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Old 07-20-2017, 09:31 AM
Location: Round Rock, Texas
10,722 posts, read 10,114,434 times
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The Butt Sniff topic and dog personal space is the inspiration for this topic.

Yesterday, I took Voodoo to the home of the family that will be minding him while we work. They have a very energetic one year old lab mix. Voodoo's foster mom said that he loves other dogs and that seemed true because he got along well with her other lab. The dogs met and did the intro butt sniff and stuff. The lab mix started getting nippy and Voo's head and jumpy. The tails of the two dogs were raised and I believe wagging. After a bit of this, it was my impression that my dog tired of the hyper youngster because he would trot away (with the lab mix on his heels, jumpy and nippy at his neck) and explore the other family's house instead of engage with the youngster. Voodoo spent a good amount of time exploring their house and checking out their kids and getting love from them while the youngster was all over him. It was my impression, and I may be wrong since I don't know body language, that after a while, Voodoo felt pestered by the youngster. Almost like your Grandpa, who would like nothing but to chill, but has to deal with his grandson jumping into his lap, hanging on to his legs, pulling him by the arm for attention. I couldn't read the body language of the youngster though. The other family told me that she was a submissive dog who peed when scared. She didn't do that. She was very high strung, jumpy, and kept nipping at Voo's neck. At one point Voo engaged Oreo with an open mouth...don't think it was a bite or a nip but more of a "buzz off"?

Another thing, Voo is a people dog so he made no distinction and eagerly accepted love from the other owner. This included giving the other owner licks. Oreo, the youngster, would have none of that and immediately got between her owner and Voodoo.

Trying to get a bead on that interaction and how would Voo fare in that house. He's ten years older than the younger dog and definitely more laid back. He interacted very nicely with a puppy at Petsmart the other day, causing a remark from the owner that he was the first "nice dog" the puppy met that day. So I don't think he's being a curmudgeon. He's just older and seems more mellow for lack of a better word.

The other family did say that they would control the interaction between the two. I did notice that Voodoo seems to choose "ignore" vs. "confront", so I'm learning a lot about his personality. He's not a submissive dog but doesn't seem particularly dominant either. I guess he's middle of the road, but he's reached a point in his life where he'd rather just chill around the place. His foster mom had a seven year old, so maybe seniors are his preferred friends. I do think that he needs more socialization, even at his age. He spent 7 years of his life as a blood donor dog in a clinic kennel, so I think he didn't have real, friendly, relaxed socialization. I'm hoping the daycare situation will be good for him.
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Old 07-20-2017, 09:48 AM
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Young pup is being rude and not taking the hints that Voodoo is giving him. Voodoo is choosing to ignore now, but if the rambunctious younger pup continues pestering him, Voodoo may very well begin to correct him with a snap, growl, or snarl; this will likely look scary to us, but it is normal canine behavior, and the humans who are present at the time need to let it happen. Young pup may not have very good social skills yet. Younger dogs learn how to behave socially with other dogs by being with older more mature dogs; maybe this young pup hasn't spent a lot of time around other dogs or maybe he is just testing the waters with Voodoo to see how far he can push.

I would strongly suggest that you speak with the owner of the other pup, and see if he is willing to give his pup a chill out moment when he starts pestering Voodoo before Voodoo feels he needs to correct the pup; so, when things start to get amped up with the pup seeking attention from Voodoo, just pull him (pup) gently away, and hold him quietly until his body relaxes and he calms down, and then release to go back to play. Rinse and repeat as needed.

If Voodoo doesn't trust the humans to intervene and teach this young pup some manners, he will be more inclined to do so.

You didn't ask, but just an FYI:

Tails held high indicate arousal (excitement).
Wagging is not always a good thing and needs to be interpreted in context of the whole body language:
A stiff body with a mid to high tail wagging slowly side to side like a metronome and closed mouth, can be a precursor to a fight.
A high wagging tail with a loose waggy happy body, open mouth/tongue out = good stuff, play time with friends
When a dog is relaxed and just hanging out the tail will be held low.

There is no such thing as a "dominant" or "submissive" dog. Dominant and submissive roles are fluid and relevant in terms of resources, and who wants what at any given point in time.
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Old 07-20-2017, 10:01 AM
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Upright tail and wagging can be a sign of aggression or excitement, low tail and wagging is usually means happy.

Older dogs usually don't like young, "in your face" dogs so he probably was irritated by the youngster. From your description, it sounds like he was, understandably, irritated with her. There was absolutely nothing submissive about the younger dog's behavior and it was clearly not happy with the owner paying attention to Voodoo.

If the younger dog will leave him alone and its owner is dog savvy and can read dog body language it might be an OK situation for day care. The owner will need to be careful about giving them treats and watch for resource guarding. If not, I'm not sure it will work. IMO it's worth a try. Maybe the other dog will calm down after once he's there regularly.

Regardless, I would never leave the two dogs alone in the house. If the owner has to leave they should be separated.
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Old 07-20-2017, 12:46 PM
Location: Santa Barbara CA
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Can not add much to what Twelvepaw said as it is a good post that pretty much covers it. Some puppies can be very annoying to older dogs and the best way for them to get the message is from the older dog.

It has been my experience that labs can be really annoying to other dogs as they just do not seem to read the signals the other dog is sending out. They have this" but I am a lab everybody loves a lab" attitude so maybe this lab mix has that attitude too. My late Jazz hated labs cause they would get right in her face. She would threaten them and they stayed in her face and I would have to step in before she really let them know how much she did not want to be friends.

Chaos has issues with some labs at least at first and it is that same reason. They come right up into her face then ignore her reaction. The dogs and I stayed at a beach home with a friend that had a Golden and Lab. My dogs had met the Golden when they were puppies but had never met the Lab who was around 2 and Chaos was about 4. Chaos at first was threatening the lab but the lab would not give up . If that silly lab could talk she would have been face to face with Chaos saying " Come on I just want to be your friend. " Why are you so grumpy? I just want to be your friend....." Then we took all 4 dogs walking and when we got to an open space that allows dogs off leash Dazzle, The Golden and the Lab were let off leash. The Golden is old and wandered around sniffing, Dazzle and the Lab took off enjoying a great game of chase and tag. Chaos started showing signs that she wanted in on that fun game so we let her go. Oh my goodness she and the Lab and Dazzle had so much fun playing in a huge puddle and grabbing sticks from each other as they chased one another. The rest of the weekend Chaos and the lab were together all the time, Inside they would lay down next to each other, chewed on bones next to each other they were like two BFFs so sometimes it just takes a while.
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Old 07-20-2017, 01:20 PM
Location: Round Rock, Texas
10,722 posts, read 10,114,434 times
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Ok, thanks guys. Twelvepaw's impression of the youngster - Oreo - was the same as mine - she was being rude. We'll see how the owners handle things. They don't seem to be the oblivious type which is good and did say that they will control the interaction and give Voodoo some alone time. They used to have a 14 year old golden you recently passed away. They've had Oreo for a few months, from the shelter. They mentioned to me that their Golden had to teach Oreo some manners every now and then. The two did have a bond however and that is part of the reason why they want to watch dogs - it provides socialization and companionship for Oreo and generates some income. So I guess we'll just see how it goes.

Dashdog, funny what you said about labs! I seen that as well in the past. Voodoo is a black lab. It's probably due to age or the fact that he primarily lived much of his life in a kennel of some sort, but he is very laid back. VERY laid back. Even with us..he's fine getting some love but then enjoys just laying around and taking things in. I think the hyperness and such from the youngster was something he was unused to and I guess he may prefer an older crowd to hang with. Not geriatric, but not hyper and nippy and jumpy. It's like ok with hanging out with teenagers but not three year olds. But who knows, as I see with your example, with more exposure they may actually get along. either by him teaching her manners or whatever.

On a related note, I told my friend who has dogs about the meeting. She simply chalked Oreo's behavior as "being young" and therefore ok. It's like she was telling me that it's on Voodoo to make the change and that maybe due to him being in a kennel for much of his life he wasn't exposed to normal youngster behavior. Yes, youngsters can be a handful but that doesn't mean Voodoo needs to necessarily deal with it.
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Old 07-20-2017, 02:24 PM
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Brenda Aloff has a very thorough book on Canine Body Language, chock full of pictures to cue you in on subtle differences. Dogwise has it half price in their clearance section.

Rowan's advice to ensure the dogs are separated, especially in the beginning, when not supervised is worth taking note. With each foster dog I ensure they get along with my very laid back dog before they are left loose in the house when I leave. Many years ago one of the members of a previous rescue group had two terriers, Yorkies I believe, and one of the dogs killed the other in a very violent manner. Both were rescues and one was a foster, iirc. She relayed it as a very bloody scene. Sadly, the other dog passed the next day from it's injuries.
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