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Old 01-09-2014, 01:08 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Posturing for dominance?

How far should I let it go? We introduced an older (8 year old) male into our household with a young (16 month) female. The first day was tense, but after a couple hours they tolerated each other, the only outbreaks happened over a ball he had brought with him. He's very calm and easy going, she is not. I've been giving them periodic breaks from each other (alternating crating) because she's been annoying him. The second day they were fine, he just needed a break from her every couple hours. Day 3 they played like buddies and things were looking good. We're now on day 4 and every time I let them outside together (away from my influence) she's been posturing. There has been no biting, but a lot of teeth shown from both parties, and she appears to be taunting him, dancing around with teeth showing. I feel like our extra long play session yesterday showed his arthritic hips and she's trying to take advantage to gain the upper hand. She's not doing it in the house or when I'm around, they're perfect angels then.

I guess my question is, how far should I let it go? I know they're going to have to figure this out, but how much should be acceptable to keep everyone happy? I've been careful to give her extra attention and reward the good interactions between them. Am I doing this all wrong?
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Old 01-09-2014, 01:21 PM   #2 (permalink)
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This is JMO, but I wouldn't allow it at all. I'd also be exercising the dickens out of your young female without the older male involved, since he'll want to keep up and overdo it, as you've seen. If she's fine when you're around, then just don't leave them alone together. I'm sure they'll work it out, and I'm sure there are others that will advise you to let them work it out. But I wouldn't.
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Old 01-09-2014, 01:24 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Do you have any photos? I have one dog that postures a LOT but it's more play, she's trying to get something started, not dominance or aggression. Can be a lot of things though.

I do allow my dogs to correct each other as long as it's fair, the other dog gets the point, and it doesn't escalate.
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Old 01-09-2014, 04:01 PM   #4 (permalink)
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It's raining now and we're all inside, so there's no problem, I'll get a picture if I can when it clears up. She's raising her head above his and showing her teeth with a kind of yipping bark. I'd think she was playing, but she's holding her tail at attention, not wagging like she does when she's playing with him. Also, she's pushing against his back legs like she knows he's weak there. He's strangely just kind of taking it, standing there with his hackles raised.

Right now everyone is sequestered as they dry from a bath, I'll keep an eye out. Neither has bitten yet but I don't want it to go that far. I think I'll try to keep them inside more the next week or two. They both respond well to my dominance if needed, so I'm going to try to be a constant presence.
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Old 01-09-2014, 04:08 PM   #5 (permalink)
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How far should I let it go? We introduced an older (8 year old) male into our household with a young (16 month) female. The first day was tense, but after a couple hours they tolerated each other, the only outbreaks happened over a ball he had brought with him. He's very calm and easy going, she is not. I've been giving them periodic breaks from each other (alternating crating) because she's been annoying him. The second day they were fine, he just needed a break from her every couple hours. Day 3 they played like buddies and things were looking good. We're now on day 4 and every time I let them outside together (away from my influence) she's been posturing. There has been no biting, but a lot of teeth shown from both parties, and she appears to be taunting him, dancing around with teeth showing. I feel like our extra long play session yesterday showed his arthritic hips and she's trying to take advantage to gain the upper hand. She's not doing it in the house or when I'm around, they're perfect angels then.

I guess my question is, how far should I let it go? I know they're going to have to figure this out, but how much should be acceptable to keep everyone happy? I've been careful to give her extra attention and reward the good interactions between them. Am I doing this all wrong?
They may not "figure it out." Lots of people have dogs that don't get along, and they have to be kept separate, with kennel rotations, and the works. I would not set up situations where any kind of dominance can be displayed or enforced...no toys (possession issues), no bones, etc...unless they are by themselves. I also would NOT allow my elderly dog with health issues to be bullied by the younger fitter dog.
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Old 01-09-2014, 04:30 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I am not the most experienced on this forum, but something you said in your last post reminded me of my yellow Labrador when he was older. He was the BEST dog ever when it came to interactions. I never doubted him for a minute or worried about him. He seemed to give off this "I'm not going to get into anything with you because you're not even in my league" type thing-- like he was this wise-old sage who could turn a dog to dust in one second if he wanted to. His breeder used to socialize her pups with him.

Anyhow, on to topic, he stood just like that most of the time when meeting dogs who were full of themselves. He would never look them in the eye, just basically straight ahead, hackles up some. Once, we got swarmed by 5 or 6 (I can't remember) 8 month old pitbull pups that a dude down the road had. (He'd adopted the entire litter, god knows why they let him but whatever) They rushed him ferociously--not in a friendly manner; and that was only after I'd had him a year or so, and I'd never seen anything like it. He never moved a bit-- just stood there, staring straight ahead, tail up but still straight, it might've been moving just a bit (or not) and within seconds, the dogs just kind of calmed down and the guy came out and started rounding them up. One of them had really been barking in his face, too. My dog didn't really do anything until the last one was gone, then he turned round to me and wagged and looked at me like "Idiots!"

He may be showing her that he is too old for her and he is to be respected, but in a non-confrontational, mature way.

My .02, which is worth about as much as the paper I wrote this on.
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Old 01-10-2014, 06:37 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I think she's the one who is posturing.

If she's doing the pre-play dance, that's one thing, and if he doesn't want to play or is tired of her I stop it even if it's meant to be play (play is not fun if only 1 wants to do it!). Here's an example of pre-play dance where both were okay, but the black was always a little unsure because she'd not played with dogs...


If she's being a butt, I absolutely put an end to it, usually by body blocking and giving the offender a little bump to back them off.

I'd do what BB said in terms of exercising her.
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Old 01-10-2014, 09:48 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I think she's the one who is posturing.

If she's doing the pre-play dance, that's one thing, and if he doesn't want to play or is tired of her I stop it even if it's meant to be play (play is not fun if only 1 wants to do it!). Here's an example of pre-play dance where both were okay, but the black was always a little unsure because she'd not played with dogs...


If she's being a butt, I absolutely put an end to it, usually by body blocking and giving the offender a little bump to back them off.

I'd do what BB said in terms of exercising her.
Great post and what I bolded is really important. Just cause we SEE it doesn't mean we need to let it continue. And instead of yelling it's MUCH better for us to do what THEY are doing, using our bodies to SHOW them to knock it off. Just 'splitting' them by getting physically in between usually calms things a bit.

What I would also do is purchase the DVD (not just the book) called Calming Signals by Turid Rugaas. GREAT visual on dog's body language and what it means to dogs, plus how we can use the same language to react appropriately. BONUS is that alot of the dogs uses as examples are GSD's so we really can recognize the same behaviors in our dogs (the good and the bad) immediately.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lj7BWxC6iVs

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Old 01-10-2014, 11:16 AM   #9 (permalink)
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She's not doing it in the house or when I'm around, they're perfect angels then.
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It's raining now and we're all inside...She's raising her head above his and showing her teeth...she's holding her tail at attention...she's pushing against his back legs...
See, this is why it's hard to answer without being there to observe what's going on. To me, she's not being a "perfect angel" in your presence at all, she's trying to instigate something. It doesn't matter if it's playing or fighting, really. Of course, if it's fighting, then you're going to have some problems, lol.

But if he's standing there hackling, he's either waiting patiently for her to stop, or he's going to get to the point where he's had enough - and then who knows what will happen. You've had him less than a week, so why rush this?
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Old 01-10-2014, 12:48 PM   #10 (permalink)
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See, this is why it's hard to answer without being there to observe what's going on. To me, she's not being a "perfect angel" in your presence at all, she's trying to instigate something. It doesn't matter if it's playing or fighting, really. Of course, if it's fighting, then you're going to have some problems, lol.

But if he's standing there hackling, he's either waiting patiently for her to stop, or he's going to get to the point where he's had enough - and then who knows what will happen. You've had him less than a week, so why rush this?
No, she's not doing any of that in my presence, I should have clarified. When they're in my presence she's licking his bottom jaw and snuggling up and sharing toys. I was trying to describe what is happening when they're not around me.

It's raining again today, so not much is going on. I'm throwing tennis balls down the hallway and trying to teach them to wipe their feet to keep her occupied (not going very well, how do people teach that?). She got so bored yesterday she ate part of a rubber spatula my bored toddler left in the floor, though in her defense the male has already destroyed every chew toy except the big Kong!

He really is acting like, "Please, child, I'm too old for this crap." There was a little posturing this morning when I let them out in the yard to potty, but as soon as I opened the door she jumped back like she knew she was wrong and finished up her business politely.
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