Big Paws Only Dog Forums

BPO Training Forum => Behavior, Housebreaking, Obedience => : EllieAndBlu February 23, 2006, 11:28:18 AM

: Help with My three dog pack
: EllieAndBlu February 23, 2006, 11:28:18 AM
Greetings Y'all,

My post is a call for help from the amazing BPO family - y'all are the best!!!

A little background:

I've had Blu for 3 1/2 years. He is an 8 year old hound mix.
I've had Ellie for 2 years. She is a 2 year old dobie/pit mix.
I've had Riley for the past couple of months. He is a 6 year old weimaraner.

The living situation for Riley is a little unusual. I live in a house with 2 roommates. My roomie and her sister live on the main floor with 3 chihuahuas, daschund, lab, and cat. I live in the basement apt. with my pups.

Riley stays upstairs while I am at work and is with me for the majority of the time after I get home (he is very attached to me)... He sleeps in the bed with me and Ellie (one on each side).

Blu is/has been the leader of Ellie since she joined the family as a puppy... Riley has generally been afraid of Blu and Ellie since the get go.... but it appears he and Ellie have worked it out as Riley is feeling more settled.

The issue is primarily with Blu and Riley.... Blu intimidated Riley for the first month or so.... staring at him, keeping Riley in sight, following him around in the yard marking EVERY Riley pee spot, etc....  Now Blu has never gotten into a fight since I've had him... just some growling and snapping when being bothered by his sister, etc... Normal dog behavior.... And I truly don't believe he would pick a fight with Riley....

Now onto the problem.... I've noticed for the past couple of weeks.... Riley has been barking at Blu - usually when Riley first comes down into the basement... He will stand a yard or so apart from Blu and bark at him.... and pretty much standing his ground... swaying from front to back - definitely not an invitation to play.... this will get Blu barking back at Riley... and then Ellie gets going (I am most certain she will take her big brother's side.).... I then send Blu and Ellie outside before it can escalate... and everyone then settles down and things are okay afterwards.

My question .....  is Riley challenging Blu for position as leader?  Is Blu feeling his rank is being threatened... What do i do to remedy this situation?  I don't want Blu to feel insecure and less loved!!! And I want everyone to know their place and feel confortable with each other and feel loved and cherished!

As a side note....  I make Ellie and Blu sit before eating (Riley eats upstairs), I put Blu's food in his bowl before Ellie.... when I give the three treats I make them all sit. Blu gets his first, Ellie second, Riley third.... Also Blu enters and exits the door outside first.

I am sorry for the long-winded note... apparently it is the only kind I can write these days  :)

Any Insight, advice, comments, editorials, jokes, words of wisdom... are all greatly appreciated... thanks so much!

: Re: Help With Three Dog Pack
: Kermit February 23, 2006, 11:39:41 AM
I think you and me need to go to doggie behavior school together!!! :D I am trying to figure out the meaning behaind all the stares and the grumbling and growling over here too, as you know!

Ok, so how do Riley and Blu greet each other? Does Riley go right into barking at Blu? Is there any way you can let them meet out in the yard every time you bring Riley back with the other two?
I am wondering if him being separated from them and then rejoining them is causing troubles. For whatever reason, those first moments of dogs being together after being apart seems to be pretty important, and if it's done outside with a lot of room to run, that seems to help. Of course I don't know if that's possible for you but it could make a difference, espacially since you end up having to take them all out anyway to get them settled together. Whenever one of mine goes off from the pack for a while (to the vet or whatever) when I return the dog to the group there is almost always tension. I don't know why, but it always happens. And if they rejoin the pack outside, they go run around for a minute and then things are back to normal.

Maybe this helps? :-\ We gotta stick together, Rachel!!!
: Re: Help With Three Dog Pack
: EllieAndBlu February 23, 2006, 11:57:29 AM
Girl - I am soooooo here for you - We do need to stick together :)

Okay - so now I am trying to dig into my feeble brain for details.... lets see.... generally the initial re-greet of the day happens when Riley and I walk down the basement stairs... and Riley is almost always in front of me - because he busts down there - that is until he gets half down - because that is when he sees Blu (Ellie has already greeted him at the top of the stairs - in his face with a quick lick).... so it is Blu and ellie at the bottom of the stairs.... Blu and Riley barking...  oh the madness!

I can re-greet outside and see if that improves the behavior.... at least Blu can stuff his nose up Riley's bum with room for each other to go.

On yet another side note.... when the three are outside in harmony and Blu and Ellie decide they want to play.... (they like to wrestle w/vocals and chase).... this gets the big grey guy going to... he does not like it.... does the "barking with a stance" thing then too....

I wonder if this is how my mom felt with us three kids.... lol
: Re: Help With Three Dog Pack
: Kermit February 23, 2006, 12:05:07 PM
Hmm... I just want to add this in: when we first brought Leeloo home, we thought she was being very mean to our dogs. She would bark really loudly at them and we thought for sure a few times she was going to kill them. They all cowered from her, because she sounds incredibly threatening when she barks. Well after much observation, we realized that this is how she plays!!! Nigel actually was the first to figure it out. They tear around and have the greatest time, and all the while, Leeloo sounds like a demon from h*ll, and anyone who didn't know her would probably fear for their own lives!!! She just doesn't have a playful sounding bark, ever. It's like she only knows one bark, and she uses it for protecting the yard as well as for playing with the others.  :D
Does Riley have a play bark that is different from the one yo have heard him using lately? In other words, can you tell a difference between when he is playing and when he is being serious?
: Re: Help With Three Dog Pack
: EllieAndBlu February 23, 2006, 01:13:50 PM
Leeloo sounds like my Ellie.... When Ellie and Blu play it sounds like she is really going to rip into him.... but they are instead having a blast playing with each other.  Blu also grumbles, etc... when he plays but not as vicious sounding as Ellie.

When I've observed Riley playing with the lab he does a little growl and sometimes too when he plays with the weiner dog.... which by the way is very entertaining.. . I've knicknamed them Donkey and Donkey Jr.

So when Riley is barking at Blu.... he is a more serious bark - and continual...  which is too bad because Riley and Blu would really enjoy chasing each other...