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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 2.5-yr-old Aussie Terrier named Cobber -- he's a real Teflon dog when it comes to worrying about whether I'm actually annoyed with him about something. He listens okay when it suits him, but retains his determined independence and does what he wants regardless a lot of the time.

Now I also have a 4-mo-old Norwich Terrier puppy, Merlee -- she's happy and wonderful but much more inclined to react to me and my tone.

The problem is when I get annoyed with Cobber, even just "Hey, Cobber, off!" if he's trying to jump on the bed, then Merlee -- who's not doing anything wrong -- takes my tone to heart and tries to head out the door. Me saying, "oh, honey, I'm not mad at you" in a coo-ey, happy voice really doesn't fix what's already been done.

So I'm just wondering how folks do it when you have two different temperaments like this? I absolutely do NOT want Merlee to be afraid of me or think that I'm annoyed with her for ANYthing, because she's about as perfect as can be. But it takes more than a gentle "no" or "ah ah ah!" to even get Cobber's attention. To do that, I need to use a firmer tone, and that seems to convince Merlee I'm aiming it at her.

We do many things separately, so I can be with one at a time, and that's fine. But it's the together times that seem to be causing confusion and hurt feelings, which I don't want.

And then yesterday, one of Merlee's vaccination shots REALLY hurt her -- she screamed when the vet did it. And the whole hip was sore all evening, so when I tried to pick her up so she wouldn't have to take the stairs (she's only 8 lbs and didn't even want to try the stairs herself last night), no matter how gently I lifted her, she would cry, and I just about fell apart trying to apologize, which of course means nothing to a puppy. It was awful.

She's not even looking at me this morning -- I feel like crap.
 

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Tough situation. Poor little Merlee, she sounds like a sweetheart. I wonder if training both of them a positive interrupter would work. With Cobber, it might help focus his attention a little better; with Merlee, it might help her understand that the sound means good things are coming.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Yeah, thinking about it more, I'm just going to have to get softer overall. I trained Cobber with the positive rewards method from the first day I got him; I was just lucky (I guess) that when he would act out, which was often, he didn't really care if it pissed me off or not. And that shaped our relationship. Now I have to reshape my behavior because I have a more sensitive dog to put as my new bottom line in how I come across. So far, I can tell you, it's been difficult for me. Take yesterday, for example. Not only did Merlee have a rough afternoon at the vet's and a rough evening from being so sore after the shots, but the day actually started at 3am yesterday when Cobber got into it with a skunk and then ran back into the house and before I even realized what had happened, he had rubbed himself all over my bedroom. So it was a very bad day for all three of us.

I will try to be infinitely more patient, but I know myself and I am lacking sometimes in the infinite patience department.

Anyone else find themselves in this situation, having to reinvent yourself because the new dog is so much more intuitive and sensitive than the dog they've been used to?

Looking for inspiration here :)
 

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Sounds like you have a plan. It can be hard to reinvent yourself (which is why I didn't suggest it :p ).

Anyone else find themselves in this situation, having to reinvent yourself because the new dog is so much more intuitive and sensitive than the dog they've been used to?
I'm pretty sure there are several folks here who've done that. I'm pretty much softer than even the softest dog, so I've had to become more deliberate in my interactions. Good thing I'm stubborn. :)

I just noticed that you're in central PA - I grew up in that area.
 

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I sort of have this problem. I never thought my adult dog was super soft or cared what I thought, but apparently he melts if I yell at the puppy. He still doesn't really care if I yell at him when he's choosing to do something bad (like counter surfing) but if I sound too harsh when telling the puppy off, he gets upset. I just have to be more positive and upbeat sounding with both of them. Instead of a loud sound to get the puppy to stop pulling the curtains, I just say her name happily and my other dog doesn't get upset.
 

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I have dogs ranging from extremely hard to extremely soft. My solution is to basically stop being harsh/sounding harsh/getting loud in general. It takes some doing and my softer dogs have learned in time that it isn't always them, but mostly I've just learned to lighten up my tone and demeanor all around.
 

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I dont know how mine know when I am talking to them, but they somehow know, because when I scold one, the other doesnt care.

I myself couldnt have a dog like this, which is why I usually go for the hard nosed herding or working breeds, where their only hangup is if you told them they werent doing a good job, and THATS how I get them, they get no praise until they do the "job" or "task" right.

Josefina is like this and we never really were as close as Lincoln and I are and we REALLY grew apart after Lincoln came, and she really attached herself to OH, which is fine with me. OTOH, Lincoln really doesnt like OH fort some reason, dont know if its his personality, or what, but Lincoln just doesnt care for him.

Josefina will shut down if you sneeze and it accidently sounds like the word "no", or if you look at her too much, I can't change my personality, I have a very "hard" personality and am just a naturally gruff and abrasive person, so I need a dog who can handle that. I am not mean or abusive to them, just ... everything seems to come out gruff like, and that can be intimidating to some dogs.
 
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