Should I keep interfering?

Discussion in 'Dog Training Forum' started by RD, Aug 30, 2006.

  1. RD

    RD Are you dead yet?

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    Ripley is a pest. Dakota is pretty tolerant of him, but when Ripley starts getting in his face, he will bare his front teeth and growl softly. Tonight, while I was working with the two, Ripley started jumping and yapping in an attempt to get a treat. Dakota started doing the lip curl and I distracted him with a down command. Ripley bounced right on top of Dakota, and Dakota just silently snapped at Ripley. He didn't touch him, but I got between the two of them before Ripley could react aggressively and further irritate Dakota.

    I know the two of them are having some "male conflict" issues, neither one really likes the other and Ripley does need to learn to give Dakota some space. If Ripley was bigger, I would let the two of them sort out their own space issues. But, I worry that because Ripley is so tiny (Dakota is 10 times his size) Dakota could hurt him without meaning to.

    What would you do here? I really am hesitant to allow the two to bicker simply because of the size difference, but I am not sure how else to teach Ripley that it is not safe to walk all over Dakota.

    Normally I keep the two separated, but in the RV that isn't possible and I need them to live as harmoniously as they can.

    Any tips/suggestions are appreciated!
     
  2. silverpawz

    silverpawz No Sugar Added

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    Sounds like puppy is being rude and your other dog is telling him to knock it off. He's showing a LOT of restraint if he only air snapped at him.

    Normally I don't ever advocate allowing dogs to 'work it out' themselves, but when it's a case of a pup acting obnoxious (like most puppies do) I think a fair correction from an older dog is the best way for them to learn. Your other dog has every right to tell him off as long as he's not phycially hurting him.

    When I got Bear he was a big pest around my older Collie. He'd get in his space way too often and one day his puppy license ran out and the older dog gave him a good nip coupled with a firm "Grrrr" as he trampled over him. That did the trick. Taught him to respect the other dog's space. They can train pups so much better than we can when it comes to that sort of stuff.
     
  3. doberkim

    doberkim Naturally Natural

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    Ripley is not a puppy, in fact Dakota is the younger dog. Ripley is an adult, just a toy breed.
     
  4. Rubylove

    Rubylove Training the Trainer

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    Just out of curiosity, why's that? Interfering with dogs working out their natural pecking order is more likely to spark a serious incident than not.

    Of course you have to watch the signs but I believe the consensus amongst dog experts is to most definitely let your dogs sort out their hierarchy amongst themselves before ever interfering.

    I am not having a go at you (btw!) I am just curious as to your reasoning. :)
     
  5. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    Actually, there seems to be two schools of thought by experts on this subject. Personally, I have to say that I don't buy the hierarchy stuff to the extent that a lot of people do on account of these being domestic dogs who do not live in the wild.

    So, for me, in my household of multiple dogs (and I've had multiple dogs for a long while) I do not reward behavior I don't want in my home. And so far, I've never had problems with my dogs in this way. There may have been a hint or two of a potential problem coming along, but I think I got the message across.

    Lyric was a pesty puppy too and would irritate Jose. Chuli was so small and a girl, so he didn't seem to bother with her. But his pestiness was that he was trying to instigate play and getting pushy about it. Jose would give a little lip curl or growl. Jose, lots of times does like to play, but not when he's trying to nap. LOL. Lyric never growled back. It was as if he was oblivious that Jose was irritated. However, I would definitely step in and not allow him to continue pushing Jose's buttons. So, I'd step between and move Lyric off, give him some other thing to do where he could be reinforced, like come into the adjacent room and play with me with a rope toy after a few seconds. I'd interrupt him quickly and distract him. When I saw him ever standing near Jose, but not being pushy, being calm, I'd give him a treat and cue word, "leave it" or....if Jose did feel like playing, remind Lyric, "gentle." In other words, I made it more beneficial to Lyric to "leave it" more fun, more tasty than to continue on the path he was headed.

    All behavior is contingent on consequences. The consequence of Lyric being pushy was that he never got reinforced (very much) for following through and getting the fun he thought he was about to get by bugging Jose because it was interrupted. The consequence of leaving Jose and dropping the idea of getting too rough and pushy was that he got to play rough with me with a rope toy (tug)...his favorite and he'd even get a high value treat to boot. Soon, he associated the word, "leave it" in that context too and when he heard that cue, he pretty much automatically would leave it.

    My two boys are great buddies most all the time. Lyric is a lot more mature now too. But he does occassionally do that play stalking thing and I definitely interrupt it. He's playing but it clearly bothers Jose. I tell Lyric, "eh-eh! Leave it!" And if he doesn't (sometimes he doesn't) I step in and herd him off. If Lyric and Toker (bigger dog) want to play that way, fine. But I won't let that instinct to stalk, even though it's play... get going with my little dog.

    That said, I think Ripley needs a lesson in some manners and if you let Dakota teach him, especially if they're not that fond of eachother, something bad could happen.

    How long has Ripley been jumping and yapping in an attempt to get a treat? What do you do when he does this? I wouldn't give him a treat until he sits quietly. Something has been reinforcing this behavior. Before Dakota gets to his threhold of frustration, that would be my cue to move Ripley away with a command, ("away"? or something) and make it well worth his while to put some distance between himself and Dakota and to follow your command. The trick is to interrupt it BEFORE Ripley gets reinforced by thinking he's succeeded at accomplishing what he's setting out to do, at the first sign of intention, the first muscle contraction. LOL.

    I would not leave those two together unattended when you're not there. It sounds potentially dangerous. One bite from Dakota, one incident of poor guaging of his bite pressure and Ripley could be dead. It doesn't sound like they have settled into your system which IMO you set up for them, being the "Mom." That's my philosophy rather than letting the dogs fight it out. Dog squabbling, fighting is not allowed in my house. And I'll use verbal "corrections" too. But I make sure to reinforce the "nice" behavior. It's worked well for me this way. I have a very rare incident anymore where I have to do anything at all. But there is a little difference in that my two boys do like eachother and will play together, go exploring up in the woods together. The unwanted behavior never seems to happen when they're busy and "on a mission" together to chase a squirrel. They seem to cooperate together. It's more when we're inside or if they're bored. I do watch it with the high value toys etc, just in case....seperate them when they eat....just basically manage the environment so stuff doesn't tend to come up. I leave nothing too fun for them when I go away and they just sleep. (I can tell when I come home by the warm cushions....4 of them. LOL)

    I've never seperated them when no one was home before, except when Lyric was a he!! raiser. But I'm thinking I'm going to start doing that. Lyric just turned 3. He's more mature. He's never shown one iota of aggressiveness, has the most incredible tolerance for things and they all get along great. But, something could come up and he could react differently than he ever has before. That's always a possibility. The Chi's tend to go in their crate a lot of the time anyhow, so they won't mind being seperated. Those two can definitely be together. They're madly in love. They're best friends in the whole world. The big dogs sleep on the couches, so I might have to put one in my room, bring water in there. Uggg, kind of a hassle.

    I hope things will get fixed up for you. What does your trainer say? Did you ask her? I do know people have different ideas on this. I just know what has worked for me. I've had no significant problems that way. Ripley does sound more hyper than my dogs and I realize it's harder to "get through" to him. Just be careful. He is a tiny little dude.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2006
  6. RD

    RD Are you dead yet?

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    Thank you all for the input. Sorry, Silverpawz, I should have given a little background info on these two. As Doberkim stated, Ripley is the older of the two. He's a 3 year old, 5lb neutered male Papillon. Dakota is a 2 year old, 40-45lb intact male Border Collie. Ripley has had some aggression issues in the past but in the past year (the past 2 months especially) we've been making great progress.

    Doberluv, thanks for the advice. Regarding the jumping and yapping for the treat . . . GAWD this has been one hard habit to get rid of! Ever since he was young, Ripley would squeak and yap for a treat. We all gave it to him even while he was yapping, so he was continually reinforced for it. Once I learned more about training I stopped reinforcing the yapping and wouldn't feed him until he was settled down and quiet. My mom, on the other hand, feeds him just to get him to stop yapping. She still does this; that noise is just piercing and not many people can handle it. I'm slowly getting her to stop rewarding him for it but on occasion she still does. *cringe*
    Because he still gets rewarded for it, he always tries the yapping before he settles down. I know eventually he will learn to nix the yapping and go straight to the quiet sit, but it's been really slow.

    They seem to be accepting my leadership, I'm not having any problems with fighting, just with Ripley getting in Dakota's space and irritating him. Maybe the problem is with Dakota and not Ripley, but I can't exactly blame Dakota for wanting Ripley to keep his distance. I think a little bit of doggie boot camp is in order, though. I have been slacking a bit on NILIF.

    The two are never, ever left unattended. If I have to leave, Ripley goes in his crate.

    I think if I can just teach Ripley to sit quietly and politely during "group training" (I currently have my two dogs, a Golden Retriever puppy and a Border Collie puppy here . . . Talk about a madhouse!) Dakota may be okay. I'm just not sure what to do in the meantime? I have no idea how to teach Ripley to stay away from Dakota when he's in such a "treat frenzy". Bleh... I guess I could keep a tab on Ripley's collar and just guide him away from Dakota when he gets too close.

    I haven't asked my trainer yet, I will on Thursday when we go to class with Lucy. She has very interesting approaches to solving problems like that, I'm eager to hear what she has to say, too.

    Thanks again :)
     
  7. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    Well, good luck. Let us know how it goes.
     
  8. silverpawz

    silverpawz No Sugar Added

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    Snarking like a quick grumble to let the other dog know to back off is fine. I don't stop a dog from communicating. However I don't feel that allowing them to 'work it out' by fighting is ever a good idea.

    I prefer to have a 'no fighting allowed' rule and so far it's worked well for me. Never set off any sparks.

    I don't have to worry about that with my current dogs, but I did have a BC a few years ago that was a big bitch for lack of a better word. She would have aggressed toward the other dogs all the time trying to assert herself in the pecking order if I let her. But I made it very clear that no fights were allowed. EVER. and that made it much easeir for her to be part of the pack.
    It never made it 'worse', only made it easier to manage her.

    I tell my clients to do the same thing.
    If you say no fighting, there better be no fighting. I don't think an owner should give a hoot about what order the dogs are in amongst themselves, what matters is how they view YOU, the owner.

    Allowing them to work it out themselves is only telling them that fighting is allowed so have at it. It's up to us an owners to take control of the situation. Plus, I don't like risking any injuries that can so easily be prevented.

    RD, I would body block Riply from getting in Dakota's space. Just get up and walk right between them then shuffle into the litle one's space untill he moves back.
     
  9. Roxy's CD

    Roxy's CD New Member

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    I agree that allowing them to "work it out" sometimes is the best way, BUT as silverpawz mentioned if you put your foot down it should end immediately.

    RD- Hades pesters Roxy a lot. (trying to initiate play) And because she's so full of herself, a lot of the time she decides that she doesn't want to play with him. Most of the time, Roxy stands very still and gives him the stare, sometimes a low growl, and sometimes she will actually manipulate him into the submissive position when he's extra persistent, which usually ends in Hades running to mommy or daddy, getting told to leave Roxy alone, and he gives himself a kennel time out! ROFL

    I think ignoring him when he jumps for the treat is the first thing to do, although it sounds like Roxy sometimes when she just hip checks Hades out of the way when it's his turn to work with me! ROFL

    His Ripliness just wants you all to himself, he doesn't want to share with Dakota, and while it seems that Dakota is very reserved, I'm sure he gets annoyed.

    I'm sure whatever you decide to do, will be best for you and your poochies :)
     
  10. MomOf7

    MomOf7 Evil Kitty taco eater

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    I will second that:)
     
  11. RD

    RD Are you dead yet?

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    Thanks! Body blocking him is a good idea, I will try that next time he gets too pushy.

    I understand about not letting them fight it out. With Border Collies, they usually reprimand one another and "teach" each other to respect the boss. They never get too out-of-control with their corrections, and if Ripley was the size of a BC I wouldn't be as cautious... Gah, little dogs are so complicated. I wish these two could TRY to get along. I have wondered if neutering Dakota would help, but he isn't the instigator of the squabbles.
     
  12. Rubylove

    Rubylove Training the Trainer

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    Ahhhh I see. Yes, I do agree with most of what you say. When our two are about to have a rumble if I'm there I head it off with distraction and so forth. I just wanted to know what you meant a bit more specifically. If they were having a real fight that could result in harm then I would stop it, you bet (in fact, I wouldn't let it come to that in the first place) however I do believe that tussles are just tussles and important for a dog's social structure.

    And in saying that, I really do have to disagree with what you say about owners not giving a hoot about where dogs are in relation to each other's pecking order. I think that is vitally important in maintaining function in your family `pack' so to speak. I think that the whole dominance/pack debate can get taken too far, however at the end of the day I do still believe in it as a behaviour theory and certainly in terms of how the dogs interrelate. Knowing which of your dogs is higher up the chain of command is very important in knowing how to head off arguments and treat them accordingly. After all, despite being domesticated, dogs do still have natural behaviour instincts and I think the one of family or pack is very real to them.
     
  13. silverpawz

    silverpawz No Sugar Added

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    Pack order can be a fluid thing. It's determined by so many small gestures that we as humans may not even recognize. Who an owner thinks is the alpha may not be. Who they think is last on the totum pole may not be either. Attempting to mess with that pack structure by treating certain dogs differently is not something I advocate. I prefer to treat my dogs equally and I suggest the same thing to my clients.

    That's what I ment by 'not giving a hoot'. I may know who's who in my pack but I don't attempt to rienforce that or change it. Instead I focus on making sure they know who's the Alpha Bitch. ;) Once that is clear, it's been my experience that it often makes no difference what position the rest of the pack members are in.

    Just my opinion. So far it's working for me. :)
     
  14. Rubylove

    Rubylove Training the Trainer

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    Well when you put it that way, I am in total agreement. I meant that we should just try to be aware but not treat our animals differently because I couldn't agree more that there are so many factors at play that we as relatively undeveloped (in a dog's world) humans just don't see and couldn't understand.

    Mine get treated equally - in that I come first in everything (and hubby of course) and they come next!! :D Like you say, as long as they know where YOU stand, the rest should fall into place without too much incidence.
     
  15. Ashlea

    Ashlea New Member

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    Personally I don't allow bickering between my two. Aeron has such lovely manners she just allows Lilly to do whatever she wants. I on the other hand very quickly step in and correct Lilly for stealing food, beds and generally be a little sh*t!

    Aeron is the dominant one because when she has enough she will paw Lilly to the ground and walk away. Aeron is just scared of getting in trouble with me if she is nasty to Lills, so she tends to be careful of her reactions. She is learning that I do not tolerate Lilly getting above her station.
     
  16. Rubylove

    Rubylove Training the Trainer

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    Goodness I missed this before! YES it would help! He is perhaps not the instigator but don't forget dogs work much more predominantly on smell and other cues than vision. The elevated testosterone in Dakota's system may not make HIM more aggressive, but your other dog sure can smell it and it would be riling him up for sure.

    I'm convinced that neutering is your first step towards a happier couple!
     
  17. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    I agree with Silverpaws totally. This way of thinking has always worked for me too and I've had multiple dogs a lot of the time.
     
  18. RD

    RD Are you dead yet?

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    I was really hoping to show Dakota, but if it'll absolutley cut down on the tension I am totally willing to neuter him. I'll talk to his breeder about it.

    So far there have been no more issues, I've been body blocking Rip when he gets into Dakota's space. This month (we get to stay in Idaho longer! YAY!) I'll be taking both of them to a class and working on their cooperation with one another. My trainer is really helpful and suggested that I bring the boys in together so she could see what could be causing some of their problems. She's much more observant of the subtle behaviors that set dogs off than I am. I'm hoping that they can be okay with each other soon, the tension is really frustrating to me. I will never have 2 "dominant" males at the same time again.
     
  19. Rubylove

    Rubylove Training the Trainer

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    Ohh ok I didn't realise you wanted to show him. Discuss it with your vet. I am sure they would have some excellent advice for you.
     
  20. Ashlea

    Ashlea New Member

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    How about looking into chemical castration? I don't know much about it but you should chat to your vet.
     

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