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Old 02-03-2013, 03:09 PM   #1 (permalink)
Jag
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Default Pack changes (long)

My wife's bitch (she's about 9, spayed as a pup), Jade, is a rott/shep mix that we got as a very young pup. She's the last of the "3 amigos" that included my pair of GSDs. She's always taken new pups in as her 'babies' and has mothered them to death. When we brought Layla (pug) home at about 10 months old (spayed) her reaction was the same. Mother hen. It's the only reaction I've ever seen out of her. When I brought Grim home (about 10 weeks, nearly 11) she had a totally different reaction. She growled if he even walked by her. She never attacked him. She'd show teeth and do a growl until he walked away. The pug was taken with him right away. She was still a pup herself, and claimed him as 'hers'. They've always played rough and well together. The girls have gotten into a spat or two over Jade growling at Grim. Grim was very respectful of her. He gave her room, he didn't jump on her or try to get her to play. Jade is what I'd call a 'natural alpha bitch'. Layla is a pushy wanna be.

As Grim grew older, he'd walk up calmly to Jade and lick her ear or something. Just showing her calmness, but no fear. I began to believe that Jade's reaction to him was that she knew something we didn't at the time. Grim was also a 'natural born alpha'. She was going to be knocked off the throne she's held her entire life. I've been very careful about monitoring their interactions, because I don't want 'the big fight' happening. Now that Grim is much bigger and nearly 7 months, he doesn't give her that wide berth anymore. She has stopped growling at him or showing her teeth. She's actually started to defer to him. She took his antler. I took it from her and gave it back. She took it again. He went up and took it right out of her mouth. Something he'd NEVER have done before. No showing of teeth from her, no growl. She held on for a second, then let go. She doesn't play with toys or chew on things. She will, however, take his things just because. He has NO fear of her anymore. She has offered to run with him and play with him outside lately. Something she never did before.

Layla, however, is becoming another story. Last night, she was eating her food and I had been giving Grim a hot dog for work. Usually, the girls aren't fed unless he's in his crate. Well, he walked by her to go to his crate, and she went after him, snarling and making all kinds of racket. It took several tries to break up. Grim was totally pissed. He tackled her, tried to roll her. I don't think I've ever seen him that mad. She's quick, though, so he had a hard time getting ahold of her. No skin was broken, but a lot of noise and gnashing of teeth. He had her pinned briefly a couple of times. When I finally was able to get hold of her, I had to have my wife pull Grim off her. She's fine with food with humans, but becomes really aggressive if another dog comes near her bowl. It was a big human error there. I've started kicking her off the bed and the sofa, because she starts play fighting with Grim when he wants to come up with me. She's not being nasty, but it's a good diversion, and he never gets to come up.

I haven't been able to train Layla to do anything but sit. She's very food motivated, but she's stupid. I'm going to start putting her harness on her during the day so I have something to grab. One of two things have to happen. I either have to get through to her, or I have to separate her from Grim. They really like each other, so I hate to do that. BUT, she tests him sometimes and he gets fed up and then tries to make her 'give' by rolling over. Sometimes she does it fast, sometimes she refuses. She's resource guarding, and that has GOT to stop. She also takes his toys, and most of the time he just lets her, or he'll come to me to get it back.

This pack dynamic has changed so much in the past few months, and it's still changing. Grim is very calm about asserting his 'prince-ness' over the others. He does it in such a way that most of the time I don't even see it... until it's done. When Jade is out in the yard barking her head off at nothing, he'll go and stand by her, then move in front of her. She stops barking and walks away. It's very cool to watch. He's never been pushy. Ever. However, if push comes to shove and someone starts a fight with him, he will finish it. I'm glad that Jade hasn't done this. She was always like him. A calm presence with other dogs. Anyone else have evolving pack dynamics? How did you deal with having a pushy dog that claims everything?
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Old 02-03-2013, 03:16 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Onyx is pushy, and tries to dominate everything. Yet she lets Karlo have his way and will correct him if he is out of bounds. I am the one that manages Onyx, but when I'm not home, the dogs are out by themselves to deal with each other. I've only had to break up a couple tiffs with Onyx getting nasty on Kacie, and I don't think it ever happens when I'm not around(a bit of resource guarding me)
Karlo has never, ever tried to fight with either female, but he isn't real submissive to them either.
I let my dogs figure out their status within their pack on their own but do manage Onyx when she starts in.
IF Kacie ever, ever challenged her, it wouldn't be pretty.
So far, Kacie's smart about it.
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Old 02-03-2013, 03:23 PM   #3 (permalink)
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The 'not pretty' part I get. Last night was just ugly. It was almost like Grim couldn't believe she pulled that. I know I couldn't. He's walked around unchallenged all this time... and he was so mad that he had to literally be pulled off her even after I had her contained. Later, she did start another fight with him. Jade saw it coming. She was up and moving towards them, and I got up when I saw her move...so it didn't really amount to anything. Layla is really going to get herself into trouble. I'm glad that Jade saw the 'stink eye' that I missed.
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Old 02-03-2013, 03:30 PM   #4 (permalink)
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This is an interesting post because I have never seen a male take over the household if there was a female in it. My GSD will push the older female a little bit, but the older one always puts the GSD in her place(never a fight). The GSD thinks all toys are hers and takes them from them. Both the male and female don't bother to argue with her over the toys and they never fight over food. I could never see my male taking over the house.
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Old 02-03-2013, 03:44 PM   #5 (permalink)
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God, I love that dog.
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Old 02-03-2013, 03:58 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunflowers View Post
God, I love that dog.
LOL! I feel the same way! If he ever goes missing, I know where to look first!
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Old 02-03-2013, 04:28 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Jazzy has always preferred humans to other dogs, she especially is snarky with big dogs (probably due to the size difference).

When I brought Delgado home I watched all interactions, Delgado would try to play with her and she tolerated it at the beginning but as he got bigger and rougher she started growling. He wouldn't always back off right away so I stepped in and split them up

There is no alpha dog in my house, there is me and my rules and they have to respect them. I don't allow stealing of food or toys, that keeps resource guarding to a nonexistent problem. Neither gets special treatment, if one dog is on the couch the other is allowed, if one misbehaves they lose that privilege and get booted off. If both are outside and one misbehaves that one lost their privilege and gets called in

It might sound like a dictatorship but with the size difference I can't have any fighting without the possibility of a major tragedy. If Jazzy is upset she comes to me to make it better, and Delgado is the same. I allow them to be dogs, I don't expect them to be robots, they're allowed to play and romp and enjoy toys and bones but they know they have to behave to have those privileges.
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Old 02-03-2013, 04:35 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I have a hard time picturing a pug snarling and snapping.

My pack dynamics are so different from my last four dogs, when I had my Pom, Chi, older GSD and Aussie. They were SO EASY compared to my pack now, ugh. They never fought, no resource guarding, no nothing!

My pack now though(Pom, Chi, GSD, Golden) has such a different dynamic. Like I can't even let all four out in the backyard if I expect any pottying to be done. The big dogs won't stop playing or they will harass the little dogs, so I have to let the small dogs out alone and then let out each big dog alone - what a pain in me arse.

Things have been changing with Sam though, he will actually let Ollie takes toys from him most of the time now, they play keep away a lot. My Pom is a natural alpha, he rules the dogs and they all respect him(kind of funny to see but if you ever met a Pom you'd get it lol). I haven't figured out yet if Sam is an alpha, a bully or just has some wires crossed in his brain... Sam has finally learned to defer at the water dish, he guarded that too. I have to be "super alpha"(not mean or dominating) or else Sam will try to take over, I have to be on top of him all the time. It's exhausting.

Sam is the only problem dog in my house, if it were just the other three life would be peaceful and easy.

When the breeder asked if I could handle a GSD I kind of had to laugh. So I'd say the order in my house goes, me, Bruiser(Pom), Sam, Ollie, husband and Sophie(Chi). My husband is like your wife I think, not leader material with dogs just let's them get away with whatever... I'm still working on training him, know of any good husband training schools??

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Old 02-03-2013, 04:36 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I have 3, have always had 4 up until a couple years ago.

My female gsd ruled the roost, when I'd add a "boy" , they learned pretty fast to bow in her presence

Now I have Masi (female gsd 4yrs old), Jynx (female aussie 13 yrs old) and Jag (male aussie 12 yrs old)..

Jag has been here his entire life, a rescue, he's always been the dictator in the household and when my previous female gsd who was the 'queen bee', was here, those two got on famously (go figure!)..

Since Sam (prev gsd) has been gone 4 years, Jag has been more of a dictator than before. No one gives him grief, actually no one really bothers with him

Masi & Jynx stick with each other, Jag is sometimes a buttinsky and has to be monitored , I'll never leave him alone with the girls I don't trust him.

I do see the pack dynamic change going from 4 to 3, in my house anyway. Masi & Jynx have no desire to 'take over' or be 'in control', they are happy to follow me vs Jag who follows no one but himself.

Food can be a big issue with Jag, therefore, he is fed in his crate, stays out of the kitchen etc..

I also allow mine to be dogs, but monitoring and deflecting things before they happen or look like they are going to happen works for me
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Old 02-03-2013, 04:42 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
She took his antler. I took it from her and gave it back. She took it again. He went up and took it right out of her mouth. Something he'd NEVER have done before. No showing of teeth from her, no growl. She held on for a second, then let go.
I've stated this before and gotten a bit of flak but I'd never ever ever let the puppy be the alpha.
Leads to ALL kinds of problems - within the puppy itself and within the household (other dogs).
I'd enforce the old gal's alpha status until she passed.

Too bad for the new kid, but he can't be alpha, it's going to mess the "pack dynamics" all up as you've already seen.

Separate them if you must but DO not take things from her and give them back to him.

Trust me on this one...I've fostered a ton of dogs with alpha aspirations and we simply do not let them "take over", even if they seem to be, or "want" to be a "natural alpha". Pack dynamics in dogs is so fluid, your puppy will get over it.

Give the role back to the 1st alpha in the home. Protect it for her.
I'm willing to bet, anyway, your boy isn't as much of a "natural alpha" as just being a butt-head and you're letting him

Last edited by msvette2u; 02-03-2013 at 04:44 PM.
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