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Second Dog in Home. In over our heads?

1607 Views 14 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  Thracian

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:
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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!
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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?
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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! :)
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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.
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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!
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