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I’m sorry in advance since this is long and rambling but it’s been a trying 2 days.

We just brought a new dog into our home yesterday. We already had a 2-3 year old female Foxhound mix named Riley who is extremely aloof and independent but overall well behaved and chill. She’s also very stubborn. Riley’s obedience skills are extremely minimal, she can sit on command but that’s it. Teaching her to focus or recall has been difficult, and we honestly can’t tell if she’s hard of hearing somehow or extremely good at ignoring us. She’s not highly motivated by anything.

The dog we brought home is 1.5 year old fixed Chi/Doxie mix named Jovi. We know nothing about his past but he is housebroken and learned somewhere that sitting down might get him what he wants though he doesn’t seem to know the word.

I’ll admit we have already messed up. Unfortunately we plopped them together in the backyard and then in the house and thought it was great when they immediately got super excited and started to chase each other and play. Now it’s day two and the second Riley and Jovi see one another it’s total wrestlemania. Jovi will bite at Riley’s neck, ears and especially her legs to the point where he almost trips her. Riley will play fight back as well but it seems like she gets goaded into it half the time, even if she sits or lies down Jovi will try and keep wrestling. When they do wrestle Riley will get on the ground and Jovi will stand over her and nibble at her neck. They both do a lot of the open mouth at each other and Riley will bite at his ears and legs but Jovi doesn’t get on the ground like she does. He also doesn’t play bow to initiate, he’ll nip at her chin and neck. Once she snarled at him but we really haven’t seen her give a correction, but we also don’t know if she’s just getting too overwhelmed to do it. Once or twice Riley has just stood there and not responded and Jovi will back off and leave her be for a few minutes after several attempts.

When we let them outside together it’s worse, the play fighting gets more intense and Jovi will chase Riley, and today when it happened Riley got backed into a corner and got super tense. I made Jovi back off before anything escalated by body blocking him until he stopped trying to go for Riley. Then he laid down and show his belly.

The confusing thing is if we try and separate them by picking Jovi up Riley will follow whoever is holding him like she wants to keep playing. Regardless, it’s all far too intense for us.

This afternoon we did try keeping them on separate levels of the house with a baby gate and they both did well. Thankfully so far they haven’t gone crazy if they can see but can’t get to one another, and neither of them will sit at the gate and look for the other. It seems like the option for physical contact is too much.

How can we correct this? I’m planning on getting Jovi a crate and crate training him, and also keeping the dogs physically separated 99 percent of the time using baby gates, and keep their interactions supervisors and short, but I’m not sure about any of the finer details, what else to do or how long to do it for. Everything I can find online either is about introducing a puppy or just covers the very first meeting.

Should I walk them together? How can we get them acclimated so they aren’t so obsessed with one another? When they do interact without a barrier how should it go, should we allow them to wrestle at all? I’m not sure if not allowing it or breaking it up and separating them again if it started would make things worse. Also how should sleeping arrangements work when Riley is used to sleeping on the couch in the living room? The last 2 nights Jovi has slept on the couch as well laying on my Mom who usually sleeps on the couch anyway. Is it possible once Jovi is crate trained to have him sleep shut in the crate in the same room as Riley while she’s not confined? Also where should Jovi be given the option to sleep during the crate training process?

I would really appreciate any advice or resources anyone can provide on how to navigate this.

TLDR: Old dog and brand new dog wrestle and play fight nonstop at every opportunity and it’s too intense. How can we get them to acclimate and calm down?
 

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Please, note, some dogs are just really intense players. It looks pretty bad to humans, but as long as there is give and take (for example, dogs taking turns being the "winner" and "loser") and the dogs are responding when the other says "Okay, I'm done", it's usually not an issue. You might want to have a trainer come in and show you what is normal wrestling behavior, and when you might want to step in. It's difficult for a bunch of internet strangers to evaluate what's actually happening.

That being said, it does sound like Jovi is being a bit pushy. Separating and allowing both to cool down for a while is a good idea. If Riley is trying to relax and Jovi tries to play, I would also remove Jovi. Riley will learn that you have her back when the little is being a goof.

Keeping them separated by baby gates when you can't supervise is also a good idea. It's fine for Jovi to sleep in his crate, or any place that he is physically separated from Riley. If Riley is sticking to her normal bedtime routine, I would allow her to keep sleeping on the couch.

For now, I would be walking and training the dogs separately. You want the new dog to build a relationship with you.

Continue keeping them separated when you can't supervise, and eventually they won't be such novel creatures to each other. Limit play times for now, and re-evaluate once each dog has time to adjust to their new normal.
 
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