View Full Version : my new king charles has become aggressive towards another dog

12th March 2013, 10:36 AM
Hi my sister and i adopted two king charles last friday, these dogs have been together since they were 3 months old.one is ruby and the other tri. We were told that the tri colour was a special needs dog, in that he needs lots of attention and depends alot of the ruby one. However, they spend 2 weeks in foster care and it was deemed that it would be better for the tricolour to live separate from ruby as he needed to become more independent etc,

When we went to view the dogs they seems to be very attached but the tri colour did copy the ruby in all his actions etc but they seemed to be very friendly with each other, we collected them from the foster carer last friday and they travelled by the back of my car together and got on fine.

they slept in our respective homes on friday night, and this would have been the first night since they were 3 months old that they slept apart. I brought my tricolour to my sisters house on saturday to allow them to play etc, and to my shock while i was petting
the ruby one on my lap, my tricolour jumped up on my lap and went for the ruby one, growling and showing his teeth, then my
mothers 4 year old male king charles jumped in and growled and snapped by atmy tricolour.....we were shocked, we mams has
2 king charles and we have never seen this kind of behaviour before.

Again yesterday we walked the ruby and tricolour together , they walked side by side, and then had play time in the garden
there were no problems at all they seemed very happy. But later in the house, my mother was petting my tricolour and when the ruby came in...again tricolour growled at him.

I am very upset about this as I need these lovely little fellows to get along and they will be spending alot of time together in the company of our family and friends.

any advise on why all of a sudden my tricolour is acting like this. I will add that the foster home they were in had about 12 king charles there, maybe he had a bad experience, i do not want to ask the lady as i would not like to insult her, as she is a lovely caring lady and i know was very kind to the dogs.

any adivse welcomes.
thanks for your time and i was delighted to find this site.

12th March 2013, 12:35 PM
Hi and welcome; I think you mean a Cavalier King Charles and not a King Charles (which is a different, more flat-faced breed). :)

I would be thinking about a few things here.

First off: did a rescue home these dogs to you? The situation of all these dogs sounds a little strange, that's all -- usually the rescue and not the foster would be working with you and also, the rescue should be offering you support and advice on this (quite common, but potentially difficult) situation. (please do not name the rescue here though :) )

The term' special needs' seems wrong here -- generally that would mean a dog with a physical or mental or age-related issue that means it must go to a particular type of home. If two dogs were simply very close and dependent on each other it kind of surprises me that anyone would have recommended splitting them or viewed the shy fellow as 'special needs'. :confused:

If they were only in foster in two weeks amongst so many dogs then unfortunately the foster home would likely have had very little opportunity to assess these dogs for the rescue and thus this issue probably hadn't come up? Perhaps too, it is one of the reasons they were being rehomed -- owners sometimes are not very honest when handing over dogs and existing problems only emerge as time goes on.

All that said: this is really common guarding behaviour -- but you want to manage it, as it can easily accelerate into serious guarding. Dogs often will exhibit jealousy and guarding behaviour if one is somewhere like a lap and the other is on the floor. It can initiate actual fights between the dogs. Often dogs -- particularly littermates -- will become more aggressive towards each other as they get older, too. This can especially be the case if this problem was never managed when it began. It may be that they were always like this is this kind of situation.

Being able to walk together etc is all very normal :) -- outside the house, there's nothing to guard and it is neutral territory for the dogs.

We have lots of threads on guarding and there's a good book on it as well. Where are you based in Ireland? I can also recommend good positive-methpods trainers to work with. :)

One difficulty for you is as these dogs are mostly separated, you cannot address this particular behaviour in any easy way, and the best approach may simply be management: unless there are two people who can each have a dog on the laps and who are a safe distance apart -- eg on separate chairs -- then they don't go on laps when they are together. Keep them on the ground, as you now know a key trigger situation for them both.

If one saps at the other, then they get a time out in another room and they go off the lap immediately. Better to use a term like 'too bad' for unwanted behaviour as 'no' is a word people tend to use for *everything* and it becomes utterly meaningless to a dog. 'No' what??

There was a recent thread on puppy guarding behaviour that you might search for. Many of us offered some links and book suggestions there.

The issue with rescue dogs which I wish rescues would more clearly explain to everyone interested in a rescue dog, is that rescues are of totally unknown backgrounds and are almost never going to be like dogs that were raised in someone's home or a relative's home, where those dogs are known and predictable after years with a family. Rescues typically have some issues and also typically can take weeks or months to settle into a new home -- remember for them, all this new change is unsettling and needs adjustment. I think you also need to therefore, give them some time and not rush things too much with them. The walks etc are good. Maybe after the walk, either each have them on a lap or give them a rest in individual crates. If they are not crate trained, of course, you need to do that first. :thmbsup: One issue for you may be the line that you 'need them to get along'. Unfortunately they may always be as they are -- maybe these two are not the right choice for your family? I think you'll need to honestly think about this. Having a good trainer assess just how aggressive this actually was would likely be useful for you if you are committed to keeping them.

Just for some more info: are they both males? Are they neutered?

PS rereading this -- jeez, I don't like the thought that the rescue just decided they needed to be separated... :( It may be that simply the trauma of separating dogs together all their lives and moving them about between different homes in a three week period has triggered stress behaviour like this. I would have kept them together if they were really bonded and dependent on each other (I ran irish Cavalier Rescue for many years...).