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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone,
We have a 4 year old unaltered male, Bruin, who we brought home at 8 weeks old to live with me, my husband, and our two small dogs (Rudy the Bugg 7yo ~28 pounds and Dalila the Boston Terrier 7yo ~15 pounds). Bruin has been raised around them his whole life and really acts like a "small dog" the way he sits on the back of the couch, on your lap, etc. He's never really cared at all if Rudy tried to hump him/show dominance; we'd always say he knows he's bigger and doesn't bother rubbing it in Rudy's face. He has no qualms about taking balls/toys though, and Rudy never tries to stop him. They don't fight, they play well, they even sleep together. We've lived in "peace" like this for quite a bit.

About 4 weeks ago we added a 10 month old female, Keira, (unaltered at first, since spayed) into the mix. She keeps trying to show dominance over Rudy (standing over him, etc.) which he hates and it tends to escalate into them lightly fighting (nothing major, no blood, just enough to drive us crazy and slightly worry for Rudy's safety). We tend to correct (tell them no, firmly) and then distract with training/commands/tug to bring them apart. This has been working well enough for the first 3 weeks and was starting to improve. Also, since day 1, Bruin is clearly dominant over Keira; they play all the time and she submits to him easily.

The past week or so though, when Keira and Rudy get into it, Bruin has started to intercede and insist on dominating Rudy. He's flipped Rudy a couple of times and pinned him on his back (which had never happened before); Rudy lays there, accepting his position (which is all fine and good). But, it doesn't stop Keira and Rudy from getting into it and each time it seems to get more intense. It's starting to feel like the two GSDs are ganging up on Rudy, and Rudy doesn't stand a chance.

So really looking for advice on
1) how to manage/correct Keira's behavior around the small dogs, and
2) do we need to manage any of Bruin's new behavior dominating his little buddy?

(Do we need to show Rudy his place? Or Keira her place? Or are we failing them all by letting them think any of them are alpha over another?)

Any advice is appreciated.
 

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Take control, hire a good GSD trainer to come to the house to unravel this for you. Do not put up with even 'the look'. How are the little dogs coping in this chaos? Do not allow any of them to hump the other.
Why did you add Keira? The easiest way to solve this is to go back to pre-Keira and rehome her. If you are committed to the four, you will have to commit to a lot of work, especially with the two GSDs. How much exercise do they get besides sitting on your lap? Do you use crates?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the response. Re-homing is unlikely; we'd like to provide her a home with us assuming we can ensure everyone gets along after any required training. My husband was of the mindset that they needed to work it out and establish their "pecking order" but it sounds like we just need to take control and teach them what is and is not acceptable behavior, which we can and are willing to do. They are all crate trained and are crated individually when alone/when we can't watch them closely. Keira is getting walked twice a day, with Bruin if my husband can come with me as well (I won't take both alone at this point). We have a large yard too and they run around and chase birds and bunnies and sun bathe during the day when they wish (I let them in and out several times). They are well behaved outside; I watch from the kitchen window while I'm working and they tend to keep to themselves; only seems to be an issue inside. I was thinking this morning about removing all toys again as well (this is how we started for the first week).
 

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I would not leave them to sort it out, I would stop Kiera from behaving in such a way, even if she looks at Rudy I would stop her. She needs to learn she is not the boss, it is not her house and she doesn't have a say.
 

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None of them is alpha. You are alpha. As you are providing food and controlling their life by opening doors and taking them on walks.

And as alpha you should keep an order in a pack. Show them, that you will not stand of any of that nonsense. It's your pack and you are calling the shots.

And it's doable! I got stray dog, that was food aggressive towards my GSD when he was eating. Not only growling and snapping, but going after her anytime she would come close to his bowl (even when it was empty!!!). I made my point clear, that any aggression towards her is not acceptable. And also showed my GSD that it's not acceptable to go anywhere near his bowl, when he is eating. Now I can feed them next to each other and they won't even think about minding others bowl.

You have power to make rules, don't let them making their their own and waiting when it graduates to trip to ER.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you’re everyone. I’m honestly almost disappointed in myself for not realizing what you all said before :-x I think her being coned after her spay made us let up on her discipline which was bad for all of us. I’ve had her leashed around the house for the last day and have been correcting her (and Rudy’s) behaviors and I feel like I’m already seeing improvements. Appreciate your help, advice, and encouragement to take control. Thanks everyone
 
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