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Discussion Starter #1
Sorry this will be kinda long, but I hope I can get some insight...

My wife and I have two dogs, a 12yr old Puggle and a Boxer who just turned 1yr. The puggle was never really one to play (nor could she keep up if she wanted to) with the boxer. She was just diagnosed with arthritis and when he tries to play with her he'll paw her in the back and she falls down. We were terrified he would accidentally injury her. So my wife and I began looking into adopting a young puppy/dog to give him someone to play with and keep up with him.

So a week ago my wife was approached by one of her coworkers asking if she was interested in adopting her puppy, an Australian Sheppard. She has kids and another older dog but felt bad because the puppy was in her crate 12-14 hours a day and couldn't give her the attention she needed. My wife called and asked if we could try her out for the weekend and I said yes.

As soon as she got here, her and our Boxer began tearing up our yard. We were very happy because it was the first time we saw him having fun and running around without not requiring us to be with him or not having to take him to the dog park to get the exercise he deserved. They had fun outside and inside would wrestle and chase each other. We were very happy.

Shortly after their first run around, we noticed was that she has a problem with food. She found where we keep our dog's food and laid by it. If our dogs went near her should attempt to bite them. They just shrugged it off but it still bothered us. Then after one of their wrestling sessions I noticed red scratches down the front of my boxer's white chest. I didn't think much of it because it happens and her puppy teeth are very sharp. But then a couple times we heard a cry when playing. We run over and she has his ears in her mouth or is really pulling on his fur and lips. He never gets aggressive back at her and even after he cries he goes right back at her.

Now I've noticed many scabs and scars around his ear, neck and lip area. I'm terrified that this is only going to continue to get worse, and his love for playing with her is making her more abusive in her bites. He is a sweetheart and would never hurt a fly. Now he is beginning to produce excessive yellowish-green eye discharge (which we have a vet appointment in the morning to get checked). I'm praying that it is allergies and nothing severe, but we'll see.

I'm worried that she may not be a right fit. We have taken our dogs to multiple training and agility classes, and plan on doing the same for the Sheppard. Even though she is 4 months, we've already taught her to sit, lay, off and out (for when we are cooking or if she is in a room she shouldn't be in) due to the training we've already gone through with the other two. She is already crate trained and sleeps through the night. Before we decided to take her in, we looked up what they need and she is definitely showing how smart that breed is and her energy is evenly matched with the boxers.

My wife and I want to keep her (and I think the puggle wants her to stay too!). But we've never adopted a dog or puppy before so we can't say exactly for sure the environment she lived in other than the huge amount of time she spent crated during the day. It has only been a week so I'm not as emotionally invested in keeping her as I would be if something happened to my boxer or his temperament.

Basically, what would you fellow dog lovers do in our situation? I'm not used to the scratches or crying when playing, but I also try to consider that she has sharp teeth and he has an underbite that makes me laugh. They are inseparable but at the same time I feel bad with what is happening to him. 20180407_131627.jpg
 

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Just taking your descriptions of the interaction at face value, the main (only?) thing that would concern me is resource guarding the food.

Which, depending on your lifestyle and household set up, can be really manageable and mild guarding by a young pup can potentially be something mostly trainable.

Puppy play can lead to scratches and nips from sharp teeth and nails. Are both dogs playing about equally? Back and forth? Neither yelping with the other not backing off? How do they react if you call them apart or interupt their play?

Boxers and Aussies have very different play styles and Boxers can sometimes annoy other dogs and the same for Aussies with their herding tendancies. But as individuals, if the dogs are happy playing then it can work.

With two young dogs, I would not suggest leaving them to entertain themselves too much. Play is great but each will still need walks and individual training.

Your photo is cute but a little small and blurry (i am on my phone) so maybe her coloring is different in person, but is she a double merle?
 

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First of all - The play stuff is normal puppy stuff - on the part of the puppy. The roughness and so on? Typical of any puppy of any breed, more so of a herder. She may be extra ramped up because of inadequate exercise, but there's nothing wrong with her temperament.

What your problem here actually is is, as you pointed out, that your boxer isn't setting any boundaries.

That means it's down to you. Which means if things get rough and he cries and she doesn't back off, you call her out with a toy or treat, give her a break and release her back to play - or don't, depending on what's going on with your life at that moment, and instead move on to doing something else (training, play with a human, a nap in a crate, whatever).

This means, yeah, lots and lots and lots of work if they're super into each other. Good news is, she'll get the point eventually.

The food guarding thing isn't a big deal to me. Feed the dogs in their crates/separately and don't stress it. This is me, personally. If this doing that you can do right now, probably not this puppy.

If frequent interruptions of play or rough play bothers you, maybe look for an adult companion or rethink how much you feel the need for the boxer to play. Dogs are rough, and puppies are brutal, especially with an adult who won't say 'NOPE' to them.
 

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Your photo is cute but a little small and blurry (i am on my phone) so maybe her coloring is different in person, but is she a double merle?
On my desk top I think just red merle with a normal sized blaze.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Just taking your descriptions of the interaction at face value, the main (only?) thing that would concern me is resource guarding the food.

Which, depending on your lifestyle and household set up, can be really manageable and mild guarding by a young pup can potentially be something mostly trainable.

Puppy play can lead to scratches and nips from sharp teeth and nails. Are both dogs playing about equally? Back and forth? Neither yelping with the other not backing off? How do they react if you call them apart or interupt their play?

Boxers and Aussies have very different play styles and Boxers can sometimes annoy other dogs and the same for Aussies with their herding tendancies. But as individuals, if the dogs are happy playing then it can work.

With two young dogs, I would not suggest leaving them to entertain themselves too much. Play is great but each will still need walks and individual training.

Your photo is cute but a little small and blurry (i am on my phone) so maybe her coloring is different in person, but is she a double merle?
Thank you for your response.

Honestly I'm not that worried about the food. She appears to have calmed down a bit with her watching it, and when she lays down she tends to lay at the base of one of our couches we are sitting on or near her cage. That's why I was immediately concerned at first with how she may have been treated earlier by the other dog or family. I just have never been in a situation where after "playing" one was left with scratches by the other. The boxer didn't do that when we got him at 12 weeks but then again, the puggle made it very apparent she wasn't the playing type.

As for exercise, we have always walked our dogs regularly and made sure they attended training classes. Due to the amount of energy he has we made sure he also attended agility classes. We wanted to get him certified for being a therapy dog but he isn't a good fit for it. We plan on setting her up with the next training sessions when they begin. We have been walking them all together, one of use takes the trained while the other takes her to train her to walk with us.

And to be honest, I'm not sure what the color types are. My coworker who adopts Australian Sheppards immediately told me her coat but I forgot it. Sorry.

Again, thanks for your honest input.

ETA: They both go at it equally honestly. He goes at her while she is on her back and vice versa. They both will go in bow position and wrestle. I know that these are signs of play and I'm honestly fine with it. The aftermath of his skin just worried me.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
First of all - The play stuff is normal puppy stuff - on the part of the puppy. The roughness and so on? Typical of any puppy of any breed, more so of a herder. She may be extra ramped up because of inadequate exercise, but there's nothing wrong with her temperament.

What your problem here actually is is, as you pointed out, that your boxer isn't setting any boundaries.

That means it's down to you. Which means if things get rough and he cries and she doesn't back off, you call her out with a toy or treat, give her a break and release her back to play - or don't, depending on what's going on with your life at that moment, and instead move on to doing something else (training, play with a human, a nap in a crate, whatever).

This means, yeah, lots and lots and lots of work if they're super into each other. Good news is, she'll get the point eventually.

The food guarding thing isn't a big deal to me. Feed the dogs in their crates/separately and don't stress it. This is me, personally. If this doing that you can do right now, probably not this puppy.

If frequent interruptions of play or rough play bothers you, maybe look for an adult companion or rethink how much you feel the need for the boxer to play. Dogs are rough, and puppies are brutal, especially with an adult who won't say 'NOPE' to them.
Thanks for your reply.

We'll begin to interrupt their playing when she begins to display the roughness. I agree about the food guarding. I'm not so much worried about the playing, I just can't remember the marks left behind after with my previous dogs growing up. It just bothered me that I noticed the scratches and how he was ok with it. I just don't want him to be mentally affected by her behavior towards him.

I think a part of me is worried that she is adopted from an unknown environment. That is the major thing I think is bothering me.

As for feeding, we have always fed our puggle in a certain location, and our boxer in his crate while he was crate training. When it is time to feed, he knows exactly where to go. The first night we had her, we began do to the same but her crate is in a different room. Now, they both go to their crate when it is time to eat. So that is not an issue but is good input for the general. Thank you.
 

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Short furred dogs tend to show scratches more easily than thick furred dogs.

Surface scrapes from play are really normal, generally reducing as puppy learns bite inhibition but mostly reducing when puppy loses sharp puppy teeth. Introducing a dremel for nails can help a ton towards keeping them blunted and short.

Superficial nicks and scrapes are much like a skinned knee from backyard soccer, not a problem as long as everyone is having fun playing
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Short furred dogs tend to show scratches more easily than thick furred dogs.

Surface scrapes from play are really normal, generally reducing as puppy learns bite inhibition but mostly reducing when puppy loses sharp puppy teeth. Introducing a dremel for nails can help a ton towards keeping them blunted and short.

Superficial nicks and scrapes are much like a skinned knee from backyard soccer, not a problem as long as everyone is having fun playing
I can see your point. I've never had a long haired dog to be honest. All of my dogs have been short haired but now that I think of it I've never had a dog with white short hair like he has on his chest. So your comments make complete sense. Thank you again.
 

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I'm sorry to everyone for this post. I love my two dogs to death and when I noticed the youngest with his eye gunk and scratches all over him I got worried. We'll know what is behind the eye gunk. Like I said we want to keep her and we have the house and yard for them to play... just worried about certain precursors.

Again, thank you to all for your posts. This really helped calm me down.
 

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I'm glad to read these responses as well. I've been worried lately about our puppy abusing our older dog Rosie. I knew Rosie had a sore on her haunch and when I took her in for grooming I let them know we have a puppy. Sure enough when I picked Rosie up the owner said he had checked her over and she had a "wound" on her chest and two on her hips. I was ready to freak out but he said they were basically superficial, equivilant to scraping a knee. Gracie, our puppy, has nailed us all due to puppy teeth. Rosie just has thick fur due to being an Australian Cattle Dog/border collie mix. I'm sure hoping the play calms down!
 

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Our doberman would leave big scratches on a coworker's frenchie in play and the frenchie loved every second of it, and never even yelped or acted hurt. We had to start separating them if they got too intense.
 

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Generally, its not a good idea to get a dog just to keep another dog company.

But aside from that, the only thing that is really concerning is the guarding, which can be easily remedied by keeping food and anything else she guards out of reach and out of mind. So, you might keep food and bones in a closet, and each dog gets a separate feeding area or are fed in their crates. Bowls are picked up after meals. You need to decide if you can manage that with your lifestyle.

Puppies, especially herdy puppies, are obnoxious and rude players. I don't think the aussie is maliciously hurting your boxer, she just doesn't understand that what she's doing hurts him. Dogs will get hurt when they play rough, and its probably an accident. When you see that she's getting too nippy and is hurting your boxer, its important that you intervene and remove her to calm down.
 

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Lillith just summed up Aussies I think - obnoxious and rude, haha. Atlas played likely just as rough as your little girl when he was that age. Thankfully my parents dog is quick to tell him off if he hurts her (not that is slows him down much...) but he does know when she lays down and is done playing, he better be done too. Once he lost his puppy teeth things did improve - for her and for us!

We spent a lot of time getting to to settle or separating him from the two labradors though as they are significantly more tolerant of his rude behaviour. But hey, now that he’s almost two he’s doing a lot better! I joke, but he has started to improve over the last six months, so you might be managing your little girl for awhile. (Or being a girl she might clue in a lot faster!)
 

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You've gotten good advice. I'm going to repeat some things for emphasis.
1. Aussies have thick hair, so they can be more bite-tolerant than other breeds. Meanwhile, they can nipped pretty hard during play. Your girl hasn't played much (if at all), so she'll have to learn ... and it may take a year or so. Separate them briefly when she is 'too rough.'
2. Adult dogs give young dogs a puppy license to get away with things. That license expires around 10 months, and the adult dogs may be a little more insistent about nipping.
3. As suggested, you can trim her claws with a dremel, or even a human toenail clipper at her age ... removing just the very sharp tip. It's good to get her used to grooming - now, b/c she will need lots more 'maintenance' than the other dogs. I believe that an adult Aussie has an extra thick double coat, and that you may be able to shave her to a neat level (Not to the skin!) in the summer without exposing her to sunburn. Talk to the Vet before having her shaved.
4. She will start to lose her puppy teeth about now, and she'll be teething as her adult teeth coming in, making her gums her. So, she may be a little cazier that normal for a month or so...
5. Aussies are whip-smart and can be more biddable and easier to train than even boxers. So keep up with her training, working her mind as much as possible. Get ready to teach her "Quiet", because when she learns to bark, it can be cute, until it is insistent. Some Aussies never bark - you won't know until she ... learns. Also, start teaching her to catch a ball and to retrieve it - it can help burn off energy. But, limit the amount of time fetching, no more than 30 min. for now, because Aussies can get obsessive about Fetch.
6. Start exposing her to lots and lots of friendly people, places, and kids, so that she'll get used to things, locations, experiences, and people, and won't be scared of new things or people. She may be friendly and confident now, but in a month or two she may go through a life cycle where she is tentative around new things. Exposure now is simpler than months of 're-exposure' later...
7. As herding dogs, Aussies can be independent, but they love their people. Some Aussies are very good about having low prey drive, not chasing cats, squirrels, etc., and not wandering from from owners. It can be easy to train her to walk on a loose leash, and you may find that she has a great recall, and doesn't wander, even off-leash. Work on recall now, and explore her off-leash in a safe, fenced in field.
 
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