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Getting another dog when my current one is anti-social?

December 10th, 2004, 09:21 PM

Well I have a little 3-year-old bichon/shih tzu named Mocha and she's an absolute doll. She's perfect in every way except one: she's not very sociable. Whenever she sees another dog she barks non-stop. She's never bitten another dog, she just barks and wags her tail (but she won't go near them). Since she wags her tail, some people have said that it's a dominance problem, which is possible, but I've tried to make sure that she doesn't have a dominance problem. She doesn't eat without my permission, she breaks the stare if I have a "staring contest" with her, she does what she's told to do when she's told to do it, and she gets off furniture without a fuss when I tell her to. Also, whenever somebody puts her on her back, she struggles for about a second then stays still until we put her down. Some people have said that it's fear aggression, which I guess is also possible, but as far as I know she didn't have an experience that could have caused her to develop a of fear of other dogs. She is yappy and she barks whenever a dog walks by the house or if somebody walks in our yard, but I've taught her to stop on command. However, when there's another dog close to her, she does not listen. She just won't stop barking! I took her to obedience classes and although they did help, they didn't help as much as we were hoping. One thing that is odd is that if she's at home with another dog and my family isn't there (but somebody else is), she won't bark. The second we come in though, she goes crazy barking at the dog. She LOVES animals that are smaller than her, but unfortunately there aren't many since she's only 7 lbs. At her obedience classes she did get used to the dogs that were there and she would sit beside them quietly sometimes, but she wouldn't play with them at all.

Well I'd like to adopt another little dog (it has to be a non-shedding dog because my dad and brother are allergic and my parents will only get a small dog). I could get a puppy since she likes things that are smaller than her and I don't think that it would be a problem, but I'd really like to adopt an adult since the puppies have a better chance of getting adopted. I'm just worried that Mocha will get too stressed out and if it won't work out, I don't want to put either dog through that because it's not fair to them.

Anyways, I was just wondering what you guys think. Do you think that it'll work out or should I just not bother? Also, if it would work, would it be better to get a male or a female? I read that aggression occurs more often between dogs of the same sex, but Mocha barks at every dog so I'm not sure. Any comments?


December 10th, 2004, 09:37 PM
What I would do in your situation is contact a good rescue in your area and ask if you can bring your dog for some visits and interraction with a dog that you choose.

Lucky Rescue
December 10th, 2004, 09:37 PM
This sounds like fear aggression to me. Was your dog ever socialized with other dogs when she was a puppy? Taken away from the litter at a very young age? This would be enough to make her fear other dogs. It seems she just doesn't know how to BE a dog, since you say she won't even play with a small dog.

The barking and tail wagging shows that she is ambivalent - she wants to be friends but is fearful.

I don't hear anything that sounds the least bit like dominence.
Also, whenever somebody puts her on her back, she struggles for about a second then stays still until we put her down.

Can you explain this? Why would someone put her on her back? Do you mean people holding her like a baby?

You could always get a toy poodle!:) Tiny and non-shedding!

December 10th, 2004, 10:03 PM
Wow, thanks for the quick replies!

I'll look into seeing if I can bring my dog to the shelter, thanks for the idea!

No, she wasn't ever socialized as a puppy, we didn't do enough research and failed to realize its importance. At first we tried to, but then she got really sick and we were worried that before she had all of her shots, she might catch something if we took her out or brought another dog near her, so she wasn't socialized early enough. By the time we started socializing her, she was past that critical age. She was taken from her mother at 7 1/2 weeks and her mothering instinct seems to me there, but like you said, other than that she doesn't seem to know how to be a dog.

Nobody holds her like a baby, I heard that can be hard on a dog's back, is this right? A trainer, however, did a test to put her on her back to see if she would struggle (showing dominance), struggle for a second then stay still (showing a "happy medium"), or go limp right away (showing submission). I'm not sure if this is accurate, but it's what the trainer said.

A toy poodle seems like a good breed so far, I'm just looking them up now, thanks for the suggestion. Are there a lot of them in shelters?


Lucky Rescue
December 11th, 2004, 09:44 AM
Toy poodles are not commonly seen in shelters, and when they are, they're usually snapped up pretty quickly.

The best way to get Mocha over her fear is to find a dog that you are interested in, and take both of them for a long walk. Or if you have friends with calm dogs, walk her with them. Move along briskly and make Mocha stay at your side. Correct any barking calmly. She needs to know that you are in charge and won't let any harm come to her. If she gets too excited, make her sit. Dogs do not like to sit and bark - standing is much more comfortable. She should calm down this way. Praise and treat her for good behavior. I would never take her to any dog parks now, as she is much too overwhelmed and fearful.

I would take her back to obedience school too. It's a good way to socialize her without too much direct contact.

And yes - get a male dog. The odds of aggression problems are higher with two spayed females.

Where are you located? Someone may hear or know of a dog for you!

December 11th, 2004, 10:07 AM
There are about 10 toy breeds on , at least if you got a deaf dog, they wouldn't be annoyed by all the barking!! LOL
I know it sounds ominous thinking about adopting a "special needs" dog... I felt scared to even look into it... but with encouragement from Mastifflove, my BF and I have decided to try and adopt either a blind or deaf dog. I encourage you to look into it. With a special needs dog, there are many, many purebreds, and you have a greater chance of getting the breed you want (if there is a need to be picky). BF and I were surprised at the info available, and read many first hand accounts by "parents" of special needs dogs. I really encourage you to at least look in to it.
Goodluck!! :crazy:

December 11th, 2004, 10:38 AM
Our neighbour actually just took in a stray about two months ago (she was a bit older so he didn't want to take her to a shelter in case she would get euthanized) and we were thinking of taking the two of them for a walk together. This dog is great with Mocha, she just stares at her when she barks, however this dog is about 85-90 lbs., would it be harder to get Mocha over her fear with a bigger dog? We know some people with small dogs so we could probably get a small dog to take for a walk, but we could take Mocha for a walk with this dog a lot more often.

The obedience school that I took her to was Petsmart, and I know that there are different opinions about the obedience schools there, but personally I wasn't very happy with it. Are there any obedience schools around Calgary (I live in Calgary, if anybody hears of a dog!) that anybody would recommend? I was thinking of taking her to one that they offer at the SPCA because the proceeds benefit the animals, but I haven't looked into it a lot yet.

Good idea about the special needs dog! I was looking into some blind ones, but all of them got startled really easily which wouldn't be a good fit with Mocha, but a deaf dog seems like a good idea! Do most deaf dogs get startled easily also? I'm just going to look into that now!

Thanks again for the replies, they really help!


December 11th, 2004, 11:40 AM
If Mocha lives with another dog the barking will subside - it is really just her way of warning the strange dogs to stay away, but if she is used to the dog she should be fine.
Going back to school is a good idea, mostly because it places you in a stronger leadership role. The key is that you need to keep it up. Mocha is insecure with other dogs and it is your job to provide strong leadership to assuage her worries and to teach her how to be with other dogs. She may never be 100% comfortable with strange dogs, but she can learn manners, which can then lead to better interactions with the world and give her more confidence.
DO NOT coo at her when she is acting nervous or barky around these dogs. Cooing at her just supports her behavior and she will do it more - thinking that you are okay with it.
Give her lots of jobs to do when she is nervous - this will keep her mind busy with other things. Do not let other dogs spend too much time sniffing her at one time. Do it in little spurts and increase the time as she is successful. Give her lots of praise when she is good.

December 11th, 2004, 05:34 PM
Thanks for all of the replies, this site is very helpful! All of the suggestions were really helpful and I'll definitely try them out and I'll let you know if we get our new dog! Mocha will be going to obedience school right after Christmas (and I know she'll love that!)

Thanks again!

December 11th, 2004, 06:45 PM
You could contact the SPCA in your area and tell them you are looking for a certain breed. They will contact you if one comes in -- at least, I know they do that in the Montreal area, you would have to check and see if they do it in Calgary too...
A toy poodle sounds like a good idea, but have you though of a Bichon FrisÚ? We used to have 2 of them when I was young. They didn't shed and were absolutely delighfull little dogs. Just a sugestion...
Good Luck

December 11th, 2004, 07:09 PM
A toy poodle sounds like a good idea, but have you though of a Bichon FrisÚ? We used to have 2 of them when I was young. They didn't shed and were absolutely delighfull little dogs. Just a sugestion...
Good Luck
OOPS! I just re-read your initial already HAVE a bichon mix!! So I guess you already know how delighfull they are..... :o

December 12th, 2004, 05:18 PM
Hehe, yep, already know how great Bichon FrisÚs are! However, I hadn't looked on Petfinder for a Bichon FrisÚ in a few days so I looked again after reading your post and I found a little sweetie down in Idaho. Well I e-mailed the foster mom to see if they ship and THEY SHIP! Now I'm just figuring out how I could maybe get her up here! We're the second inquiry on her and I'm pretty sure that the foster mom thinks we're alright, I sent her pictures of Mocha and the house. She's great with other dogs, rides well in a car, but she's not housetrained...that's not a problem though! She's only 8 months! Do you guys think that Mocha might be okay with a female? The foster mom has a 6 lbs. poodle and a 123 lbs. Pyrenees and she gets along great with them! She's 11 lbs., so not very big...but still 50% more than Mocha! Do you think this will still be alright? Here's the link to her:

Unfortunately, I guess the Calgary Humane Society doesn't keep a list that you can put your name on for a certain breed. I just got back from going up there (I wish I could adopt all of those dogs! They're all so adorable!) and there were only two small dogs there and both of them had been adopted. I went to see if I could get my name on a list, but they said they don't do that. Oh well, I'll guess I'll just have to keep checking!

Thanks for all of the help!

December 15th, 2004, 01:10 PM
Hi. I hope you can find a dog that will suit you. But, please don't rush into anything. I would wait for a dog to find you.
I was looking for a puppy & had many ppl email & call me, but none of them sounded right for me. So finally my 2 older sisters go St. Bernard puppies... I fell in love w/ theirs, but the family they belonged to had already adopted them out...... Or so we thought........ Then one day, my sister called me @ work & told me I needed to go to the store & get some puppy food. (The lady Bailey was supposed to go to did not suit the owners, they thought she seemed mean, so they asked my sister if she knew anyone that would want him, she immediatley thought of me!)
All I'm saying, it that I had given up on getting any puppy & then one day he practically fell into my lap... That's how most things work tho, when you quit looking for them it shows up! Just think about it... Maybe if one "fell" onto you it would be the perfect match for your other dog.


December 15th, 2004, 01:47 PM
That's how it was with Cano. I was looking for a small dog, but everyone I wanted, was already adopted. So I just gave up. And one day out of the blue, James said he knew of some one who was putting their pup up for adoption, so he was going to adopt him. Well, Cano turned out to be 50 pounds bigger than I wanted, but I fell in love with him none the less.

December 18th, 2004, 09:16 PM
Your little pooch sound a bit like my ShihTzu who is also 3. She is very fearful, but compensates for that by trying to assert herself first when meeting a dog - almost aggressively, although that quickly changes when she realizes the other dog won't hurt her. I have been boarding dogs (usually small dogs) from time to time, and it has really helped her overcome her quirky behaviour and made her more confident. Since I adopted her from a shelter when she was 1 year old, I don't know her background, but it is obvious that she was nevery properly socialized. Good luck! :)