A coincidence! Only yesterday I visited Blue Merle Sheltie Robbie, and today a larger version – seven-month-old Blue Merle Rough Collie, Jasper. He moved in with cute little Terrier Lou’s family a few weeks ago. Lou is two years of age.
The dogs get on very well for the most part, but little Lou, who, being little trouble, has been accustomed to having everything to himself and largely doing as he likes, is becoming increasingly possessive around chews and certain toys, and Jasper is now challenging him.
This is now happening when the lady owner is making a fuss of one of the dogs – it’s like she, too, is a resource that the dogs are quarrelling over! They have three young boys, and Lou is likely to growl and snap if they pick him up or try to move him when he doesn’t want to be moved.
Getting a second dog can make a very big difference – more than double trouble sometimes! The order of things needs to be changed. Jasper, at the age of seven months old, is starting to ‘try it on’. He is also a little fearful of new people and some other things, so needs to grow up with the reassurance of firm leadership. Lou in particular needs leadership. It is asking for trouble when young children physically make a dog do something he doesn’t want to do by picking him up or dragging him. Willing cooperation needs to be worked on whilst his personal space should be respected.
Once things start going in the wrong direction between two dogs, when they start to fall out over resources, it usually gets worse if nothing is done, and it’s the humans’ own behaviour that needs changing. Any ‘contact sports‘ play needs to be interrupted very early on and I have shown them the best way to do this – just as another, stable, dog would do it to keep the peace.
I’m sure things will calm down soon so long as they are consistent, and then I shall be helping them to achieve more enjoyable walking.