs to be a brisk walk though. ( Not just strolling, letting them sniff the ground and each other.)



  10. #10
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    Apr. 2, 2004
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    Louisville, KY
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    Default

    Thanks for the idea jetsmom. That is when there is the least amount of tension between them but it's usually just once a day. I'll make sure we do more of that.

    I've been trying to be less protective of him and trying to stay out of it ignoring my instincts to jump in because I was afraid my anxiety was adding to his but maybe that's exactly what I'm supposed to be doing. Proving I can keep him safe and that the other dog is under my control. I think I'm going to go back to my instincts on this and make sure I'm in between them or he's in a safe place.

    Ive just been at such a loss as it has never taken him this long to accept a new friend though it seems new friend is a lot more dominant than I thought. I thought he was just being patient but it was actually subtle dominance. I'm glad I posted I feel like I've learned a lot and the whole situation makes a lot more sense now.
    Strong promoter of READING the entire post before responding.



  11. #11
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    Jul. 20, 2010
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    Texarkana, AR
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    Default

    Have you tried crating the big dog so little dog can adjust to new space without big dog being around. I'll ditto not leaving them alone together uncrated. You can also try crating both of them in wire crates side by side, where they can see and smell each other but can't get close enough to do any damage.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun. 14, 2006
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    VA
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    Default

    How often is your dog going over to your BF's? How long have you been doing this? Weeks? Months?

    You also mentioned a child. Is there a child around when you're there?

    If your dog is used to being in his own space (your apt), in a quiet environment, by himself or with you, then I can see how going to another house, on another dog's territory, possibly with more going on as far as noise and activity could be a little worrisome for your pooch.

    If you're only over there with your dog a couple of days a week and have been doing this for a month or two, I wouldn't be ready to throw in the towel yet.

    A couple of thoughts in addition to what others have mentioned....

    Buy him a crate you can have at your house and take your BF's. A little piece of "home" that he can hang out in at BF's. You may want to consider putting a towel over the top/sides so it's more cave like.

    Ditto on the crating of the big dog for a bit. Let the little one get as close as he wants to inspect. Consider crating them next to each other.

    Another thing to try might be to take big dog for a walk and see how little dog behaves in the house.
    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

    Might be a reason, never an excuse...



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar. 4, 2010
    Posts
    1,340

    Default

    My english setter growls at my doberman all the time, and has for the last 3 years. Even if the dbie is in the other room, if Pat thinks he's there, he growls. Jake the dobie doesn't do anything, and Pat never acts on it. I leave them alone all day (with the other dogs) with no problems. No one is ever beat up. When my other dogs occassionally scrap, they seem to be a lot of noise and action, with never any blood to show for it.

    The one time my dogs really got into it, I was dog-sitting my step-father's wire fox terrier. He snapped at one of my dogs, and three dogs decided to put him down. One of me trying to break up a fight between 3 large dogs and one terrier. $800 later at the emergency clinic, the terrier pulled through. But that was an outsider dog messing with my pack dynamics.

    Good luck with your issues. If there's any play they can do that doesn't get competitive (chasing a ball can turn into a fight, for example), I'd encourage it. And maybe taking them both to the dog park? That might encourage some pack feeling between the two of them, with all other outsiders around.

    StG



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul. 20, 1999
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    CA
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by FindersKeepers View Post
    I have a 6 year old 12 pound mutt and my boyfriend has a 40 pound mutt, 2 years old. Both dogs are neutered males. Here's the issue...

    My little guy spends all his time in corners growling. My boyfriends dog thankfully is patient and doesn't have a mean bone in his body. He is completely unphased by the growling and just goes about his life and continues to try to be friends. He'll walk right over to him while he's growling and stand like a statue to be sniffed and has been over the top friendly.

    There have been no altercations but this behavior has been the same for 2 months now and it's wearing on everyone. We were hoping it would work itself out but no luck. If I scold the little one for growling he stops but it always starts up again. And he's fine coexisting quietly if there's food involved or if were going for a walk but not in the house or in the yard if there isn't something "fun" going on.

    It's reaching a point where the thought of finding the little grumbled another family where he'd be an only dog is floating around in my head. But I love him and would really like to try and make this work. He's never been like this before. He's always been grumbly with new dogs but gets over it quickly and has canine friends in all sizes. I guess he just doesn't like this guy?

    Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    Please don't give up your little guy for a boyfriend who may or may not last. How is your dog with other dogs or is he not around others much at all?



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr. 2, 2004
    Location
    Louisville, KY
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    Default

    Don't worry my little guy isn't going anywhere. We aren't living together I was just projecting into the future. The only way he'd be going to a new home is if this escalates to fighting and is consistent and if I'm living there. That's not happening anytime soon. In no where near giving up abd neither is the boyfriend. He's on board 100% with coming up with a solution.

    I'm taking my guy over on the weekend. When he gets there on Friday afternoons he's aline in the house with us for 3+ hours as big dog goes to daycare so that his energy is under control. Then we pick up big dog. They're together for the evening. Ear dinner abd go for a walk. Then big dog goes in his crate to sleep and my munchkin sleeps upstairs on his dog bed from home.

    He's always been grumbly with new dogs but typically after the 3rd or 4th meeting he's over it. This has gone on for 2 months. I waited several months to even bring him over and his first several trips were here alone and then he'd go home. I've been careful to keep meetings short and only 3 weeks ago did he start spending the night.

    The little girl isn't here on the weekends but she has met him abd he's always been great with kids he just doesn't care for canines.

    I am going to get him a crate and start with it at home and bring it with me so he has his own safe place.
    Strong promoter of READING the entire post before responding.



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Oct. 12, 2001
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    Center of the Universe
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    Default

    It's hard to say without seeing what is going on, but the bigger dog may be threatening the small dog, who is, when you think about it, invading the bigger dog's territory. So the small dog is terrified, trying to hide, and growling in self-defense.
    Meeting up in "neutral territory" and taking a good hard walk before mutually going back to the house might work. Or can't you leave the dog at home?



  17. #17
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    Nov. 17, 2001
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    Bryan,Texas
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    Default

    Something to think about: Maybe your little grumbler is telling you something and you are not hearing or listening well enough.



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