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Thread: Posturing for dominance? Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
01-10-2014 05:39 PM
havery The male spent most of his life as a breeder's personal dog. He's never been bred, but he trained and socialized with several dogs on a daily basis. The last few months they have been trying to find a good "retirement" home for him since they are too focused in their showing dogs, and sadly he's been bounced around to some shady people before his breeder got fed up and took him back, and that's where we came in. So I'm not concerned about him, as much contact as he's had with high energy dogs and he's never shown aggression.

My female, on the other hand, hasn't had nearly that socialization, and now that I think of it, never with male dogs for any longer than a passing sniff, so there's probably a ton of curiosity at play here...
01-10-2014 03:19 PM
martemchik
Quote:
Originally Posted by havery View Post
I do appreciate all the responses, I'm getting ideas for how to handle this! You're all right, boundaries will have to be taught and enforced. It just kills me how they can be couch buddies one minute and the next testing each other. I've never had two dominant dogs before, though I've owned pets since I was a baby I've never had them test each other like this. There's a reason I love this breed, though, even if they are equally challenging to my sanity as my toddler!
I would really not worry much about dominance theory. It's highly unlikely your dogs are as dominant as you believe they are. You have a young female, that has never had to deal with another dog living in her household, she just needs to learn. The male, not sure about his history, but again likely he's never dealt with another dog in his home. Plus he's in a new home...

Both dogs need to know that YOU are the leader and that what you say goes. Truthfully, I would allow them to interact more and just make sure you're there to stop any rough play that is too much for either you or the older male.

In my situation, the play never got too rough for either dog. They could both take it and give it. But we as humans thought it was too rough or had too much teeth or growling involved (even though it was playful with no pain). I believe at some point you will have to help them work it out, but it needs to be controlled and someone does have to end up on top. The more you can control their interactions now, the more likely they will peacefully develop a natural hierarchy.

In my case...the male has clearly claimed the female, but he allows her to get away with a lot. He's always been very soft around females but will put them in their place when necessary.
01-10-2014 02:26 PM
Lilie
Quote:
Originally Posted by MaggieRoseLee View Post
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.
IMO - when you use your own body to show them what we want, they tend to focus on us more looking for direction. Sometimes when play starts to get serious, I can simply say, "eh!" and lean forward and the dogs will come to me. They already know I was about to get physically involved.
01-10-2014 02:20 PM
havery I do appreciate all the responses, I'm getting ideas for how to handle this! You're all right, boundaries will have to be taught and enforced. It just kills me how they can be couch buddies one minute and the next testing each other. I've never had two dominant dogs before, though I've owned pets since I was a baby I've never had them test each other like this. There's a reason I love this breed, though, even if they are equally challenging to my sanity as my toddler!
01-10-2014 02:14 PM
havery
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blanketback View Post
Beautiful pictures, martemchik.

OP, you're confusing me big time. First you say there's been issues over the tennis balls, and today you're playing toss with them? I dunno, it sounds like you're asking for trouble.

BTW, rain is no excuse for being cooped up. Get yourself outfitted up and go enjoy the day!
He brought home a big tennis ball with him that she tried to take but now she understands that's off limits, we haven't had an issue with that since day 2, she has her own ball now. I've been rotating crate time today, 1 hour with her in, 1 hour with both out, 1 hour with him in, 1 hour with both out, etc, etc. With them out alone I'm trying to exercise and when they're out together I'm encouraging cooperation (no chasing balls when they're together), which is going well. I'm also not letting them go out to potty together, which is when all this is happening, they're taking turns. This routine is working well with my being alone with a two year old, a 6 month old, and two dogs.

I LOVE getting out in the rain (I used to live in Seattle), unfortunately my two young children make that difficult. My husband took some time off work, so starting tomorrow we'll have 12 days of everyone home (I work short night shifts that are no biggie) to get everyone settled into a nice routine hopefully that will make everyone well exercised and happy.
01-10-2014 01:15 PM
Blanketback Beautiful pictures, martemchik.

OP, you're confusing me big time. First you say there's been issues over the tennis balls, and today you're playing toss with them? I dunno, it sounds like you're asking for trouble.

BTW, rain is no excuse for being cooped up. Get yourself outfitted up and go enjoy the day!
01-10-2014 01:02 PM
martemchik Just watch them. Don't allow any interaction or "language" you're not comfortable with.

I just introduced a 2.5 year old female into my household to my 3.5 year old male. They're both active, fit, full of energy, but both were spoiled, only dogs their whole lives. They both needed to learn how to get along. Although they played, and they could play really rough, we would stop it as soon as it got too much for US (the humans). Toys, bones, ect...any type of teeth showing/growling was NEVER allowed and would be very quickly corrected. It helps that although the female is a bit snarkier and bitchy, my male has 30 lbs on her and doesn't have a problem diffusing the situation and showing her his power.

After a few weeks of showing them what amount of play was acceptable, they know their limits and do not try to test them.





This is the kind of stuff we come home to now (after a month).
01-10-2014 12:48 PM
havery
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blanketback View Post
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.
01-10-2014 11:16 AM
Blanketback
Quote:
Originally Posted by havery View Post
She's not doing it in the house or when I'm around, they're perfect angels then.
Quote:
Originally Posted by havery View Post
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?
01-10-2014 09:48 AM
MaggieRoseLee
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeanKBBMMMAAN View Post
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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