Help To Avoid difficult child Dog - New Rescue

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Wonderful Family, Oct 28, 2009.

  1. Help! I've adopted a easy child dog and I apparently have a bit of a difficult child dog! I know this board is for the kids; but I've seen several general discussions about rescue dogs and thought someone might have some advice. I've adopted many dogs before, but never experienced this issue – and I think it’s because of the older dog’s personality.

    We have a new dog we adopted from the shelter recently, a 4 month old female black lab (mix likely, but looks and acts all lab). She has done very well in terms of basic obedience training, so she's smart; but she will not leave my 3-year old cavalier alone; regardless of how aggressive the cav gets (he's a male) or what we do. We’ve done all the normal things like limited time, walking together, supervised “quality” time together, etc. But the pup acts as if she never learned how to "act" in a pack?

    To make a long story short – the difficult child is the cavalier, extremely spoiled and a bit picky, but will do absolutely anything as long as you are gentle with him. A rough, aggressive voice (loud is ok) will send him running and make him completely unresponsive.

    Since I can’t change the personality of my difficult child dog, any suggestions on how to get the lab to back-off a bit? I’m open to any thoughts and suggestions. The lab is beautiful, smart and sweet, like my easy child – bouncy and full of life. If easy child figured it out with his brother (human, not dogJ), there has to be a way to get the pup to do so.
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hmmmmmmmmmm. Are they both fixed?

    I do know I was told the new dog should always be introduced slowly into the pack (a pack is the humans and the other animals). Is the lab just trying to play? Often small dogs are not as friendly toward other dogs as big dogs. I have smaller dogs. The friendliest dogs at the dog park are the big labs, boxers, and heck even pitbulls.

    When my little dogs get frightened they yap and nip.
  3. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    This is why I'm considering not adopting a new dog once Molly and Rowdy go to the great dog park in the sky. Betsy doesn't seem to receptive to new dogs in the house.

    I can only tell you what I do. I don't accept aggressive behavior from any dog. Whether the established spoiled one, or the new one added to the family. Facing the same situation (and I have many times) aggressive dog gets a time out and goes into the crate for a period of time. Usually works, but it can take a while for the aggressive one to get the idea that aggression aimed at the new pack member gets him put into the crate.

    That said. I've got Molly the older established elder.....suffering from arthritis, and Betsy the young lab basset mix born into the family who always wants to play. If Molly is hurting......I keep them seperated as Betsy doesn't always get the idea Molly just wants to be left alone. And normally Betsy won't challenge Molly (she adores her) and will go belly up trying to appease.........But last time it happened Molly pushed too far and Betsy went on the attack. So now if Molly is hurting they are seperated into seperate rooms with baby gates.

    Odds are your spaniel (by the way I love that breed) is trying to tell this young wipper snapper that he is the boss. And of course young wipper snapper is thrilled to have a new family and just wants to play cuz he's just a kid.

    Once aggression starts, I myself have had some issues getting it to stop. (some of this is due to other family members not just the dogs) So I keep an eye out, find out what triggers the aggression and do my best not to let it happen. Such as Molly and Betsy being seperated when she's in pain. Also can't give them bones together. Another dog brought into the home cured Molly of sharing bones. And that dog got a new home due to the fact she couldn't stop being agressive with Molly no matter what I tried.

    Sounds like you're taking the right approach though. Just pup is overenthrusiastic about his new family. (and just being a normal puppy lol)

    Others have had more luck with this and will probably be able to give you better advice. :)
  4. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    Two things:

    One--not all dogs "get along" with one another. Sometimes there's nothing you can do about it.

    Two--dogs will teach one another. If the lab has never learned to behave in a pack, the older dog will eventually "teach her a lesson". It might be very painful! but eventually she will "get" it.

    (We recently went through the process of adopting a second dog. Our first choice just did not get along with the older after trying many things, it became obvious that there was going to be some nasty fighting between the two--so we returned the second dog to the shelter before anyone got hurt.

    Our second choice seemed a better "fit" for our family--but even so, she needed to learn her place and there were a few ugly moments when the older dog felt compelled to discipline her for her various offenses. Today--they are inseparable! the best of friends.)

    Good luck!

  5. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Is the pup doing anything that is really hurting the caviler or taking food from it or something intolerable? If not, try leaving them alone by themselves (you can sneak peeks into the room without them knowing it). I have adopted several rescue dogs, too, and a couple have been rather quirkish. My guess is the lab is just being puppyish and the cavilier is trying to "hold" his special place in the house. But time alone without the humans around has always lead to the dogs find their own comfortable way to get along with each other- even if it means "we are going to leave each other alone". I'd suggest not jumping in if one growls only as a warning to the other- not a growl like an attack is about to happen. (I would never let one actually hurrt or "bully" another.)

    The only time this didn't work was when I was fostering a herding breed that was much larger than my small house dogs. The herder did not mean to be aggressive but the nature of his play could have inadvertantly hurt a small dog so I never left them alone together. Your pup should still be small enough to not be able to hurt the cavilier.
  6. The cav is fixed; the lab pup is not but she will be in another 5 weeks since she is still so young.

    The cavalier is trying to correct her; the puppy won't "listen", and then the cavalier turns tail and runs when it gets overwhelming. We have tried several time to let them sort it out; the cavalier hides until the puppy is down for the night. The pup truly just wants to play and he can't understand why the cavalier won't.

    The puppy is not doing anything intolerable - just "in your face."
  7. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Hmmmm. Sounds like then perhaps the spaniel just needs to realize the lab pup has no intentions of hurting him.

    Since there is no fighting going on........and spaniel backs off when it's too much.......maybe just continue to introduce the lab over increasingly longer periods of time. Depending on personality, this can take quite a while.

    We also had a case of two just not able to get along. And had to find them a new home. It happens. But in your case it sounds like your spaniel is a bit afraid of the lab's size?

    I didn't have this with dogs, but have had it with cats. Once the cat figured out the dog (almost always Betsy lol) had no intention of doing harm.......they become the best of friends. And with the cats.......I don't use the seperation technique unless the cat is just getting overwhelmed by the attention. Then I give the cat a break.
  8. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    My advice is dog school and some serious exercise for the pup. The school will teach some discipline (and you, too!), provide a break for both dogs, and some bonding time for the pup to recognize you as the leader of the pack.

    And labs are babies for at least a couple of years. Unless you exercise the heck out of her, these could be very long years for all of you.

    Good luck!

  9. Thanks everyone for the good ideas.

    difficult child starts dog training next week at Petsmart and I'm sure I'll learn a few things as well. I've trained all of my dogs to the point that they are trained off-lead completely, but having a lab baby is different. Also, I'm trying to do as little of the formal trainin as possible for the first few months so that she sees difficult child as her master; he's done a great job with her so far.

    Training my Cav doesn't count for training, a "bad dog" stops him cold - he hates to be scolded.

    Things were a tiny bit better last night and the cav tried once to play with the lab; but then seemed to remember he didn't like her:)

    I did forget about one thing - the chewies. My cav becomes extremely aggressive if other dogs touch his (actually, he thinks they are all his, which will be a problem soon in itself). The pup tried to take one of his last night and it was not a pretty. What was funny was the noise and aggression was short and sweet and to the point; nothing like the continuous "brutual" noises that we've been hearing that last longer. The pup then left him alone for a few hours . . .
  10. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    My two have that issue as well- they do fine with their own toys, but not the chewies/bones. At least one of us has to sit between them when they get them and make sure they only chew on the one they are given. Actually, I don't have to do that anymore as it seems they have learned but it was necessary for a long time to teach them. When they started "eyeing" each others' chew-bones so much that it looked like a fight might start, my son and I just held the dogs and traded which bones they were chewing on and they both would be happy- thinking I guess, that they just got the "better" one. LOL! Since it required our direct supervision and actually sitting with them until they learned not to mess with the other's chew-bone, they only got them when we were watching TV or something.
  11. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Sounds like the pup is beginning to get the idea. You're seeing progress. :) Now what will be funny is later on when pup is full grown and yielding to the dominance of the little spaniel. lol

    Toys aren't an issue here. But chew bones are all together different. Molly gets to chew hers in the livingroom. Betsy in the kitchen with a baby gate seperating them. Once they've lost interest....Mom makes both bones disappear into a special spot neither can get to. They get their chew bones each evening for a while.

    It works. We get no arguing over the bones.

    It's odd. Molly just plain won't share, thanks to the dog who was aggressive about it (and is no longer here-- those fights were nasty), but silly Betsy always wants the bone that Molly has even if she has her own........or wants to play tug o war with them like she does with me (and how Molly used to do with me) ......and Molly just ain't having it. lol

    Betsy was born into the house. Her mother is the one who just couldn't get over her agressive behavior with Molly. She wanted to be dominate, and nothing would change her mind. She moved on to a loving family with no other dogs. But Betsy, every since she was just a teeny lil thing, has always adored Molly. Molly would do her best to ignore her....cuz her Mommy would get mad if Molly so much as looked at the pups until they were older. It took Molly a longish time to where she would finally outright play with Betsy. (long after Mom dog was gone) But that never stopped Betsy from trying. lol

    It's funny. I know when Molly is feeling better cuz that's when she asks to play with Betsy. lol
  12. bby31288

    bby31288 Active Member

    Chewies are a problem in my house too. My oldest dog will take every and any bones you give her or the puppy and will sit in the middle of my bed with them. She doesn't eat them, but she doesn't want Abby to have them either. So we only give chewies when they are seperated. Suzie our older dog will go into the laundry room to her bed. We will close the door and then give Abby a chew. Works out much better!
  13. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Isn't that funny? Chewies were an issue here, too!

    We solved it by only offering the dogs the skinny, little ones that could be eaten all in one sitting.

    So now when they each get their chewy...the older dog eats his first while the younger dog watches from a respectable distance and then when he is completely finished, she will eat hers while he watches. Weird how they feel they have to take turns that way, but it seems to work for them.

    WF--It sounds like your dogs are well on their way to working things out for themselves. Let us know how it goes!

  14. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    This thing with the 'bones' is called "resource guarding', and it is an ingrained reflex in dogs.

    My experience has been that the behaviour is different from any other aggressive behavior you see in dogs. The type of growl and snarl is different, and the entire body posture is very different than that seen in other aggression.

    It ranges from a lunge and a 'huff' to a full out charge at the other dog. In nearly all cases, you are best off letting the dogs work it out. It is very unlikely that they will hurt each other badly, and once the pack pecking order is established, the dogs will work out their own plan for dealing with this.

    Most important of all is that YOU must be the alpha in the pack. Do some reading on this; it is not simply a case of being in control of food and the like. There's a lot of dog psychology involved in it as well.

    Also, any of your dogs MUST be trained to allow you to take food from it's mouth, especially 'high value' items like bones and chewies.