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Guarding owner from other dog

JudyN

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I've mentioned my DIL's mum's dog, K, who is a little angel, but he has a darker side... She also has another dog, P, a 14-year-old cockerpoo. They have had some spats over food, which is manageable by feeding them separately and keeping all food out of reach, but they are both lap dogs who love to snuggle up to her, and they have also had spats over access to her, and the sofa. It seems that K is the main instigator, but P will occasionally get on the sofa and then challenge K to make something of it.

She did think that this would be a 'temporary problem' as P seemed to be on the way out, with arthritis, weight loss and declining kidney function, but since having Librella injections he has perked up enormously, put on weight, and his kidneys seem fine. We went for a walk today with the two dogs (who are fine together when there aren't any triggers), and he was like a spring chicken.

Any suggestions for how to make life with the two of them a little easier? She really worries about it as she often looks after our 2-year-old granddaughter, and will also often look after granddaughter no. 2 when she arrives.
 
So when P challenges K, how does K respond? When you say spats, is it a proper kick off that would escalate without intervention?
At the moment I'd say avoid the trigger situations when the little ones are around, if the dogs get on the rest of time... But does sound volatile, sorry I'm not much help there really eh!
 
So when P challenges K, how does K respond? When you say spats, is it a proper kick off that would escalate without intervention?
At the moment I'd say avoid the trigger situations when the little ones are around, if the dogs get on the rest of time... But does sound volatile, sorry I'm not much help there really eh!
I've not seen it, but I think P's challenges are probably just eyeballing K - not sure if K then goes for P while P is on his mum's lap, or maybe K tried to jump up alongside which sets P of... I think it's more handbags than full-on aggression. A small amount of blood was drawn on one occasion, though it has to be said K isn't very careful with his teeth - if you play tug with him, you want a long tug toy, and he once managed to catch a tooth on my granddaughter's nose and leave a scratch. Again, I wasn't there, but it sounds like it was purely an accident, which I can well believe. Her other gran was, of course, mortified though, and will be managing them all a lot more closely.
 
As I'm sure you suspect, there is no cure for this, but management will work if diligently applied. And of course, extra care is needed when granddaughter is there, to the point I'd suggest that dogs are tired when she arrives and are more likely to want to sleep (and be left to sleep in separate rooms). Good that this is being taken seriously, because it is otherwise going to escalate.
 
@Hemlock, how would you go about managing it, other than keeping the dogs physically separated so only one has access to the sofa/lap at a time? I'm thinking maybe teach a good 'calm settle'/'on your bed'/'wait', only allowing the dogs up if given permission? I I can see there would be a risk of simmering resentments building up if not careful.

I can see I might end up looking after K on more days when GD is with her other gran, just so she can relax more. She was talking about muzzling the dogs when GD is there, but being in a situation where the muzzle is needed could scare GD badly which would be such a shame. She was upset by the scratch on her nose, but once recovered was happy that it was just an accident.
 
I agree re the muzzles not being particularly helpful unless other training goes along side the wearing. They can still kick off at each other and this would be a horrible experience for gd. If she was in the way, getting bashed accidently by a basket muzzle will still hurt and scare her.
Is you having K more an option if need be? Do you think the time apart these dogs have is affecting their relationship, just pondering...
 
I only have him one day a week in term time, so I doubt that would negatively affect their relationship - unless every Weds evening P thinks 'Oh no, he's back again!' Yes, I've said we can have K more if needs be - I feel a bit guilty that she looks after GD so much, but with my fibro I do find it exhausting. Dogs are so much easier!
 
Not muzzles because they add to the frustration. I would separate completely for the duration of Gdaughter visit because things can kick off in a nanosecond and after they have happened once, there is no going back. We cannot train in feelings. Dogs are okay together until they are not, so it's management all the way.
 

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