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A Troubled Pup? Long...

This is a place to gain some understanding of dog behavior and to assist people in training their dogs and dealing with common behavior problems, regardless of the method(s) used. This can cover the spectrum from non-aversive to traditional methods of dog training. There are many ways to train a dog. Please avoid aggressive responses, and counter ideas and opinions with which you don't agree with friendly and helpful advice. Please refrain from submitting posts that promote off-topic discussions. Keep in mind that you may be receiving advice from other dog owners and lovers... not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a trainer or behaviorist!

  
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Savannah- Blue Belle

A Heart of Gold!
 
 
Barked: Fri Feb 8, '13 6:43am PST 
I am inspired to write this after thinking about a puppy cuddling question. I have a little dog who is somewhat needy sometimes more than others. She doesn't seem to have overwhelming separation issues, though she does whine sometimes if I am in another room and she can't follow me.

This is at least part of the backstory...some has been posted before. Dubs is a Corgi mix who was adopted as a very young pup from the Humane Society. She mixed in well with the two dogs that I already had...two very mellow labs or retriever mixes. She dominated them and they happily allowed her to boss them all around the place. She was the baby of the family.

She was socialized, but in puppy class and other activities she would become withdrawn and a little clingy. (Hiding under my chair at the puppy class and only coming out when coaxed. Often she would ball up and fall asleep.)

She didn't seem to be bothered by other dogs, but seems to prefer big dogs. Would have some really rousing playtimes with an enormous neighbor Dobie.

When she was two, I brought in a rescue dog. A female cocker who is just about the same size and age as her. It was a little tense and there were a few squabbles, that we managed to deal with and things settled down after getting good advice from Dogster pals.

Now they are about 4. Things go along well for the most part, but the Cocker has plainly become dominant. Dubs is becoming more withdrawn and will huddle in a corner during hectic moments. I would like to help her...do we need a behaviorist? I am careful not to coddle, but wonder what I can do for her to get her confidence up.

Please ask questions, because although I took my time with this, I almost surely left out something that might be relevant. And thanks for any advice you can give.
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Clyde

Ice cubes? YES- PLEASE!
 
 
Barked: Fri Feb 8, '13 7:43am PST 
What specific actions on the part of the cocker lead you to believe she is being dominant? How extreme and frequent are these events? It sounds like the corgi mix is a pretty insecure gal and the other dog is taking advantage of that.
Right now, it sounds like the cocker is being a bully to the other. If she's being a bully, I would suggest putting her in time-out for a bit(such as in a crate) every time she bullies the corgi. Associating a loss of freedom with her bullying behavior may cause her to stop because bullying isn't worth it. I don't know how severe it is, but that was all we had to do with our dogs when they were being mean.
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Savannah- Blue Belle

A Heart of Gold!
 
 
Barked: Fri Feb 8, '13 7:51am PST 
Yes, I would say there is a certain amount of bullying going on. I guess Dub's reaction is fear aggression. A little problem with the crate solution, though. The cocker's history includes being abandoned in a crate when her people moved away. So she is not able to be crated. I couldn't do that to her. I could give her an outside time out.

What they do is sort of a staredown. The cocker is in an alert position, but not looking too aggressive. Dubs is usually the one to actually launch an attack, but I believe it is when she is threatened. And because she is increasingly timid, that seems to be happening more often.
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Savannah- Blue Belle

A Heart of Gold!
 
 
Barked: Fri Feb 8, '13 7:57am PST 
I forgot to answer your questions. These are not extreme events...though there is an outbreak every once in a while. But this staredown issue is a daily thing. Plus the Cocker is frequently giving Dubs the sniff test. Dubs usually just freezes and stands still during this.

Dubs seems more and more timid about being out in the open. She has snapped at the two larger dogs on occasion when they blunder into her. I don't think there are any physical causes as she is active and playful in the open field, I guess when she has room to not feel threatened.
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Savannah- Blue Belle

A Heart of Gold!
 
 
Barked: Fri Feb 8, '13 11:05am PST 
bump. yes I am a pest.
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Clyde

Ice cubes? YES- PLEASE!
 
 
Barked: Fri Feb 8, '13 4:12pm PST 
Yeah, it sounds like a bit of bullying. I know Clyde will act like your cocker toward another dog that is overreacting in fear toward him. At least he isn't a hypocrite and tolerates bullying well. laugh out loud

I would advise separating the two whenever Dubs get really stressed. It seems like she has developed a habit of being skittish and needs to have bad situations removed a bit so she can't practice fearful reactivity. If the cocker causes Dubs to look really stressed, place her in a boring place so she gets a little punishment for not listening to the other dog. Then divert Dubs' mind so she can get out of that stressed mindset and chill out by the time the cocker's time-out is over.

Do you keep a crate for Dubs? Clyde was very timid as a puppy and his crate was the one place nobody else ever went inside. He would (and still does) run inside and hide if he is scared/stressed. He would become a totally different dog when he would leave after chilling out for a bit: confident, happy, and playful. We trained it into him by sending him there (with the door open) whenever he got too anxious. He made the connection, seeing he was "out of the fray" in a cozy enclosed space and nobody else was allowed in there.
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Savannah- Blue Belle

A Heart of Gold!
 
 
Barked: Sat Feb 9, '13 8:34am PST 
Good thought. I do have a crate and am currently rearranging the furnishings...I will find a place to build a little cave and leave it for Dubs to have some protected place. I think she will like that.

I also have dog dividers between some of the rooms. The Cocker can get her time out by an exile to the kitchen, while the other pups lounge in the living room. That out to help clear her mind.
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Savannah- Blue Belle

A Heart of Gold!
 
 
Barked: Mon Feb 11, '13 7:38am PST 
Checking back in. The suggested methods have worked so far. Dubs has created herself a hidey hole behind the rocking chair, where only she fits.

But she doesn't seem to be cowering back there, so it is just for her comfort.

Caught Cookie growling several times and corrected her sharply...she listens well, so will put a curb on that. And already Dubs seems in a better mood.

Simple and obvious solutions can get overlooked. This might not take care of all of Dubs' issues (she is a funny little dog) but it IS helping. Thanks!
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Clyde

Ice cubes? YES- PLEASE!
 
 
Barked: Tue Feb 12, '13 7:55am PST 
Good. I'm glad it's working. smile
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Savannah- Blue Belle

A Heart of Gold!
 
 
Barked: Tue Feb 12, '13 9:45am PST 
Well, I'm back. And thank you, Clyde. I'm still wondering about this pup and if she needs some kind of special attention.

Today, I called home to check on her and on 91 year old Mom. (Mom lets pups in and out, but not a lot of interaction with them. She does not like this dog much, because it will sometimes try to climb in her lap.)

Anyway...when I called home mom told me the pup was laying outside (warmer today than usual) but lying in the mud with her head propped up by the concrete storm drain.

I guess I am worried that this dog may be more than bullied. I might be making too much of it, but her behavior seems odd. She is sort of velcro with me. I love her to bits and want to help her be balanced and happy if she is having trouble.

Maybe I need to take her to a behavorist?
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