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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Some of you know we just adopted a bonded pair of Pyr mixes, one male and one female. Baelor, the male, is by far the more dominant one. Shae is timid, fearful, and traumatized from their past treatment. She is particularly uncertain around people and follows him like a shadow, so closely that sometimes she actually steps on him. He loves people so she sort of short-circuits when faced with the choice of detaching from Baelor or staying by him when he approaches for pets. They've only been here 9 days and while she is warming up to us, she will often particularly knock into him when she doesn't want to be near us, jostling past him out the door to the yard or circling around behind him, things like that.

Baelor is remarkably tolerant of this behavior but every so often gives her a barky/snappy correction and she immediately backs off. The foster mom told us about this and said she had spoken to the behavioralist the rescue has on-call and that he told her not to worry, so we were prepared.

The ONLY thing we are half-concerned about is that a few times it was really not clear to us what Shae could have possibly been doing wrong. Maybe 3-4 times since they've been here, it has looked like Baelor got snippy at her for no particular reason when she wasn't right on top of him, but still very close because she's always close. They're still so new, though, and still settling in. We know they're still transitioning and still under at least some stress... or perhaps a lot of stress, in Shae's case. We don't want to overreact when it otherwise looks like behavior we were specifically alerted to and none of these incidents have lasted more than a couple of seconds. He corrects, she stops, he stops, they return to normal interactions. None of these instances seem (seem) to be resource guarding behavior and no one from the rescue had seen any resource guarding from him previously. They get meals in their crates and we don't leave high value treats lying around without supervision, if they don't eat them immediately.

The corrections don't bother us if that's all they are. Most of the time, it's abundantly clear why he's frustrated, and it's usually because she's literally stepping all over him. We just want to keep a close eye on the snapping we can't readily understand.... but there's plenty we don't understand about our dogs and that doesn't mean they're doing anything wrong. It may well be that it's completely and totally not a problem. We're simply unsure and do not know if there's any way for us to distinguish between what's appropriate and what is not/how to do so if there is.

We have a vet appointment Monday so we'll at least bring this up and can certainly contact the foster mom and/or the behavioralist if it's necessary, but in the meantime, can anyone shed any light on this?

Thanks in advance.

ed: Sorry, I posted this in the wrong place, I'm requesting a move!
 

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forgot if you explained before what trauma and miss treatment she has had? Suspicious as a trait as in any breed trait can be over the top in an individual dog, it would not surprise me at all to see a pry be extremely suspicious tripping over themselves to stay away from interaction with humans. As far as correction goes in the guardian breeds a good word to describe was they are "orderly" like things a certain way when it comes to other pack members. I was describing my adult male that I brought into my house hold, and yes orderly was a good description for what was setting him off and the other pack members conformed to his expectations of rules. I have a pup and he wants to run around like a fool rough house with the other two females. it's not allowed. I've have walked out the door to find all the dogs laying down being still with military looks on their faces lol.. And it's because of the male dictates what they can and can't do. Having scuffles with them is how he took this place with them. Never harmed them, subdued them to the ground until they were still, and even when he was bit by the other dog fighting to get away from him , he never lost his composure to put any marks on them. It was to get them to be still and submit and behave to his rules of conduct. He has control of them with just a look in their direction no matter how far away they are. Even when my bitch was near coming into season and the puppy male (inside a separate fence) was greeting the female at the fence , the adult male trotted over, and they all seperated and laid down all being quiet while he sat there. Time with him, bonding with him, learning to live in a home environment with other loose dogs, I have been able to step in and help build his tolerance to not be such a tyrant over everything. He was doing it to correct and teach, never shed blood on the other dogs. The trigger was wanting everything to be orderly by his standards of behavior and conduct.
 

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The trainer who was in charge of the dog play classes I took my dog to said that it's totally fine to let the dogs figure it out for themselves, for what it's worth. He only got involved if the dogs were going too far.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you both. Of course I understand that we have to monitor our individual situation, but this gives me a lot of peace of mind. None of the behavior has surpassed exactly what Patricia described; it has just been a bit more intense than we had yet seen once or twice. No one got hurt and "more intense" means it lasted three seconds instead of two lol, so I think we're OK at the moment.

I haven't really explained their background as far as we know it and we are missing pieces of info, but they came in starved from a terrible hoarding situation. They were in a small kennel run with 5 other dogs and more besides in the house. We're not sure if there was active, physical abuse (being starved is abuse enough for me) or if she in particular was never really socialized with people or even other dogs beyond those living in the kennel. This is about what we know.

I guess the only further comment I have on it right now is that it mostly sounds like as described above, that Baelor just wants things in a certain way-- mostly wants Shae not to step all over him. It was just those few times that it wasn't immediately obvious what he wanted corrected or what she was doing wrong, but the behavior from him still looked like a correction, not instigating a fight, and I'm sure she understood better than we did. Is it possible he does that correction behavior out of pure dominance, and if so, is this necessarily a bad thing or does it just mean he's the more dominant of the two?

Fortunately I know I have the behavioralist if I need them but so far it sounds like it's fine if occasionally startling for everyone lol.
 

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I would only be concerned, personally, if the issue was starting to look like resource guarding. If she is glued to his side and he is getting annoyed with that, I think he has every right to correct her and tell her to back off. He has a right to his personal space, she is in the wrong, and he is being very appropriate about how he communicates his wish for personal space. If she is socially inept you can think of her like a puppy in a way - you'd expect an adult dog to correct a puppy until they understand what's okay and what is not. As he settles in the new home, he may become less tolerant of her clingy behavior.
 

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And you are perfectly ok to step in and assist him to not to have to take matters into his own hands. That helps building tolerance in him that he doesn't always have to take care of it. Hopefully in time she will settle in or learn when directed to go to a safety place that you have shown her over time.

I seperate the adult and the older pup male, they not suppose to live together. But when the pup climbs out of his area and I see he is in with the adult. I calmly walk out and over to the pup and lead him back to his space. I support that my adult male has limits and it has built tolerance beyond what he could achieve in his previous home concerning young adult males. We have some really great group moments spent all together and maybe, maybe not we can expand on it as time goes by with positive experiences. They happy with a strong structure and having their own space. That I can walk out and take care of a situation calmly, with everyone not getting involved letting me take care of the ONE, without interference of it turning into a mob event..
 

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In this rare case, I don't agree ... I usually agree strongly with Patricia. If you can 'protect' Baelor from Shae, then do so. But, I believe that you don't have the option yet, b/c She is still so timid of people, using Baelor as her security blanket. And, I agree with Sydneynicole's description: Shae is acting incorrectly, somewhat like a timid puppy might ... however, she is outside of her puppy license (get out of jail free) age, so Baelor is more emphatic with corrections: "Hey cool it, knock it off!" As long as there is no biting or bloodshed, I don't think you need worry about that interaction.

I'll repeat the suggestion about bond-based training, if Shae is not too timid to be food-driven.
1. Sit on the floor in an open area, like the kitchen or living room - so she doesn't feel trapped, but is close enough to watch.
2. Get a bag of small 1/2 inch cubes of cheese or something similar [My dog loves raw broccoli!].
3. Take a bite of the cube then toss the remainder to Baelor. Then take a bite from another and toss to Shae. That's the ideal situation - continue for 10 - 20 cubes.
4. If Baelor won't 'share', perhaps one of you work with him and one works with her, close enough that Shae is not too scared.
5. If Shae simply won't take the treat, then ignore her, and let her watch Baelor get 5 treats. Stop for a moment, and toss one to her.
If she still won't take a treat, then toss 5 more to Baelor and stop. Repeat this step the next day, etc. until Shae gains some confidence to take a treat.
6. In all cases, take a small bite first, and toss the remainder. Give it a week and look for small improvements.

Be sure to try to take both of them for walks around the neighborhood. The first two weeks may be hard, but after they learn the consistent routine, they may relax into it, and look forward to it.

BTW, Congratulations!!!
 
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