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Hello,

I am having a bit of a problem getting my new Czech Shepherd to get along with our almost new Havanese.

Background - we had an ex-RCMP Shepherd and a Shi Tzsu that were both about 11 years old and had become best buddies. Shi Tzsu died in April, Shepherd became depressed so we adopted a 6 year old Havanese to keep her company and to give the Havanese a new home, the owners were moving and couldn't take him. He had lived with 4 King Corso dogs, met our Shepherd in our backyard when we brought him home. Our Shepherd immediately liked him and he was indifferent to our Shepherd, so they got along great. A month later, we had to put our Shepherd down due to DM. Now, the Havanese was depressed since Havanese are hugely social and need contact with either people or other dogs or they get depressed. This week, we purchased a 3 year old female who is Shutzhund trained and has always gotten along great with small dogs.

They drove her for 2 days in a car to meet us and it took us most of the third day to drive her home. We let her out three times to stretch her and work with her a bit. A very friendly and loving dog, she is bonding to me very quickly and also bonding to my wife.

I think we messed up when we introduced the Shepherd - Loretta -to our Havanese - Thumper - when we got home. My wife took Thumper into the back yard on a leash and I brought Loretta in on a leash through the fence gate. They saw each other and both of them started wagging their tails, so we let them get next to each other. Suddenly, Loretta barked and jumped on Thumper, so I pulled her away. I might have had a bit of tension on her lead before she barked, but I'm not sure.

They haven't gotten along since. Thumper is scared of Loretta. He won't walk in front of her kennel when she is in it, he goes around through the hall. That problem is not so bad. The real problem is that Loretta is "obsessed" with getting over to wherever Thumper is. She just went into heat and Thumper is fixed. We have been getting her used to the house by letting her explore on a lead and then having her lie down on a pillow next to me. Without Thumper in the room, she is quite calm. With him in the room on the couch with my wife while she is across the room on her pillow with me, she is agitated and persistently trying to get to where Thumper is. Her ears are up, usually her tail is gently wagging even with the ground and there is no growling or teeth showing, so I think she wants to meet and play with Thumper. Thumper shies away and as I said, is scared of her. He was out in the backyard tonight loose while I had Loretta on a lead sitting next to me about 20 feet away. She wanted to see him so I led her over but when we got to about 5 feet, Thumper shied away in a classic scared posture of head down and arched back, so I took Loretta back. Since Thumper is a male, older and was here first, we are treating him as top dog - gets fed first, treated first, etc. We did the same thing with our other Shepherd and our Terrior who died a year and a half after we got the Shepherd, so we are doing the same again with Thumper and Loretta.

So my take is Loretta wants to be friends but Thumper is intimidated or scared of her. Does this sound like a reasonable conclusion? Does anyone have any suggestions on how to calm her down and how to convince Thumper not to be afraid of Loretta? Our solution right now is a lead to control Loretta and separating the dogs using either a kennel for Loretta or locking Thumper in a bedroom, which is hard on him since he always had the run of the house until Loretta arrived.

I did try some forum searches but didn't hit on any similar situations, so I thought I'd see if anyone had any suggestions. Most web articles discussing this situation concentrate on how to introduce the dogs but don't offer suggestions on what to do if it didn't go well.

Thanks for any suggestions you might have.
 

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I hate to say it and I hope you get more positive responses but it may not work out with the age and size difference. It doesn't seem fair to Thumper who I think after Loretta may now be happy to be the only pet :) Only thing I can suggest is to walk them together but you walk one and your wife the other - on leashes (and make sure Loretta is tired out first) walk parallel start about 20 ft apart and gradually with practice narrow the distance. I would also ask Loretta's previous owners for advice.
 

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Although your take may be that she wants to be friends, for whatever reason she seems to be giving off a very different vibe to your Havanese. I would go based off of what the other dog is telling you. I would keep them completely separate for now. Build your bond with the shepherd. Get obedience started and then start introducing them again. Look into a local schutzhund club.


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Her ears are up, usually her tail is gently wagging even with the ground and there is no growling or teeth showing, so I think she wants to meet and play with Thumper.
From everything else you've said and what you describe here I get the feeling that the GSD is not trying to be friend;y - more so she is in a state of wanting to stalk the other dog.

Since Thumper is a male, older and was here first, we are treating him as top dog
And that can cause MAJOR problems. We humans cannot dictate which dog in a pack is the top dog. It's up to the dogs themselves to work it out. If we try to interfere we are just setting dogs up for failure and fights.

Let's say I decide I want my dog Wasabi to be the top bitch in my pack. I start giving her preferential treatment and showing the other dogs that I think she is better than them (aka - top dog).

While this is going on Kaynya, the girl who IS the top bitch, is starting to get mad. She starts posturing at Wasabi to show her who really is the boss. Wasabi does not WANT to be boss - she wants to let Kaynya be boss and just be a plain member of the pack.

Every time Kaynya punishes Wasabi (for what I am making Wasabi do - try to be top dog) I reprimand Kaynya and show Wasabi more attention ... which just makes Kaynya madder and Wasabi more scared.

Poor Wasabi doesn't WANT to be top dog and she's TRYING to tell Kaynya that but I (the stupid human) keep butting in where I do NOT belong and make matters worse.

This is all going to lead to Kaynya starting a serious fight and doing serious damage to Wasabi - all because I thought I knew best.

Right now you should concentrate on getting your Shepherd acclimated to your house and routine. Let Thumper have his space and don't push them to be together.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Hello and thanks for posting your thoughts.

When Thumper is put away, Loretta will flop down on her pillow and relax. With Thumper out, she is much more restless and keeps trying to get over to where Thumper is. Thank you for your suggestion that Loretta is looking to establish dominance over Thumper. One of the reasons for getting her is that she had a history of getting along well with smaller dogs.

I think we'll slow things way down, keep them apart and give it a solid month to get her settled and see if she is more accepting then. I'm also going to contact her breeder and see if she has seen this before or has any other suggestions for us.

I appreciate you guys taking the time to offer these suggestions.
 
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