Second Dog – Adding a New Dog into Your Home

Many of us consider getting a second dog, in the hopes that she will help keep our existing dog busy and out of trouble. However, if our resident dog is not well trained, it is more likely that our new dog will pick up on his bad habits.

In the end, we will have two furry terrors, instead of just one.

I got Husky puppy Shania, one year after my first dog, Shiba Sephy. I waited a year so that I had time to bond with Sephy and properly train him. Only after I had solved most of his behavioral issues, did I consider getting another dog.

One of the biggest challenges of getting a second or third dog, is the process of introducing her to our existing pack, and getting everyone to accept her. Here, we consider how to successfully introduce a new dog into our home.

1. Meal Time Ritual

Meal time is especially important in a multiple dog household.

Dogs are opportunistic by nature, and during meal times, I have observed that they will try to steal each other’s food. This can often trigger food guarding and food aggression behaviors.

I supervise my dogs during meal times, so that there is no stealing. They each get several interactive food toys to work on, and I make sure they give each other space, while working on their toys.

Often, Husky Shania will work diligently on her items, while Sephy will just lie around sunning himself. He will wait until she is done with her toy, and then pick through what she has left behind.

He is such a moocher! 😀

Sometimes, he will test coming in before Shania is finished, in which case I will step in and body block him away. Through this process, my dogs learn that I will enforce meal-time rules in a fair and consistent manner, so they do not need to do it themselves, with their teeth.

2. Attention, Affection, and Rules

After getting a second dog, it is natural to pay more attention and show more affection toward her, especially if she is a puppy.

However, we must resist that temptation, and try to treat both dogs equally.

If we give our new dog more attention and affection, we may create competition between our two dogs. This may later lead to conflicts and aggression. Instead, I make sure all my dogs follow similar rules, and get similar rewards for good behavior.

If we are too lenient with our puppy and let her get away with more, our existing dog will likely observe that, and pick up on those same bad habits.

I like doing group obedience training with my dogs. This helps them work together as a team, and be comfortable with each other around people, food, and toys. It also helps them to associate together-time with rewards and positive outcomes. I also do their grooming sessions together, including teeth cleaning and fur brushing.

Supervision is very important, especially in the beginning. I teach my dogs what the rules are, and what to do when under stress. In this way, they learn good play and interaction habits. In fact, I still supervise my dogs, but less so now that they are older, and know the rules around the house.

Still, Shiba will always try something from time to time to test his boundaries.

He is that cool! 😎

3. Play-Time Rules

In addition to meal-time rules, play-time rules are also important.

Since Shania is a three legged dog, Sephy may sometimes overwhelm her when he gets over-excited during play. I always make sure he does not get too rough with her.

I manage the excitement level of all of my dogs, by throwing in many play-breaks. During a play-break, I call one dog over to me (the more food focused one), get her to do some simple commands, and reward her well for it. This usually gets the other dogs to join in, so we do a brief group obedience session. These brief breaks help my dogs to calm down, refocus on me, as well as practice doing commands in the middle of play.

I also institute a no-humping rule, because it can be seen as a dominance move by other dogs (especially new dogs). I do not want my Shiba practicing these types of behaviors. The more he practices it, the more likely he is to repeat it; possibly in an inappropriate context. Shania also dislikes it, so humping is a time-out offense.

Some people prefer to let the dogs “work it out for themselves”.

Personally, I think it is best for us to set and enforce play-time rules and household rules. By doing so, I ensure that there is no bullying, and my dogs do not become fearful of each other. Since I am the one correcting their behaviors, my dogs are free to enjoy each others’ company, and need not use aggression. They learn to see each other as playmates and equals. If there is ever any trouble, they can come to me and I will take care of it. To me, that is what leadership means.

4. A Quiet Place to Rest

When I first got a new dog, I made sure that Sephy had a nice and quiet place to rest, away from the nibbles of a playful puppy. Like us, a dog may want some time to spend, in peaceful solitude. This is especially important if our resident dog is older, and tires more easily.

A puppy can be a crazy ball of energy and a big handful, not just for the people around the house, but also for the existing dogs.

I set up a consistent routine for my second dog, similar to what I did for my first dog. I make sure that she has a fixed schedule for meal-time, play-time, walk-time, and sleep-time.

When it is time for sleep, little Husky goes into her crate or puppy pen. In this way, my adult dogs get to rest, and so does my little puppy. Now that Puppy is older, it is no longer necessary to manage them so closely. Both dogs are able to regulate themselves, and give each other space when they need it.

Still, they each have separate crates that they can go to whenever they want, and they also have access to the backyard.

If I am not home, which does not happen often, Husky prefers to stay out in the backyard and Shiba likes staying in the house. I still do not fully trust them to be alone together, because their play can get pretty crazy, they may get over-excited, and end up hurting themselves.

5. Conflict Over Resources

When we get a new dog, there is a lot of uncertainty. Everyone in the family is learning how to interact with Puppy, and Puppy is learning how to interact with everyone else.

Conflicts may arise between our two dogs, when they both want the same thing at the same time; for example, food, toys, sleeping area, or our attention and affection. An effective way to keep the peace, is to be clear about resource ownership and teach them how to resolve conflicts without aggression.

For example, if one dog is chewing on a toy, I am there to supervise and prevent stealing. If I am not fast enough and some stealing occurs, I usually replace what was stolen plus an added interest. The thief has to either go to his bed or go to timeout, thereby temporarily losing his freedom. In addition, I also reward my dogs for staying calm together, and for working together with me.

In summary, I try to maximize positive interactions with the new dog, as well as minimize bad encounters. The more positive experiences my dogs have with each other, the more they will accept each other as part of a team. The opposite is also true.

If we establish clear dog-to-dog interaction rules, our new dog will quickly learn what is expected of her, and our existing dogs will also know what to expect from the new puppy. This reduces uncertainty, reduces stress, and helps everyone to relax and enjoy each other’s company.

Second Dog – Double Trouble or Double Fun?

So which is it?

Is a second dog double the trouble or double the fun?

I think if properly handled, a new dog can be a big enhancement to everyone in the family.

I am very glad Shania joined our family. Everyone has a happier, much richer life, because of her spirit, exuberance, can-do’ness, and overall awesomeness!

However, she was a lot of work, especially in the beginning, and the dog bills are much heftier.

Still, Shania gives a thousand-fold more than she gets, and Sephy will be the first to say that he loves her more than words can say. When she is away, he just spends his time moping around the house.

Thanks to Colleen and Reptar for bringing up this fun and important topic.

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  1. John says

    Hi there, I’m loving your articles! A week ago we picked up our Husky pup (8 weeks old) and she seems to be learning commands rather quickly. We are working on Sit, Lay, and Come at the moment and she does pretty well. her crate training is coming along nicely as well. Very limited accidents in her crate now. With all that being said, we ran into a problem. We have a 9 year old beagle who can become food aggressive when it comes to treats and that triggers our puppy to start barking at him. This happened two days ago. We keep our Husky on a lead, so we separated them and redirected her attention which seemed to work. However, today with no food involved, our Husky basically went berserk on our beagle. There was absolutely no trigger. She took an aggressive stance and was trying to lunge towards him while barking at him. I got her to sit and stop barking and then praised her, but then she would do it again. From there I walked in a different direction with her which worked until she saw our beagle again. Eventually I got our Husky to calm a bit with our older dog near her and I gave both dogs commands to sit, followed by praise and treats. Again, this calmed our Husky and our Beagle had no signs of aggression, but I could tell that our Husky was still “not herself” you could say. She also nips at his legs which he hates, so when I notice her going in to bite, I pull her back a bit with a firm “No”. What could have triggered this behavior? Every time our Husky eats, we take a bit of her food and hand feed her and gently put a hand in her dish while shes eating. She never growls when that happens or shows aggression. I’m at a loss. Sorry my comment is a long one, but our Husky also went a bit crazy today when she knew it was dinner time. She heard the bag open and she stopped listening to commands and began barking and whining extremely loud. This is also the first instance of this. When we prepare her meals, we have her sit, and we do not put her bowl down until she sits and stays in place until the bowl has touched the floor. Was she just having a really bad day? Any help would be appreciated, Thank you!!!

    • shibashake says

      Thank you John.

      Based on what you describe, there are two key areas –
      1. Food guarding and feeding.
      2. Dog-to-dog aggression.

      Dog behavior is very context dependent, so in cases of aggression, especially when multiple dogs are involved, it is best and safest to get help from a good professional trainer. A good trainer can read the dogs’ body language, observe them within the context of their regular routine and environment, and help identify what is triggering the dog’s behavior.

      In terms of food guarding and feeding-
      1. I make my dogs work for all of their food. I use most of their daily food as rewards throughout the day for following house rules, bite inhibition training, doing obedience exercises, following play rules, doing grooming, being calm around each other, and more. Whatever is left-over, I put in interactive food toys so they need to work for that too.

      2. I did a lot of frozen Kongs to keep my Husky occupied during puppy-hood. Husky puppies have a lot of energy so it was a structured and positive way for her to exercise her mind. In the beginning, she couldn’t get all the food out by herself, so I would help her, which teaches her that having people around during food time is a really good thing.

      3. Dogs commonly develop food guarding issues because they associate people or other dogs coming near their food with negative events. I prevent food guarding issues with my dog by helping her associate people and other dogs coming near her and her food with positive and rewarding experiences. For example, I help them get food out of their toys, I reward them for doing work for me, for following house rules, for being calm, etc. I follow the Nothing in Life is Free program with all of my dogs.

      4. At the same time, I set my dogs up for success and protect them from negative experiences. For example, if I keep stroking my dog while she is intent on eating, this may quickly become an irritant, which can lead to frustration and then aggression. Intermittently taking away my dog’s food bowl, or putting my hand into her bowl while she is eating, may also disrupt and lead to frustration and aggression. Instead, I may put my hand in and show her that I am adding something yummy in her food toy, which turns the action into something positive and rewarding. Of course I *do not* do this with a dog that is already food aggressive.

      5. Finally, resource guarding can occur over any type of resources. Food is a common resource that dogs guard, however, they may also have conflicts over toys, sleeping area, attention from people, etc. In addition, a dog may be ok with *her* people, but may start guarding with other dogs, or from new dogs, new people, etc. Behavior is very context dependent.

      My dogs are also keen observers and they learn from observing me and observing each other. For example, if my dog sees that when another dog shows aggression, he gets to eat in peace, without anybody bothering him, she may learn to try this behavior because it is rewarding to do so. However, if my dog associates people with rewards and getting more food, then the last thing she wants to do is keep people away.

      More on how I prevent food guarding behavior with my dogs.

      As for dog-to-dog aggression, that can be caused by many many different things. The existing food aggression can certainly be a contributing factor.

      What exactly was the Beagle doing when Husky started showing this behavior? What was the puppy doing before? What is the puppy’s daily routine? What kind of interactions do the dogs normally have? How is the Beagle with other dogs? Does he enjoy playing, does he prefer to be left alone? Has the puppy tried to initiate play? What kind of daily exercise does the puppy get?

      We have a 9 year old beagle who can become food aggressive when it comes to treats and that triggers our puppy to start barking at him.

      What did the Beagle do that triggered the barking? How many times did this occur? Does this always happen when there are treats around?

      Based on what you describe, I would get help from a good professional trainer, who understands operant conditioning principles and desensitization training. When I had problems with my Shiba Inu, we visited with several trainers and it was great to have another pair of practiced eyes, help me identify what things were triggering my dog’s undesirable behavior.

      My trainer also helped me with reading my dog’s body language, with management, timing, and much more. Finally, we also did dog-to-dog desensitization training to teach my Shiba to be more comfortable around other dogs. Desensitization exercises can also be adapted to help with food guarding issues between two dogs, but this is best done under the guidance of a good professional trainer.

      With my dogs, I set up clear dog-to-dog interaction rules and I supervise closely to make sure that everyone is following my rules. I also manage their routine and environment carefully, so that I do not expose them to situations that they are not ready for, and that would trigger undesirable behaviors. Prevention is best.

      Successful experiences will help my dog build confidence and trust. Similarly, negative experiences will undermine that trust, form negative associations, set back training, and worsen my dog’s behavior. Management is key – so that I not only maximize positive interactions, but minimize negative ones. I try to always set my dog up for success and create a routine and environment that I know will result in positive outcomes.

  2. Efi says

    Hello!I have a dog ,her name is Ruby,she is two years old and she is 2,5 kilos.We recently rescued a dog and he has been living in our house for less than a week ,his name is Bruno,he is six months old,16 kilos and very energetic.Our existing dog,Ruby, is very spoiled.Because of her size ,we let her constantly get away with lots of things.For example we let her sleep wherever she wants.On the couch,on the bed,on our pillow.The problem is that our second dog is much bigger than her and he will grow bigger as we go so we decided not to get on the couch or on the bed because there will be no room left for us to sit or to sleep.Of course he sleeps with us but beside the bed and not on it (our bed is very low so it doesn’t make much of a difference,it is like a matress on the floor.)We let Ruby jump on our guests but we can’t allowed Bruno to do so .So, we know that we treat them unfairly ,the question is do they know?Do they understand?And if so what could we do in order not to have so many different rules between our dogs.I have heard that we have to associate the second dog with positive experiences,so if I forbid my existing dog from sleeping on the bed or napping on the couch ,she will blame the other dog and they will never get along.Isn’t that so?
    Bruno has a very hard time accepting the rule “not on the couch” for example.I think he will never do that because he sees the other dog.Is that correct?And lastly is it ok for them to follow different rules now that the one of them is a puppy and change them later when he grows up..for example being allowed on the couch on our command as an adult dog.Can we have some restrictions for the puppy.Thank you in advance.I am so sorry about all these questions.Thanks again.

    • shibashake says

      Dogs like getting on the couch or bed because it is often very rewarding to do so. The couch is comfortable, it smells like their people, and they often get affection when on the couch. I teach my dog *not* to get on the couch by rewarding him really well for sleeping on the floor beside me. I have soft beds everywhere. I give him a lot of affection, food, and other rewards for sleeping on the floor or on his bed.

      I reward my dogs very very well, so in that way, I “spoil” them. However, I only reward them for doing positive or desirable behaviors. Consistency is also very important when training my dogs, so I keep my rules as consistent as possible, certainly throughout the entire puppyhood training period. I also establish a very fixed routine and everyone in the house enforces the same rules, using the same techniques.

      My dogs are great at observing each other and at observing me. They know what things will get them the best rewards, and those are the behaviors that they will repeat. If one dog gets rewarded very well for getting on the couch, my other dogs will try to get on too, because they see that the behavior is very rewarding. It is a matter of motivators.
      More on how dogs learn.
      More on how I trained my puppy.
      More on how I set up rules and teach my puppy self-control.

      I also teach my dog the “Off” command so that I put the “getting off furniture” behavior under command control. This article from the ASPCA on hand-targeting has more on how to teach a dog the Off command.

      I usually have more rules for my dog when he is young and still in training. After he has matured, I can relax some of these rules depending on temperament and behavior. However, dog behavior is very context dependent, and with multiple dogs, the situation becomes even more complex. I consulted with several good professional trainers when my Shiba Inu was young, and that was helpful for us.

  3. Jason says

    I have had a mix German Shepherd/Rot for ten years. She has always been a loyal dog with a ton of energy, but has been very needy. Recently, my wife and I have got new jobs and haven’t been able to spend as much time with her. We noticed that she has got along with other dogs that are calm, but not crazy. We decided to bring a second dog into the house for her to have another friend. We went to the shelter and adopted an 8 year old lab mix that is very calm and relaxed, but does enjoy to play occasionally. The new dog was at the shelter for almost his whole life, so he is scared at just about everything. We cannot seem to get the dogs to have anything to do with each other. The new dog just seems like he is constantly stressed even though the old dog is not around. My old dog growls and won’t get near the new dog and if he passes by, she growls. They have not fought and the new dog has not shown any aggression towards the old dog. We have a “safe place” for the new dog and he uses it all the time. What can we do to help them be less stressed and to get used to each other?

    • shibashake says

      When I get a new dog, I focus on two things-
      1. Creating certainty.
      I set up a fixed schedule and a consistent set of rules for my dogs. I supervise closely during periods of interaction, to make sure that everyone is following the rules. In this way, my dogs know what to expect from each other, what to expect from me, and what I expect from them in return. This creates certainty, and certainty helps to reduce stress and conflicts.

      2. Maximizing positive experiences and minimizing negative ones.
      When I got a third dog, my Shiba Inu did not take well to her in the beginning. He was older at that point, more set in his ways, and did not particularly like change.

      At the start, I put a lead on my new dog and I made sure that she did not approach any of my other dogs, especially when they want to be alone. This is important, because I want to minimize any negative interactions. At the same time, I try to create as many tempting and rewarding situations as I can. For example, I would do a lot of obedience exercises with my new dog, structured play sessions, handling exercises and more. I make all of these exercises fun and very very rewarding. This helps my new dog to learn the rules of the house, learn to trust me, and helps to create a good bond.

      At the same time, when something fun and rewarding is going on, my other dogs would join in. I let them come on their own, so they get to decide when they are ready. When they join in, I engage them all, keep them calm, and get them to do work for me. I then reward them extremely well with food that they don’t normally get, praise, affection, and more. In this way, they learn to stay calm around each other, and most importantly they learn to associate the new dog with positive and rewarding play and events.

      I did this many times during the day, and I never leave my new dog alone with my other dogs until I am very very sure that there will be absolutely no issues. Shiba Sephy began to come to our group obedience and handling sessions. He learned that the new dog is actually a big plus to his lifestyle, and not a minus at all, since I prevent conflicts before they occur. After about 10 days, Sephy accepted the new dog into his circle of trust, and things improved significantly.

      However, I still supervise them during meal time, play time, and other high excitement situations. I continue to do group training, and they still have a fixed schedule and consistent rules.

      I talk more about what I do in the article above. Dog-to-dog desensitization exercises may also help.

    • Anonymous says

      We have a female Chihuahua that isn’t spayed, a Jack Russell/Feist he hasn’t been neutered, and a male Chihuahua that hasn’t been neutered. The Jack Russell started trying to attack the male Chihuahua when the female was in heat and now he is always trying to attack him. How do I handle this?

    • shibashake says

      Even though pet dogs rarely have the opportunity to reproduce, intact male dogs will still vie for the attention of females in heat, and females will still compete for access to a male.

      With my dogs, I always try to set them up for success. The more positive and structured interactions they have with each other, the more trust is established, and the more comfortable they get with each other. Similarly, negative events will erode that trust, create negative associations, and lead to more stress and conflicts.

      To help my dogs get along, I want to not only maximize positive events, but also minimize negative occurrences. Management and supervision are key. I set up clear dog-to-dog interaction rules, I supervise very well, make sure that everyone is following my rules, and I interrupt before things escalate into anything more serious.

      I also manage things carefully, so that my dogs are not exposed to situations they are not ready to handle. For example, I do not leave my dogs together unsupervised until I am very very sure that there will be no issues. If I cannot supervise, I keep them separated. I talk more about what I do in the article above. However, my dogs are all spayed and neutered.

      Dog behavior is very context dependent, so the temperament of the dogs, routine, environment, past experiences, and more will all play a role. This becomes even more complex when multiple intact dogs are involved. Given what you describe, it is best and safest to consult with a good professional trainer who can help with structure, retraining, and management, especially when the female is in heat.

  4. Tash says

    Hi there, I have a 7 Month old Jack Russell and his name is Max, he was about 2 months when i got him, and he’s toilet trained after 5 months and sleeps in the laundry and is happy with him. We recently just got a Labrador x Golden and he’s name is Russell and he’s 8 weeks old, we got a big bed for Max and Russell to share which is fine for Russell at some point but Russell keeps taking a wee on the bed and everywhere else, I tried putting pads around and when I do I spray a wee spray that I got from the pet shop that attracts dog to do the loo and it didn’t work and I’m stuck with that. There’s also another problem Russell keeps stealing Max’s food and their both fighting in the house all the time. And now I’m stuck with Max sleeping in the laundry and Russell sleeping on my bed… I just need advice that are matching with my problems which is Sleeping together, Russell’s toilet problem , playtime and eating time. Help.. Please

    • shibashake says

      With my dogs, I set up clear dog-to-dog interaction rules, and I teach each dog what those rules are. In this way, my dogs know exactly what to expect from each other, what to expect from me, and what I expect from them in return. This creates certainty and certainty helps to reduce stress and conflicts.

      I supervise very closely during meal-time and play-time, and make sure that everyone is following my rules (e.g. no stealing, no humping, no bullying). By supervising closely, I can redirect my dog as soon as I see questionable behaviors, and prevent things from escalating. I set up a fixed routine for my dogs, I carefully manage their environment, and I always try to set them up for success. I talk in greater detail about what I do with my dogs in the article above. I have a section on play-time and one on meal time.

      How I potty train my puppy.

      However, dog behavior is very context dependent so each dog and situation are different. When in doubt, I get help from a good professional trainer.

  5. may says

    we have a medium unspayed dog. she has always been a bit rough however we got two small dogs and she’s very rough with them. one is a neutered male and unsprayed female. female is 6 months. the female is the only that plays with our old dog. but she keeps getting rough with her. like today I was playing tug of war with the new female dog and she got on the floor and our old dog went after,bit her neck and tried to swing her. (the dog was fine just scared) she’s very pushy with the new dogs (like she trys very hard to sniff them,even when we push her back)what can I do to stop her from being so rough? ( i think she (the older dog) just wants to play with the young one but gets to rough)

    • shibashake says

      What is the daily routine of each dog? What type of training are the dogs used to? What are the rules of the house?

      With my dogs, I set up clear and consistent dog-to-dog interaction rules, and I slowly teach each dog what those rules are. There is no bullying, no humping, and no stealing. I make sure to always set my dogs up for success and I manage my dogs’ excitement level by throwing in many play-breaks.

      I supervise and use management equipment such as leashes and gates as needed to keep everyone safe. Management, structure, and rules, are extremely important when introducing a new dog. All of this will help to create certainty, and certainty helps to reduce stress and conflicts.

      I talk more about how I manage my dogs in the article above.

      More on how I helped my dog to be more calm around other dogs.

      However, dog behavior is very context dependent so each dog and situation are different. When there are multiple dogs, things get even more complicated. Therefore, when I had problems with my Shiba Inu, I got help from several professional trainers. A good professional trainer can observe my dog in his regular environment and routine, read his body language, and help me develop a safe and effective plan for retraining.

  6. Antony says

    I currently have hard time. We got a shiba inu puppy (female) Chio who is about 3 months old. And we currently have male shiba inu puppy who’s about 4,5 months old Yoshiro. Their first contact did not go so well. Because we brought female stratight to our house, Yoshiro smelled her and then attacked. My family is going mentall because he attacked a younger female. I say he was defending his home from unknown dog. We separated tham and Chio is not at our parent’s house. We went there yesterday with Yoshiro and after observing her for a while he became interested in her. To an extend we let them lick each other. However, when we loose the leash Yoshiro humps her and she, obviously, resists and tries to bite him. Please can you help us? Is there any way we can contact you except for this comment section?

    • shibashake says

      When I got a new puppy, I had her under supervision and on-leash until she learned what the rules of interaction are, and until I was very very sure that my Shiba had accepted her into his circle of trust. I talk about some of the things that I did when introducing a new dog in the article above.

      It is important to start small and to always set my dogs up for success. I set up a consistent set of interaction rules, there is no bullying, no stealing, and no humping. I supervise to enforce the rules, and I slowly teach my new dog what the rules are. Rules create certainty, and certainty reduces stress and conflicts.

      However, dog behavior is very context dependent and Shibas are usually very particular about personal space and greeting manners. Based on what you describe, I would get help from a good professional trainer, who has experience with training Shibas.

  7. Anonymous says

    I have a 8 year old daschund and a five year old daschund, two years ago i introduced a South African mastiff – everything has been fine, about 4 months ago Zoe the mastif attacked the female five year old with no injuries. Then about a month ago Zoe attacked my male daschund. He had to have his ear stitched up. Today she attacked the femal daschund again resulting in multiple staples and stitches. In all cases there was no food, toys etc. I have a four year old and three year old who adore Zoe but I don’t know if I can train her out of this behavior and if so how or should I find her another home with no small dogs. She has no food aggressions or issues with people/kids.

    • shibashake says

      What were the dogs doing before the attacks? Were they resting, playing, or something else? What were the people doing? What was their body language like before the fight? What are the dogs’ daily routines? Have there been any changes in routine or environment? Did anything different happen about 4 months ago?

      Dog behavior is very context dependent, so details are very important. In multi-dog households, things become even more complicated. This is why I would get help from a good professional trainer, who can observe the dogs, read their body language, and help determine the trigger(s) for the aggression. A good trainer can also help us manage things so that we keep everyone safe and help us develop a good plan for retraining.

  8. aden grace says

    what if my puppy is scared of my dog and does not understand a playing bow?he thinks that my dog will bite him and I have noticed that he also growls at my old dog when I am standing near old dog growls back and things go wrong. what should I do?how should I stop my puppy from growling and make him think of my old dog as playmate?

    • shibashake says

      How old is your puppy? How old is your other dog? How long have you had the puppy? What are the size differences? What are their daily routines like? Have they had any positive play experiences?

      With my dogs, I set up clear dog-to-dog interaction rules and I make sure to always supervise. In this way, my dogs know exactly what to expect from each other, what to expect from me, and what I expect from them in return. I also set up a fixed schedule for my puppy and I make sure she does not bother my adult dogs when they want to rest or be alone. Rules and structure create certainty, and certainty helps to reduce stress.

      In the beginning, I have a lead on my puppy so that I can keep her close to me and teach her what are acceptable interaction behaviors. The leash also allows me to quickly stop play when needed and to set my puppy up for success by not exposing her to situations that she is not ready for. I also make sure that my adult dogs do not overwhelm or bully my puppy.

      I talk more about what I do in the article above.

      However, dog behavior is very context dependent, and multi-dog households are complicated. Therefore, when in doubt, I get help from a good professional trainer.

  9. Courtney says

    I have a 6 year old staffie which is an older unsocialised dog, she is good with humans with doesn’t really respond to affection and if left alone a lot because she wants that. We recently rescued a 6month old shepsky from a bad home because we didn’t want to have to send her to a rescue centre instead. Since then we have tried to train her but she has been pretty set in her ways. She’s now over a year old and is extremely hyper all the time. She whines all the time. She wants to go outside constantly. Lately I haven’t had time to walk her so it’s understandable that she has a lot of energy and I will start walking her again. The problem is that whenever I do let her go outside in the garden(which is the most secure but it was suitable for the other smaller dog and we can’t afford the make the fences bigger) when she is outside she barks at everything and everyone and when she is with our other dog it is worse but because she is bigger it is worse for her to be jumping and barking. Tonight she jumped the fence and went for another larger dog. She isn’t aggressive with dogs that she is familiar with but unfamiliar dogs outside the garden or walking past them she gets aggressive and barks and pulls. I don’t know what to do with her. It’s getting worse as she gets bigger and I don’t think we can afford a dog trainer. I just don’t know what I can do for her to stop her barking all the time and wanting attention all the time and wanting out all the time and being aggressive to every other dog. She may have picked up my older dogs dislike to other dogs but she has had other calmer dogs to influence her but she didn’t change. I cant give her the opportunity to see another dog to desensitise her to it because I don’t have the facilities for this. I want her to be calm and ignore things while she’s out in the garden before people start to complain.

  10. SAV says


    • shibashake says

      When my dogs play, they often chase each other and may sometimes bark/vocalize. The more excited they are, the more rough play gets, and the more they vocalize. However, dog behavior is very context dependent so each dog and situation are different. Barking and chasing can be part of play or something else. It is not possible to say without seeing things and knowing more about the temperaments of the dogs, surrounding environment, etc.

      In general, I set the rules for my dogs and I do whatever “corrections” are necessary. I do not allow my dogs to correct each other. It is my rules, so I enforce them in a fair and consistent way.

      I want to set my dogs up for success and maximize positive time together, so that they learn good social manners, and learn to trust and relax around each other. If I see that my puppy is getting overwhelmed or uncomfortable during play because my other dogs are being too rough or getting too excited, then I make sure to stop play. I manage my dogs’ excitement during play by throwing in many play-breaks. I talk more about what I do during play-time in the article above.

      A puppy may allow an older dog to correct him early on, but as he grows and gains confidence, he may decide he does not want to tolerate it anymore.

      I make sure my dogs get along by creating positive experiences, minimizing negative experiences, and creating certainty. I do this by setting routine, rules, and structure. I supervise my dogs, teach them my rules, and make sure to be consistent and fair with corrections. In this way, they know exactly what to expect from each other, what to expect from me, and what I expect from them in return. This creates certainty and certainty helps to reduce stress and conflicts.

  11. nik says

    Hi I have 3 staffordshire bull terriers, mum dad and son, I have recently rescued another staffy but think he may be a cross, I have had him since 10weeks and is now a year old. He has attacked my eldest (12) and has now attacked the 9 year old but has caused 450 pounds in vet bills. We r dog lovers and don’t want to get rid of him but we also don’t know what to do

    • shibashake says

      Dog behavior is very context dependent, so when I need to change my dog’s behavior, the first thing that I look at is what triggered the behavior is the first place. What were the dogs doing before the fight? Were there toys, food, or other resources about? What were they people doing? What are the dogs’ daily routine like? What type of interactions do the dogs have? What type of training are the dogs used to?

      Given that fights have already occurred, it is best to get help from a good professional trainer. Dog fights are dangerous not only to the dogs, but also to the people around them, especially when they intervene to try and break up the fights.

      I help my dogs get along by-
      1. Setting up clear dog-to-dog interaction rules. In this way, each dog knows what to expect from each other, what to expect from me, and what I expect from him in return. This creates certainty, and certainty helps to reduce stress and conflict.
      2. Supervising my dogs very well so that I can redirect behavior before things escalate into something else. I want to try and maximize positive and rewarding interactions between my dogs, and also minimize negative interactions and events. When I cannot supervise, I keep the new dog separated until I am very sure that there will be no issues.
      3. Managing my dogs’ environment so that I set them up for success. For example, if there is any object guarding behavior, I remove all high priority objects from the environment that may cause conflict. Then, I do training and desensitization exercises to slowly change that behavior.

      I talk more about the things that I do with my dogs in the article above.

      However, dog behavior is very context dependent so each dog and situation are different. Things become even more complex in multiple dog households. Therefore, especially in cases of aggression, I would get help from a good professional trainer.

      However, given what you describe, I would get help from a good professional trainer.

  12. Danielle says

    I have a year and a half old ACD. I got her as a puppy so she’s been the only dog until a month ago. Me and my fiancé found a dog chained to a tree left to die and rescued it. I am trying to learn how to give both the attention they need. When they are in the house together all they do is extreme wrestle. We can’t get the ACD to leave the rescue alone or done times vice versa. We have a trainer coming to help with the ACD training but that’s still 2 weeks away. In order to stop the wrestling we seperate them but our poor ACD is getting the brunt of it. We kennel her to give the rescue some peace and time with us but when it’s time to switch we can’t. When we kennel the rescue and bring out the ACD the rescue looses it. She howls and barks and has even broken out of the kennels before. As we are in an apartment that can’t happen so we have to give in. I’m really hoping the trainer that’s coming in 2 weeks can help us get our ACD to leave the rescue alone so they can be out together that’s our goal is to have them relax around each other so we can all enjoy one another. Until she arrives do you have any sugustions for a happy mingling home? I don’t want to be dividing attention unfairly as the ACD was here first but other then going for walks all together she’s not getting time with me

  13. Ronin says

    I have an ackbosh marama cross 3 and a Rottie 4. we rescued rottie razor last year. everything was going good the odd fight would break out for no apparent reason. They both play with one another and do there job well. We live high up in the bush where grizzly bears and cougars live. They look after the horses and the farm and kids great. On a few occations they have chased a bear off when was hanging around to close to my four kids. They keep the coyotes away from the farm as well. They work well as a team but then they will attack each other.. To the point they are going to kill one another they both seem to be alfa material. For me they both listen to me really well. Very well behaved dogs. The other dog thor if they are fighting I yell he quits but Razor sees the opportunity to attack more. Razor bites to hurt where as thor has never left wounds. But is looking like its going to change. I can’t break them up nothing works. I can’t keep them separated. penned or chained for the wild life will kill them have had that happen to a dog already. These two really need help. I understand all to well about jobs and exercise and pack leader and that dose not seem to matter they both look at me as there leader but then they do fight more and more. any suggestions.

    • shibashake says

      What were they doing before the fights? Were they playing, and then play got too intense? Was there food, some object, a sleeping area, etc. that both wanted? Were there people around? Where were the people? What are the common elements in the surrounding context of each conflict?

      Dog aggression can be the result of many different things, and dog behavior is very context dependent. This is why in cases of aggression, especially serious aggression, it is best to get help from a good professional trainer. Breaking up a dog fight is extremely dangerous because a dog that is in the throes of a fight can redirect that aggression onto nearby people, especially when we try to physically restrain him.

      This ASPCA article has some good information on breaking up a dog fight –

      With my dogs, I set up clear dog-to-dog interaction rules and I supervise them very well, especially in the beginning. Rules create certainty, and certainty helps to reduce stress and conflicts. Supervision is important to that I can teach my dogs the rules, and make sure they are followed. I can manage their excitement level by redirecting their focus and doing play-breaks. I can identify common points of conflict and redirect their energy before things escalate. By identifying common triggers, I can also do desensitization exercises, to teach them to relax and be more comfortable around each other, in the presence of the trigger.

      When I cannot supervise, I keep my dogs separated until I am very sure that there won’t be any issues. I want to not only maximize positive, calm experiences, but also minimize bad interactions. The more negative experiences they have, and the more fighting they do, the worse things will become and the more likely it will happen in the future.

      I can’t keep them separated. penned or chained for the wild life will kill them

      I agree that chaining is a bad idea, even when there are no wild animals around. Chaining can lead to more stress, more frustration, and increased aggression.

      With my dogs, I have them inside the house a lot of the time, so when I need to keep them separated, it is safe. A good local trainer, who is familiar with open properties and the location can probably provide more suggestions.

  14. margaret higgins says

    Dear shibashake,
    I have a seven year old westie and two cats who all get on very well together, however while I was volunteering at a shelter I meet a gorgeous 1 year old dog (breed is unknow but is the same size as my westie) the rescue dog is very good with cats and dogs but I worry about my dog. She is only ok with other dogs and likes her personal space will this new dog be too much for her and would she be happier the way she is now. She adjusted to the cats very quickly with little trouble but the rescue dog is getting depressed so I would like to rehome him. Thanks in advance margaret.

    • shibashake says

      When I was looking to adopt a dog, I brought my Shiba to meet potential candidates. We did meetings in a controlled and neutral environment, and under the direction of a trainer from the rescue.

      Have the two dogs met? How did things go with the two of them?

  15. Anonymous says

    Hello Shibashake:)!My family and I are planning to get two dogs and I have a couple of questions. We plan on getting a Lab and golden retriever mix first and then a shiba. My first question is will they get along? Lab/golden mixes are very calm and eager to please and shibas are the opposite. BTW isn’t it strange that I like two dog breeds that are polar opposites:)? Anyway, my next question is how do I introduce them to each other? Should I wait a week or so before letting them meet each other? A new home is hard to adjust to and so is a sister.

  16. Lynn says

    Yes, 99% of the time, Bear will attack Fozzie when there is no food around and it is just my husband and myself in the house. I could understand this much better if there were resources around that could be causing this but there’s not.

    We simply cannot afford any more trainers and I did spend time talking to both the behaviorist and the trainer we had beforehand but my conclusion is that behaviorists and trainers cannot solve real problems like this.

    I agree wholeheartedly that the dogs pick up on our emotions and even though I have become less tense, the tension between Bear and Fozzie has not diminished. I still very strongly believe that it was something in the way Bear and Fozzie were raised/treated by their first owner (the man who had them until they were 9 and 11 months old respectively). I have had multiple dogs almost my entire life but I have never had a problem like this ever before.

    We absolutely never let them be loose together anymore. The only time we have them in the same room together is when my husband holds one on a leash as I hold the other. When Bear attacks, it is too fast to stop before it happens if they are loose.

    Of course I realize it is unrealistic for me to think anyone can truly help without actually seeing them but since those who have seen them couldn’t help, I thought I’d try anyway.

    Can you tell me very specifically what we might try to help this situation? We can spend quite a lot of time with them in the same room when they are on leashes but our goal is for all of them to be able to have the run of the entire house – together.

    It’s funny in that when we got Fozzie, we were only worried that he and Stuffy would get along – we never dreamed that it would be that he and Bear would not get along since they had lived in the same home from 8 weeks of age until we got Bear at 9 months of age.

    I have spent (no exaggeration here) hundreds of hours on sites, looking for ideas on this and have tried many things but absolutely nothing has helped. I think I mentioned in my previous message that Bear does not react this way to other dogs he sees when we go for walks or the neighbors’ dogs – it is only with Fozzie. And I still have this feeling that Bear, although he is the one who always starts the attack, is actually afraid of Fozzie and is trying to “prove” that he’s not, if that makes any sense to you. If fear is the motivator, what would the best approach be?

    You said that the first thing that you do with your dog is try to figure out where the behavior is coming from. That makes total sense to me. However, I have been trying to figure that out for over a year now and still have no idea. And as for what is happening around him when he does this – the answer to that is – nothing. As for location – the location is wherever Fozzie is. Of course, it’s been almost a year since we’ve tried having them together loose but that is how it was when we were trying to get them together. The main reason we stopped and started playing musical dogs and only having them in the same room on leashes is our fear of a fight that we might not be able to stop.

    If we have to, we will live like this for their entire lives (playing musical dogs). Or possibly as they get a little older (they are 2 years, 3 months old now), things might calm down on their own?

  17. Dog Day Afternoon says

    Newer dog to our 2 dog home is often aggressive toward our dogs at home & certain types of others when out at the local dog park.

    Our existing dogs are a blue merle male & a red merle female. The new dog is a pound pup female that was about 6 months old when we picked her up about 6 months ago.

    Usually the aggression starts between the new dog & the male at various times be it over hoarding of chewies or toys inside any unknown reasons outside in the back yard. This has already moved past a couple expensive vet bills.

    The larger concern is over the open range. When out at the park the new pup is largely fine with most dogs. There inevitably comes a time when one of the few other dogs show up and the problems ensue. The other dogs are always labrador types dark brown or black. There is immediate charging, no matter the distance, and the engagements begin.

    The issues have taken place since she first saw any of these dogs an resumes when / if they meet at another time.

    Her greeting growl sometimes is playful and other times seemingly otherwise.

    Not sure how to alleviate the dog at the park issue or the home problems with our pack. The new dog and the male never back down once a possession challenge has been issued no matter whom initiates.

    • shibashake says

      For my dogs at home, I set up clear dog-to-dog interaction rules – one of which is the no-stealing rule. This helps my new dog understand what is expected of her, what to expect from my other dogs, and what to expect from me. I talk more about what I do in the article above.

      For this to work,
      – I need to be around to supervise my dogs closely,
      – I need to exercise them, manage their environment, and set them up for success,
      – I need to have good control of them when necessary, and
      – They *cannot* be aggressive toward people.

      For more serious aggression issues, it is best to get help from a good professional trainer. A good trainer can help us get started on the right foot, and help us manage the environment so that everyone stays safe.

      As for dog parks, my Shiba Inu does better in smaller, more structured play groups, where I supervise and manage his excitement level. Here is a bit more on our dog park experiences.

  18. Lynn says

    We got an 8 week old chow puppy in February 2012 (Stuffy). We then got his brother Bear in September 2011. The same person who had Bear had the other brother, Fozzie, and we got him, also, in November 2012. Stuffy was neutered in June 2012 and Bear and Fozzie were neutered in November 2012. Bear and Fozzie lived in the same home from 8 weeks of age until we got Bear in September. I don’t know just how they were treated in that home. I have strong feelings that they were not treated well and left on their own a lot.

    Stuffy gets along fine with both Bear and Fozzie. Bear attacks Fozzie – rarely, we have been able to see what triggers it (Fozzie eating, me petting Fozzie) but the majority of the time, Fozzie isn’t even looking in Bear’s direction and Bear will out of the blue attack him. I have pulled Bear off of him when this has happened.

    We now play “musical dogs” in that either Bear or Fozzie is in the living room with a baby gate in the doorway while Stuffy and whichever one isn’t in the living room is in the rest of the house. We alternate each time they go outside to go potty and we alternate each night while we sleep. Each day we spend some time with each of them on a leash while we are in the same room. They can sometimes be laying down mere inches apart with no problems. But sometimes, again, Fozzie not even looking in Bear’s direction and Bear will try to attack him – however, because he is on a leash, we are able to stop that from happening.

    Bear is not inherently an aggressive dog – he sees other dogs when we go for walks and he doesn’t even bark at them and he gets along with Stuffy just fine (although we do have to be careful with our 2 cats that he tries to chase – we now have them in their own room when Bear is the one out in the main part of the house). I swear it seems like Bear would probably be okay with any other dog (although this has never been put to the test) – except for Fozzie.

    We have spent much more money than we could afford on a certified behaviorist in August of last year and a trainer 2 times in November. The behaviorist came to our house and without even observing Bear and Fozzie in the same room (the closest she even came to seeing Fozzie was from 2 rooms away), she said her primary recommendation would be to either euthanize Bear or rehome Fozzie. (I will not give up any of my boys.) With the trainer, our first appointment was at his business where we talked to him in a relatively small room, he had us drop their leashes and there were no attacks in almost an hour. The next time he came to our house and said we needed to let them “fight it out”. Against my better judgment we did that while the trainer was here for about 15 minutes. Bear attacked Fozzie, then Fozzie attacked Bear – there were no injuries from one another but Bear cut the pad of his foot on a cabinet and it cost a few more hundred dollars at the vet to fix that. The trainer told us to let them fight at least once each day and that within a week or two things should be settled. We did not let them fight anymore after that one fight – I totally don’t feel that is right. The trainer did tell us that he believes that it is actually Fozzie who is the dominant dog, not Bear. That didn’t totally surprise me as I’ve thought that Bear is like a child who gets picked on by a bully at school but tries to act like he’s the tough one. Yet Fozzie has never been the one to start anything ever. Needless to say, I will never look for another trainer or behaviorist after having thrown away so much money for absolutely nothing.

    We tried having a muzzle on each of them, thinking we may be able to try getting them together that way to start, but neither of them acts like himself with a muzzle on so that went nowhere. So we are back to having them together as my husband and I hold each of them on a leash and we can do that with very few problems. If Bear tries to lunge and attack, I quietly and calmly take him in the bathroom and have him sit in there for a 10-15 minute “time out” and when I bring him back out, he usually makes sure he sits or lays down with his back to Fozzie. We have also taken them for walks together (I take one, my husband takes the other) and they don’t even look at one another as we’re walking. I was told that should help them bond but it hasn’t helped – it hasn’t hurt, but it hasn’t helped either.

    As for the “recommendation” to euthanize Bear – yes, there are times that I cannot force issues with Bear because I get a little scared of him myself but nothing that would EVER make a death warrant suitable! He even got ahold of one of our cats one time (VERY scary) and had her in his mouth and was shaking her – I ran up to him, grabbed him by the extra skin on his back and shook him until he let her go – and just like with Fozzie – no blood, just fur. There have NEVER been any wounds but I just worry that all it takes is once.

    Yes, we have had to re-arrange our lives a lot – however, Bear has actually come a long way since we first got him. He was absolutely terrified of a collar and leash when we first got him – he now walks as if he were trained for years. We used to have 2 gates up so they were high enough that Bear and Fozzie couldn’t touch one another – we had gotten down to having just 1 gate up but have had to go back to 2 since the fight it out incident in November. Bear is a very loving dog 99% of the time and he is probably the most intelligent dog I have ever had in my life. He can have impulse control when he wants to (if I have a short lead on him, I have already seen him run towards the gate to growl, then have seen him think to himself “No, this lead is on me and she can get me away very fast so I am not going to do it.”) He taught himself that when he comes in from going outside and it is time to bring Fozzie out, he didn’t like being held – so totally on his own, he started going in the bathroom, looking at me as if to say “Yes, I know you have to bring Fozzie out – go ahead and close the door and I’ll be fine in here.”

    I’m sorry this ended up being such a long message but it has been about a year and 3 months now and we are just getting nowhere and I am looking anywhere and everywhere for any possible help for this situation. We have tried the nothing in life is free system as well as we can. I do make sure he sits at the door and allows me to go first at all times, I have him sit before he is fed, etc., etc.

    Any suggestions would be appreciated more than words can convey.


    • shibashake says

      we have been able to see what triggers it (Fozzie eating, me petting Fozzie) but the majority of the time, Fozzie isn’t even looking in Bear’s direction and Bear will out of the blue attack him.

      I am not sure I understand. So sometimes, Bear will attack Fozzie even when there is no food or no people around?

      With my dogs, conflicts can arise over resources. This can include obvious things such as food and toys, but it may also include less obvious things like space, sleeping area, affection, and more. Aggressive behavior can also be the result of other things, including over-excitement, fear, frustration, and more.

      The first thing that I do with my dog is try to figure out where the behavior is coming from. This is important because it will determine how I help him to overcome the problem and retrain the behavior. Dogs are fascinating to me, so I am always observing mine. I try to read their body language, and try to understand them better. This is not easy to do because people rely primarily on verbal communication, and we are not as practiced when it comes to reading body language.

      I try to think about what is happening around my dog when they show a particular behavior. For example, are there any resources around, are there people around, what are the people doing, is it usually in a particular location, is it during a particular time, etc. Understanding the surrounding context helps a lot with understanding the behavior and where it is coming from.

      Getting help from experienced outside people can also help. I had a difficult time in the beginning with my Shiba Inu (Sephy) and I visited with a fair number of trainers. Like you, we also got some bad ones, but there were also some who were helpful. It took time before I started to see changes in Sephy, but some of the trainers offered good information which helped us on our way.

      With trainers, I make sure to talk to them over the phone first and ask them a lot of questions. In this way, I can filter out the ones that don’t know what they are talking about. Here is more on how I went about looking for a trainer. The Association of Pet Dog Trainers also has some good information on choosing a trainer.

      I also started reading up a lot on dog behavior and training. This helped a lot in my trainer search and also helped with understanding Sephy. Here are some places that I go to for dog information.

      Here are some things that helped Sephy be more calm around other dogs. However, it is important to stress that Sephy’s reactive behavior was mostly due to over-excitement. In addition, I tailor my training to suit his particular temperament. A different dog has a different temperament, routine, past experiences, and more, and training will need to be tailored for all of those things.

      1. Dog to dog desensitization exercises.
      It is important with desensitization to always start small and never push the dog over his threshold. The goal is to teach Sephy alternate behaviors and to help him re-associate a previously “bad” stimulus with something positive. More on what I did with Sephy for dog-to-dog desensitization.

      2. Calm energy
      Sephy is very sensitive to the energy of the people around him. If he senses that I am worried, stressed, frustrated, or otherwise not-calm he will pick up on that, get stressed himself, and that will trigger his reactive behavior. With Sephy, I try to stay very calm at all times, and I always have a plan of action so that I can be decisive and stop things before they escalate.

      3. Clear dog-to-dog interaction rules at home.
      I set up clear dog-to-dog interaction rules. If there is a new dog, I slowly teach him those rules so that he understands what is expected of him and what he can expect from me and my other dogs. I *do not* let my dogs correct each other or “work it out” for themselves. I set the rules, I supervise, and I enforce the rules in a fair and consistent way.

      I try to create as many positive experiences as I can between my dogs. This helps them to see each other as allies rather than as competitors for resources. Here is more on what I do with my dogs at home.

      Additional care will have to be taken in cases of aggression to always keep things safe for everyone.

      Dog behavior is very context dependent and temperament dependent, therefore when changing behavior I always-
      1. First identify the source of the behavior and then
      2. Tailor things to suit the particular dog and situation.

      This is why, especially in cases of aggression, it is usually best to get help from a *good* professional trainer.

  19. Danica says

    hello! so, me and my family are currently in a crisis! we have just brought home a rescue dog to our rambunctious little yorkie-poodle. we just got this dog because he was found on a rural road alone, and no name or anything. seemed to me that she was just left there to die. but our dog we have at home, who is 4, is C-R-A-Z-Y. when we first tried introducing them we just walked our new dog in and just wanted to see what would happen. the new rescue is a 2-3 year old female lab-cross who is very calm. when we walked in, our small dog, Harley, went completely crazy. he barked all day today. and the new rescue would just sit there calmy occasionally grunting or growling while Harley would be yapping, and barking and nipping and everything you can think of. we do not know what to do, because the rescue is the most beautiful well behaved dog but our dog is just so crazy that we don’t know what to do. help would be GREATLY appreciated. email me, or comment back as soon as possible. thanks so much:)

    • shibashake says

      Large changes to the home environment can cause a lot of stress for some dogs. How does Harley usually react to new dogs outside the house? What is Harley’s routine like?

      When I bring home a new dog, I usually set up a fixed routine and a consistent set of house rules (including interaction rules). This helps to create certainty, which helps to reduce stress for everyone.

      Here is a bit more on how I help my dogs get along.
      Dog to dog desensitization exercises were also helpful for getting my Shiba Inu to be more comfortable and calm around other dogs.

  20. Samantha says

    Hello shiba shake!
    Me and my partner could use some help!
    We brought home Katsumi 6 months ago .. A very obedient well mannered 5 year old shiba. Katsumi came from what we call dog heaven .. Acerage for her and her dog relatives and handful of pack mates to explore and come and go freely .. A very maintained schedule orientated home with constant human interaction. When we first met her she was a very happy dog competing with her pack for our attention .. Even stealing toys from her grandma!
    We are having a few concerns .. Dog aggression is one right now .. We introduced her to my friends siberian husky and at first was clear it was going to take some work and after a month or so of constant visits, car rides and walks they are close friends .. Playing and cuddling!
    In the last month or so we have notice Katsumi seems “off” not playful her only excitement is her walks. Katsumis eating pattern is off and we have noticed excessive paw licking to the point of paw sores. Katsumi is moping any chance she can get and sleeps as if she has never slept before we are really concerned that dog depression is her cause of withdrawal. Our thoughts are the lack of play mates and feeling alone seeing as her first 5 years was spent in a large dog home. We are considering a second member into our family as we want her to be a happy dog we brought her home with us to give her a happy retirement and happy home! We could use a second opinion

    • Samantha says

      (We are taking her to the vet to get looked at to be sure she is okay and the paws get cleared up)

    • shibashake says

      I think the vet visit is a good idea.

      When there are sudden changes in behavior with my dog, I usually rule out physical issues first with a visit to the vet. Sephy’s behavior can change a lot when he is not feeling well. All my dogs love to eat and are usually quite active in the mornings and evenings. When they show a loss of appetite or a sudden change in energy level, it is often because of a physical issue.

      What food are you currently giving Katsumi? Sephy has a pretty sensitive stomach, and in the beginning, he started itching and having some digestive discomfort. It turned out that the kibble we were giving him (breeder recommended) contained wheat, which Sephy is allergic to.

      Let us know how things go at the vet. Big hugs to Katsumi.

    • Lorraine says

      Hi Shibashake,

      I am engaged, and my fiancé and I live in two separate households until we get married. I have a three year old Amer. Staffordshire terrier which lives indoors. My fiancé does not believe dogs should live indoors, and I truly don’t want to put him outdoors because he loves to be around people. I love my dog with all my heart and I don’t want him to think I have abandoned him. Would getting another dog to keep him company outside help ? I am scared he will become depressed if he is left by himself.

  21. Patricia says

    I have a 3 year old Westie, and, a month ago, we moved into a house where a 6 month old female Boxer lives. Anytime the Boxer gets a chance, it jumps on my dog, gets in her space, and/or paws at her…essentially tries to play with my Westie. My Westie always gets upset. She yaps, barks, snarls, growls, and nips at the puppy. I just assumed my Westie was trying to teach the puppy to leave her alone, so I don’t do much about my dog’s behavior except pull her away when it happens. Am I wrong? Should I teach my dog not to protect herself from a puppy twice her size? Whenever, the puppy comes in the room, but doesn’t get close enough to touch my dog, I do tell my dog “no” whenever she starts to stress about the puppy’s presence.

    In the meantime, the dog owner and I have been trying “quiet relaxed time” where we are able to get the two of them to relax (lay on the floor) near each other, and we praise them profusely. So, we are making small progress. I’m just really wondering if I should curb her behavior when the puppy tries to “play” with her as described above. (Fyi: The puppy’s owner constantly tries to teach it to stop jumping on my dog and people for that matter). Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

    • shibashake says

      Some dogs may not enjoy playing with each other because of size differences, energy level, and play style. At the dog daycare that I used to go to, they would group play-groups based on age, size, energy level and more. For example, small dogs do not generally like playing with my Shiba. He likes to wrestle and has a high energy play style which often overwhelms smaller dogs. He has the most fun playing with larger, high energy dogs, so I pick his playmates carefully and everyone can have fun.

      I also have a three legged Husky, and she can get overwhelmed during play by overly energetic dogs that like to jump on her. I make sure to protect her well and stop other dogs from overwhelming her. I always try to step in early and stop things as soon as I see any bad behavior. In this way, things do not escalate in a negative direction. Play should be fun, and if she doesn’t want to play anymore, I make sure that my other dogs leave her alone. What works well for my Husky is to have small play groups where I supervise things closely, and have good control of all the dogs involved. I also throw in many play breaks to manage the excitement levels of the dogs.

      In this way, my dogs learn that play with other dogs is fun, and that I will always protect them, so they do not need to use physical aggression to protect themselves.

  22. mandie says

    Hi im hoping you can help with my dilemma. I have a dog, jazzy, she’s 5 years old and as of around 2 years ago she is severely dog aggressive. I’ve taken her to the vet and they said it has something to do with her hitting puberty. we have another dog in the house and she is fine with her they get along great but any other dog she will attack. I have a lot of medical issues and am looking to get a service dog but i don’t know how to go about desensitizing jazzy. i have a friend who helps train other dogs and has a service dog herself and soon we will be trying so get her to be okay with submissive dogs. do you have any tips of how to avoid another attack and trying to get her to be okay with another dog in the house?

    thank you!

    • shibashake says

      Yeah, for something like this I would definitely work with a professional trainer.

      Here are some of my experiences with desensitizing my Shiba Inu to other dogs.

      I help my dogs get along at home by-
      1. Setting up clear dog-to-dog interaction rules and resource ownership rules.
      2. I slowly teach those rules to each of my dogs, I supervise them closely, and I resolve conflicts.
      3. I set up a fixed routine for all of my dogs, I have a set of consistent house rules, and I follow the Nothing in Life is Free program.
      4. I try to create as many positive and rewarding encounters as I can, as well as minimize negative interactions. I use management equipment such as gates, pens, leashes, or muzzles as necessary, to keep things safe for everyone.
      5. I manage my dogs’ excitement levels, and help them reduce stress by providing a very structured environment and routine.

      I talk more about my experiences in the article above.

  23. Daryl says

    We had a Maltese/jack Russell terrier mix. Then about a year later we had a border terrier puppy. Basically they get on very well a pine for each other if anything is happening to the other. However Ruby the Maltese is 4 and Daisy is 2 but now the bigger dog. If Daisy gets over excited she attacks Ruby and a fight ensues. I now know how to avoid it, but if they do fight what is the best way to stop it?

  24. Jan Parry says

    I wonder if you could help.

    I have a bearded collie just over a year old and a Brittany 14 years.

    Maisie (bearded collie) has started pushing Nala my older dog around, Herding her into corners and biting at her legs. This mostly happens when I come home from shopping etc, and when I get up in the mornings.

    I keep them in different rooms if I go out as I do not want my older dog bullied. She has arthritis, cataracts and is becoming a little senile according to my vet.

    If I put the older dog in her crate they both bark at each other incessantly.

    If the older dog goes into the garden the younger one will run into her knocking her over. I try to have a game with the younger one while the older one is passing water.

    Any thoughts or tips would be greatly appreciated.

    Kind regards


    • shibashake says

      My young Husky, Lara, is a bit like that. She wants to initiate play all the time, and she often does not realize her own strength.

      I have a three legged older Husky (Shania) so supervision and management are key. I set up clear dog-to-dog interaction rules, and I make sure to consistently reinforce those rules with Lara. For example, she is not allowed to chase Shania. During play, Shania can chase her or they can wrestle as long as both of them are on the ground. Otherwise, I stop play briefly, get them to refocus on me, and calm things down before trying again.

      If Shania has had enough, then I make sure Lara does not bother her.

      Lara is very energetic so I exercise her well with long daily walks, chasing games with me, and highly supervised play sessions with my other dogs. She also works for all of her food. During play-time, I throw in many play-breaks so that I can manage the excitement levels of all of my dogs.

      If I am not home, then Lara and Shania go into separate areas (one in backyard and one in the house), or I set up an enclosure for Shania so that she doesn’t need to worry about being bothered by Lara.

      I also set up a fixed routine for all of my dogs, a consistent set of house rules, and I follow the Nothing in Life is Free program. I make sure that whenever Shania wants some quiet time away from Lara, she can have it. I put a lead on Lara if necessary.

  25. jasmine says

    I have a dog he is 4 months old and its a bichon frise that is named bonbon. Then we got a red nose whivh is named Honey and they were fine for the first few days until bonbon got jealous of her. Always being with me so he growled at her and bark like if he don’t want her here.

    • shibashake says

      Conflicts often arise between dogs because of resources. When both dogs want the same thing at the same time, and neither dog wants to back down, then a conflict will arise. Frequently, this occurs over food and toys, but it may also occur over affection or attention from us.

      With my dogs, I set up clear dog-to-dog interaction rules, and if there are conflicts, I deal with it *before* it escalates into aggression. I also try to be consistent and fair with all my dogs. I talk more about what I do in the article above.

      If there is aggression, it is best to get help from a professional trainer so that everyone stays safe.

      Here is more on how I trained my puppy.

      Here is more on how dogs learn.

  26. says

    Hi ShibaShake,

    So we brought home our new Shiba puppy from the breeder this weekend. I currently have a seven year old half german shepherd half hound mix and he is showing some aggression towards our little Kuma. While the growling and occasional barking at Kuma is not all the time, Duke has lunged at Kuma a couple of times. My fiancee and I were both close by so we stopped it before it went any further. This was only the third day… so I am a little concerned. I realize that things like this take time… I just really hope Duke will warm up to Kuma.

    When we take them outside to walk, they walk fine. Duke does not growl or anything at Kuma. We took them to the park to run around and Duke would just ignore him if he got close. So it seems like it is a territorial issue.

    My fiancee lives about an hour from me, so she will be watching Kuma for the first few months. When the pup is more trained and house broken he will relocate to my place. In the meantime we will try to visit each other as much as possible so the two can interact.

    Do you have any advice on how to get my older dog to warm up? Or should I not force it?

    After I left with Duke, Kuma started having accidents in the house. And the accidents are all near where we keep Duke’s food bowl when we are at my fiancee’s apartment. Could this be Kuma marking his territory since Duke was mean to him? Or could he actually even miss Duke?

    Thanks for the time and advice!

    • says

      Oh and by the way, Duke is a rescue dog. He is typically very good with other dogs and loves to play like a puppy even though he is older.

      Could is just simply be that he knows Kuma is a puppy and doesn’t want anything to do with a puppy?

      thanks again!

    • shibashake says

      I visited Kuma’s page and really enjoyed the pictures and videos. He is really a furry ball of energy! 😀

      In terms of getting along, Sephy (my Shiba) didn’t get along with my Husky puppy (Lara) when we first got her home. From Sephy’s perspective, there was this new thing in the house and he was not really sure what to make of her. The new thing takes up the time of his people, takes up the time of his Husky playmate Shania, and keeps pestering him.

      Some things that helped with Sephy-
      1. I make sure to prevent puppy Lara from pestering Sephy. I set up a fixed routine for Lara, and when she is out and about, I am always there supervising her. If I am unable to supervise, I put Lara in her enclosure with puppy pads. If Sephy is off by himself and doesn’t want to be bothered, I make sure puppy does not bother him.

      In this way, both my adult dogs can rest, sleep, and relax whenever they want, free from puppy.

      2. I try to create as many positive experiences as possible. For example, I do a lot of training and grooming exercises with puppy. Usually this will attract Sephy’s attention and he will come over on his own. When he does, I include him in our training exercises, and make sure to reward both of them *very, very well* for working together for me. The more positive experiences I create, the more Sephy learned to see puppy Lara as an enhancement to his lifestyle rather than a competitor for resources.

      3. I set up clear dog-to-dog interaction rules.

      In general, I set up a clear structure and routine for my puppy. I also try to maximize positive experiences with my other dogs, and minimize conflicts. I talk more about what I do in the article above.

      As for the pee-ing, I think most dogs have a natural instinct to pee over the scent of another dog, especially when the smell is strong. All of my dogs will pee on areas that smell a lot like another animal (dogs, cats, deer, coyotes, etc.) when we are out on walks. I see it more as a social ritual, more like a ‘Sephy was here’ message. In most cases, my dog has not met the cat, coyote, or other dog before, so there is no history between them.

      Some dogs urine mark when they encounter nonresident dogs in their environments or smell urine left in their environments by other dogs. A dog’s environment may encompass his home, his yard, the route he usually takes when on walks, friends’ homes he regularly visits, and parks or other locations he frequents.

      Here is more on puppy Lara’s first 10 days. The worst thing was that she got hurt during a play session because I couldn’t get to her on time. Sephy accidentally ran into her and she sprained her leg. Because a puppy is small, she can get hurt even from regular play. From then on, I always have a lead on puppy (with a flat collar or harness) and I make sure I am holding onto the lead during play so that I am always right there, and have better control.

      I also follow the Nothing in Life is Free program with all of my dogs. Food can be a very useful motivator so I do not free feed any of my dogs. I also set up clear rules about food, toys, and other resources with my dogs so that there is no stealing.

      Big hugs to Kuma and Duke!

  27. Les Yates says

    We have a 12 year old German shepherd male who although not aggressive, does bark at other dogs when taken out. We also have an eight year old Chocolate Labrador female and both dogs get along well as they have been together since the lab was a puppy. Recently due to a very serious accident at her home my daughter is forced to re home her 1 year old Husky male. We would love to give the Husky a home with us but my dogs have never even met the Husky. What are the chances of all three dogs getting along.

    • shibashake says

      What are the chances of all three dogs getting along.

      That would depend on the temperament, social tolerances, past experiences, and more of the three dogs.

      In addition, I help things along by teaching my dogs that the “new dog” is a big plus to their lifestyle. I set up clear interaction rules, and I try to maximize successful interactions while minimizing negative encounters. I talk more about what I do in the article above.

      In this way, my existing dogs see the new dog as an enhancement to their life rather than a competitor for affection, food, and other resources.

  28. carolb says

    we have 4 re-homed dogs and have been asked to take on another. My first dog which was female was pack leader, 2 years ago she mothered a small collie that had been thrown out of a car. This collie was nervous but with my megs help she became better and now with meg gone she is my shadow! The new dog which is a 7 month old female german shepherd and although I am not worried about the others (boys) I am worried they might take against each other and fight. My husband and I have decided that the new dog be mainly ‘his’ so my girl will not be put out. I know to feed in a different place and sleep in different rooms.
    Any advise please? By the way we will be gradually introducing the dog. Her owners love her but with 4 children and working full time they cannot give her the time she needs and she is anxious to please.

    • shibashake says

      Some things that help with my dogs-
      1. I set up clear dog-to-dog interaction rules, for example, there is no stealing, no humping, and no bullying. I also do not let my dogs correct each other. I set the rules, and I try my best to enforce them consistently and fairly. I find that consistency is very important, so I coordinate things with other family members and we all institute the same rules, and apply the same consequences.

      While it is difficult not to have favorites, we try to be consistent with all of our dogs, and build a strong bond with all of them. In this way, when I am sick or need to travel, others in the family can easily step in and not introduce undue stress. Consistent and equal treatment also helps to lessen jealousies and conflicts between my dogs over people time and affection.

      2. Initially, I make sure to supervise the new dog very closely, especially during play time and feeding time. I manage excitement levels by throwing in many play-breaks, and try to redirect their energy into positive behaviors. Supervision also allows me to catch any developing conflicts before they escalate into anything serious.

      3. I try to create as many positive experiences as I can between my existing dogs and my new dog. I want to teach them that the new dog is a big plus to their lifestyle (results in more fun and more good stuff), rather than as a competitor for people time, affection, and other resources.

      Here is more on what I do with my dogs to help them get along.

  29. Michellee says

    We recently just adopted a new “second dog” from our local animal shelter. We currently have a two year old male collie Gus who is very sweet in a nature and super passive. He gets along with all the dogs we put him with, and did when we went and met Sadie. At the shelter Sadie was nice and playful, and was nice to Gus. Now that we’ve brought her home its been a nightmare. I set them down to eat and give them two separate bowls and instead of Sadie eating her own she will just growl till Gus doesn’t wanna eat anymore. I give them both the EXACT same toys, and let them have them together and separate but anytime their together Sadie will want her toy and take his just to lay it by her. Gus just seems depressed and sad because he isn’t the type to argue or try and get his stuff back. I’m just not sure if they need more time together or apart? Also, Sadie gets very aggressive if I am petting or paying attention to Gus. The shelter said she is a lab mix. I’m just scared she is actually going to get violent. What should I do?

    • shibashake says

      For more serious cases of aggression it is best to get help from a good professional trainer.

      Dog behavior is very context dependent, and a good trainer will be able to see the dog, evaluate her temperament, as well as observe her behavior within the context of her environment and routine.

      Dogs may sometimes protect food, toys, and other resources from other dogs and also from people because in the past, they have learned to associate other dogs and people with negative events (e.g. losing their food). This is also known as food aggression or resource guarding.

  30. abzz says

    recently ive got a new female husky pup 5 months old ,, where i do have a 7 months old pup”male” at the beginning they were not friendly as friendly .. but it was cool for them ..
    especially for my male pup as he have been with other dogs for 2 months and it as fine with him,
    but for the female that i just brought to the house yesterday she start getting jealous of the male when he comes around me,, and actually she infected im with the same thing ,, as soon as i go out for them they will start fighting and the only way to separate them is to go back inside the house. ive been and still trying to get them along with any ways .. but still the aggression in the middle of them .. n this cse , what should i do
    from your experience with the huskies direct me to the way where i can get them along

    • shibashake says

      Some things that help with my dogs-
      1. I set up clear dog-to-dog interaction rules. There is not stealing, no humping, no bullying, and I *do not* let my dogs correct each other. I set the rules, and if there are any conflicts, I will resolve them in a fair and consistent manner.

      2. I supervise them very well especially in the beginning so that I can teach them what the rules are, and resolve any conflicts *before* it escalates into a fight. The more positive and successful interactions they have, the more comfortable they will be with each other. The more fights they have, the more likely they are to fight in the future.

      3. I create as many positive experiences as I can by doing group obedience training sessions, supervised play sessions, and more. In this way, my existing dogs learn to see the new dog as an enhancement to their lifestyle, rather than as a competitor for resources.

      I describe more of what I do in the article above. For more serious cases of aggression, it is best to get help from a good professional trainer.

  31. Ashley says

    We just lost our 13 year old male GSD……….but are fortunate enough to have his 3 year old son ,whom is also a solid black GSD. We all are still morning the loss of the Dad, he was one of a kind!!! But I sense my male 3year old GSD is morning,I try and keep him busy and play,throw ball,walk ,do the normal, and he seems happy!! we tried bringing him inside,but he cried wanting out,so back in their old pen he went,seems ok ,but he is alone now and I do not know what to do for him ,other then what I am?? Should I consider getting another companion for him or wait?? I have read all the articles on this page…………….still at a loss…….. please try and give me advice???

    Thank you!

    • shibashake says

      I am sorry for your loss.

      I think we all need some time to mourn, and it is not such a bad thing. I am very close to my Husky Shania, so I know I will be pretty devastated when her time comes. But I also know that she will want me to move on and be happy, because that is how she is – living life, sharing her very best, and always ready for action.

      I will always remember friends and companions from the past, those who have touched me deeply, and I will always carry them with me. But when the time is right, I will move on and meet new friends.

      I can’t say when the right time is because that is different for each of us. I know though that difficult times are less difficult when spent in the company of friends, family, and those we love. And when the time is right, we will know, and we can help each other make the leap forward together.

      he is alone now and I do not know what to do for him

      He is not alone. He has you and you have him, and that is a very good thing to have.

  32. Amy says

    Hi There!
    We are looking at getting a second dog. Currently we have an all black 3 year old Male German Shepherd. We had tried to foster a 2 year old male german shepherd and it was fine for about 20 hours. The GSD we had fostered was over-energized, aggressive, and was not a fan when we would give attention to our black GSD, he would get very jealous. There was also no disciplining the fostered GSD as he would growl, eyes would go dark, and would get into a lunging position. This was TOTALLY different then our GSD as we got him when he was 10 months and trained him very well. Needless to say, the 2 year old GSD we had fostered needed to go back to the rescue and be fostered by someone else who we had found out bit and attacked it’s owner – so I’m thinking the issued lied within the fostered GSD, not mine.

    Anywho, we are looking to adopt a 6 month old female black GSD. I feel that this is a better match. Would you find that mixing genders is the best way to go? Our dog plays very well with other dogs both inside our home and out in neutral territory so when we had fostered this other one, we were shocked that it didn’t work. Any advice you can give would be great!


    • shibashake says

      Yeah, when I started looking for a companion for my Shiba Inu (male), I mostly looked at female dogs. I have read that in general, there are *fewer* conflicts between a male and female.

      Selecting the right gender can make a big difference in ensuring household harmony. Generally, dogs of the opposite sex make the best pairing for pets. Thus, if you have a male, get a female, and vice versa. Depending on the individual dogs, two males will also generally get along. However, two females is the most likely combination to result in disharmony.
      ~~[SPCA International]

      This is *not* to say that two females can’t get along, but the probability for conflicts is likely greater. I actually have 2 female Huskies and they get along very well with each other and with my Shiba.

      I think that while gender does play a role while getting a second dog, there are other more significant factors such as temperament of the dog, background, size, and energy level. My Shiba has a pretty dominant personality, so I made sure to pick more submissive dogs as his companions. He also likes wrestling and high energy play, which works out better with larger dogs. Smaller dogs get easily overwhelmed by him.

      I finally decided on a Siberian Husky for a companion, because they like wrestling, they are high energy, and they like to play. They are also affectionate dogs, which works out well for the people in the equation because my Shiba is pretty aloof.

      Here is more on how I picked a second dog.

      Let us know how it goes and big hugs to your boy!

    • Amy says

      Thank you so much for your response. I do appreciate it. I think that the second dog we tried to adopt was too dominant and as Gunner is an Alpha as well, the two did not jive at all. I am still on the hunt for my boy and will keep you posted! Thank you for your help!!

  33. kylie says

    I just got a new puppy she is a pit mix with husky …. she is really shy
    An when she explores the house my older dog bandit growls at her :( she always has her tail tuckedbetween her feet :( I want her to be happy here an I dint know if bandit will let her
    :( she always comes an cuddles close to me after he growls .
    Also my puppy does not like her harness an leash befor we adopted her she would go for walks without leashes an stuff she is a good dog an listens well I’m trying ti get her use to her name though, her name is sita (s-8-ta), she won’t move if I have the harnass on so i was wondering if I could get some advice

    • shibashake says

      Hello Kylie,
      Congratulations on your new puppy.

      In terms of keeping the peace at home, I set up clear dog-to-dog interaction rules with my dogs. There is no bullying, no stealing, and no humping. If there are any conflicts, I will resolve them in a fair and consistent manner. I do not let my dogs correct each other.

      I also set up a fixed routine and a consistent set of rules for my puppy and I supervise her very closely. A puppy that is still small can get accidentally hurt by a larger adult dog, even during play. That was what happened to my Husky puppy Lara. Similarly, I make sure that my adult dogs have a quiet place to rest and relax away from puppy.

      I also create as many positive experiences as I can between my new puppy and existing dogs. In this way my dogs will learn that puppy is a big enhancement to their lifestyle, rather than just a pest or a competitor for resources.

      I describe more of what I do with my dogs in the article above.

      If a dog has more serious aggression issues, then it is best to consult with a professional trainer.

      As for collars and harnesses, I slowly desensitize my puppy to these things, and pair them with good rewards and yummy treats. Here is a bit more on how I desensitize my puppy to a collar.

      Here is a bit more on how I trained my puppy.

  34. Lee-Anne Ebrey says

    What does it mean when our new puppy keeps presenting herself to our older dog by continuously putting her bottom in her face. They are both females. Sometimes they get on well and play and run around and other times they are nipping at each other.

    • shibashake says

      It is not possible to say without looking at the dogs.

      My Sibes sometimes do “butt-checks” with each other during play. It is kind of a wrestling move.

      Presenting the butt can also be a sign of submission, an invitation to play, or something else. It all depends on the surrounding context, and what is expressed by the entire body of the dog. For example, a moving tail accompanied by a relaxed and loose body posture, is very different from a moving tail that comes with a rigid and tense posture.

  35. Verna says

    Hoping to get advice on merging 2 families. I have a mini Xolo/Chinese Crested, a rescue, 16 lbs. My boyfriend has a standard Xolo, also a rescue, 50 lbs. The standard has been with him 2 1/2 years and from the beginning has been small dog aggressive. I’ve had mine 2 months now. Other than basic commands which we are working on, she’s been a joy to have and love. Our issue is the larger Xolo is so aggressive towards small dogs (she has attacked and left marks on other small dogs), that I am extremely concerned about them together. The larger is very strong and takes along of strength to hold her back once she’s in that mind frame she wants to pounce and attack the smaller. She seems to be getting better around people although there are times she gets visibly distressed when seeing people walking on the road or pathways within sight of her. Any suggestions would be welcomed. Thank you in advance. We really want to get them both introduced and hopefully become comfortable enough to be together on a daily basis.

    • shibashake says

      I did desensitization exercises with my Shiba Inu to help him with his dog-to-dog reactivity issues. The key with desensitization is to start with a weak version of the “other dog” stimulus (e.g. by using distance) and to always keep my dog below his reactivity threshold. In this way, Sephy stays in control the whole time, and is able to learn and reassociate other dogs with being calm and with positive rewards.

      Note though, that aggression toward small dogs *can* be the result of prey drive. Prey drive is an instinct, so it is not something that can be fully “trained away”. However, with proper training, management, and supervision, we can have it under control.

      Xolos are still a ‘primitive’ breed which is manifested in some of their behaviors and reactions. Some have a very high prey drive. They require respect and structure in their daily routine. Consistency is important when training a Xolo. Training should be more like play than like strict training. Xolos respond well to positive gentle training, not strict forceful training.
      ~~[Amoroso Xolo]

      Based on what you describe, I would get help from a professional trainer to accurately identify the source of the aggression, and then come up with a good and safe plan for properly managing the behavior.

  36. Ashley says

    I was wondering if you would be able to answer a question for me, or give me a little advice on the subject. My husband and I are going to be getting a 2nd dog this week (providing the new dog, and our current dog seem to get along when we introduce them) The issue isn’t really whether or not they will get along as our 2 year old Beagle has always been excellent with other dogs, and has never not gotten along with a dog, and it sounds like the 3 1/2 Border Collie/Jack Russell Terrier mix we are currently looking into has also never had any problems with making friends. Both are males, neutered, and well socialized. My only concern is the day we go pick the new dog up. The new dog, Jake, lives 5 hours away. We will obviously be bringing our Beagle Bentley along with us for the 1st introduction, but we’re not sure how we should set up the trip back with two dogs. Our Beagle rides well in vehicles, but only if he has his crate. (He freaks out if the crate door closes though) according to Jakes current owner, he also travels well, but I’m worried about the stress he’s already going to be under. If it was a short car ride, I wouldnt be so worried, but 5 hours in a new vehicle, with new people, and a new dog, that might be too much for him to take at once. We do plan on stopping at least once along the way to bring the dogs for a walk, but do you have any other suggestions? Jake is not trained to be in a crate while travelling. We do own an SUV if that helps at all. I just don’t want either of the dogs being in an unsecured area of the vehicle in case we were to get into an accident. We just don’t want to cause any more stress on either dog during this introduction period.

    Thanks in advance!

    • shibashake says

      Congratulations on getting a new dog.

      In terms of long trips, I prefer to put each of my dogs in a separate closed crate. As you say, it is safest that way.

      It sounds like it would be ideal if the owner of the Border Collie mix could drive him over to your place. Is this possible? If not, perhaps there could a meet in a closer in-between location?

      The issue isn’t really whether or not they will get along as our 2 year old Beagle has always been excellent with other dogs, and has never not gotten along with a dog, and it sounds like the 3 1/2 Border Collie/Jack Russell Terrier mix we are currently looking into has also never had any problems with making friends.

      Given what you say here, I would also consider meeting with the Border Collie without your dog. But this would also depend on Jake’s owner and whether he/she is someone you trust. Why is he looking for a new home for Jake? Would he take Jake back if things don’t work out at your place?

  37. Maria says

    Hello there,
    my brother recently brought home an adorable husky named Luna. She is around 11 weeks old i think and she has been biting like crazy! A couple of days after bringing her home, she had an unfortunate trip to the vet due to an injury inflicted on her by one of her brothers prior to picking her up. The cut got infected and needed stitches so she spent the first couple of weeks with a cone on her head, making her very irritable and snappy. Once the cone was removed, she seemed to be acting a bit better, but over the last couple of days, she has reverted back to her biting and naughty behaviour and the things that would once work and calm her down, dont seem to be working. Also, she seems to be getting more aggressive and stubborn. We are all really concerned and at our whits end with trying things to change this behaviour. Im more concerned as in the next couple of weeks, im bringing home a small shitzu puppy and am worried how Luna will interact with her. Luna has intereacted with other dogs, but im nervous about bringing in another dog, especially one remarkably smaller than her, as she seems very territorial when people or other dogs go near her things.
    Any help and advice on these issues would be great!
    Your dogs are adorable!
    Thanks :)

  38. Dan says

    Thank you for all the wonderful information. We have quite the pack at home with four rescues. Our oldest is about 3 and he is a Dauchshound/Golden. He has always been a grump. Just recently a small Shepard/Border Collie (about 2) came into our lives and he seems to be very calm and sweet. Our problem is the oldest one wants at times to attack the new comer. They walk great together and I have gotten them to relax near each other (both on leases attached to something). I am pretty sure it’s just a matter of time before the grump accepts the new guy and I am not rushing things but I sure would like to encourage them to be friends as soon as possible and not worry that they would get into a fight. We have had the Shepard mix about three weeks now and he just got fixed the other day.

    • shibashake says

      Heh, yeah Sephy was our grumpy one. He is also the oldest and is not a fan of change. I made sure to keep things consistent for him, and made sure our new dog did not disrupt his schedule and lifestyle. I would leave Sephy to roam as he pleases but have puppy on-leash. In this way, I can keep puppy from disturbing Sephy.

      Sephy really loves to play though, and he likes certain types of food. Therefore, I used those things to get him to see new puppy in a positive light. I would engage puppy in fun games, we would make a lot of noise, and invariably, Sephy will come up on his own to join in. I would continue to supervise and make sure everybody follows play rules. The more successful play sessions they had, the more Sephy warmed up to the new dog.

      I also do obedience training with puppy using food that Sephy likes, and he will come on his own to join in on those too.

      In the end, I think he was able to see that the new puppy would be a big plus to his lifestyle, with very few negative aspects. What worked for Sephy = Maximize successes, minimize negative encounters, and let him make the decision to join in on his own.

  39. Samantha says

    Hey there, we have an 8month old siberian husky male. We saved another dog who is also about 8months old and is a Labrador female. Now our husky seems to love playing with her etc but he seems to have gone from our happy, silly playful pup who has a real personality to a really quiet cuddly dog who doesn’t like playing with us as much anymore. Any idea why this would be happening? do u think it’ll just take time for him to go back to normal or does this second dog provide a problem. We show them both the same amount of attention etc, feed at the same time, but separate, play with both of them, they both sleep inside and if need be both get put outside together. Any ideas?
    Would be much appreciated

    • shibashake says

      Yeah, when we first got puppy Lara, Shania spent a lot of time with her as well. When Lara went into her puppy enclosure for nap time, Shania would be outside making sure she is ok. When Lara wakes up, and goes out for potty and play, Shania will come along too. 😀

      After some time though, we all settled into a comfortable routine, and each dog likes spending time with each other, as well as with their people.

      he seems to have gone from our happy, silly playful pup who has a real personality to a really quiet cuddly dog who doesn’t like playing with us as much anymore.

      Is he still as energetic as before, but just spending a bunch of his energy on his new friend? Has anything else changed, for example with his appetite? When did you rescue the Lab? Has she gone for her vet checkup?

      A new dog will usually create changes in routine and behavior for everyone in the family. Here are some things that help with my dogs –
      1. I make sure that everyone is healthy and that the changes are not a result of any physical issue.
      2. I set up a new routine as soon as possible, and set up consistent interaction rules. Changes in routine can cause uncertainty and stress in dogs. Setting up a consistent schedule and rules will help to reduce uncertainty, and show everyone what to expect.
      3. Both Shania and Lara are very food focused, so we do a lot of fun activities together involving food. I follow the Nothing in Life is Free program with all of my dogs.

      Big hugs to your two pups!

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