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My boyfriend and I want to get another dog together. He already has a dog who is a Shih Tzu. She is 5 years old. We are trying to decide what breed of dog would be best for all of us (including Tori). We are debating between a pomeranian and a Goldendoodle.
We want to know which breed would be better for Tori. She has some issues with authority. We have tried and tried to train her. I have been living with my boyfriend for about a year and she still growls at me. She even growls at my boyfriend. She growls at us when we touch her, pick her up, and when I sit too close to my boyfriend. If I make any sudden moves towards my boyfriend, she growls. If I hug my boyfriend, she growls. My boyfriend and I both think that getting another dog might help her behavior. My boyfriend thinks she is stressed because she is the only dog in the "pack" so she is worried all the time about being responsible for her pack. I think she thinks she is the center of the universe. I think she thinks she is allowed to do whatever she wants because she is the only dog in the house and she thinks she can just run the world. So we both think that getting another dog might help.
Our dilemma is which dog breed to get. I am worried that getting another small dog will be bad for Tori. I worry about "little man syndrome" as a potential problem. I don't want both little dogs to feed off of each other and I worry that if we get a small dog when they're a puppy that Tori will teach it bad habits about growling and barking. Don't get me wrong, I think a pomeranian would be cute and great, but I worry. I thought a Goldendoodle would be a good option because they are pretty mild-mannered when it comes to aggression. I have read many things saying they are not aggressive at all and they are obedient and want to please their owners (which is what I want because of Tori).
So, if anyone could give me some advice on which breed I should look into more or if there is a specialist I can talk to about this, that would be great!
Thanks!
 

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My boyfriend and I want to get another dog together. He already has a dog who is a Shih Tzu. She is 5 years old. We are trying to decide what breed of dog would be best for all of us (including Tori). We are debating between a pomeranian and a Goldendoodle.
We want to know which breed would be better for Tori. She has some issues with authority. We have tried and tried to train her. I have been living with my boyfriend for about a year and she still growls at me. She even growls at my boyfriend. She growls at us when we touch her, pick her up, and when I sit too close to my boyfriend. If I make any sudden moves towards my boyfriend, she growls. If I hug my boyfriend, she growls. My boyfriend and I both think that getting another dog might help her behavior. My boyfriend thinks she is stressed because she is the only dog in the "pack" so she is worried all the time about being responsible for her pack. I think she thinks she is the center of the universe. I think she thinks she is allowed to do whatever she wants because she is the only dog in the house and she thinks she can just run the world. So we both think that getting another dog might help.
Our dilemma is which dog breed to get. I am worried that getting another small dog will be bad for Tori. I worry about "little man syndrome" as a potential problem. I don't want both little dogs to feed off of each other and I worry that if we get a small dog when they're a puppy that Tori will teach it bad habits about growling and barking. Don't get me wrong, I think a pomeranian would be cute and great, but I worry. I thought a Goldendoodle would be a good option because they are pretty mild-mannered when it comes to aggression. I have read many things saying they are not aggressive at all and they are obedient and want to please their owners (which is what I want because of Tori).
So, if anyone could give me some advice on which breed I should look into more or if there is a specialist I can talk to about this, that would be great!
Thanks!
Do NOT bring another dog into this household.

Pack theory and dominance theory have been thoroughly debunked. She isn't stressed because she's the only dog in the household, she's stressed because you're touching her and picking her up when she clearly doesn't want to be. She's growling at you to tell you she doesn't like what you're doing and will you please stop. But still, you persist.

That's problem 1.

The second problem you have is she clearly has resource guarding issues -, that's why she growls at you when you hug your boyfriend. Your boyfriend is a highly valuable resource to her.

Doesn't matter what breed you get -, Tori is more likely to influence it's behaviour than the pup is to influence hers.

Problem 3 is you making sudden movements around her.

If you continue to ignore the growling, she will escalate. And that means biting.

Don't touch her unless she approaches you and asks you. If she does, stroke her for 5 seconds and take your hand away. If she wants more, she will ask for it - a head movement, a paw lift, nudging you - she'll give a clear indication to continue in the 2 seconds after you stop. No indication, no more petting.

Do not lift her up. Again, unless she asks for it.

For your boyfriend - she needs to see you're not going to take the boyfriend away from her, so you need to become as equally high a resource as he is. Drop a treat beside her as you approach him. You cuddle your BF, she gets a treat. Also, do some training with her ,using positive reinforcement - check out Kikopup on YouTube, as well as blogs such as;
Positively.com

Victoria Stillwell has a blog on Resource Guarding, so I'm linking you to that, too
Positively.com _ Resource Guarding

The Canine Consultants

I'd also recommend the book, Doggy Language by Lili Chin.

By getting a dog now, you'll make even more problems for yourself. You need to fix the problems she has before you bring another dog into this household.
 

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It's generally not a good idea to get a second dog with the idea that it'll fix or improve some behavior problem in the first. Especially the issues you're describing - she honestly sounds like a very anxious dog who lacks confidence and security in her life (and seems likely to also have some resource guarding issues over your boyfriend). Adding a new dog - especially a puppy - will make her life a lot more chaotic, stressful, and unpredictable, which may well make her worse, whichever breed you choose.

I'd urge you to to talk to a dog behaviorist (not a trainer, someone certified specifically to address behavior issues) or do some independent reading/research on anxious dogs and resource guarding of humans before trying to fix this with a new dog. You describe behaviors that are very typical of dogs who find their environment unpredictable and a little scary and feel they have to resort to 'aggressive' or 'nasty' behaviors to have some control over it.

'Little dog syndrome' is nearly entirely a human problem - since they're so tiny, we are much more likely to pick them up, move them, restrain them, etc. without even thinking about it in ways that make them feel uncomfortable and unsafe. Very often the dogs give subtle signals that this upsets them and makes them uncomfortable, but humans aren't great at instinctively reading the tiny body language communications of dogs (tension around the eyes, lip licking, a lumpy whisker bed, etc), and so they learn that humans will only listen if they give clearer signals - which are usually growling, snapping, and/or biting.

I'd say your boyfriend is closer - she is stressed - but domestic dogs aren't pack animals and don't follow a strict pack hierarchy. They do, however, like structure and clear communication from their owners, and many find physical manipulation (being picked up, moved around, etc.) scary or uncomfortable. Personally, I'd start by imagining she's 70lbs and think about what you'd do differently. Train a command for 'up' and 'off' the furniture instead of lifting her on and off (stairs may be necessary if she's really small)? Sit with her on the floor and pet her so she can choose to walk away if she wants instead of picking her up to cuddle? Teaching her to go to a crate/pen/bed on her own instead of placing her in/on these places when you need her to be out of the way? These are all general suggestions - there will be differences depending on your particular household of course - but the general idea is that if you give her more autonomy to move under her own power, she'll slowly stop seeing hands/people approaching her as a big flashing danger sign that something uncomfortable and/or scary is about to happen.

The guarding issue over your boyfriend is separate, and I won't go into a ton of detail since this is already getting long, but the book Mine! by Jean Donaldson focuses entirely on resource guarding (it'll talk a lot about guarding food and toys, but a person can also be a valuable 'resource' a dog sees as worth guarding). It's also quite short and inexpensive, focusing on the root of why dogs act like this and what you can do about it.

I know it's not what you asked for, but please take some time to think about what I've said. You could be setting up a situation where her behavior escalates severely by introducing another dog at this point, but there's plenty you can do to improve her behavior issues by looking at this from a different perspective!
 
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