NEED HELP! Two dogs, too jealous!
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Thread: NEED HELP! Two dogs, too jealous!

  1. #1
    AngusFangus is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultNEED HELP! Two dogs, too jealous!

    OK. This has been brewing for a while, and lately things seem to be getting worse rather than better. I apologize in advance for the length that this post will surely be, but I think it's something I really have to give a lot of information about. I will try to keep it as concise as possible.

    Well, let's see. Where to begin. For those who don't know, we've had Angus since he was a baby. A tiny baby. He was about five weeks when we brought him home, and I have a strong suspicion that this lack of early socialization contributed to his now-famous lack of doggie manners. He has a way of introducing himself that, fairly often, results in him getting snapped or growled at.

    Angus was about a year old when we brought home Simon. Simon was about seven months old. I don't know much about his history, other than this: His previous owners surrendered him to the shelter because they "Didn't have time for him with the other dogs." So, it is clear that he lived with other dogs. But now the question on my mind is, did he get along with these other dogs, or was that perhaps the reason he was given up for adoption?

    See, here's what's been going on:

    Since very early on, Simon has been quite the little food, treat and toy guarder. We learned pdq that it was a terrible idea to try to feed them in close proximity to each other. Angus is a gulper, and tended to gulp his food, then come over and offer to help Simon out with his. This went over like a lead balloon. Simon turned on him and growled fiercely each time. Finally he got the message, and mealtimes are peaceable, as long as they are several feet apart. We have actually been able to decrease the distance, and we're now at about three feet. Not that I want them to snuggle up while they're eating, but it is nice not to have to place one bowl on one side of the room and the other at the opposite end.

    Simon can be very possessive about toys as well. Most of the time, when he and Angus are playing in the yard, or at the lake, or whatever, it seems a fairly good-natured game of keep away. But every once in a while, and always in the living room, Simon will decide something is "his" and he will seem prepared to defend it to the death. If his reaction seems way out of line with Angus' advances (or lack of advances), the toy gets taken away and it is nobody's toy.

    Now, none of this is really much to get excited about IMO. I can manage taking away toys when somebody gets too serious, and it's not a deal-breaker to me to have to feed them a few feet apart.

    But recent events have made it seem that his behavior is escalating:

    First of all, remember that we used to try to crate him during the day? He did fine with it for a while, then decided he wanted no part of any kind of crate. He would run to the other side of the room and ask to go out. I am not one to insist on "my" way if there is another equally acceptable way that would please the other party, so I let him out. He would stay outside on the screened in porch and seemed quite happy. Then it got so hot that I was just not comfortable leaving him outside, and he really doesn't disturb anything in the house, so we decided he should stay in the kitchen. So he is in there, baby-gated but not crated, and Angus is in the same room, crated.

    NOW...

    One day I had to go out for an hour or two to do some shopping. I gave them both a Kong when I left...Angus' in his crate, and Simon's in the kitchen. When I returned, Simon had finished his Kong. Angus looked like he had gotten about 1/3 of the way through his, and then stopped.* ??? I have never known Angus to turn his nose up at food of any kind. This was highly, highly unusual. I wondered if he was ill. On a hunch, I removed Simon from the kitchen. Angus ate his Kong straightaway.

    Hmmm...

    Also about the same time as the current daytime arrangement, we seem to have had escalation in another department. Possessiveness of me. Simon has always been a true attention hog, and will push in between Angus and me and shut Angus out every time. I didn't notice it for the longest, but soon started to realize that this was not really cute, endearing behavior, but instead I was being guarded like another possession. Lately I have noticed that Angus will not even attempt to come to me if Simon is in guard position, or even close. I will beckon Angus...and you know, it's never taken much to beckon Angus to come hither...and I watch. Angus looks like he's thinking about it, then he shoots a sideways look at Simon and remains in place. When I turn around to look at Simon, he has his head down and eyes glaring at Angus. As soon as he sees me looking he puts his ears back and gives me a submissive look.* ???

    Simon makes it very confusing with this dominance thing that he has, because it is strictly limited to Angus. He could not be more submissive to me and Kevin. A harsh voice and he hits the dirt. So anytime he has pulled one of his little ferocious stunts, we have always been able to rectify the situation very quickly and efficiently.

    OTOH...

    Angus may not be completely innocent in this either, given his knack for irritating other dogs. Who knows who is goading who? Could it be that Simon has adopted this attitude with Angus to keep him in line? Could it be that Simon is tired of losing every game of fetch and having every toy he tries to play with taken away by Angus? Does Simon think that I favor Angus, and he's just trying to get his fair share?

    You all know I love them both, so much. But if I am completely honest with myself, I probably have a deeper bond with Angus. Simply because of all we have been through together. I knew him when he fit in one of my hands. I held him on my lap all day, on the uncomfortable kitchen floor, when his shots made him sick. He was handed into my arms after the surgery for his blockage and I sat with him in the back seat on the way to the overnight e-clinic, trying to keep him from moving and trying to keep from crying because I knew he was in pain. Angus is larger than life, almost. He is such a big personality, he makes it impossible to ignore him. He's stronger than Simon, smarter than Simon, and just makes himself KNOWN instead of just blending in. So it makes me wonder...does Simon sense these feelings? Is he just jockeying for position? Have I done something myself that has created this response in him?

    I really want to be wise and fair with what I do about this, but I am stumped.

    One thing I know: I really do not like the idea that while we are gone, Simon may be intimidating Angus in his crate. And I hate the fact that Angus seems hesitant to come to me if Simon is in one of his little twists. Breaking my heart.

    What to do, great minds of JL?


    Connie and "The Boys":
    Angus, Yellow Lab, CGC, RE, CD
    Simon, d.b.a. Flat Coated Retriever, CGC, RE, CD

    Gone ahead, but forever in my heart:
    Crash, Pit Bull x Rottweiler x Golden Retriever

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  3. #2
    theoconbrio is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: NEED HELP! Two dogs, too jealous!

    Connie, do they ever cuddle? What do they do when they're just hanging around when you're home and there are no treats or toys?

    I don't have much experience with multidog households, so I'm sure others can give better advice. But as for the crating thing, I have heard people say that you should either keep dogs loose together or totally separate them, but if there is aggression you shouldn't separate them by barriers where they can see each other because it leads to frustration, fence-fighting, etc. I'm curious to know what the more experienced doghands think about this.

    Have you seen Patricia McConnell's pamphlet on multidog households? http://www.dogwise.com/ItemDetails.cfm?ID=DTB722 I haven't read it, but a review I read said that they talk about how to teach frustration tolerance (what Simon needs to learn when you are giving Angus attention) and techniques to keep one dog from tormenting another.

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    3TailsWaggin is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: NEED HELP! Two dogs, too jealous!

    I am not one to insist on "my" way if there is another equally acceptable way that would please the other party, so I let him out
    The above quote says a lot to me. Basically you are not the alpha in this pack. You should NEVER not insist that it is your way. You gave in to your dog here and I think... have done so on enough other times to let him think he's in control of his pack.

    I have two dogs. I feed them in seperate rooms. I see no reason to have them eating beside each other.. even at 3 feet... you know you've had past issues with this so make it simple and take a few extra steps to another room for one dog. Also, be sure to feed Angus first.

    If you cannot trust Simon not to bother Angus.. CRATE them both! And if you must, crate is seperate rooms.

    You need to take the upper hand in all their activities. They want you to be their leader.

    I think you know this Sit back and take stock of what you are doing with them and I think you'll see compromise on your end is not a real option. You set the rules. They must obey. Or there will be repercussions. And YOU need to make it work

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    DefaultRe: NEED HELP! Two dogs, too jealous!

    Connie,
    Is there a way to put Angus and his crate in another room, or gate Simon somewhere else?

  7. #5
    Labsrme is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: NEED HELP! Two dogs, too jealous!

    Raian is right - you are not Alpha here. A democracy in a household is nice for people, but doesn't work well for dogs - especially a dog that has a bit of a dominance issue. Do you get the Dog Whisperer on TV in your area? He covers this type of thing a lot, and it may be helpful to you. If you were seen as Alpha, then Simon would not dare to try to intimidate Angus away from you and Angus would know that you are in charge and it is safe to come to you when you call.

    I would definitely crate Simon when you are gone. It is not up to him to decide that he doesn't want to stay in the crate, especially when Angus is still crated. To me, that gives Simon a bit of increased status over Angus, and it definitely gives him the opportunity to hang out around Angus' crate and intimidate him.

    As far as loving one dog more than the other and worrying that is causing problems - I'd bet against it. I think this is strictly a matter of Simon thinking that he needs to be Alpha because you are not. Don't let that mother's guilt drive you crazy!

  8. #6
    kaytris is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: NEED HELP! Two dogs, too jealous!

    What I would do:

    Move angus' crate, and continue to gate Simon where he is

    Simon practices "go to your mat" or "down-stay" when its cuddle time for Angus. (Make sure Simon gets some kind of reward after each session - you don't want this to turn into a banishment)

  9. #7
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    DefaultRe: NEED HELP! Two dogs, too jealous!

    Quote Originally Posted by Labsrme
    Raian is right - you are not Alpha here. A democracy in a household is nice for people, but doesn't work well for dogs - especially a dog that has a bit of a dominance issue. Do you get the Dog Whisperer on TV in your area? He covers this type of thing a lot, and it may be helpful to you. If you were seen as Alpha, then Simon would not dare to try to intimidate Angus away from you and Angus would know that you are in charge and it is safe to come to you when you call.

    I would definitely crate Simon when you are gone. It is not up to him to decide that he doesn't want to stay in the crate, especially when Angus is still crated. To me, that gives Simon a bit of increased status over Angus, and it definitely gives him the opportunity to hang out around Angus' crate and intimidate him.

    As far as loving one dog more than the other and worrying that is causing problems - I'd bet against it. I think this is strictly a matter of Simon thinking that he needs to be Alpha because you are not. Don't let that mother's guilt drive you crazy!
    Bingo! Exactly what I would say. I do think Angus is beginning to see Simon as above him, especially if he will not come to you if Simon is with you. Zena is the same way here; if Zoe looks at her like stay away; she will stay away. Don't let Simon get his way vs. crating, etc. If he has SA problems, that is one thing, but just to get to run free because he wants to; he'll get over it.
    Oh and Zoe no longer bosses Zena ... We had a CTJ meeting the last time she tried it and now Zena comes up to cuddle along with Zoe. You have to let Simon know YOU are in charge; not him.
    I just wanted to add here that dogs do not have "HUMAN" emotions that we try to place on them. I believe they do have emotions; but don't experience them the same as we do. I seriously doubt it's actual "jealously"; just pack behavior.

  10. #8
    luke from georgia is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: NEED HELP! Two dogs, too jealous!

    as far as how to leave them home alone, you may want to consider separating them either in different rooms or both in crates with screens in between.

    for possessiveness of you, have you tried teaching them what you require from them in order to receive your attention?* ie the dog must sit nicely, lay down, etc.* BEFORE they will get petting and lovins from you.* train them that pushing each other and use of intimidation only results in no connie attention whatsoever. any behavior that is consistantly repeated is learned behavior. there is a purpose behind the action. your dog has it in his mind that the action accomplishes SOMETHING. remove the reinforement for the behavior, and the behavior will stop.

    simon does what he does to angus, because it works.* when he acts "macho," angus backs off, and he gets you all to himself.* if you do not like this behavior remove the reinforcement.* when simon acts this way, get up and walk away - ignore simon.* do this every time.* when simon learns that the behavior no longer works, the behavior may get worse before simon decides to give up on it (see the link in my sig), and eventually simon will understand that his old behavior is useless and LEARN that a new, better way of getting attention from you is when angus is nearby.

    teach simon a new and better way of obtaining your attention.* be consistant in your training.* reinforce behavior you want.* remove reinforcement for behavior you do not want.*

    "Properly trained, a man can be dog's best friend." ~ Corey Ford

  11. #9
    WigWag Guest

    DefaultRe: NEED HELP! Two dogs, too jealous!

    I am not one to insist on "my" way if there is another equally acceptable way that would please the other party, so I let him out.
    Excuse me?* You are taking orders from the dogs now?* Whose in charge here????* *

    Seriously Connie this is where ALL your problems (albeit small in comparison to most multiple dog household dominance issues) lie.* YOU are in charge.* YOU are the alpha.* YOU say who gets and gaurds what and who gets attention when and where.* It is NOT up to Simon to dictate these events and others over Angus and he has most clearly stepped into that role.* Now they do sound like they both regard you and Kevin above them but I wonder about Simon.* I have a few questions for you.

    When he would growl and/or snap at Angus in the beginning over feeding time what did you do?

    When he doesn't want to go in his crate what do you do?

    When he growls a <little> growl at Angus what do you do?

    This is clearly not a case where a dog is so very dominant that the household is upside down, however this is a case that needs to be addressed because I agree that it sounds like Angus is getting the short end of the stick sometimes and that doesn't need to be the case and it's up to YOU to put your foot down.* That would mean stepping in all the time - persistence is the key.* You need to recognize a potential situation and stop Simon before he gets it in his mind to give the evil eye.* How?* Well I'm not sure you have a strong stomach yet because I haven't gotten answers to the above questions yet but I will tell you what I woud do.* I would have Simon on a leash with a choke or prong collar.* I would let him drag the leash.* I would get their food bowls ready and put them where you normally would - about 3 feet apart.* I would grab the leash and give Simon a jerk - yes for nothing at all - just to let him know whose calling the shots.* I would make him down and stay and I would allow Angus to eat and finish his food and come over and get a sniff in of Simon's and maybe a lick.* If Simon so much as blinks I would leash correct him and keep him in a down stay.* I wouldn't allow Angus more than a sniff or small lick of Simon's food bowl and then I would shoosh him away and either let him out or make him sit/stay a little bit away.* Then give the okay to Simon to get up and eat.* I would do this at every meal for a solid month and then you SHOULD be able to notice a difference and just challenge him every so often.* I would also get on him when you are giving out cookies or Kongs in the same way.* He gets a pre-emptive correction.* Why?* Well just because he hasn't been following the rules and it's time he did.* I would put on Angus's leash first for walks and even make Simon down/stay in the yard or car and you walk away with Angus and then come back for Simon.* Basically get on him for absolutely everything.* Same is true for attention.* If Simon approaches you for it I would shoosh him away and make him down/stay and call Angus over and Simon is NOT to move.* After Angus gets some lovin' then make him stay and call Simon.* Simon only gets attention when YOU call him and not when he initiates it.* This is not forever - just until he knows you are in charge.*

    Edit to say that you shouldn't feel badly for imposing your rules. Dogs thrive on rules and guidance from us and Simon is stressed when he is growling or giving Angus the eye and that is not good dog karma. You want to give them everything but the most important thing to give them is leadership and stability and allowing this to go on is not in their best interest. I know you think that letting Simon call the shots might be okay sometimes but it's not.


  12. #10
    AngusFangus is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: NEED HELP! Two dogs, too jealous!

    OK, I get your point. But here is what confuses me: If it is true that Simon does not see me as the Alpha, then why does he pin his ears back and go belly to the floor when I give him the evil eye after he's been staring Angus down? I don't even have to say a word. Just looking a him makes him go completely submissive. If I get angry and yell, even a bigger display of submission. ???

    And by way of defending myself, I really don't think being Alpha means being inflexible For Simon to be outside was an equally acceptable solution to me.

    But I do take the point that perhaps I am not being Alpha enough in this particular situation.


    Connie and "The Boys":
    Angus, Yellow Lab, CGC, RE, CD
    Simon, d.b.a. Flat Coated Retriever, CGC, RE, CD

    Gone ahead, but forever in my heart:
    Crash, Pit Bull x Rottweiler x Golden Retriever

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