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problems sharing toys

July 3rd, 2006, 10:26 AM
Hello everyone! It's been a long time since I posted, more than six months! Well those six months were crazy. But anyways, Molly is doing super, and we just got her a little brother: a 6 month old brussels griffon named Nemo. He is adorable and they play all day long (I'll post pics soon). But Molly isn't too keen on sharing her toys. If I give one to Nemo, she takes it from him and puts it somewhere else. If I give him another one, she takes it again, even toys she never plays with. She's telling him that those are her toys. The breeder I got him from gave us a little stuffed toy that he loves and the moment Molly came home she grabbed it and took it away. She isn't mean about it at all. And she doesn't guard them. She just takes it and walks away. Is this something I can correct or do I need to buy him some new toys. The only problem with that is I can easily see Molly taking those new toys and not letting him play with them.

And I'm sure some of you are wondering why a breeder had a 6 month old puppy, and the reason was that when he was born he had a larger soft spot on his skull than is normal for a puppy. She didn't want to let him go until the soft spot was almost gone and especially not to a home with little children. So when 12 weeks rolled around, he wasn't ready to go, which is why we have him now. She definitely had a hard time parting with him though...since she had him so long. It was a little sad, but he doesn't seem to mind, thank goodness!

Anyways, any thoughts on toy situation?

July 3rd, 2006, 11:06 AM
Molly is showing dominance. The one with the toys is the alpha dog. Honestly, I'd just correct her on it. But with these things you have to be consistent. If it's not ok to take the toy away, it should never be ok.

Eventually, your dogs should know that you are the alpha of both of them and they won't have to work out as much between themselves.

July 3rd, 2006, 03:05 PM
Thanks Prin. I guess I just need to be consistent.

July 3rd, 2006, 03:58 PM
Sorry I don't correct just pull out more toys and event my dominant one will get tired of the toy, part of the reason is if I correct and start taking away and give the toy to the least dominant one, it can cause pack issues and the more dominant may start showing aggression or start correcting the other to "prove" his ranking over the other dog to me and to the other dog. So I don't my dogs in a position where they feel they need to prove they are higher ranking than another dog, If my least submissive is trying to take the toy back and being persistant then I seperate and give each dog toys to play with allowing the more dominant one to keep the toy they want. It is not something that I have to do too offect unless the toys are super desirable like the screaming monkeys like these, you can test your dogs reaction to the sound clip. I bought 3 and every one was seperated each with one, and did this for several day taking them away after a while till the novelty wore off some, so I would not have squabbles and possible injuries.

July 3rd, 2006, 04:04 PM
I don't know about that- encouraging dominant behavior in either dogs is looking for trouble IMO.. Giving the dominant dog what he wants gives him the impression that he wins whenever he exhibits dominant behavior... Not a good thing in a house with multiple dogs, IMO.

July 3rd, 2006, 06:05 PM
I am not encouraging I am acknowledging the differences in rank, in multiple dog pack rank is very important to them, when there are problems with fighting it is typicallay because owners tried to treat them as equals or because they are favouring a less dominant dog, it is also why alot of times an older resident dogs won't accept or get along with a puppy in the house because too much attention is focused on the pup.

As I have said before this behaviour and need for rank exists is humans as well. For example a new girl starts working where you do, she is younger and lacks experience, but the boss is attracted to her and starts favoring her giving her the better work, that will start irking you, and even if she did not encourage him you are going to resent her, A couple months later a higher payig opening opens up, you have the qualifications and the skill for the position and technically if all was fair it should be yours but yur boss gives it to the new hire, you are going to be pissed, you might even be angry enough to make some rude comment to her, you can't say nothing to the boss or get mad at him to his face because it could result in getting fired, it is going to eat at you and you will become dissatisfied in your job and look elsewhere for another job. The difference is when a dog feels unfairly treated and dissatisfied they can't up and leave, so as the tension builds they will take it out on the junior member, they still respect you enough not to take their frustation out on you. When all is treated fairly "according to their rank" whether they be emplayees in a company or members of a dog pack peace prevails and things run smoothly.

July 3rd, 2006, 09:53 PM
See to me it's more of a situation where there is one boss and the two employees have equal qualifications under the one boss. They both have the same job, same lunch break and same rules. The minute one is given preferential treatment, rivalry arises.

July 3rd, 2006, 10:06 PM
The thing is these 2 are not equal, one is the inexperience new hire the other is the experienced senior employee , the rank in this case is based on age and length of time in the home ;)

July 3rd, 2006, 10:52 PM
So if you've had a 2 year old pom for nearly 2 years and you introduce a new 6 month old lab that will live there permanently, the pom should get all the toys?

I think in terms of affection, the dog who has been there longer should not resent the new dog and you should put in extra effort to show the dog it still deserves the same amount of attention it got prior to the new arrival, but not for dominance. No displays of dominance should be tolerated in a home with more than one dog, and especially not encouraged. It just becomes a safety issue and it's better to have boundaries set at the lowest aggression level, IMO.

July 3rd, 2006, 11:57 PM
Won't it cause more squabbling and issues if the dogs don't know which of them is dominant, though? (I don't mean dominant over the whole household, as that role should belong to the humans. Just which dog holds a more dominant position.)

July 4th, 2006, 12:42 AM
IMHO - so long as there is no growling or aggression - let them work it out on their own.

July 4th, 2006, 05:47 AM
i had the same problem with my dogs,when i got angel, prince would take the toys and hide them down the back of the sofa, all i do is give the little one a toy when prince takes it off her,when he then takes that one off her she takes the first toy back.hes not has bad now and will share SOME of his toys. :) :pawprint:

July 4th, 2006, 11:24 AM
Won't it cause more squabbling and issues if the dogs don't know which of them is dominant, though? (I don't mean dominant over the whole household, as that role should belong to the humans. Just which dog holds a more dominant position.)
In the beginning maybe, but I can say that after Jemma and Boo being together for nearly 5 years, you can't tell who the dominant one is anymore (even after a year, it was hard to tell). Boo is dominant with bones and some toys and Jemma is dominant in playing, and swimming. It's a give and take relationship with no clear winner. When we had just gotten Jemma, she was pushing Boo around and we didn't allow it at all.

To me it's just much safer and easier to be consistent to tell the dogs in your home that displays of dominance and bullying won't be tolerated at all.

July 4th, 2006, 11:33 PM
Dominance is often a very misunderstood term, most people think it is the same thing as aggression, far from it, Dominance is a status signal, an expression of confidence.

Allowing a dog to be dominant is not the same thing as letting them be aggressive and a dominant dog if allowed to be dominant will rarely ever show aggression because they feel secure and confident about their position in the pack, they have nothing to prove by fighting. By acknowledgement dominance you are recognizing them as a leader , and placing them as the second in command below you, you have given them a reward as making them a supervisor of the other dogs. that position comes with certain benefits such as being greeted first, being fed first, allowing to have their choice of bed or toy.

My first lesson in this came several years ago, it was with two females where constant fights where breaking out, it was being instigated by the younger newest adopted female being dominant and the more I corrected the worse it got and it turned to fights, I had came very close to rehoming her thinking it was simply a case of 2 females that could not get along, but at the time I ended up reading about wolf pack rank structure and the light went on, I have a dog that wants to be a leader but I am not letting her so it is causing her the fight inorder to prove herself and I was making matters worse by fussing over the other dog after the fights because I was feeling sorry for the weaker oner, once I started acknowledging her as a leader and gave her the priviledges a higher rank dog deserves and changed to way I interacted with the dogs the fighting tapered off till it stopped all together.

This is were my initial interest in pack hierachy started, and learning about how dogs comminicate with each other,
I allow dominance displays when adding a new dog, including growls and snaps, with muzzles on for safety, these are forms of communication that helps the dogs figure out where they fit in the pack, And I pay close attention to their interactions so I learn the new rank order and support it.