View Full Version : Aggression toward pup need help

24th November 2006, 04:47 PM
As you may be aware my Mum got her new puppy (Toby) on Tuesday, when we introduced my boys to Toby we did it one at a time and things went reasonably well. My men were a bit scared but I was not all that surprised as they are not very well socialised at all and have had fear issues since being attacked by a jack russel when they were pups.

Every now and then when Toby does something puppy like, run around or mouth in their direction they really freak out and start to get aggressive toward him. If it is one on one eg Harry and Toby they are ok as Harry will give a tiny nip but you can see he is just setting the boundry and teaching manners but if it is Harry and Digby they get really nasty and almost herd him and give some more serious bites in his (Toby) direction. I try and get their attention onto me and they will not respond, like they are in some kind of frenzy ? All I can do is either drag them off till they calm down or pick up the little one to get him out of their reach.

I realise this will take time and patience and there are jealousy issues aswell as fear issues but in the mean time how do I stop this aggression and keep Toby safe, I am concerned Toby will get hurt. He is a really well socialised pup and quite sure of himself he has no problems holding his own and does not really care when they start their carry on unless of course they do the nasty biting, herding thing. I really do not want this knocked out of him by my two being bullies, and realise that due to the size difference alone this can not go on regardless of how well balanced he is.
I also feel like I do not know my own dogs, and do not understand why they are doing this. Is it pack like ?
We can not take lots of time introducing them as at times they have to be in the same space (Mum babysits when I am doing nightshift and double shifts) but at present we could and would never have them together without there being at least two of us.

I am really upset about it and feel stupid and naive again to think it would of just worked because they are lovely cavaliers. :x

I have all these thoughts going through my head........
Should I employ a professional straight away ?
Should I keep introducing them little and often which is what I'm doing at present ? lots of rewards for positive interaction and remove when negative occurs.
Should I put a muzzle on Digby (he is the aggressor) or will this make him worse or like a punishment and attack more when the muzzle eventually comes off ?
Should we put Toby in his crate when/if this occurs ( he loves his crate) but then is this fair on Toby ? He is just being a pup.
Do I have to give up and wait a long while so Toby is big enough to hold his own ? This will be extremely difficult due to work commitments and even then will it work ?

oh oh oh I want to slap myself so hard for not knowing these answers, I can just imagine watching myself on one of those programs doing eveything wrong like the people that feed their dogs icecream and chocolate.

I need help and lots of it. Please don't be too harsh in your feedback as I know I have it wrong but can not figure out which part or how to fix it and I'm afraid if this advice is too harsh I might slip into a bigger pool of self pity. :(

24th November 2006, 05:20 PM
This is just a suggestion, but if the puppy really likes his crate, maybe you should have him there (so he's safe) and let your two get used to his presence? Then they might be less 'aggressive' when he's out. I believe though that when there's three dogs, two can gang up on a third so maybe work more on one to one with the pup? Let each of yours get used to the pup by himself, and then gradually introduce the threesome?

Cathy Moon
24th November 2006, 05:44 PM
This is what I would do:

First, it is important to PREVENT negative interactions between them!

Set up an xpen and put Toby in it - he will be able to run, jump, play, etc. but your dogs will feel safe from him, while getting used to his puppy behaviors and movements.

When they feel safe enough and choose on their own to be near him (this could be hours, days, or weeks - let them decide), I'd sometimes swap Digby into the xpen and Toby out loose with Harry. Digby will probably like sniffing Toby's bed and toys. Later, begin letting Harry go in the xpen while Digby is loose with Toby.

I would be sure to spend one on one time with each dog, perhaps walking each one alone, while Toby is safely in his xpen or crate.

Eventually they will be fine together. You may find that either Digby or Harry are possessive of humans, so be careful if you are petting one of them and Toby approaches. They may want to 'attack' him. If that happens, put the attacker in an xpen, crate, or behind a baby gate for a time out where they can see you, but you completely ignore them by not even making eye contact for at least 20 minutes. They will learn to behave nicely with Toby if they want to be a part of the group.

If they have to be left alone together, I'd put Toby in a large crate or an xpen for his safety. I would not leave Toby unsupervised with them until they have been consistently getting along together and are sleeping cuddled up together.

Barbara Nixon
24th November 2006, 05:56 PM
Do these dog s really need to mix ? It does appear that no dog is happy. Could the meeting not wait until the puppy is more settled ?

Izzy didn't like Joly as a pup (He's not over fond of him now) and watching just the twosome was nerve wracking; far worse with three, where the pack instinct could take over.

24th November 2006, 06:52 PM
I'd be wondering if these dogs should mix, too; and also would recommend getting in a pro to assess if this is actually aggression. To me, it sounds like it is, that they are acting like a pack; and that is potentially dangerous. Because you have dogs that have been attacked they may very well not be capable of a normal adult dog reaction to a playful puppy (though it sounds as if one definitely is, which is good so I'd be really cautious of the one on one interactions too). I'd feel it is very important to get the situation assessed and in the meantime, do not give both dogs together any access to Toby. You do not want Toby to inherit the same fearfulness because he gets attacked by one of the adult cavaliers. He too is at a formative stage where positive interactions are very important.

Don;t be hard on yourself; it is impossible to know in advance what may happen in a case like this and hard to know what to do. Because of that, and your own discomfort level with knowing what to do, I'd be looking for a really good, positive methods trainer to assess the situation and offer advice.

24th November 2006, 11:56 PM
I agree with all of you and thankyou for your response. :flwr: :flwr:

Unfortunately yes they have to mix unless my men get neglected and left on their own for a long time which they have never experienced before. The last thing I want to add to this situation is them feeling pushed out.

That being said I will not rush it and would never leave them or Toby in danger or a situation that all are not safe and comfortable with.

Another thing I don't want to happen is Toby end up like my two (can't believe I said that out loud :( ) lots of fear and very nervous around any other animals large or small.

The x pen sounds like the best short term solution so far and I had kind of already decided to do the one on one thing, from there I can assess their reactions and try and find a professional.

Please keep the advice and suggestions coming if you have any.
Very very much appreciated :)

Barbara Nixon
25th November 2006, 10:07 AM
I'm not sure exactly what an X-pen is, but does it have a cover ? If the 'pack' gets relly excited, climbing a coupl eof feet, or , in ded jumping, will be no problem to them. Then the puppy is in more danger, because he is cornered.

26th November 2006, 02:16 AM
The x pen is just like a puppy play pen it does not have a cover but comes in various height sizes and the one I purchased yesterday is too high for my boys to jump even if there was a juicy steak on the other side !
I am only ever a few seconds away from the situation anyway its just you only have so many hands and when it kicks off and they are so frenzied its hard to reason with them straight away (or at least Digby) and when/if i go to pick up the pup to get him to safety in this situation they snap and jump at him as I'm raising him, then once my hands are full with the pup I can't get them into a seperate room very easily.

I did some one on one socailisation with them yesterday, just Toby and Harry together and this was an absolute success, restored my faith a bit.
I really don't know about Digby though I think he is the problem. I will take baby steps with his interactions and see how I go from there.

Has anyone else experienced anything like this when introducing a new pup ?

28th November 2006, 04:17 PM
Okay firstly stop slapping yourself. You are a good owner and doing your best.

Sounds like you had success yesterday with Harry but remember that no behaviour IS behaviour so you want to make sure that Harry was in fact interacting positively and not just waiting to get out of the pen building up frustration to be taken out on Toby later. You can only know this if you can read each dogs body language and if you are not sure about what you are reading or you don't understand their signals then get Brenda Aloff's book on aggression or any of her books on body language from www.dogwise.com ASAP.

I would suggest that Harry and Digby need to learn to use other signals (body language) and parts of their bodies other than their mouths. It would be a good sign if they were growling to tell Toby to back off rather than just biting. Is this the case at all? Sounds like they just go forward and bite?

If you are really concerned and you feel that the boys would hurt Tony then I would suggest conditioning the boys to baskerville muzzles so that 1. You can relax during interactions and 2. You can make sure that Toby does not get hurt during interactions. Even with muzzles on they can bash so you do have to supervise. With muzzles you can also start to play games with all 3 and reward Harry and Digby when they interact nicely.

Now when I say condition the dog to the muzzles I mean this. It takes AT LEAST 10 days and they should get excited when they see the muzzle and be happy to wear it. If you don't know how to condition the muzzle then let me know. Also you want a basket type muzzle so they can breath and so that you can put treats in and they can eat these as rewards to proper behaviour. Do not use the soft material muzzle - they are for grooming and short periods only.

Muzzles should be used to disarm the mouth and really get offending dogs to think about their behaviour and modify it. When done correctly it is quite effective. The reason why I strongly suggest that the muzzles be conditioned is so that Harry and Digby won't be stressed by the muzzle and then they can concentrate on what you are asking them to do. They will also have to display postures to ask Toby to go away.

Keep everything calm and fun and work each dog. Teach a very good LEAVE IT and COME HERE to all dogs so that you can control interactions verbally.

28th November 2006, 04:38 PM
I have made some progress with the one on one stuff, even Digby is doing ok (just). I would still not be comfortable with all 3 together though and have employed a trainer/behaviourist to come and work with us so hopefully we can have a happy family again soon :D

:flwr: Thank you to all for your help, I really appreciate it.

28th November 2006, 05:31 PM
Great News :D

Good Luck, I am sure things will work out for you. If you were here I would offer for you to come to our centre and we could work with them all.