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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have managed to create a mess. Until recently I had a 2 Doodle household. The two never had any issues with each other at all. My oldest dog suddenly fell ill with cancer and passed in the middle of Nov. At Christmas we were gifted with a new puppy. My remaining adult dog (soon to be four, neutered male, name Rusty) has never been good with small animals so we cannot allow them together yet but getting closer everyday. Right now I have a bigger issue. A friend brought me his 4 year old female Doodle yesterday and gave her to me. This was pretty much out of the blue. She is now a part of our household. I was not able to make the introduction on neutral ground so Rusty immediately wanted to jump her and fight. For now the new dog (Nessie) is limited to the hall and bedrooms blocked by a heavy gate. After 24 hrs Rusty pretty much ignores her and the gate but if they both come close at the gate (a foot or less) he jumps at her and now she growls any time he stairs at her. Other than that she is very docile. I know this is an incredible amount of change for Rusty and Nessie. I am going to start working more on Rusty's general training tomorrow just to assert my position as pack leader. Does anyone have any advice for me? I am stressed to the max. I absolutely love both dogs and certainly do not want either to get hurt. BTW, Nessie gets along great with the puppy both inside and out. I have a huge fenced yard if that helps with any ideas.
 

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The yard can help at some point.
What gender is the puppy? Do you have another person to help with this?
FWI, the staring is a precursor to a fight as well.

Dog-Dog Aggression Between Housemates Part Four: Training (the other parts might be useful.as well)

While obedience training is always great, and will be a part of this process, this is largely a dog-dog (& dog?) interaction you're mediating and directing.


I'm sorry for your loss.

ETA the right part for the first link
 

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First- I don't think you need to help Rusty realize you're pack leader. This implies dominance training, (though it could just be terminology, so correct me of I'm wrong) which has been disproven. It's better to do training based on building a bond and using positive reinforcement than by asserting your authority. Unfortunately, dominance training is perpetuated by the media, and most owners are never told that it has been disproven.

Try taking them both for a walk on neutral territory. Have someone else walk the new dog, while you walk yours. Start out a little ways apart, and get closer if they seem ok. Try to get both dogs to give calming signals to the other dog. This can be done by throwing treats on the ground in front of one dog in order to get it to look down, asking one dog to look at its handler so that it shows its back to the other, etc. You don't want either dog to feel threatened.
Look up the LAT (look at that) game, and use that- rewarding them for looking at each other.

Try counter-conditioning. I or someone else could give more detail about how to do that here if you like. (lat is a form of this)

Don't use any punishment during interactions between the dog, that will create and/or strengthen any negative associations they have with each other.

Keep the safety of both dogs a priority at all times. Never push them into interactions. Consider training them both to be happy wearing muzzles.
Consider seeking out professional help if you think you cannot do it on your own. Be sure that any trainer or behaviorist you hire is certified, up to date on modern methods, and does not use punishment or dominance. (red flags are using aversive tools, or using words like alpha, dominant, pack leader, and talking about the supposed wolf pack structure- which doesn't actually exist, by the way.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The yard can help at some point.
What gender is the puppy? Do you have another person to help with this?
FWI, the staring is a precursor to a fight as well.

Dog-Dog Aggression Between Housemates Part Four: Training (the other parts might be useful.as well)

While obedience training is always great, and will be a part of this process, this is largely a dog-dog (& dog?) interaction you're mediating and directing.


I'm sorry for your loss.

ETA the right part for the first link
The yard can help at some point.
What gender is the puppy? Do you have another person to help with this?
FWI, the staring is a precursor to a fight as well.

Dog-Dog Aggression Between Housemates Part Four: Training (the other parts might be useful.as well)

While obedience training is always great, and will be a part of this process, this is largely a dog-dog (& dog?) interaction you're mediating and directing.


I'm sorry for your loss.

ETA the right part for the first link
My son can help with training.

Puppy is female. Goldendoodle. Actually a sibling to Rusty. 9 weeks. As long as we are holding her or she is in her kennel Rusty is fine with her. Put her down and she starts wanting to play and he just get way too excited. He goes into the play bow but then just gets too crazy.

Nessie is 4 years old Labradoodle female

Rusty is Goldendoodle male. Turns 4 at the end of this month. I feel certain a lot of his issues are my fault. 2 household members are immunocompromised so when Covid hit i retired and we have pretty much ceased all going and have had very few visitors so he has not had the opportunity to be around other dogs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
First- I don't think you need to help Rusty realize you're pack leader. This implies dominance training, (though it could just be terminology, so correct me of I'm wrong) which has been disproven. It's better to do training based on building a bond and using positive reinforcement than by asserting your authority. Unfortunately, dominance training is perpetuated by the media, and most owners are never told that it has been disproven.

Try taking them both for a walk on neutral territory. Have someone else walk the new dog, while you walk yours. Start out a little ways apart, and get closer if they seem ok. Try to get both dogs to give calming signals to the other dog. This can be done by throwing treats on the ground in front of one dog in order to get it to look down, asking one dog to look at its handler so that it shows its back to the other, etc. You don't want either dog to feel threatened.
Look up the LAT (look at that) game, and use that- rewarding them for looking at each other.

Try counter-conditioning. I or someone else could give more detail about how to do that here if you like. (lat is a form of this)

Don't use any punishment during interactions between the dog, that will create and/or strengthen any negative associations they have with each other.

Keep the safety of both dogs a priority at all times. Never push them into interactions. Consider training them both to be happy wearing muzzles.
Consider seeking out professional help if you think you cannot do it on your own. Be sure that any trainer or behaviorist you hire is certified, up to date on modern methods, and does not use punishment or dominance. (red flags are using aversive tools, or using words like alpha, dominant, pack leader, and talking about the supposed wolf pack structure- which doesn't actually exist, by the way.)
I suppose I used the wrong term there. He listens to me better than anyone else in the family. I like the idea of taking them back to neutral ground but I need to work with him a few days on leash walking. With the fenced yard he is rarely on a leash.

I don't like the idea of punishment. Thought about a shock collar but I don't want him to accociate pain with what I am trying to fix. Sounds like a fast way to fail...and ruin a doggy relationship.

A couple of muzzles is not a bad idea until we work through this. At least they won't get hurt too badly if things go terribly wrong.

Is counter conditioning making good things happen when he expects bad? For instance, with the puppy I started giving him little treats every time the pup was involved. Taking her in and out her kennel, holding her, if he sniffed her and was nice, etc lots of little treats. He pretty much totally ignores her now unless I set her on the floor. Still working on that.
 

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I suppose I used the wrong term there. He listens to me better than anyone else in the family. I like the idea of taking them back to neutral ground but I need to work with him a few days on leash walking. With the fenced yard he is rarely on a leash.

I don't like the idea of punishment. Thought about a shock collar but I don't want him to accociate pain with what I am trying to fix. Sounds like a fast way to fail...and ruin a doggy relationship.

A couple of muzzles is not a bad idea until we work through this. At least they won't get hurt too badly if things go terribly wrong.

Is counter conditioning making good things happen when he expects bad? For instance, with the puppy I started giving him little treats every time the pup was involved. Taking her in and out her kennel, holding her, if he sniffed her and was nice, etc lots of little treats. He pretty much totally ignores her now unless I set her on the floor. Still working on that.
First, glad to hear it was just a terminology mix-up, and not actual dominance type training. Second, glad to hear you don't support punishment and that you didn't get that shock collar. Awesome. :) (using a shock collar, especially for something like this, can cause or worsen aggression)

Yes, that is the general idea of counter-conditioning. Building a positive association with something that he has already built a negative one with. If good stuff happens whenever the other dog is around, he can learn to like the other dog's presence. He is rewarded for just being around this other dog. This can be through treats, play, walks, praise, anything at all that he likes. Sounds like you already have the knowledge to do this part of the training👍
 

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Thought about a shock collar but I don't want him to accociate pain with what I am trying to fix.
Please don't ever think of a shock collar, that's never going to make anything better. And as a non aversive forum, we can always suggest better solutions that won't cause pain or fear. Better to have your dogs do the things you ask because they want to, rather than because they fear the consequences if they don't.

If you do decide to use muzzles, this video will help.

 

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Not being around (or wanting to be) a ton of dogs is normal. I asked about the puppy's gender because I wanted to see if maybe it was an issue with female dogs in general.

So, the idea of +counter-conditioning comes into play whenever they see each other. And since your son can help, you can work on one of you doing something fun like training, tug, and/or fetch with one dog upstairs and the other doing something similar with the other on the other floor. Once the session is done, have the dogs moved to where they can't see each other and resume the day.

Try walking them on opposite sides of the street, you with one and your son with the other. Keep them moving, and clicking and treating for ignoring the other dog and focusing on their handler.

Once the dogs are ready, which will be when they largely ignore each other, they can be brought closer, by about a foot in the house and a couple feet outside, you do the same as prior.

The first link should help with more thorough details. But, ask us to help troubleshoot and if you have questions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Quick Update...
Rusty and the puppy are getting along fine now. They have had two big play sessions in the yard together. Rusty is no longer getting over excited with her and today even reached the point of being bored with her and went of to do his own thing a couple of times.

Rusty and Nessie are still tense. I have managed to get the two to lay down about 3 feet apart and have treats. You'd be surprised what you can do with sour cream and cheddar chips. Of course I kept a firm grip on Rusty. I hope to take them outside later today each leashed with my sons help and try to let them get a little closer. Gotta make sure I remember the chips. I'll let you know.
 

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Do let us know, and don't get discouraged if the yard intro doesn't go as planned. The process can take weeks or months, depending on various factors.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Well I am cautiously optimistic. Seems like 3 steps forward and 2 and a half back. For the last week we have been taking them and walking side by side up and down the driveway with lots of treats. We live in the country so no sidewalks. Every day we seem to get a smoother walk. Today we got a butt sniff from each(y)followed 10 seconds later by a snap from Rusty (n). The fights at the gate seems to be less intense and less often as well. That may just be because I am more alert to stop it. Either way we are in it for the long haul.
 
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