U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Pets > Dogs
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 11-16-2008, 06:32 AM
 
Location: Montreal -> CT -> MA -> Montreal -> Ottawa
16,666 posts, read 26,726,373 times
Reputation: 26636

Advertisements

Hi everyone,

I've got kind of a hard question to answer, I think. Maybe it's not, though.

I have a mutt (face of a Lab, possibly body of a Beagle or Corgi) who is absolutely adorable to look at but he's not the friendliest crayon in the box. He's gotten much better as far as people we pass on the street (he was always good about people coming into our house -- not a great watchdog, I guess ), but with other dogs, it's a whole other story.

He's VERY vocal when we meet other dogs. There are two dogs in the neighborhood that he's somewhat friendly with, although there's still a lot of barking, but he's always either on-leash or behind a fence when he meets them.

A friend of mine brought her extremely docile Lab/Pit mix to our house one day and it was sometimes scary. The two boys were in the backyard (not on leash) -- sometimes they just ran, but a lot of times my guy (the much smaller of the two, I might add) was barking like a fiend. Once or twice he even bared his teeth, at which point I'd bring him inside for a timeout.

My guy, before I rescued him, lived with a bigger dog -- a female. Apparently, there was a lot of rough play as well as sibling rivalry, but they were describe as "best friends."

I'm not sure how rough play and best friend go hand in hand, but maybe that's the cautious part of me.

Anyway, now that you have some history, I have a two-part question:

1. Should my friend bring her Lab/Pit mix over again, or should another dog come over to play with my guy in our backyard, how can I tell the difference between playing (rough) and fighting? If/when my guy bares his teeth -- is that the indicator that things are not going in the right direction?

2. While we're away for a week, my guy is staying with a friend of mine, who happens to have a puppy -- a 6-month old dog (Great Pyrenees) who is already 50 pounds (my guy is 35 pounds and shorter). The pup is also male. I know this is impossible to know for certain, without knowing both dogs' temperaments (although you have a pretty good idea of my guy's), but what would you guess is the likelihood that these two will get along?

I know that only the first question is truly possible to answer; I guess I'm just asking the second one to ease my mind a bit. The dogs won't be left alone to their own devices, so I have no fear in either of them getting hurt, but I'd love to think that they might have fun, rather than animosity.

Thanks!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 11-16-2008, 07:11 AM
 
Location: Deep in the Heart of Texas
1,479 posts, read 7,031,596 times
Reputation: 1908
Lots of dogs express aggressive behaviors through play and it can be difficult to tell the difference between play-aggression and real aggression. I foster dogs and over the years I've learned to tell the difference. Here's what I look for:
  • Play posture--dogs that are playing often display a "play bow", with front of body on the ground and rump in the air, or they raise their front legs and paw the air.
  • Do the dogs appear relaxed or are they alert, hackles raised, tails wagging rapidly, whites of eyes showing? Raised hackles and whale eye are signs that things may have moved beyond play.
  • Bared teeth by themselves aren't a sign of true aggression, nor is growling. Look beyond the noise and teeth to the body language and behavior.
  • Does the dog that appears to be the "loser" whine or howl in pain or fear? Dogs playing will bark and whine, but the bark is often a higher pitch than the bark of aggression.
  • Does the dog that seems to be getting the worst of it seem to be afraid, does it cower and try to run away, or does it instigate further interaction with the other dog? Dogs that keep going back for more are probably not afraid.

Play between two dogs that don't know each other well is one way of establishing heirarchy, and dogs need to know where they stand with each other if they are to interact successfully long-term. It's usually better to let them work things out, but if they do look as if they may start fighting seriously, you will need to intervene. It's easier and better to forestall aggression than to deal with it once the dogs are rolling around viciously biting each other, so you need to be alert. A time out is a good way to handle interaction that looks as if it will move beyond mere play. Distract them with something positive. Never punish. Punishment creates aggressive behavior.

By the way, dogs often bark furiously at other dogs when on leash or behind a fence. Some of this behavior is territorial and some is the result of frustration at the dog's inability to move beyond the restraint. Patricia McConnell's book, "Feisty Fido" has some good tips for dealing with that behavior.

Dog size has little to do with heirarchy. I successfully placed a small male mini poodle in a home with a 90 lb male dog. The they play well together, and when things start to get rough, the mini poodle growls and snarls at the bigger dog, and the bigger dog cowers and walks away submissively.

When your dog stays with your friend, make sure there is a crate or gated area that can be used to separate the dogs. They will get along better if they can have some space of their own to which they can retreat for quiet time. Because your friend's dog is still a pup, it may not understand the boundaries and provoke your dog beyond what it can tolerate. She should also feed them separately to eliminate problems that may arise from food aggression. They should NEVER be left alone together.

Hope this helps.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-16-2008, 07:31 AM
 
Location: Montreal -> CT -> MA -> Montreal -> Ottawa
16,666 posts, read 26,726,373 times
Reputation: 26636
Thank you, Leorah, for such a detailed answer. I feel much more comfortable now.

The dogs each have their own crate for the week that they're together -- I just didn't realize why it was imperative, so thanks for making that clear.

I didn't realize that barking behind a fence was such a known issue. I'll definitely be looking into that book because one of my guy's "friends" lives right behind us and is often on the other side of my fence. They do see each other (it's chain-link) so I imagine that helps a bit, as it's not just by scent that they know there's another dog on the other side. But I'm certainly going to read the book that you recommended.

I'm looking forward to the next time my other friend's dog comes over to play in the backyard so that I can determine what's what using your points. It'll be good to know what's going on in the doggie mind.

Rest assured, just as I don't leave the Lab/Pit mix alone with my dog in the backyard, my friend won't be leaving her Great Pyrenees puppy alone with mine at her house. We're both too uptight (read as: in love with our dogs) to even entertain the thought.

Thank you again, so much, for all the information you provided. I really appreciate it. It's certainly eased my mind.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-16-2008, 07:59 AM
 
3,593 posts, read 10,675,787 times
Reputation: 5207
Quote:
Originally Posted by leorah View Post
Lots of dogs express aggressive behaviors through play and it can be difficult to tell the difference between play-aggression and real aggression. I foster dogs and over the years I've learned to tell the difference. Here's what I look for:
  • Play posture--dogs that are playing often display a "play bow", with front of body on the ground and rump in the air, or they raise their front legs and paw the air.
  • Do the dogs appear relaxed or are they alert, hackles raised, tails wagging rapidly, whites of eyes showing? Raised hackles and whale eye are signs that things may have moved beyond play.
  • Bared teeth by themselves aren't a sign of true aggression, nor is growling. Look beyond the noise and teeth to the body language and behavior.
  • Does the dog that appears to be the "loser" whine or howl in pain or fear? Dogs playing will bark and whine, but the bark is often a higher pitch than the bark of aggression.
  • Does the dog that seems to be getting the worst of it seem to be afraid, does it cower and try to run away, or does it instigate further interaction with the other dog? Dogs that keep going back for more are probably not afraid.
Play between two dogs that don't know each other well is one way of establishing heirarchy, and dogs need to know where they stand with each other if they are to interact successfully long-term. It's usually better to let them work things out, but if they do look as if they may start fighting seriously, you will need to intervene. It's easier and better to forestall aggression than to deal with it once the dogs are rolling around viciously biting each other, so you need to be alert. A time out is a good way to handle interaction that looks as if it will move beyond mere play. Distract them with something positive. Never punish. Punishment creates aggressive behavior.

By the way, dogs often bark furiously at other dogs when on leash or behind a fence. Some of this behavior is territorial and some is the result of frustration at the dog's inability to move beyond the restraint. Patricia McConnell's book, "Feisty Fido" has some good tips for dealing with that behavior.

Dog size has little to do with heirarchy. I successfully placed a small male mini poodle in a home with a 90 lb male dog. The they play well together, and when things start to get rough, the mini poodle growls and snarls at the bigger dog, and the bigger dog cowers and walks away submissively.

When your dog stays with your friend, make sure there is a crate or gated area that can be used to separate the dogs. They will get along better if they can have some space of their own to which they can retreat for quiet time. Because your friend's dog is still a pup, it may not understand the boundaries and provoke your dog beyond what it can tolerate. She should also feed them separately to eliminate problems that may arise from food aggression. They should NEVER be left alone together.

Hope this helps.
Excellent response! Are you a trainer or behaviourist?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-16-2008, 08:15 AM
 
Location: Deep in the Heart of Texas
1,479 posts, read 7,031,596 times
Reputation: 1908
Quote:
Originally Posted by Va-Cat View Post
Excellent response! Are you a trainer or behaviourist?
No, not really. My father trained war dogs in WWII and after the war he opened a kennel to do obedience and field trial training. He also rehabilitated wildlife. As an adult I've been involved in rescue for many years. I guess it's sort of learning by doing. I have been lucky to have known many good trainers and learned a lot from them about modern training techniques.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-16-2008, 08:27 AM
 
3,593 posts, read 10,675,787 times
Reputation: 5207
Quote:
Originally Posted by leorah View Post
No, not really. My father trained war dogs in WWII and after the war he opened a kennel to do obedience and field trial training. He also rehabilitated wildlife. As an adult I've been involved in rescue for many years. I guess it's sort of learning by doing. I have been lucky to have known many good trainers and learned a lot from them about modern training techniques.
From what I've seen, you would make an excellent trainer. Your advise is spot on and sensible.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-16-2008, 10:26 AM
 
Location: Mostly in my head
19,822 posts, read 55,961,131 times
Reputation: 19019
When my 2 guys play, the pittie often opens his mouth wide and yips in a high-pitched tone. The other one also opens his mouth wide and they "face off" like this until I could scream from the yipping. If either one of them wanted to, they could bite but they don't. The pittie also does it to my female, who also does it back. Then they play tug-of-war with a rope toy or wrestle. Dogs can be such goofs!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-16-2008, 05:23 PM
 
4,628 posts, read 9,270,056 times
Reputation: 4238
Quote:
Originally Posted by Va-Cat View Post
From what I've seen, you would make an excellent trainer. Your advise is spot on and sensible.
I agree, wholeheartedly. Very calm, and clear advice. Thank you, Leorah!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-16-2008, 07:11 PM
 
Location: Deep in the Heart of Texas
1,479 posts, read 7,031,596 times
Reputation: 1908
Quote:
Originally Posted by SouthernBelleInUtah View Post
When my 2 guys play, the pittie often opens his mouth wide and yips in a high-pitched tone. The other one also opens his mouth wide and they "face off" like this until I could scream from the yipping. If either one of them wanted to, they could bite but they don't. The pittie also does it to my female, who also does it back. Then they play tug-of-war with a rope toy or wrestle. Dogs can be such goofs!
Do they stand on their hind legs and do the "godzilla" thing where they pump their front legs up and down while they yip with their mouths open? I think dogs are so darn cute when they do that!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-16-2008, 08:08 PM
 
Location: Mostly in my head
19,822 posts, read 55,961,131 times
Reputation: 19019
Quote:
Originally Posted by leorah View Post
Do they stand on their hind legs and do the "godzilla" thing where they pump their front legs up and down while they yip with their mouths open? I think dogs are so darn cute when they do that!
Each one tries to throw their front legs over the other, to knock the other one down. Sometimes the legs get all mixed up, to my eye. Sometimes when they're outside, the pittie will run full-tilt into the GSD mix and bowl her over. It's great fun for him, not sure how she feels about it. The pittie is the only one with any scabs on his cheeks/neck, from when the older dogs have had enough. So much for the viscious pit rep!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Pets > Dogs
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top