I have ruby a 5 year old basset lab mix adopted from a no kill shelter. And Randy a 3 year old unknown mix adopted from our local pound.
What is known of ruby’s background is that she was a farm dog with no house training. She played well with other dogs and quickly bonded with us. She is low energy, docile and content with the activity she receives in our fenced yard and the occasional walk around the neighborhood.
Nothing was known of Randy’s background except that he was about 1 year old “hound mix”. By his appearance you’d bet he has some dashchund.. just a larger version of a weenie dog, I also suspect a little beagle and a little pit bull as well. He loves to burrow and is very lean and high energy, He is very friendly with humans, not so much other dogs.
Randy tho smaller quickly established dominance over Ruby and after two years it is more like Randy is traing me and not the other way around. We have a limited bond other than his being intensely cute at times he does few things that illicit a positive response from me and often he seems more manipulative than anything. Often he is dead in the eyes like a machine his moods are unpredictable. Yesterday he was uncharacteristicly calm and behaved for no reason I could discern and today overly intense and stressful to be near.
Randy is territorial over three situations. 1 food, 2 space and 3 my attention. Ruby has become increasingly submissive and Randy need only look at her or use a small degree of body language to establish dominance, except when it comes to a place on the couch next to me. For this Ruby will carefully persist in testing Randy’s boundaries and has developed new ways of gaining the upper hand.
To give Ruby the attention she needs and deserves I must remove her entirely from Randy’s presence. Ruby also needs extra amounts of love and affection like most bassadors.
Randy has never drawn blood or injured Ruby but they have had intense fights with barred teeth, barking and biting. These are typically easy to break up if I stand give a firm no and pull randy away enough to refocus.
The entire dynamic is exhausting for all of us. And it is especially isolating for Ruby.
There are many reasons to believe all this can be resolved. Randy is very responsive to food reward. The two of them do play in neutral areas of the house and often Ruby will be delighted by Randy. When out side they actually do not play or fight. They run parrallel and do not fight in off leash open space.
Randy is constantly finding new ways to escape the yard and retesting his original escape routes for weakness. So his time in the yard is not nearly the amount he needs, and still he would prefer full sprint running in an open area.
On occasion Ruby has been able to acheive her time on the couch next to me if Randy was in another room or very distracted. At these times Randy is surprisingly cool with it, no agresive behavior and even when Randy wants to include himself and jumps up with us, it’s not out of dominance but is more playful. Ruby then is the rigid one unwilling to share space and gives a deep low growl.... Randy does not heed.
I can count three times when the three of us where able to work it out and all be relaxed on the couch together.
So I have a few ideas on how to proceed and regain control but I’m curious what others would advise?
Is there anything extreamly obvious I’m doing wrong?
My biggest challenge is the amount of time these two require. Ruby needs direct affection for extended periods of time, hours actually, and Randy needs extra time to run off energy as well as extra space to really do the trick. Plus specific command and reward training separate and together. I’m overwhelmed but willing!