Tuesday, May 21, 2013

NEW DOG WOES

We are still adjusting to our new canine roommate, Sophie. The dogs have been getting along great. Although Sophie has some resource guarding and territorial issues, there have only been a few minor incidents. A couple times Sophie growled when Kaya or Norman came near her bone and once she growled when we walked by her on the dog bed, I think because we were out for a while and she had gotten used to it being her own space for a few hours. And she growled the first time we had her in the car because we loaded Kaya and Norman in after her. Since then we have loaded her last and there are no more issues. Luckily, Kaya and Norman are either completely oblivious or they just walk away.

3 dogs in the backseat...

There is one odd thing she does. She is not a very chewy dog and though there are regularly many bones, antlers and cheese chews lying around, she never chooses to pick them up and gnaw on them. However, once in a while, when one of the other dogs walks by (not even heading for the chew) she'll lunge for it and grab it. It's an odd tactic for a dog that is not actually interested in chewing things. Still, nothing has ever come of it and we always take the item from her anyways.

Group shot!

The troubles with her remain with her interactions with Gina though. Everything was fine in the beginning. So great that we were astonished. Sophie was curious but calm around her and Gina was perfectly content to have another dog in the house. In the very first hour, Gina even went up to Sophie and touched noses with her. Sophie sniffed her a bunch and Gina had no problems with it. Later, Gina rubbed her face back and forth on the open crate door while Sophie was inside and Sophie nudged her back. It was so cute!

A good start...

The next day, trouble started. In the warmer weather, my apartment fills with flies that like to swim around the middle of the room. Sophie has a great passion for tracking them down and leaping to catch them. So she jumped up to get one and Gina was standing in the way. My friend caught it out of the corner of her eye and yelled "hey!" thinking Sophie was jumping after Gina. So Gina freaked out and ran outside. After that she was very wary of Sophie and a bit of my friend.

Kaya teaching Sophie the art of sunbathing...

I only blame myself for the situation. Although things were going great, I should have insisted on more controlled interactions in the beginning. I think I was trying too hard to show my friend how happy I was that she drove half way across the country to come live with us and I did not want to step on any toes or making her think Sophie was a "bad dog" by putting restrictions on her. I also should have considered that the fly hunting could have affected Gina and overall was a horrible idea to let Sophie exercise any prey driven techniques in the house, even if just after flies.

I'm a good dog, I promise...

After a couple days, Gina was beginning to regain confidence around Sophie and even went right up to her a couple times. Again, I made a stupid decision and let my friend play with Gina and her toy in front of Sophie. Though I was still thinking that the last time was a misunderstanding and not a direct interest in Gina. Also, Sophie was tired and resting quietly on the dog bed but she leapt at the toy and my friend thought it was funny. Before I could get the words out of my mouth, Gina ran after the toy and so Sophie ran after Gina. Gina freaked out, ran away and once again, lost her confidence in Sophie. And to top things off, Sophie had a new found interest in Gina as a target as well as all of Gina's toys.


After that, I had to implement some strict rules that I should have from the start. Sophie had to be on a tie down at all times in the apartment and crated at night or at times when Gina was in the apartment. I hope the situation improves. Sophie is getting used to her new boundaries, but Gina is still fearful and spends most of her time outside:( Gina braved it up and came inside late one night but as she walked by the crate, Sophie guarded her crate and it scared Gina out again...


Related Posts:
Sophie Girl
Times They are a Changin'

17 comments:

  1. Don't be so hard on yourself. It sounds like you were trying to accomodate everyone involved, which is what I would have done as well. Luckily you have two dogs that are so very cooperative and are dealing with the changes as well as they are. Sorry poor Gina seems to be having the hardest time :(

    I know that I'm guilty of rushing dog introductions sometimes, especially when friends are involved. One of my best friends has two dogs that are SUPER well-balanced and easy going. We rushed their introduction with Rufus and their time together was spent on-guard :( It's silly because in the right circumstances, I know that Rufus would have loved to play with them. If anything, it taught me I have some things to learn..

    I hope things start to progress for you and your friend and we can read some happy stories soon!

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    1. Good point, I think if she was not such a close friend I would be much more strict! But my friend has already told me that the dogs are getting along a million times better than Sophie initially did with her sisters dogs that they lived with before. It definitely helps that Kaya and Norman are so well balanced...phew!

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  2. Yup she sounds like a resource guarder to me. Don't stress too much, it sounds like a normal adjustment period. Just breath

    Stop on by for a visit
    Kari
    http://dogisgodinreverse.com/

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    1. Thanks:) I really thing the dogs will be just fine, just worried about my poor kitty!

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  3. Probably a lot like being an only child, there. It sounds like things will work out since you have a clear plan and clear rules. Good luck!

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  4. This is sticky situation for you, trying to be nice to your friend and look after all your furries at the same time! I think you're doing a very good job and I think Gina will get braver again now that Sophie has more rules. Hopefully they will all be cuddling up together soon :)

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  5. I think things will continue to get better as they all get used to everything. I'd say overall things are going great. I know what it's like to have kitties added to the mix, though, and it's hard not to worry about their safety.

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    1. Thanks:) I realize I have a pretty good grip on training dogs and reading behavior but I don't really know how to work with a cat! I think she's kicked into survival mode and I'm not sure how to get her out of it even now that Sophie is under better control:/

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  6. It sounds like you are going through an adjustment period. Hopefully things will settle down once everyone relaxes and knows their place in the house.

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  7. I know what you mean. Since we added foster pup Twiggy a month a go, Gerrard the wonder kitty has just about vanished. Poor dude. He's getting braver and Twiggy is learning to not chase either cat.

    Love the picture of the trio!!

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  8. First of all, what a beautiful pack this makes! Secondly, I'd like to say that growling is a natural method of communication for dogs, as you know. Really, any good dog will growl to express their limits and boundaries, or to say that they aren't comfortable with something. I'm sure you know that the trouble comes when a dog who is anxious does NOT growl, and instead just reacts. I think Sophie is just trying to establish her boundaries with the rest of the group (please don't take my bone or intrude on my quiet space). In our house, we try to step in before our dogs feel the need to growl in defense of their things or space. This way, they learn that we are in charge of the interactions, and they do not need to be proactive to control them. For example, if dog A has a bone, we will not allow dog B to approach dog A. This way, the dogs don't need to growl or get defensive and take things into their own (paws). I think things will improve soon as long as you stay positive, as it sounds like all three are really wonderful pups. It certainly could be a lot worse!

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    1. Thanks for the info and advice! You are right about growls being good for warning and I can tell they are not the type that she will escalate quickly and Kaya and Norman are good about leaving Sophie alone when she does. So she is feeling less defensive and it's been going great in that department. Division is a bit challenging in my studio apartment but that won't be for much longer. Sophie has separation anxiety so we are working on her being able to enjoy a bone or space away from us.

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  9. Adjusting to a new family member can be difficult. All-in-all, though, I'd say the situation sounds like it is going well. I love the photo of all three dogs together. Norman is way too cute with his head cocked like that. :)

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    1. Thanks...it's not hard to get him to do that:)

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  10. I admire the way you take care of your pets, especially when you are very much concerned with how they will interact with each other. If things get a little rowdy (which I hope won't happen) you can take your dogs to reputable dog camps and improve their social behavior.

    Tyesha Caron @ Dog Training Now

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