We have had our newest edition, Romy (also 6 months old like Bentley) for about 2 months now. After having her with us for a week, we decided to keep her because she was super sweet, and she and Bentley got along amazingly well. Now I can't possibly imagine our home without her!
I posted not too long ago concerned that their play was way too rough, as they were getting some nicks and scrapes around their mouths and ears. But after consulting a lot of people, I realized it was just something normal that they would work out, so I let it go. And sure enough, I stopped seeing scrapes!
Well, we have recently run into a really big problem...on Friday morning, they came in from playing outside and Bentley had a small puncture wound on the scruff of his neck...I didn't want to think that Romy had actually bit him hard enough to pierce skin, so I took him to the vet to see what they thought. Sure enough, it was a bite wound. I almost broke down right there. The tech said she has run into issues like that with her dogs when they were 6 month old pups, too, and she reassured me something could be done to help. I felt a little better.
However, that same day, Romy suddenly started getting really possessive over their bones. She has never ever growled or snapped at him, but multiple times that day, she did. He would just walk NEAR her while she had a bone and she would start growling. I would of course reprimand her and take the bone away, but now I feel even more uneasy...
Where did all this come from?? Thursday night, we were all one big happy family and then all the sudden Friday, in one day, she bit Bentley enough to puncture the skin and became territorial and possessive every time he came near her. This has all happened literally within the last couple days...randomly!! It's like a switch went off in her head. Even at the dog park last night, we had to give her three time outs because she was going insane and playing way too rough towards other dogs.
Bentley is the most submissive dog, too, and Romy is very dominant. She has no problem sticking up for herself, but now I think it's getting out of hand...
Can anyone give me some insight?? I hate to label a 6 month old puppy with aggressive tendencies...I want think it's just her testing. Do I need to be too worried, is it something we can control and fix easily??
Oh yes, I forgot to mention...we have talked to some trainers. A couple of them think it's "just a phase" she's going through. I don't know what to think.
Also, just this morning, she snapped at him for walking near her while she was laying down. There were no treats or toys involved, she just snapped at him randomly. I do not know what to do.
I've never had two dogs so others that have/do will be able to provide better insight, but I think you need to use NILF with Romy and correct her when she is trying to dominate Bentley and being possessive (growling etc).
Whether that means having a leash on her so you can do a quick jerk on the lead while using a command or a sharp "ah-ah" you really do need to step in - maybe remove her from the room? But I wouldn't crate her as you don't want to give the idea the crate is a bad thing. I would assume that in a 2 dog household one would be more dominant than the other. Sorry, not much help but others will chime in!
they are both six months old?
You have dogs hitting maturity at the same time. Maturity can sometimes make dogs behaviour differently as they see what they can get away with and yes, stuff like possessiveness and aggression can come out during this time. Less so in labs I would say but in general. So not unusual that this is coming out now. I agree with the vet who said this was not unusual. ONe of hte reasons it is preferable to not get two puppies (though I guess it is rarely mentioned!) even when they are not litter mates.
I would get her a full physical to make sure she is healthy. then NILF and puppy boot camp. Monitor their careful when they are together and manage toys, food and high value objects. it can get better and I would work with a trainer.
Having multiple dogs isn't always rainbows and sunshine. sometimes fights break out and stuff happens that you have to manage and work on.
Charlie (foster) and Rocky
We had a bit of a problem with Sophie at about that age when it came to real raw marrow bones. Are the bones Romy is protecting this kind of bone? We found out that real bones can make a dog think in a primal way. Sophie growled at me once and I took it away from her. About an hour later I gave it back and she did it again. I took it away, and didn't give her another marrow bone for months. She was about a year old when i gave her another one. This time, no problem. We have had no problems since. I wonder of it was a combination of primal instinct along with six months being a transitional period with a puppy? As far as the too rough play, I would supervise them when together and reprimand her when she gets too rough.
Sophie DOB 04/13/2011 6 mo
Sophie 15 months, with Skye
I agree with what Tanya suggested. They might need a little bit of time apart - for the time being, I would pick up all the bones, empty food dishes and other high reward objects and only allow them to chew their bones separately in their crates.
Sign them both up for obedience classes - separate ones - so they get some one-on-one time with you and work on their behavior, too. As you said, getting a trainer to come to the house to see things first hand might not be a bad idea, too.