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I've been thinking of fostering with Koda since I currently have a place with an extra bedroom (yes, you heard that right...>< Ek) and can't find a roommate.

Koda IS dog reactive, though her main trigger is them being in her face, confined spaces aren't superb either. Depending on the family, I've seen squabbles as very common in some multi-dog households and I was wondering what you guys thought was a normal level of disagreement? Description on body language (does it escalate past a lip lick? Turn away? Air snap? Lunging?) and frequency (daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, annually?) would help me out a ton to gauge what most people consider as normal.

Number of dogs:
Ages of dog:
Body language escalation:
Frequency:
"Problem" child, and why you think that is the dog causing the issues:

Thanks!!
 

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I have six dogs in my house.
2 one year olds,6,8,9 and 14.
Generally the most we get out of arguments is a growl, air snap and occasionally a bark off. For those we don't intervene, they settle it themselves. Normally its one of the young ones being rude and obnoxious. Obviously having so many dogs, it happens more often, probably every couple days.

We do have actual fights every couple weeks, and the common denominator is my dog Chess. She is a bully and resource guards me like nobodys business. Those fights I would not classify as normal. We're working on it!
Other than her issues, we never have any real fights, just sibling like squabbles.
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I have three dogs, an 11 year old Aussie, a 5 year olds terrier mix, and my 1 year old cocker mix.

We almost never have fights or major disagreements. Chisum (my cocker) was rather aggressive and RGd when he first came home (at 8 weeks!) But over time its gotten better. I fees him separately and rarely allow high value items unless he is alone. But on the occasions I slip up, its still not really an issue.

Sometimes my terrier will growl if the Aussie gets close to her food dish, and she'll get grouchy if Chisum bugs her too much (she can be kind of a grump) but it never escalates into anything serious.

I will say that there are times when Chisum will stiffen, especially with my Aussie. It's usually when he thinks she's about to go somewhere he doesn't want her too. That USED to escalate. But we've worked a lot on redirection and he's done really well. The last fight we had was 2 months ago, and it had been at least 8 before that.

It seems too that Chisum is more of a "problem" dog (shocker). Before him we had four dogs, the terrier and aussie, and a lab and a sheltie. They were close in age and I think we *maybe* had 3 fights in 10 years (always the lab and the Aussie, and always easily stopped).
 

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Number of dogs: 2

Ages of dog: 7-8 yrs and almost 3 yrs

Body language escalation: They get along really well, and I've never had more than a short growl, at which point the other dog goes away. My boys seem to read each other quite well and always do whatever is needed to avoid conflict.

Frequency: Probably 3 times in as many years together. Never more than one short growl.

"Problem" child, and why you think that is the dog causing the issues: Archer (the almost 3 year old) has some mild resource guarding tendencies towards other dogs with high value things like bully sticks and occasionally a new toy.

However, the situation changes when I have a foster dog. Unless it is a really young puppy Archer has started getting insecure when a new dog is in the house (even when they are being kept 100% separated). This started happening around social maturity at 2 years old. His resource guarding would skyrocket when a foster was here, he would start guarding me, the couch, his crate, and doorways, and he was pretty miserable.

Because of this I no longer foster. And if I were to add a new dog to the house it would need to be a very young puppy that grew up around Archer.

An old foster puppy who is now almost 2 years old stays with us when his mom goes out of town and Archer is totally relaxed around him. So apparently the key is very young puppies (under 3 months) that he helps raise.

Bernie who is my reactive to strange dogs pup is actually really easy going once the initial meet and greet is over. If done the right way he has almost no anxiety and settles in to the new routine quickly.

Interesting stuff!
 

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Number of dogs: 2

Ages of dog: Roxie is 4, Forbes is 2. They have been living together for the past year.

Body language escalation: Roxie guards us. She will start with looking away, some lip licking, shifty eyes. If he doesn't heed the warning, she will lift the lip and maybe low growl. If he still doesn't heed the warning (which he is sometimes guilty of) She will snap, and has on occasion made land fall on his face/lip. She has drawn blood (only a little) a few times. She is usually very guilty after. Usually she will immediately leave her spot, grab a toy and shove it in his face like she is apologizing and trying to get him to play. He usually does not oblige and will sometimes will not even look at her for a good hour.

Frequency: More then I would like. Once a month, maybe?

"Problem" child, and why you think that is the dog causing the issues: Both contribute to the issue. Roxie guards us. It usually has to do when she is feeling like she isn't getting enough us time. She just wants to lay on the couch or be near us. He Completely disrespects that and will climb over her, or over us to get in between us and her. She also usually does give more then enough warning. He just doesn't pay any mind to it. Once she gets more 1 on 1 time, like when agility class starts back up, she tends to be a lot better about tolerating her brother. He never usually responds back to her bites. If anything he will just kinda scream, I don't know if that's because she hurt him, or because she hurt his feelings.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you all for the input! I find it super helpful. Ideally we'd love to hear our dogs never get into arguments but that's just not realistic-knowing what level (air snap, growl, etc) of communication is more normal really puts things in perspective. Keep them coming!

Sounds to me so far that most issues come from resource guarding and generally poor communication so far. I know with my foster I'll have RGing to deal with but that's fairly easy to manage (food based RGing mostly). Guarding me may or may not be an issue. Miscommunication? Definitely. I'd love to hear more on how/when you intervene, too.
 

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I got Jersey when she was around 2 years old and Shadow was around 4 or 5, and had them together for around 10 years. It's late and I don't feel like looking up actual dates LOL.

Body language escalation: If it was a resource guarding issue, stiffening over the object, hard stare, growl, and if I didn't intervene at that point and the other dog thought the object was worth fighting over, they'd fight. Jersey enjoyed doing a run by nip on Shadow when we got in from a walk, Shadow strongly objected to such behavior and he's snarl and snap at her.

Frequency: The stiffening, hard stare, and growling, happened nearly every time they got chews. Actual fights only happened a few times in the 10 years I had them, but would have happened fairly frequently if I hadn't intervened. The snarling and snapping because Jersey was doing a run by nipping happened multiple times a week.

"Problem" child, and why you think that is the dog causing the issues: Shadow caused most of the resource guarding issues, but occasionally Jersey would do so. Jersey caused the snarling and snapping when we got in from walks. I think if I would have listened carefully enough I could have heard her laughing as she performed her run by nipping...

I tried to always intervene with the resource guarding and it was fairly easy to do so. Jersey was a thief and Shadow knew it, unfortunately Shadow didn't chew all that much but Jersey did, so I had to keep an eye out and when she finished keep her occupied till Shadow decided he had enough of the chew and I could take it. He'd only react when she got close. The few real squabbles they had was because I had gotten inattentive and dropped my guard, luckily they were fairly easy to break up and more noise then actual bites.

I didn't do anything about the snarling and snapping when Jersey ran by and nipped him, I knew it wouldn't go beyond that and Jersey deserved to be told off by Shadow.
 

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Not sure if this will help you...

Number of dogs: 2

Ages of dog: 4 years & 17 months

Body language escalation: Generally - look away, stiffening, growling, air snaps, changes in the tone of their vocalizations during play, and probably quite a few others I miss.

Frequency: Minor disagreements (e.g., stay away from my toy, don't jump on me), maybe weekly. More major disagreements (e.g., I will have that toy, leave me alone I want to stop playing), every few months.

"Problem" child, and why you think that is the dog causing the issues: They both cause issues for different reasons.

Katie can be snotty. She wants all the toys, all the attention, and all the food. She will growl* to get her way. She growls at Tyson while he eats, steals his toys and growls and snaps if he doesn't relinquish them fast enough, and pushes him away if he's getting attention.

Tyson is dopey. He will jump on the bed or try to sit near me without any regard for who or what is in the way; understandably, Katie's not happy if he lands or walks on her. He seems to continue to push Katie to play when she's had enough (even if she initiated). He won't start anything and will back down if challenged.

Since I know what situations are likely to cause problems, I can prevent quite a few. They are fed and get high value treats / chews in separate rooms (at least when I watch them), Katie is watched if Tyson has a toy, Tyson is prevented from jumping or walking on Katie, play - especially rough play - is closely monitored and frequently interrupted, they are separated if play goes on too long, they're both offered opportunities to escape the other frequently.

* There are very likely other signs I don't see, but growling is hard to miss.
 

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Number of dogs: 2 (3 incoming :) )

Ages of dogs: 5 years and almost 3 years

Body language escalation: I don't think we have ever had an issue *unless* it is to do with Kasper's RG, and even that is much improved. However if we mess up (say a toy is left out by accident or he finds some rubbish) he stiffens, stares at Zoey, growls and eventually lunges / air snaps to chase her off.

Frequency: hasn't happened in a long time, must have been at least 4 months ago. Zoey is also getting better about giving him space and listening to him.

"Problem" child: Kasper RG, both food and toys, from Zoey. We simply don't have toys out when they are both around - they either playfight with each other, or one is crated / in a pen so they can each have toys, play tug with us etc.

Kasper gives lots of warning with his RG, but especially when younger Zoey didn't respect this. She has gotten a little better now. We've worked hard on leave it and waits, to the point where if there's a toy left out or I drop food, it's easily handled. I can release Zoey to get it and Kasper will hold his stay and wait for me to give him his reward.

Kasper also gets very grumpy if Zoey steps or knocks him when he is sleeping. Usually it's just a low grumble, but once he did snap at her. This is easily managed, although Kasper does think he can leap all over Zoey when she is sleeping (he's an arse...). We try prevent this from happening at all, not that Zoey seems to care :rolleyes:

Our two also play very rough and can get over-excited, but stop when asked and we redirect to training / pop one in the crate or pen so they can have a Kong and calm down. If someone accidentally gets hurt when playing, they will yelp and the other backs off...Kasper will resume play within a second or so, whereas Zoey looks genuinely worried and goes to make sure he's okay :D

I should add when we first intro'd Zoey Kasper hated her. He was totally freaked out and very growly. When Zoey had a chew in her crate, Kasper growled until she dropped it. We didn't intro them as well as we could, as Zoey wasn't planned, but within a week Kasper relaxed and they were playing :)
 

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Number of dogs: 2
Ages of dog: 15 months and 16 weeks
Body language escalation: None as of yet.
Frequency: So far, my girls have not gotten into a squabble yet. When we have super high value things out (like the real fur tugs and bully sticks) it's always supervised. I realize this may change as they age.
"Problem" child, and why you think that is the dog causing the issues: Echo is great with Nevy, and they share some of the lesser value chews and toys. However, she isn't great at reading other dogs so with a strange dog that could get her in trouble.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
So interesting to hear about everyone's interactions. Interesting to hear most is regarding RGing. Do your dogs not get into "Ugh, get away from me" type of arguments ever?
 

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I don't have a multi dog household but am following since I hope to either foster soon or get a second dog and am finding these very interesting to know ahead of time.
 
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Kay - whoever gets to foster first is going to have to share the experience! :p
 

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Number of dogs: 2
Ages of dog: Kizzie ~ 3 yrs ... Huckleberry ~ 2 and 1/2 yrs
Body language escalation: Stiffening, Stand Over or Body Block, Growl, Air Snap
Frequency: Usually a Stand Over or Body block once a day. A growl and air snap every once in a while.

"Problem" child, and why you think that is the dog causing the issues:
I don't know that I view either as a "problem child". At this point they really get along extremely well and are very bonded to each other.

So here's their story:

I had Kizzie for about 6 mos before I brought Huckle home. Both were strays from the shelter. Kizzie had been stuck there 2 mos before I adopted her and it was not a good situation at the shelter. So she had a bit of a rough start in life.

In some parts of her life she's a very bold, confident lil' dog. In others, there's a level of insecurity. She's a soft dog, so I try and be very careful about correction. A verbal "uhtuh" or "enough" is the extent of it. She did have some separation anxiety, so I decided to get another dog to help with that, since she's so dog friendly.

In my selection process at the shelter, I tried to make sure I got a dog I felt would get along well with Kizzie, first and foremost. I of course had to really like and want the dog too. There was a Golden I would have gotten I think if it was just about me, but Huckleberry seemed the best fit for both of us.

When I first brought Huckle home, there was a bit of resource guarding from Kizzie. She growled if he got near her food bowl. She wouldn't share her toys. If I gave'em each a bone, she'd go grab his and try to hoard both bones. She growled about him being on the bed. When I was giving him attention, she'd get in between us. It was a precarious start no doubt, although I could tell from their play together that they really liked each other.

From my viewpoint the resource guarding stemmed from insecurity. From her not wanting this interloper to come in and take away this good life she finally had now. So I was very careful to make sure she didn't feel Huckle was in any way a threat and to even make it where she associated Huckle with even better stuff happening in her life. Higher value treats, more walks, more play and it all involved Huckle. I also never yelled or punished her for that initial resource guarding, but I didn't let her bully Huckle either. I'd manage the resources where she didn't feel threatened and if something happened I'd talk to her and redirect her.

I will say though, a huge part in it working out is Huckle is a pretty laid back guy and never challenged her on anything. Once he got confident in being a part of our lil' pack though, he did turn out to be quite the pester-y lil' brother.

So really at this point, the resource guarding is very minor. If we're giving Huckle a bunch of attention, she may come over and stand between us and him, but it never escalates, because we redirect the behavior. The only squabbles they have now are when he gets pester-y. Sometimes we'll intervene, because she's way too tolerant of it, but for the most part we just let her handle it. When she reaches her "I've had enough" level, she growls and air snaps at him, he backs off and that's the end of it. They have never actually had a real honest to god dog fight and unless Huckle had a drastic personality change over night, I can't see it ever escalating to that.
 

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My little terrier mix is very into personal space, so she gets grumbly when other animals (cats or dogs) violate that. Chisum is the biggest offender, but while she'll growl or occasionally snap at him when he gets into her space, it never escalates into full on fight. For one thing, we separate them for her peace of mind; for another, he's terrible at picking up those signals so he usually just keeps doing what he's doing or he (wrongly) assumes she's trying to play.
 

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Number of dogs: 4 - my 3, (all larger 5-60lb mixed breeds) plus 1 long term foster (Chi mixed)

Ages of dog: Ginger is 13.5, Roxy & Rico are 1.5, and Buddy the Chi is somewhere between 2-4 (bad heartworms and a street life make it hard to tell)

Body language escalation: Buddy resource guards me from the other kids, especially if he's sleeping on me. He growls and shows teeth, and gets in timeout for it. He also has been known to bite Rico if they're playing and Rico misjudges his size and hurts Buddy. That's a tough one cause Rico's such a delicate little flower and after they're separated, Ri goes right back to Buddy to apologize and they become BFFs again.

Ginger and Roxy have been struggling lately as Roxy is going through teenage angst and Ginger doesn't want to deal with her. Ginger stiffens whenever Buddy goes near where the food is kept, and so Roxy will freeze and they stare down until either we notice and snap them out of it, or one goes after the other. Roxy bit Ginger's tail last week during a fight. They were fine with each other until the past month when Roxy was on prednisone, and then it brought all the bad behaviors up.

Frequency: What I consider major fights like the ones above, where someone gets bit, have only happened those 3 times over the past 10 months. The big 3 get into barking matches when Rico goes to give Ginger kisses and Roxy feels the need to "protect" him from Ginger.

"Problem" child, and why you think that is the dog causing the issues: Everyone has their reasons: Rico's a nervous little dude, Roxy's a teenager, Ginger's an old lady, and Buddy had to fight to protect what was his on the streets, and will probably always RG to an extent around other dogs. But they're all such sweet kids, and the issues are luckily mostly very few.
 

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IMO it's highly unethical to foster if you own a reactive dog. It's not fair to the either the main dog or the fosters and C&R is no way for dogs to have to live. Management always FAILS.

To answer your questions, we have only ever had one minor scuffle when we first got Phoenix and she was being hyper late at night and Zoe was tired. It was a hard stare and an inhibited snark. I kept Phoenix away from her when she was hyper and taught her how to be calm and that was that.

I can't even remember the last time Zoe looked at her wrong. They get along extremely well.
 

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I have a reactive dog. She's worlds better than she used to be but I don't foster because I don't want to deal with the high level of management that would be needed. I'd also hate to be responsible for a foster dog having a negative experience and becoming reactive. I've kept dogs that I've found for a few days up to a few weeks and it's a lot of time and effort to make sure none of the dogs has an unpleasant experience.

I have three dogs. They get along well with each other but I don't want to change the dynamics among my own dogs while I have a reactive dog. Adding a foster would add stress to the house. How my dogs get along with each other doesn't have a lot of bearing on how things would be with another dog added. My dogs do get into the occasional spat because that's what dogs do sometimes. Nothing that requires my intervention.
 

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Well, IMO, squabbles should not be "typical" in any dog family. If they are, there are some issues with management that really need to be addressed before they escalate. And things can escalate quickly. I also don't count the occasional "knock it off" snark (like an air snap or rush w/ vocalization) as a squabble if it's from an older/grumpier dog to a younger/more rambunctious dog. A squabble is when two dogs actually get into it and have a serious disagreement over something. Not necessarily hurting each other, but it can be a lot of noise, snapping/snarling, light biting...Something that a human needs to step in and break up. Basically when one dog won't back down or was not understanding the body language of the other, or straight up fighting over a resource.

My 3 get along just fine and I wouldn't say I even have a "problem child" with this crew. My border collie is 4, my GSD is 9, and my chi mix is 13. There is no progression or anything. At the very most, my BC can be a bit possessive of me and will body block my other dogs. I spent a lot of time training them to share resources, and I still take precautions like giving them some space during feeding, separating for recreational chews, and supervised meals.

Rosie is my reactive dog, but it's very dependent on location. At home, she's perfectly fine with other dogs and people. If I introduce a foster, I have to do it in my house. It's very opposite of the common suggestions/advice to have dogs meet at a "neutral" location. It won't work for her. Outside of the house, she's nervous, and will react to strange people and dogs because she's just worked up about being in such an unfamiliar location. Inside, she's very accepting and I have no issues with her and fosters.

Anyway, if Koda's issues really are as bad as you've described, I honestly would not even consider fostering with her. I don't think it would be fair to her, or the foster dog. The amount of effort necessary to manage them and keep her separated would throw off her routine, which would cause a great deal of stress to a reactive dog that relies on that routine and predictability. And it's a lot of stress on you too, since with a reactive dog, you really do have to sort of adjust your life based on what they need. Adding in a second dog is a LOT more work, especially if you end up with one that also has it's own unique needs that you have to adjust life around. It could really set Koda back, even if there are no squabbles or incidents. That's just me though.
 

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TB brings up a good point. What one person calls a squabble or fight might be totally different to someone else. To me a squabble is not what TiggerBounce describes. A squabble, to me, lasts a few seconds. Air snap may or may not be involved. Usually a vocalization and a distance increasing move by one dog and the other dog moves away without the dogs engaging in any sort of physical contact. Hackles are usually not raised and no hard feelings remain.

A squabble does not require intervention when I use that word. Defining behavior is always better than using a vague term that can be interpreted differently. I should have done that rather than assume everyone knew what I meant when I used the term squabble.
 
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