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Hi everyone,

My wife and I have 3 adult pekingese dogs, 2 females (munchkin +-7 years old) and (Noxy +- 6 years old), had them both from pups, during September - November last year (we slowly introduced them over a few short meetings and a few sleep overs), we adopted a +-8 year old male Peke – Troy as his owners were relocating to a townhouse that did not allow pets. In December we had both females spayed, the male was already neutered by the previous owner.

We have a few problems with all of them. Firstly the 6 year old Noxy, we assume has a bit of separation anxiety at night as she wakes up and cries, mainly after midnight and before we get up. She doesn’t always do it but lately its been getting worse. The 2 females sleep in the lounge at night and are not allowed in the bedrooms to sleep.

Next is the biggest issue, when we first adopted the male (Troy), they were generally fine with each other, had a few instances of fighting but not bad. Troy has a fear of rain/thunder and lighting and fireworks, the 2 girls sleep through it and its never been an issue for them. But because the prev owners babied him, on old years eve, the fireworks were really bad and he kept scratching the kitchen cupboard doors to try get in to hide and then our older female munchkin (she thinks she is the alpha as we have had her the longest) kept attacking him, so we allowed him to sleep in the bedroom just so we could get some sleep, this was the start, we tried leaving him to sleep with them again on a normal night but he kept trying to get to the bedroom, annoying Munchkin who then attacked him and he now always sleeps in the bedroom as Munchkin always tries to attack him and he is petrified of her now. Even when we are all together she tries to attack him which I feel is jealousy as he sleeps with us and she is not allowed to. We do try give them all equal attention, they share toys fine with no fighting over toys, they have a big yard to run around, we don’t keep them locked inside during the day when we not home, they have free reign of the yard and the lounge/kitchen area, we keep the bedrooms off limits to all 3 during the day, we had cameras set up to monitor them and they don’t fight when we not around. We don’t do any training with them as they are very jealous of each other and end up fighting. The male has gotten very attached to me and does growl at the other 2 if they come close to me and smell him when im petting him, they don’t seem jealous of me petting him though.

I do need to add that we used to live with my wifes parents at one stage which was when we got munchkin and Munchkin saw her dad as the alpha male which could also be an issue with me trying to reprimand her now. The other 2 listen to me fine as we got them both after we moved into our own place.

Next issue is munchkin again, when she was a puppy she used to eat her dry chunks very slowly and the way my father in law got her to eat faster was basically to tease her with his foot near her bowl, she used to attack his foot and then try eat her food as quick as possible. So now she still eats slow however we don’t force her to eat quickly unless we are in a hurry to leave for work but if anyone tries to take her bowl once she is finished she will try bite them, whether the food is finished or not. We do try distract her by walking to the kitchen and opening the fridge or cupboard and then the other person quickly picks up the empty bowl but she has caught on to this so it doesn’t always work.

So my main problems are how to get the youngest to sleep right through the night, how to get the older female and the male to get along a bit better and how to get the older female to not attack for an empty bowl.

Some corrective action we plan to do is, walk them more often, feed them all 3 outside where there is more space and distractions. Give them all 3 each individual attention (we have always tried to do this but then the jealousy kicks in and causes fighting) We will try introduce him back to sleeping with the girls in the lounge, just not sure how easy this will be. Anything else I can try or should consider?

Thanks everyone.
 

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Get three Crates. Feed the dogs in the crates. I feed three dogs in separate locations so they cannot even see each other eat.

Crate train the dogs. Crate them at night in another room (together or apart) and go to sleep. If there are thunderstorms or fireworks, crate all three dogs. The two that are not afraid will pick up on the other dog's fear and you can end up with all three reacting to noise. When it is thundering, cover the fearful dog's crate with a towel if it is a wire crate so the dog feels more secure.

Instead of reprimanding the dogs.. teach them a behavior you want them to do. When they are doing something you don't like, have them do something more acceptable.

Train each dog separately and out of sight of the other two dogs. Again, crate two indoors and take one outside and away and out of sight of the other two and train.

Really.. it's not hard. These dogs just need a little structure and clarity.
 

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I would get rid of this notion that Troy is afraid of fireworks and thunderstorms because his owners "babied" him. Those kinds of fears have a strong genetic component, and you're doing your dog a disservice by acting like it is something that could've been prevented with less "babying".

If you're absolutely sure Noxy doesn't have to go out at night, then ignore the scratching - as in, pretend it's not happening.

Keep Troy and Munchkin separated when there is not someone there directly supervising.

Feed Munchkin somewhere physically separated from the other two dogs, where they can't access or get near her food bowl, and pick up everyone's food bowls once they're empty. She has learned that to get someone to leave her food alone, she needs to attack them. Let her eat in peace for pete's sake! And if you absolutely must take her bowl away, trade her for something very yummy (like a small piece of steak). Since she is already biting people you really should seek out professional help with this behaviour, but here is a good post from well known behaviourist Patricia McConnell about resource guarding: http://www.patriciamcconnell.com/theotherendoftheleash/resource-guarding-treatment-and-prevention

Train one dog at a time with a door or other barrier between you and the dog you're currently training and the other two. If they bark because they're "jealous" that one is being trained, ignore it - they'll learn to get over it and that they'll each get their turn. Give each dog their own "turn" (a few minutes with each dog individually), in the same order each time so that they learn to predict when their turn will be.

Finally, dogs know we're not dogs, and dominance theory has been debunked in dogs. Dogs do not form packs in the same way that wolves do, and the original theory of wolf behaviour that informed pack/dominance theory was based on false and artificial wolf "packs" that we now know were also a misrepresentation of how wolf packs are formed in the wild (family units - not groups of completely unrelated wolves who are always fighting to be top dog, as it were).
 

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You’ve got several good ideas from the previous posts. I hope you can follow up with some of the suggestions.

Here’s a few more comments and ideas. I’ve been teaching and training dogs for 25+ years.

It’s a shame your father in law created such a hostile environment at the bowl. Not only is it dangerous, but it’s sad that your dog is that upset / unhappy. Luckily she hasn’t tried to bite more people yet. Hopefully you don’t have kids around. The dogs need to eat separately (if you’re not willing to use crates, then at least put them in separate rooms with doors closed). Being outside will not solve these issues. If they’re not done in 15 minutes, the bowls come up until their next meal.
You’ll also notice a lot less problem behaviors if you do more work in training, exercising and spending time with each alone. They each need their own confidence, not dependent on how the others act or react.

With the one who tries to bite, I would work with her by tossing a few pieces of food in the bowl while she’s eating (if you can do so without risk of being bit - if you can’t, then you definitely need a professional), then keep adding more and more as she eats. She needs to see people coming near her bowl as good, not bad or threats. You’re adding to her bowl, not trying to take away. I’d do this every meal for a minimum of 2-3 weeks. You should see a huge improvement by then.

Dogs don’t think of anyone as Alpha. Same as no need for “dominance”. This is not how dogs see the world. As mentioned, the whole dominance thing was debunked.
There are humans they trust for consistency and guidance that they trust most. And humans who may be inconsistent or offer very little guidance that they don’t trust or feel secure around.

I’m quite sure your female is not attacking the male because she’s remembering that he slept in the bedroom. Their minds simply do not process things that way. They act on whatever is happening in that moment. He is doing something to upset her.
Noise phobias can be very real and scary. It’s not from spoiling. My female all of a sudden started hating thunder and fireworks. She was fine until last year. She’s 3 1/2 years old and I’m not sure what triggered it. My male could care less.

Jealousy of petting one and not the others is something they will show, but something that happened hours ago isn’t going to make her plot against him. If it wasn’t within seconds, it’s not related.
If he’s that afraid of her, it could get worse and someone Could end up hurt. Please be careful for everyone involved.

Honestly, a professional would be your best bet with all you have going on, but I know not everyone can afford it. Make sure they don’t use any aversive (shock collars, choke or Prong collars, intimidation, etc...) methods as this can make things worse in the long run. If they’re not using force free, Positive reinforcement, then move on.
Best of luck to all of you.
 
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