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Old 12-29-2013, 11:51 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Dominant, bullying behavior? How to stop it?

Dominant, bullying behavior? How to stop it?

We have two dogs, an 8 yr old small mutt named Addy, and a 3 yr old German Shepherd Dog named Nika. When I brought Nika home as a small puppy, she was in that biting phase, and the older mutt Addy wasn’t thrilled with her. Addy did a good job of letting her feelings be known to Nika by showing her teeth and growling and grumbling. It took about a year before Addy would even play with Nika. These days, they MOSTLY get along.

Fast forward to today…
Nika seems to be bullying Addy, and we are trying to stop the behavior. Some of the things she does are:

-Nika drops mouthfuls of food around their room and then barks at Addy when Addy walks near the small pile. This includes the piles of food Nika drops in Addy’s crate. We bought the dogs a big pillow to lay on, and Nika started dropping her piles of food on the pillow to keep Addy off of it.

-Nika sleeps in Addy’s crate a lot of the time, even though we have shown her what crate is hers. If you tell the dogs to get in their crates, Nika goes directly to her crate, but we’ve been spying on them with a CCTV camera, and when they are in their room alone, Nika often goes to sleep in Addy’s crate.

-When Addy is playing with a toy or chewing on a bone, Nika will walk up and take it from Addy. When Addy picks up the next closest toy to play with, Nika then walks over and takes that toy from her. It just goes on and on like this. We often take the toys back and give them to Addy, but nothing changes. Its actually gotten to the point were Addy has learned to take advantage of this behavior. If Nika is playing with a toy that Addy wants, Addy will start playing with another toy knowing that Nika will drop whatever she is playing with to take the toy from Addy. So then Addy will go pick up the toy she wants to play with.

-If we are petting Addy, Nika will bulldoze her way in and bodily push Addy out of the way to get our attention. But again, Addy knows this behavior well now, and will grab a toy to play with so Nika will run over to take it from her, and then Addy will come back to attention.

-If Addy goes into their room for any reason, Nika has to jump up and follow her in to see what she is doing. If we are petting or playing with Nika, and Addy walks into the room, Nika has to jump up and supervise Addy in the room. She also will block Addy from going into the room at times, and will bark at her.

Nika is a loving German Shepherd Dog to us, but we’re concerned about her bullying behavior to our older dog. We’ve been correcting the behavior as we see it, but it doesn’t look like we’re making any traction.

Last edited by 03rangerxlt; 12-29-2013 at 11:56 AM.
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Old 12-29-2013, 12:12 PM   #2 (permalink)
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......

Last edited by MadLab; 12-29-2013 at 12:14 PM. Reason: double post
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Old 12-29-2013, 12:13 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Nika drops mouthfuls of food around their room and then barks at Addy when Addy walks near the small pile.

Fed dogs by holding bowl over there head. When dog makes eye contact for a moment put bowl down. When it seems like it is finished, take away food. Then the dog will get used to this feeding time and stop playing with food.

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Nika sleeps in Addy’s crate a lot of the time, even though we have shown her what crate is hers
When you see her in his crate simple get her out and put in her own crate

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When Addy is playing with a toy or chewing on a bone, Nika will walk up and take it from Addy. When Addy picks up the next closest toy to play with, Nika then walks over and takes that toy from her.
Do the same to Nika. Walk up and take her toy. Easy way to deal with dogs like this is treat them the same way as they are treating the weaker dog.

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If we are petting Addy, Nika will bulldoze her way in and bodily push Addy out of the way to get our attention.

I would just shove Nika back and put her in a sit and continue with the other dog. Sometimes get Nika and give her a good massage and show her you have strength and she'll get all the affection she wants but not when you are petting Addy

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If Addy goes into their room for any reason, Nika has to jump up and follow her in to see what she is doing.
Practice a place command for Nika other than the crate like a dog bed or blanket or whatever. When she is going following Addy tell her to go back to the place. Let her know when you give a command you expect her to comply. It is about developing a bit of discipline for Nika.

Last edited by MadLab; 12-29-2013 at 12:17 PM.
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Old 12-29-2013, 12:23 PM   #4 (permalink)
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In addition to the above, keep the gsd pup on a lead so you can pull her away from the activity she's doing, don't leave the food out long enough for her to play games with it. I also pm'ed you!
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Old 12-30-2013, 08:41 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks you two for the replies.

My wife and I started putting some of the stuff into motion immediately!

We've collected all of the toys and put them in a basket in a central location that is not in their dog room so that we can manage them as opposed to letting Nika manage them.

We are managing Nika's food. If she doesn't eat it in a reasonable amount of time (the other dog eats her food with-in mere minutes of it being put down), she looses it! We are not letting her take the food from her bowl either; she needs to eat it where her food bowl is or I throw that mouthful of food back in the food bin.

We've designated a corner of the living room as Nika's corner. Several times yesterday, I took her to this corner and told her to sit in her corner. She is a quick learner, and she when she took a toy from Addy, my wife took it from her and told her to sit in her corner. She ran over to her corner and was looking at us with the, "Can I come out and play now" look.

We also made Nika sit in the corner while my wife took Addy into their room without Nika being able to be present. Nika hated this, as her ears were all perked up and she was trying to look around the couch to see into the dogs' room. But, she needs to learn that it is not just her territory.

My wife and I also took some time to show Nika who truly is boss in the house. We took turns firmly holding on to her on the floor and petting her. In the past, she has always squirmed away from us when we have tried to lay on the floor with her (in the past, all of my dogs have let me use them as pillows). This time, we were firm and bossed her into doing what we wanted her to do.

My Boy Diesel, I don't think we are at risk right now for what you said might happen to our older dog in your PM. But, we recognize that the behavior could progress to that point in the future if left unchecked. That's why we are looking to modify her behavior before we see any more aggressive behavior from her. That link you sent us seemed to provide a lot of good info, by the way.

I've grown up with so many dogs, yet this particular dog seems to be a hard one to raise. And the funny thing is that from reading posts on here, the "bad" things I've experienced with this dog are pretty normal for this breed.

One thing that blows my mind though, is with her dominating behavior over the slightly smaller and older dog, if I walk into the room the wrong way or show even slightly aggressive body language, she drops and submissively pees!
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Old 12-30-2013, 09:43 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by 03rangerxlt View Post
My wife and I also took some time to show Nika who truly is boss in the house. We took turns firmly holding on to her on the floor and petting her. In the past, she has always squirmed away from us when we have tried to lay on the floor with her (in the past, all of my dogs have let me use them as pillows). This time, we were firm and bossed her into doing what we wanted her to do.
Don't do this. Now you are simply being the bully. You are doing a lot of good things to manage their interactions without having to get physical and it's working so why do this? GSDs are not pillow type dogs. Let go of what your dogs in the past have done and respect the dog you have now.
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Old 12-30-2013, 09:47 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Don't do this. Now you are simply being the bully. You are doing a lot of good things to manage their interactions without having to get physical and it's working so why do this? GSDs are not pillow type dogs. Let go of what your dogs in the past have done and respect the dog you have now.
I agree! Why do that?

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Old 12-30-2013, 11:14 AM   #8 (permalink)
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The whole point of keeping her leashed and crate when not supervised is to "show her who is boss". As "boss" you control the resources, you don't have to pin her down and you're going to make her submissive peeing worse. you're already controlling her food and space, there's no need to pin her down and sit on her. those are old fashioned and out dated ideas that need to be disposed of.
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Old 12-30-2013, 11:36 AM   #9 (permalink)
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It was suggested to me by a handler at work about a year ago. I didn't try it until yesterday, and she seemed to take it pretty well. But, I think we wont continue it if there is a chance of "making her worse."
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Old 12-30-2013, 11:51 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I'd suggest you to do what my grandfather did who had 11 hunting dogs at once. Leash them for the start and tether making some distance between your dogs in your kitchen. Place a stool in the middle for yourself. Ask them to sit ( they should keep sitting all the time ) and feed tiny bits of (cheese) one dog at a time. Each of them should wait for their turn. This exercise tell them that they are not adults, but still puppies. In addition mouthfeed your "alpha" - again, it tells her that she is little, thus in a position of inferior.
Though the whole pack hunts a (deer), only the alpha eats first. He wouldn't let to eat together with him even his best mate. That is the dog on the straw: he doesn't have opportunity to eat himself being busy occupied with barking at others who try to snap a piece from under his nose. Your dog wants to improvise this scenario so much that she drops food for this purpose, she creates the situation herself in order to play alpha. Tell her humiliating "Down" and feed that bit the other dog every time you notice it happens. Toys represent prey, so, the story repeats. Take two dogs for a walk and play one ball with both. One dog should keep sitting while the other runs after the ball. The ball shouldn't be dropped, but given into your hand, this way it would be easier for you. This exercise teaches more or less neutral attitude in respect of posession.
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