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Discussion Starter #1
This is a bit of a long story, so be forewarned:

So we recently adopted a 2.5 year old mini dachshund who was neglected but not abused. She lived with my mother-in-law and her 3 dachshunds for about 6 weeks while my dog was recovering from surgery. We initially adopted her because she seemed like a very good match for our current dachshund - a 5.5 year old male dapple. They only met for the first time a few weeks ago, at a park and she has a habit of lunging and barking at other dogs.

When she was with the other three dogs, my MIL reported that she was really nice and sweet and got a long pretty well with them.

Now my current male dog "plays growl". He like tug-of-war a lot and he loves running up and down and making growly noises. He has done that for as long as we've had him which is four years.

I don't know if this noise makes other dogs feel uncomfortable but my new dog has suddenly started getting aggressive every time she hears our old dog growl. Is she jsut trying to protect us? She lunges at our old dog and has bitten him twice. Today she went straight for his neck. Our old dog will not take this lying down, so he of course fights back.

I am wondering if I should bring her to a behavioralist or if it's something my old dog is doing to trigger this sort of behavior and if there is something I can do about it?
 

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I think a behavioralist would help, but you should bring both the dogs. Observing both of them separately and together would help pinpoint what exactly is triggering it, and the signals before a strike. It could be a number of things, possibly she doesn't like how he plays and he's too rough. Because of this, she goes on the defensive and attacks to get him out of her personal space. Perhaps it's like you said, she's trying to protect you guys. Or maybe she doesn't understand his growls are nonthreatening, so the attack is just a reaction to what would be an aggressive sound. It's hard to determine over the net, lol. I'm interested in knowing if you've notice any signs before she strikes, and if you have done anything to block her. Or what do you do when the two interact.
 

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It could just be that, she doesn't like how he plays so she's telling him off. If he's calm most of the time, have her around then, but if it's party time then put her in a crate so she can't get after him. If she gets really worked up then you might want to put her in a bedroom with noise when he's doing that sort of thing.

Storee does not like 'rude' dogs, the ones that rush into her space to grovel and act goofy about it. Hates it! She will correct them every time. If they can walk up and greet normally she's good....
 

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Discussion Starter #4
We've had her for about 3 or 4 weeks and in that time frame, she has attacked him 4 times - till the point now my old dog (Dieter) is scared to even walk near her. He will only sniff her if we are supervising.

The first time she attacked him was when she was chewing on a kong and he walked up to her to sniff the toy. Dieter is really good about sharing toys and would NEVER take anything away from any dog. She (Sofie) lunged at him and bit him on the left leg - a small nip, nothing more than a scratch but Dieter was limping a bit. We were shocked because she didn't even growl. We immediately said "bad dog" and took away the toy. Now we never give her chewy toys unless it's in her crate and Dieter has learned to just leave her alone at that point.

The second time she attacked him was when we were just getting out of bed. The dogs sleep with us and when we get up, they get really excited since they know it's breakfast time. Dieter likes to run up and down the ramp, make play growl noises and run around. To me, that's perfectly normal dog behavior. Something apparently triggered her off and they started fighting.

The third time was when we were out in the yard and we just had new sod put in. The dogs like digging at the dry patches and I was stopping them becasue we needed the grass to grow properly. Sofie (new dog) is pretty good at being reprimanded, she'll stop immediately when told to. Dieter on the other hand loves to dig and will grow if you tell him to stop. So I had to pick him up -- he growls when nervous and is a very jumpy dog. Anyway, he growled at me, and I said "No!". Right at that moment, Sofie came flying by and attacked him. It was terrible, I was so shaken up because the dogs were fighting for nearly 45 seconds and it sounded like someone had died. Dieter was limping with a couple of small scratches and a small puncture mark at the end of it.

The fourth time, was just last night - when he was play growling. The funny thing was that he usually ignores her when he plays - he wants us to toss the toy for him and he loves loves to run around with it and tosses it by himself, trying to simulate "killing". If Sofie manages to get the toy somehow, he'll let her have it. So I think she has no excuse to be nasty to him. She was sitting off by herself at the other end of the room when my husband was playing with Dieter on the couch. After about 5 minutes of watching intently she ran right up and pounced on him. My husband kept telling her no and pushing her off but she kept attacking. Even after my husband picked Dieter up and held him for a good 5 minutes, when he set him down again on the floor, she attacked Dieter - completely unprovoked.

So to answer Wicket's question, I would like to think the "growling" triggers her off, but looking back, that's not necessarily the case because there has been times where he has "play growled" and she's been perfectly fine, so we didn't think to much of it. I know that Dieter will always want to be the dominant dog and won't put up with any dog telling him otherwise. On the other hand, he has been so nice to Sofie and the fact that she is doing this is really heartbreaking. He gets a little standoffish i.e. not wanting to get into the same bed with her etc. but I think it's because he likes having his own space. Most of the time, if we are cuddled on the couch and she comes up, he'll just let her have the couch and he'll go into his own bed.

We treat both the dogs equally - no one gets special attention. Dieter gets belly rubs a bit more because his back sometimes hurts him and it makes him feel better when we massage him. I feed Dieter first and the Sofie at different places in the kitchen. They get raw bones in their own crates and have never fought over that.

I'm just worried that I'm being unfair to both dogs and making them unhappy in some way. Anyway, I will set up a meeting with a behavior specialist - but I thought I would solicit some discussion on this board so I have a clear idea of what to do in the meantime.
 

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Wow, it almost seems random the times Sofie attacks. What comes to mind to me could possibly be Dieter's excitement level is what is triggering her. Until the behavior specialist figures out what could be the problem and offer solutions, I would try to lower Dieter's excitement level and keep him calmer. Maybe not play so rough, tone down the running up and down, etc. in the meantime. Also, I would keep Sofie on a leash (tied to you or just dragging) during this unsure time just in case you cannot stop her before she escalates into the red zone. This way you will be able to catch her before she can get to Dieter. Keep a very close eye on Sofie, the signs she's getting into the "zone" can be very subtle; for example, if she is very quiet, starts to focus on Dieter (like staring), tenses up, etc. If you can find a signal, you can try to interrupt her before she passes the point of no return and attacks. You can maybe try to squeak a toy in her face, give her a little nudge, pet her enthusiastically suddenly, have smelly treats on hand and wave them in front of her, make weird noises to get her attention, anything to break her concentration on Dieter. If you feel comfortable with this last recommendation, you could try to build Sofie's tolerance of Dieter's presences and behaviors. In a very calm, low key environment/room, have Dieter and Sofie together far apart. Point to Dieter, say "Dieter", and give Sofie a treat and praise for looking at him calmly. Keep repeating this a few times. Next get Dieter to do some things, like play with a toy he's not too excited about or doing some simple commands, and reward and praise Sofie for being calm while Dieter does his thing. The goal is to keep rewarding Sofie while Dieter is being Dieter, lol. As time passes, you want Dieter to do more exciting things, and Sofie can be calm while he does them. Do this in every room, on top of furniture, everywhere and anything you can think of. You can try to get to the point where Dieter is play growling or rough playing with one of you, and you reward Sofie for being calm and nice, but I would do this very very slowly. You can always have Sofie on leash for added safety in case she is set off. I think this would help show Sofie that whatever Dieter does is not threatening, and she gets rewarded for being calm and not attacking.

Good luck! I hope the behavior specialist can help you, and everything can be resolved :)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Hi Wicket,

Thanks so much for replying. There was another episode today and this time it left deep puncture wounds. I've been trying to keep them separate and not playing much until the behavior specialist comes (she's booked till next Saturday). We left them alone for about 2 minutes, Sofie got a toy somehow and started fighting again.

We've figured out the two triggers: Toy possession and growling sets her off.

For 95% of the time, the two get along just fine and tolerate each other. The other 5% of the time is when either Sofie gets a toy and Dieter wants to play, or when Dieter is making growly noises.

Right now my concern is that Dieter is very traumatized by the whole issue (sort of being with an abusive wife *eek*) and on top of the fact that he only recovered from surgery a few months ago makes me very sad about the whole issue.
 

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Oh no, I'm so sorry to hear that! I hope Dieter is ok :( I think you should do a whole sweep of the house and put away all the toys and toy-like things you can find, that will prevent one reason for her attacks. Also, when she is out, keep her on a leash and tie her to you (umbilical leash) at all times, so you know where she is 100% of the time. Supervise them every time they are together. What I can tell you for Dieter’s trauma is to try not to feel sorry for him. Try not to comfort him because it will feed the fear. It’s really hard to try to not comfort your little buddy, but it’ll be better for him in the end. Negative energy will only make things worse. Love him, but don’t let him be afraid, encourage him to overcome it and be strong. I hope things are little better now, or at least at a manageable level.
 
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