Lhasa Yorkie mix Bella has lived in the house with the lady for most of her eleven years.
A short while ago the gentleman moved in – with Sophie. She is also 11 and is a Yorkie Jack Russell mix.
All went well for the first couple of weeks but then Bella began to feel increasingly unhappy. Understandably she feels the home is her territory and that the lady is her person.
Trouble between the dogs has been brewing.
Bella very likely feels jealous.
Sophie is easier going and less strong-willed. She is being increasingly intimidated by Bella who now will, for seemingly no reason, suddenly go for her.
Mostly Sophie keeps out of Bella’s way, particularly in the evening when the lady has come home from work. The gentleman is home all day when all is okay between the dogs.
Things have developed so that now, in the evening when Bella goes for her, Sophie may retaliate.
The lady tells Bella No when she sees Bella about to start. the little dog stares, goes stiff and her straight tail quivers.
What triggers the trouble between the dogs?
What seems to trigger Bella, in the evening, is someone getting up and moving – or Sophie getting up and moving. It’s like Bella has to control her. She particularly doesn’t want her moving towards the lady.
Sophie’s timid demeanour may even invite Bella’s bullying.
How can they stop it?
They must now do their best to prevent it happening anymore. They can make use of a gate if they see tension building.
As soon as someone gets up, they can call Bella to them and give her a reward. They can do the same if Sophie moves. They may even try calling both dogs. Movement will then trigger food, not trouble.
Keeping an eye on Sophie’s body language will probably give better warning than watching Bella herself. She will read it better and more quickly. The little dog may turn her back, look away or do a displacement activity like scratching. She may go quietly under the table.
Scolding Bella isn’t appropriate. She’s not happy – she needs help. Jealousy is a horrid emotion.
Building positive emotions
They will have sessions where they have one dog each and each time either looks at the other they will say Good and feed their dog.
They need to build positive associations in every way possible now, before things go downhill any further. I can imagine that trouble between the dogs could well cause conflict between the couple also.
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