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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So we have 3 dogs. 2 of them are brother and sister, who knows what mix of breeds they are. They are 9 years old, so getting up there in age, the female (Toffee) is my moms dog, and the male (cocoa) is my brothers. I recently got a puppy who is 6 months old now, female lab/aussie mix (Nova).
We split our 1/2 acre yard in half, because we got ducks and chickens that Cocoa and Toffee would eat if given the chance. Then we had to make another pen on the chicken half for Nova, because she likes to climb gates :mad: and since she is still young, she can get rough with the chickens. Well my hope is that the 3 dogs can live happily on the dog half together, the problem is, Cocoa is kinda aggressive and territorial. When we take him on walks, the second he sees another dog he starts shaking and whining and even a massage in his muscles cant calm him down, he is very protective of his sister so if a dog goes near her he will stop at nothing to get it, he snarls and growls and snaps. He has never attacked a dog, but has tried. Now that he is getting older he has gotten better, and he has gotten used to Nova through the fence when she is let out for play. I let her and Toffee play together while Cocoa is on his half still. We have tried a muzzle on him and having him on a leash. (he was too focused on getting that thing off his face) Today I let them all off leash, with the muzzle on Cocoa just for a few minutes and when Nova sniffed his butt he just stood there staring at the ground kinda seeming like he wanted to just turn around all of a sudden and snap at her. Which I heard that when dogs greet, their heads are supposed to be up and watching each other and ears are supposed to be back. Should I keep doing this, should I try something different, or just give up completely?? If you have any questions I will do my best to answer them.

Please let me know of anything I can do! Thanks!
 

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good question....im not sure! Someone else will chime in!
 

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It seems to me like you have a few issues going on.

Firstly, it sounds like Cocoa is leash reactive. When you give him a massage when he is reacting, I know the intent is to calm him down, but you are actually effectively rewarding him for behaving that way. You are giving him affection and telling him "good job, you get attention and pets when you try to attack another dog to protect us". The better way to deal with leash reactive dogs is to redirect their attention with a "sit" command and reward when they have re-achieved a calm state.

Secondly, when you introduce Cocoa and Nova, I'd recommend not having Toffee around. A good way to get them used to each other while reducing the chance for fights is to take them for walks together (without Toffee). Walking gives them something to focus on other than "whoa, this is a strange dog, what do I do?". Walking them together gives them a purpose and positive experience while being near each other, but keeps the direct interaction to a minimum. You could introduce Toffee to these walks after making some progress with Cocoa and Nova on their own.

My hope would be that you will find, after a few weeks of daily walks with each other, that Cocoa will be much calmer about Nova's presence, and Nova will have gotten used to Cocoa and will be less likely to be that curious puppy who walks up and bothers him constantly.

About the muzzle - I'm totally okay with the use of muzzles, but if being around Nova is the ONLY time Cocoa is ever muzzled, I would worry that he would associate that negative object and feeling with Nova herself. If he hasn't been muzzle trained, and you feel like it wouldn't be too much of a risk, I'd say leave it off of him for the first walk, but have it in your pocket, and then muzzle him if you start to feel uncomfortable about his behavior.

Remember that dogs feed off of your energy - if you're nervous and anxious when the dogs are introduced, they're more likely to interact in an anxious way. I know it's really hard, but try to breath deeply and stay calm during their interactions :)
 

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We introduced our highly reactive dog to a new puppy recently. We put a muzzle on the reactive dog and let her drag a long line. She acted very aroused at first, but once she was able to sniff the puppy her behavior changed completely.

I think what you are doing is fine, but do not have Toffee present when you are doing to introductions. Hiraeth gives some good advice for leash walking next to each other, but far enough away so they can't touch. We did not do this when doing the first introduction to our puppy, only because this would have amped up our reactive dog since she does not settle in the presence of a strange dog even after hours. I wanted to do an introduction without her having super high adrenaline levels, and walking them together before introduction would have had the opposite effect.

I think it really depends on Cocoa, if you can get him to relax by walking them together then I would try that first.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
So since my mother has been busy and I didnt want to work with the dogs without one other person there, we just got to doing stuff today. I decided not to walk first because Cocoa was never trained by my brother -.- And if there was another dog walking I didnt want him to lash out and take it out on Nova, he also pulls on the leash and its so annoying, so we let her an Cocoa be together without a muzzle on in the yard, he hates water so we had the hose present just in case. He snarled at her a few times and snapped once cause she got too annoying, but he never acted like he wanted to murder her, he kept his eye on her every now and then but he did waaaaayyy better than I expected. I am going to try and walk them tomorrow together, and I am going to do this every day so the three can live together. The only problem is, I would have to get all new fencing on the dog half if they were able to live together -.- I hope they keep making progress, its so cute to see her attempt to play with him, I dont think she knows how to play ball with other dogs cause she always seems so confused XD Its hilarious the stuff she does.

She backed off when he gave her a warning, but thats all he did. I think since he is older and calmer now they may have a chance at living together. In a year or two though I hope to get a second dog and I will have to introduce all over again. Even though Nova has buddies now, I am still taking her to the dog park so she wont end up like Cocoa.

Thanks for the help guys!
 

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Sounds like a great outcome. Male dogs usually don't attack female dogs. And older dogs frequently don't want to be pestered by energetic puppies, so they may snark or intimidate to calm puppies down.

It is interesting that some puppies learn that the older dog is all bark, and the puppy will 'torture' the adult, realizing it won't be eaten ... at that point you have to rescue the adult ;-)

However, continue to be careful with Cocoa when other dogs (or food or toys, etc) are around, until you know how he might react with distractions.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
It is so far, we let them play together everyday and they all seem great, we still watch though just cause its still early and we arent 100% sure yet. They tell her to back off when she goes to their food, but toys arent a problem, cause she doesnt seem to know how she is supposed to play toys with other dogs XD She tries but would much rather just run for no apparent reason.

She has definitely figured this out lol! And the worst part was, she KNEW Cocoa is the one that doesnt like it so she targeted him, and despite his warnings she would not stop barking at him or grabbing his tail to get him to chase her:rolleyes: After 10 minutes I finally went to rescue him and just played with her.

I am :) They have been teaching her manners which I am very happy about, like to not bite or jump etc.
 

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I'm glad your introductions went well and they all seem to be getting along :) I wouldn't ever expect Cocoa and Nova to be best friends, but getting them to tolerate being near each other is a great outcome! I hope the progress continues!
 

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To me this doesn't sound healthy at all. If your dog has to snarl/bark/growl/snap then it's over threshold and not happy with the situation and if the puppy continues to ignore these interactions and still engage you're teaching the reactive dog they need to escalate every time to get the response it's looking for so in the short run you're getting no biting but that doesn't mean that it won't happen eventually when the dog has had enough and learns being passive aggressive isn't working for it. IMO you need to have the pup on a lead/long line and when the dog reacts negatively in anyway you need to drag the puppy away so the reactive dog learns low level signs gets the results that it wants and then work on having positive behavior when the pup is around but the reactive dog is not tense or showing signs that it's too much.

This is the main reason a lot of dogs become bite aggressive in the first place, because other signals fail to work.
 

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This might be an issue with adult dogs, but the behavior and methods described were not aggressive growling, but learning on the part of the puppy, and snarking on the part of the adult, where a snark is usually an appropriate reprimand, although noisy and quick. It's rare that it includes a bite, which is why some pups - like this one - soon realize that it can torture the adult ... and then the owner rescues ... the adult ;-) by putting the puppy into a timeout. Although it's gentle and appears permissive, it can be very effective with dogs that want attention. Independent dogs, such as terriers, may require a different approach.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I always take Nova away after I see Cocoa has just had enough. Nova is getting better about not annoying him though, I dont expect them to bffs either but at least now I know I dont have to worry about him hurting her. Nova gets told by me when she is being too impulsive, and if she doesnt stop she comes in with the chickens instead and doesnt get to be with Cocoa. Today Nova and Toffee were playing, and they both started jumping on Cocoa trying to get him to play, but him being the old fart that he is, he told them to back off :rollseyes:
 
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