Puppy Forum and Dog Forums banner

1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hello,

We recently took in a second dog as a foster on a temporary basis while deciding whether to adopt her permanently. We're running into some aggression issues that we don't really understand.

Here is some background about the dogs. The first is a neutered male beagle/hound mix and weighs 30 lbs. He has had his run of the house previously, but is kept out of the bedroom and bathroom areas. He also has no tail. The new dog is a spayed female beagle/collie mix and weighs 30 lbs.

We met in neutral territory, in a park that neither had been to before. They seemed to get along fine - although she seemed a little shy, they nuzzled and pawed each other a bit and never showed any signs of aggression for the hour we were there. We agreed to take her on a foster basis for a week while we determined if they would be a match.

Since we first met her, we noticed she's a bit skittish. Part of this may be that she's used to living in the country and now she's in a more urban setting. However, she seems generally fearful - doesn't like to go through doors, sometimes will just freeze in her tracks, often has her tail tucked unexplainedly.

Once we brought her home, she became aggressive/dominant(?) towards the male dog, doing things like guarding him out of the room, growling at him, taking his toys while he was playing with them, etc. They don't seem interested in playing with each other. It's a bit confusing to us that she would be the dominant dog because she's so fearful. We don't know why she's acting aggressive. We're a bit scared that she might try to attack us or turn her aggression on us next, but right now she seems very protective of us and tries to "guard" our old dog away from us.

To make things worse, when we're playing outside, he's dominant over her and she acts very submissive.

Today is our first full day with her, so maybe she's just settling in. I don't know though. We both feel like maybe we got into something we shouldn't have and aren't sure where to go from here. We expected all the normal training issues and some kind of dominance issues, but we can't even tell which dog is dominant.

Please help. Any help would be greatly appreciated.:confused::confused:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,966 Posts
Try to avoid thinking of them as dominant or submissive. It sounds to me like the dog is scared and defensive, which explains her aggression. Aggression is very often caused by fear; when the dog is pushed past the "tail between legs" stage, it tends to lash out when it feels vulnerable. Do you know anything about her past?

I would certainly start implementing NILIF with both dogs: http://k9deb.com/nilif.htm Make sure the NILIF is consistently applied by everyone who interacts with the dogs, both the male and the female.

Are either dogs crate-trained?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Hi, Thank you for your quick reply and advice.

We do know a bit about her background. She was found abandoned with a littermate on the roadside in the country at about 6 months. She has been in foster care with about 10 other dogs in the backyard of a country home for the past 3 months. We can't be too sure about her age , but this is our best guess. The foster mother told us that she was very used to country life and may take a while to get used to even hearing cars or bicycles go by.

She has only been in a crate briefly at the foster home and then since we've brougt her home yesterday. We've started her in the crate and she's taken to it pretty well. Already she will go into the crate for a bit of peanut butter and she slept through the night without incident. The other dog has been crate trained since he was a small puppy.

Should we be breaking up any agression that starts? I don't want this to escalate into a fighting situation, but I've also read that not letting them play rough might let the tensions build up. We've been telling her "NO!" whenever she growls or snaps at him.

I will look at the NILIF methods and try to do what I can immediately.

Thank you so much for your help!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
110 Posts
Im currently going through a similar experience with my new dog (getting him used to being with my other dog, who is a dominant female). Also, my mom rescues, so I see this happen a lot.
Many dogs, as mentioned, will lash out when they're feeling scared. My best suggestion is to keep things VERY low key for the first few days. At this point, them fighting is probably making her even more insecure. Then, when she feels a little more comfortable with her surroundings, you can try to let them work it out, as long as them seem to be making progress, she isnt being scared, and he isnt being nasty. I've found a bit of vocalization in the beginning is normal. As far as it escalating, unless you sit there and hold them back from eachother while they're all worked up, I dont think that it will make it worse to separate them at all. Just stick your guy in his crate till he's calm again, and let the new girl get her bearings again.
I've been keeping my dog in her crate while the new dog hangs out. That way, he has space. Then when she's calm, I let her out and they play a little and then lay down.
Yesterday he was acting very intimidated, and today, they're playing. So obviously that works if the dogs arent actually aggressive, and are just trying to work it out.

As far as a transition from country life, Ive found that to be a legitimate problem. When I first got Charlee (dog #1), she was so scared of everything here. She ran backwards from bikes and was scared of cars.
It all has to do with exposure in small amounts. Getting her confident.

Also, it might help to call the previous foster parent and get some info on her, such as if she ever had any problems with aggression in the foster's home. Probably not, but it never hurts to check. The foster parent has had her for a few months, so she knows the dog better than anybody.
Rescue is all about finding a great home for the dog, so I bet the foster parent will be more than willing to help you out in order to ensure that its a good match.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
So things are getting better but we still don't know if they're a match. Still trying to decide whether to keep her at the end of the foster period.

Basically, there are still aggression issues. Her fear is subsiding a little bit, but, very slowly. Last night they were able to play a little bit while we both stood over them, but other than that they don't interact much at all. The worst part seems to be that she sits by us and keeps guarding him out of the room, or relegating him to a corner of the room or hiding under the table.

We had our first "fight" today, but there were no bits, just snarling and growling. A stern "NO!" made them stop, but they still are a little tough.

Anyhow, if anyone has any advice, I'd really appreciate it. We have to decide by this weekend whether we're going to keep her. Right now, we're learning towards no, even though we'd really like to help.

Can she get better? Is it possible? Will they ever play? Will she stop being aggressive towards him? Will he ever stop being relegated to hiding inside our home?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
110 Posts
Dont feel too obligated to keep her if its not working out. Thats the whole point of the week trial, and no foster parent is ever very hurt if the dog is returned because she honestly didnt fit in with the family.

If you dont keep her, she will still find a home. We've had dogs come back numerous times, only to find a home where they are called "angels" and "absolutely perfect".
Finding you the right dog may take some time, and her finding the right home may take time.

She may get better eventually, but you also have to draw a line. You want a second dog to mesh well with the family and make things more fun, not make life a bigger hassle, and stress you and both dogs out.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19 Posts
When I brought home my second dog I encountered similar problems. The two just didn't seem to like each other at all. I have always crate trained my dogs, so I put the new dog's crate right next to my other dog's crate. For the first couple of days, every time I had them out in the house or the yard they growled and snarled at each other. Instead of trying to force them together, I started rotating them in and out of the crates. I would take one out for an hour, and then take the other one out for an hour, and so on. At night, they both slept in their crates and any time I wasn't home they stayed in the crates. After a couple of days doing crate rotation, they both seemed to just get used to each other. I started letting them out at the same time (always supervised of course) and they were fine. No more growling and snarling. Now the two are best friends! Having the crates next to each other gave them a chance to get used to seeing and smelling each other without any pressure to interact (plus I didn't have to worry about a fight breaking out!). I can't say for sure that this will work for you, but it really worked for my dogs.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,415 Posts
Are you taking them for walks together daily (longer ones, 40 min or so, briskly, not stopping to sniff, staying at your side)?

If not, try doing so. Dogs seem to bond and start thinking they are part of the same "pack", so to speak, when walked together.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Thank you all so much for your advice.

Beki: we're feeling much the same way, but we'd like to keep her if we think it's going to work out. We just don't want to end up in a bad situation. it's so hard to tell upfront whether the problem will subside. I guess that's what this week is for, to give us a better idea if she's right for our family.

Gina: I've followed your suggestion and moved their crates next to each other. They seem to be doing fairly well with this although she still gets a little freaked out when she is inside her crate. I guess that can be chalked up to it being her 3rd day in a crate with us.

Nikes: We've been trying to take them on as many long walks as briskly as possible. It is a little tough at times because she's very "stealthy" when she goes to the bathroom and we're still working on getting her to go outside. She didn't even go for the first 24 hours we had her. But today she did her first pee on command, which was good to see.

It looks like we are making progress, we appreciate all your help so much! Now for day #3! :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Well if anyone cares, I thought I'd give an update. It's the end of the third day and I (cautiously) think we've had a breakthrough...

they played together for the first time tonight. our boy came up to her and "bowed" like he's probably tried about 50 times since we brought the new pup home, but this time, she "bowed" back and they nipped at each other and chased each other around a bit, alternately chasing and being chased, alternately rolling onto their backs. They wrestled a bit as well.

I kept a close eye on them to make sure their posture wasn't getting aggressive, and as far as I could tell they were OK. They didn't stiffen up their bodies or get that "curl" around the corners of their mouths that dogs get when they're fighting for real. After I while I clapped loudly and stopped them, then took her outside because I wanted to make sure she didn't pee inside the house.

I don't think this is a fight - if it is, please someone tell me if I'm reading this wrong before I go letting my dogs attack each other. Anyhow, as of right now, we're both cautiously optimistic, and we're thinking the new pup is starting to get comfortable in our home and will be less likely to act aggressively out of fear.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
442 Posts
Yay! I think that's great!

I really think it just takes time for the new dog to figure out what her place is in the pack. I used to volunteer for a rescue and we always told people that the new dog will likely regress in some way. For instance, new behaviors may pop up that the foster parent never saw or a set back in potty training. It can take a new dog 2 weeks to 2 months to really settle in. She just doesn't speak your language yet, if that makes sense.

If you decide to keep her, make sure you get her into obedience training asap. That will help with the bonding process and help her see you as the leader of the pack (so she won't feel the need to "guard" you anymore).

I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
228 Posts
on the going out the door part ... maybe she was trained not too go out until there was a comand .... try like 'OK' or 'OUT' etc ....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Hi again, just checking back in.

We decided to adopt her! She's really doing better about all her issues and we're optimistic that things will only get better as she gets more used to being around us.

Thank you all again for all your help!
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
Top