The couple have two lovely dogs that get on like a house on fire.

There may be a problem between dogs beginning however. Rogue, a Romanian rescue and the more recent edition, has started growling at Labradoodle Jasper, age 9.

They don’t want this to develop into anything serious.

Any problem between dogs is due mostly to the environment

The situation is a bit unusual in that their environment is unusually restricted.

The two quite large dogs are closely on top of one another all the time. They can’t separate them, even briefly, because there is nowhere else to put them.

They have a house with just the one small room and kitchen downstairs. The dogs can’t go into the kitchen because they keep house rabbits in there.

They can’t open the door to let a dog out into the garden. They have one of those terraced houses with the garden the other side of a shared passage.

Growling at Jasper

Young 14-month-old Rogue has a lot of energy. When she’s aroused she may be asserting herself now over Jasper when he has an item or food. She may just look at him and growl.

Because of their close proximity, the couple can’t separate the two dogs when giving them something. This almost invites a problem between dogs.

Rogue mainly growls at Jasper later in the day when stress and excitement have built up. The dogs will have come back from their walk.

Now if something has happened on the walk to arouse Rogue or if any small thing arouses her once she’s back home, she has very recently taken to redirecting her emotions with some aggression onto Jasper.

Unable to separate them, the lady is afraid that this may develop into a bigger problem between dogs.

We looked at ways of reducing Rogue’s arousal, particularly on the walks. One way of calming dogs is to give them things to chew – but that is difficult with the two so close together in such a small place.

Management

Management of the environment would normally be my priority in preventing a developing problem between dogs.

However, the only place they could physically put one of them would be the kitchen.

The lady told me that Jasper is accustomed to the rabbits and would probably be okay with them. So, why not get Jasper used to being behind the gate? Teach him to love being behind the gate by making it a special treat to be there? Give them both something to chew, one each side of the kitchen gate.

If Rogue’s arousal now looks like causing a problem between dogs, immediately they can remove the innocent Jasper and put him behind the gate with the rabbits, not Rogue.

Usually there is a solution somewhere, somehow. We have to be inventive.

A month later: I wanted to say thank you…. Following our online consultation a month ago, we have seen an improvement in Rogue. She is a lot calmer most of the time and we have had no transferred aggression towards Jasper for 3 weeks…we have always tried to feed them well, but suggesting that using preservative free training treats and a lick mat rather than a chew has been amazing! She’s even developed the confidence to go in the water – she was always so scared and would even dip a toe in and is loving being on a long line when she can. Thank you so much for your help. We have work still to do, but thank you so so much for your support…

NB. For the sake of the story and for confidentiality also, this isn’t a complete ‘report’ and is always written with permission of the client. If you listen to ‘other people’ or find instructions on the internet or TV that are not tailored to your own dog it can do more harm than good. Click here for help