Dog Forum banner
Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 4 of 4 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Sorry this is long. I'm struggling to figure out what to do with the newest addition to our family, a 15 month 7 lb yorkie, Bella, that joined our family 3 weeks ago. I have 3 other older dogs and for the first week, all was well except for a few small spats easily resolved. She is very sweet to us and very loving, the problem is how she is with our other dogs. A couple of times one of my older dogs, Noel, growled at Bella when she tried to jump up near her. That began our main issue. Now for 2 weeks every time Bella sees Noel she starts growling and runs and lunges at her. We have separated them and tried to only have them in the same area for short periods of time while they are both being fed treats to keep Bella calm...Noel is calm just scared of her. We have tried to walk them together but Noel (20 lbs 7 yrs) is scared of Bella and avoids her while Bella struggles so hard to get at her she won't walk, first growling and barking, then whining. I have dealt with multi dog aggression in the past but I am struggling to deal with the situation where the aggression is held on for weeks. When Bella has the same situations with our other 2 ( random growing/spats) they would get over them and move on but with Noel, if she even catches sight of her she tenses up and starts to growl. As for Noel, she will stare and watch Bella from a distance or turn her head and not look at her and if she is near she will tuck her tail between her legs and hide. I have tried keeping Bella on a leash with me and whenever she showed aggression toward Noel I say shh/ quiet and wait until she calms down then we move on. She is also given treats when she sees Noel. She does calm down after a little but it's been 2 weeks of this. We have had to buy and put up gates to keep them separated in the house. Now, yesterday, she is trying to attack all the dogs through the gate so I'm worried it is having the opposite effect on them...creating aggression. Also, a problem she has with the other dogs is if they do a small warning growl to back off she goes from 0 to 100 and decides to lunge and attack them immediately. She over reacts. I have researched for 2 weeks, implemented different training strategies, tried all sorts of things but it's not getting better. I know it has only been 2 weeks but it's worse! I am a stay at home mom with 4 older kids and we are all working on this but I am concerned it will not get better and I am nervous of a future where we are constantly on guard making sure they are not attacking through the gate or if Bella gets out. I do let Bella and 2 of my other dogs play in our yard together. Generally, all goes well unless I sit down and they all want to sit with me (Bella stares at other dogs and lunges) so I don't sit. In the house Bella can also start random fights with the dogs. Do you have any advice? Has anyone who has been through this before had it work out! Is there hope?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
662 Posts
What methods have you been looking into/ trying?

To me it sounds like their could be a number of different problems.
1) she is clearly aggressive to other dogs for SOME reason; she might be afraid or insecure herself and over compensating, she may be acting out of frustration, she may be guarding people/things/space, she may just not share things/space well.
2) you mention the gate seemed to make it worse, which makes me wonder if frustration is an issue at all
3) you mentioned she seems to get aggressive if other dogs try to sit with you, which may be her resource guarding you

Honestly, I think you would be best served by finding a behaviorist to work with. 2 weeks isn't very long, but IMO it is long enough to get a general idea of how easy or hard a problem might be to fix, and it sounds like this is getting worse, not better. You're going to need to arm yourself with a lot of information in order to deal with this, which does go above and beyond what average people tend to know or really care to know about dogs. This forum is a great place to go to to be pointed in the right direction of that information, but actually successfully implementing the training tools that will be suggested requires some aspect of practice, experience, and trial and error- a professional with experience in this kind of problem will be an invaluable source of help and guidance, and as great as this forum is it doesn't trump in-person evaluation.

I would suggest looking for some trainers in your area. I'd also familiarize yourself with the general rules and tools of dog training- ie, reinforcement-only training versus "balanced" training versus more correction/aversive based or traditional methods. Steer as far clear of anyone touting dominance theory as you possibly can. Personally, I would suggest who uses science-based methods in their training and someone who uses aversives/corrections as a last resort in training. My own training philosophy is much more based in positive reinforcement than anything else, and I do strive to be as close to force free as possible, so my answer is not an unbiased one.
This is a good overview of different kinds of training/options: Click or Jerk? | Association of Animal Behavior Professionals

Deciding what course of action is best to take is going to involve pinning down all the different issues you're facing in you household- the older dog's fear as well as the younger dog's issues.

It is going to take time, money, and effort to reach a peaceful household, and it isn't guarenteed you're ever going to be living in complete harmony. It may be worth deciding if this newest addition is the best choice of addition to the household, depending on how bonded she is to everyone and how she's settled into the family besides these issues.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you very much for your honest reply. We are 100% committed to keeping her- we are all attached to her and she is very attached to us. She was also a gift to my daughter for her birthday and they sleep together every night. I have scheduled an appointment with a very good vet here to discuss this as well as to get her spayed. They said they work with situations like this and may recommend us out as well. With this vet it's one yearly fee then unlimited visits so that will help. We also covered the gate with cardboard and give the dogs treats and pet them when they sense each other through it. Then we tell them to 'back off' and my original dogs walk away. I have been able to take all 4 dogs around our yard with Bella on a leash. I stop randomly and have them sit for a treat. If Bella looks at Noel she gets a treat. It worked and there was no aggression for that short period of time. I am training with positive reinforcement..and I am trying to recondition her negative emotions to positive ones in different situations. This will definitely take a lot of time. She still is fine with my other 2 outside but for now I have stopped indoor meetings so Bella feels safe and secure with the other dogs outside first. The cardboard on the gate helps a lot. We think something must have happened to her in the past. The story us she was with a young teenage girl who was overwhelmed and re homed her. When the new couple git her she was matted and they git her groomed and shots. She gets very carsick and they travel a lot so they rehomed her after 2 weeks to us. When we got her she was soooo skinny and within a week of having her she gained a pound. Now she has gained a total if 1.5 lbs and feel so much better. She's still skinny but healthy skinny. I am really hoping over time things will calm down. Thank you again.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Oh, and I do think she has all 3: resource guarding, frustration, and I do think she over reacts while thinking 'attack or be attacked'.
 
1 - 4 of 4 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top