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Need some doggy-sitting tips...

Writing4Fun
September 19th, 2005, 08:34 AM
Hi all. I'm watching a friend's dog for 3 weeks while he's visiting family in Poland. Akita is a very sweet girl. As far as I can tell, she's a Rotti/Shepherd mix. Here's the deal ... she's unspayed :eek: and quite dominant. Not nasty, just very "confident". She even lifts her leg to pee. :p Luckily, Phoebe is a very submissive girl, so the two are getting along well enough. But...

1. Akita is used to being fed once a day. Phoebe is free-fed. I've decided, for these three weeks, Phoebe will have to make due with one meal/day, so I've "sweetened" the deal by adding a little canned food to her dry to get her to eat more of it in one sitting. As soon as both ladies walked away from their morning meals, I've taken up both dishes. Is this ok? Or, should I let Phoebe continue to free-feed by putting her food behind a baby gate where she can get at it but Akita can't? Will this put Akita's nose out of joint?

2. Akita's first night here was marked by lots of pacing and window sitting, and a little whining. She was adopted when she was over a year old (I think they got her from an ad in the paper - yeah, I know :rolleyes: ), so she's already experienced the loss of one owner. Is there anything I can do to make her stay more comfortable, or will I just have to wait until she gets used to the idea?

3. My sister's dog, Mojo, is more dominant than Phoebe. Now, we can't really avoid each other for 3 weeks, because my sister babysits my kids (and Phoebe) while I work evenings & week-ends. Mojo and Akita met once before, when Akita's owner brought her over for a "trial run" last week-end. Mojo tried to dominate her (put his head across her back, etc...) and she would have no part of it. We don't want to just set them loose and let them figure it out for themselves because they're both quite large and we wouldn't be able to separate them if things got nasty. What is the best way to introduce two dominant dogs - one unspayed female and one neutered male?

4. The Lab next door is an unneutered male. Akita apparently had her last heat some three weeks ago. Is there anything to worry about??

Thanks, folks. :D

Prin
September 19th, 2005, 01:35 PM
1. Free feeding one while the other is limited can cause fights... Limit both for a while and see how they do.

2. Maybe rescue remedy? You should also have one on one time with both. Like take them out for separate walks. Part of the stress is sharing the human if they have never done it before.

3. I would keep them apart. Because she isn't fixed, it will escalate. Some new people at our park come in saying that you're supposed to let the dogs "work it out" but if they are of similar dominance and of similar strength, then working it out means someone (if not both) will get really, really hurt. I would just put one in a room and alternate them or tell your sister to leave her doggy at home (better a lonely dog than a hurting dog, right?)

4. I don't know the answer to that one... Never had an intact female...

Dog Dancer
September 19th, 2005, 02:56 PM
Did your friend leave some articles of clothing with their scent on them? This may help the doggy to relax at night. If they did not do you have a key so you could go get something smelly??? I agree with Prin on the rest - your sister's dog and Akita need to be kept apart for the duration.

Sneaky
September 19th, 2005, 04:39 PM
Most of the advice given seems quite good to me however,
I really think people are underestimating the ability of your sisters
dog and Akita to get along.
Your best bet would be to introduce them slowly, making sure they are
on leashes. Make the event fun for them, provide some treats, some toys,
and slowly allow them to get used to each other.
Over a couple of days you will probably find they will get along much better.
I wouldnt leave them alone together though, always supervised and leashed.
This is how I have socialized 2 dogs who were new to each other,
and a friend who owns an animal rescue does it as well.

Prin
September 19th, 2005, 05:22 PM
Be careful with the leashes though- some dogs get more aggressive on a leash than off. ;)

Sneaky
September 19th, 2005, 07:32 PM
Prin, the reason I suggested leash is because
the original poster did say these are 2 large dogs
and will be incredibly difficult to seperate if they
launch into a battle.
I suggest if you have a dog that is more "aggressive on leash"
that this dog strongly needs some more socialization.
My Dog is NOT allowed to be aggressive on leash at all.
I wont have it.
Socialization at public places where lots of people
and other dogs frequent (Petcetera is my fave socializing spot),
will help to train your dog social ettiquette, and relieve aggression.
I do not think any dog owner should permit aggression in their dogs.,
regardless of the breed.

Writing4Fun
September 19th, 2005, 07:42 PM
Thanks for all this, guys.

About #1 - well, I discovered tonight that Akita doesn't like to share her food. :rolleyes: Or, rather, Phoebe found out. It wasn't an "attack", just a warning, and Phoebe's reflexes are a lot faster than Akita's, so all's well, and now I know to stand over them while they eat (I was clearing the dishes when this happened, so I was right there, but my back was turned at that moment).

#2 - I'm a little reluctant to give her any medication that I haven't discussed with her owners. Sorry, I don't have a key to their place, so I can't go get something stinky. Maybe we'll try shutting her in the bedroom with us tonight (although, she snores, so I'm not looking forward to it :p ).

#3 - Yeah, I still don't know what to do about this. The easy way out would be to keep them apart. But, my sister is having problems walking Mojo lately. He's showing undue interest (read: mild dominance/agression) towards any dogs they meet. She'd like to work with him, and this would be a good opportunity to teach him that he's not the king of the world (having access to an unfamiliar dog). ;) Mind you, with two kids running around, now might not be the best time to deal with Mojo's issues. :confused: Still on the fence about this one.

#4 - So far, so good. Akita appears to be a little bit afraid of Dusty next door. :D He is a very "male" dog, comes across like a bit of a bull (huffing and scratching at the lawn). Guess she's still not comfortable enough here to want to take her chances with him yet. But, I'd still like to know if she can conceive three weeks after her heat.

Beetlecat
September 19th, 2005, 09:25 PM
If by heat you mean standing heat, then they say she won't be fertile (or accept a male) for 6 months after this (two heats/year).
But I'd still watch her and the male. I lived with an unfixed female and (although I never wrote anything down to chart it) it was amazing how often she seemed to be in heat. I'm not convinced that 6 months is accurate for every dog.