View Full Version : Two new Two-Dog Troubles

07-20-2009, 01:58 PM
Thanks for the earlier advice on Stan (5 yo, ACD/Aussie Shepherd Mix) and Luke's (10 mo old, ACD) roughhousing. Two new issues have surfaced:

1) When walking them together, we pass another dog, either on leash or behind a gate. Solo, Luke would listen to my command to sit, or to keep moving. Solo, Stan will often bark at the dog, from fear I think. Together, I can get them both to sit, or to keep walking, but then Stan gets agitated and does a displacement nip at Luke! What to do?

2) Both off leash in the house, try to give them each a Kong or similar toy. Stan comes over and takes Luke's. Luke eventually goes to work on the one that Stan had, at which point Stan comes over and takes that one back. Stan will keep ensuring that Luke doesn't get a toy unless I put them in separate rooms behind a door. Any pointers?

Many thanks!

07-20-2009, 02:11 PM
i think a third dog will fix it. Its clearly the only way....clearly.

07-20-2009, 02:27 PM
I think you're right. We got Luke to keep Stan company, and it's worked so well, that a third dog would really perfect the situation.

07-20-2009, 02:55 PM
Hmmmm, sometimes you have to get two under control before you take on a third one! While three dogs are great (I speak from experience), three dogs are also more hassle to do things with - walking, car-rides, hiking, camping, everything takes more planning and more work. So don't automatically assume that 3 is better than 2, especially if there are issues to work through. (Dr. Arin, I do believe that was said tongue-in-cheek, yes?)

Three *might* help, but three *might* also exacerbate the situation that's giving you problems!

07-20-2009, 03:06 PM
Having one person for each dog would help tremendously! That way you can give them some distance between one another and give them individual attention.

As for the toys, Stan has appointed himself to be in charge of the toys. As long as it is not causing any fighting I would just leave it alone.

07-20-2009, 03:10 PM
I strongly advise against getting another dog to solve the problems you have with two. Get your present dogs under control before adding another dog or you will have three dogs with issues and really be frustrated. Then what you will have is two dogs ganging up on one and have a serious problem. Multiple dogs aren't easier to control but takes more effort. They don't pacify each other or train each other obedience, so work on the two you have now and get them to act like nice little kids, then and only then, if you really want another dog, think of adding more to your crew. I hope the comment to get another dog was tongue in cheek, some don't know that it was tongue in cheek and can really have a problem they didn't bargain for and a dog that will hit a shelter somewhere for some rescue--if he's lucky--to have to deal with. Since I'm a rescue person, that's not at all appealing to me (or other rescuers).

Get Stan under control, just because he is the older dog doesn't mean he gets by with any and everything. He cannot continue to take toys away from Luke or he gets disciplined--he goes to his crate with nothing, and don't pet or feel sorry for him--off he goes, when he comes back if he can't play nice he is isolated again. He can learn just as easily as Luke. Also work on obedience, he should sit, hold a sit, and has no reason to take out his frustrations on Luke by nipping. Not allowed, period. He may decide he is the toy police, that doesn't mean he keeps all the toys from Luke, I have a dog that's the fun police, that doesn't mean she keeps everyone from having fun, she has to stay out of it or I'm on her--as long as she can play nice, she's allowed to join, when she can't, off she goes.

07-20-2009, 03:20 PM
On #1, I have a similar problem. My two get nutty when I take them on a walk together, and we run into other dogs (which is always in my neighborhood), so until I get Buck's issues with meeting other dogs while on leash under control, I walk them separately and work on just him. Scout 'learned' to act the same way, so I'm having to re-train her to ignore the other dog. It may be easier to 'fix' Stan first. Buck's issue isn't fear, but frustration- he wants to go greet and play with the other dog, but that's just not acceptable all the time. He's getting better, but it's a slow process. I found separate walks made for a better training environment since I only had to deal with one and that meant way less frustration.

On #2, have you ever tried standing over/between them? Does Stan have a good 'leave it'? Buck and Scout only get treats together when I'm in the room, but they play the 'steal the other dog's toy' game all the time. They play it with Nylabones a lot- tails wagging, teasing the other one to try to steal it back, etc. With high value Kong treats and bully sticks, though, I don't allow the stealing. They get a 'leave it' and a 'not yours'. 'Not yours' is helpful at the park when Scout tries to steal other dogs' toys as well since that can get her in real trouble/hurt. I would either watch him closely and give him a 'leave it' when he tries to take Luke's. If you miss that, take the Kong Stan 'steals', give it back to Luke, and give Stan his orginal Kong. If he's not getting it, you may need to stand 'guard' over Luke's treat for a while. Removing him from the situation may be better if he's not getting it, but the key is training Stan that YOU decide who gets what treats, not Stan.

07-20-2009, 04:38 PM
Thanks for advice... my 3rd dog comment was in the tongue-in-cheek spirit of the original advice, downside of the internet, tone sometimes gets lost. Thanks for useful feedback!

Buela's Mom
07-20-2009, 05:03 PM
Do you correct for the 'displacement nip' and how?

Seeing as we walk ours on slip collars, a quick reminder of who's number 1 usually gets them back in line.

However if one of crew (usually a foster) is having an issue they get one on one leash time for correctional purposes, as in, this is how you walk on a leash with me. We stop, they sit. We go they follow. They don't walk in front of us and you won't ever see us using one of those flex leads while training a new dog. We also go through the fence gate or into the house first.

As for stealing...I will point out that it is one of the traits of a bratty ACD. I saw it, it's mine; it's yours, it's mine; if I chewed it, it's mine; I broke it, it's yours. I have a magnet with those on it...

However, bullying cannot be tolerated. You wouldn't tolerate it with your children, do not tolerate it with your dogs. Both dingo and tiger had great suggestions with crating and watching.

07-20-2009, 08:29 PM
Being serious for a moment I would stay away from a third dog. Our 3 have issues or rather 1 has issues with the other 2. Two were definitely better. We're working on it though. :s4:

I know you were doing the tongue-in-cheek thing which was funny, that's what I was hoping when I saw your post. :naughty:

Linda Watkins
07-20-2009, 08:34 PM
I think you're right. We got Luke to keep Stan company, and it's worked so well, that a third dog would really perfect the situation.

IF you did that -- get a female -- even the easy going females will boss around the boys & they will let her (as a general rule -- nothing's ever certain:s4: )

There are some other living with/training options that might be more effective, or at least get you prepared for living with multiple dogs -- the problem w/ three dogs is that that number crosses over into a PACK & their behavior is often really uncontrollable -- take it from one who knows!

07-20-2009, 09:05 PM
the problem w/ three dogs is that that number crosses over into a PACK & their behavior is often really uncontrollable -- take it from one who knows!

YEP I 100% agree w/ Linda here...the jump from 1-2 dogs nothing compared to the jump from 2-3 dogs.

07-20-2009, 09:25 PM
well since we are on the topic of walking I have a question. whats the best way to get my dog to walk behind me? Ruby is always in front though she listens to whats she's told and when on lead this is not really a concern she is always at my side but off lead like, on a hike she has a tendency to walk in front. And is this an issue that could lead to bad behavior?

07-21-2009, 11:46 AM
I have two rescues Lucy and Tucker. We've had Lucy since she was 8wks so she considers' herself queen. Tucker came to us last year at a year old - they are about 8 months apart. Anyway - we also have to walk them seperately, let them outside one at at time, and Lucy always wants the ball or bone or whatever that Tucker has. She has to wait - if she doesn't it gets returned (usually). Sometimes it seems they make their own rules and Tucker will dive in and take Lucy's whatever and Lucy is happy to take his...if there isn't a problem I let it go. Funny - we got the second dog as a pal for Lucy - and inside they are great usually (LOL). Outside they are constantly playing watchdog for each other and thus we can't go where there are other dogs to play ball. But Yes we too are working on all of this. Its' been a year and it is improving. Afterall I just think back to my kids when they were tweens...ugh!