August 1st, 2006, 10:37 AM
I am new to this site, but have a question I'm hoping someone can help me with. I have a male Westie (4yrs old) and have very recently introduced a new puppy (cockapoo) into our family. Up until about 4 months ago, the Westie had always lived with a male Shih Tzu (both neutered at a young age), and the Shih Tzu was the dominant one between the two (but not in an aggressive way - still a very sweet, sociable dog). My shih tzu ended up having a proptosed eye, due to a scuffle with the Westie (shih tzu initiate it, and the westie defended himself - as they got older we struggled with instability in the pack hierarchy between the two), and the Shih Tzu went to live with another family member, as his ophthalmologist has seen it happen again, and we didn't want to risk losing sight in the other eye and being completely blind. Our westie seemed lonely with his "brother" gone, has always, for the most part been very friendly and sociable with other dogs, and has gone through obedience training. We thought another "friend" at home would be good for him. Since introducing the two, I am noticing a great deal of aggression from my male Westie directed towards the new puppy. He follows him around growling, blocks his way, and occasionally snaps at him for no apparent reason. At this point, he has not shown any positive interest in the puppy. I guess I am concerned that this, over time, will do emotional damage to the puppy (or perhaps even physical damage), and will cause him to become fearful and nervous (he already hesitates before crossing a room, or coming up the stairs because of the Westie). I am shocked to see him acting like this, and have never seen a dog of mine act this way towards a new puppy - when they jump on them or go for their food, yes - but not just for being there. I hate to take the puppy back to his breeder, but I want to do what's best for him.
Sorry this has gotten so long, but I really am hoping that someone can help me sort this out... Thanks!
August 1st, 2006, 11:20 AM
I think your westie has to be taught what is appropriate and what isn't. Some correction of puppy behavior is normal, but your dog seems to be ruling the puppy's every move. I think it's time for you to step in and say "Hey, I'm the boss here and I decide who can cross what room and who can't, NOT YOU". I feel that once you have stepped up as the leader of your pack, things will calm down.
Now, you have a pack so pack order is even more important. When you have one dog alone at home who goes unchallenged (i.e. is very spoiled and allowed to do whatever he wants), he might become dominant on you but you might not notice. Throw another dog in the mix and it all becomes really clear.
August 1st, 2006, 03:01 PM
Thank you - I hadn't even thought of that, but you may be right. We are meeting with my Westie's trainer from doggie school tonight. It's been a long time since we've been to school, so maybe I need some "refresher courses" too. :) So from what you've seen, is this something that can possibly be overcome???
August 3rd, 2006, 12:40 PM
Prin is totally correct.
The Westie will settle down but it is up to you to enforce the rules of the house and insist on harmony of the pack. The puppy needs to feel that you will keep him safe or he will lose trust. The Westie needs to feel your leadership and have some rules set for him. You are not trying to interfere with his heirarchy over the pup but you are setting boundaries on his manners.
Think - teenager treating younger sibling poorly. You would step in and stop it, and then help to create a better relationship between them.
August 3rd, 2006, 12:57 PM
Definitely something that can be overcome.:)
August 3rd, 2006, 03:32 PM
When we brought Lucy home (she was 9 mos), Monty (who was 6ish) would do the same as you described. Over the first two days we were not sure that they would ever get along. However, with a few firm "quit it's" and the odd 'sit stay' he stopped most of his attitude toward her. He did growl at her for several months when she would walk to close to him (unless he decided to move close to her). It did not take him too long to figure out that she was in the house to stay.
Last year when we got Jack (he was around 5 mos), Monty (now 7 ish) did the same thing with him. Again, it took him a few days before he figured out that the little hellion was there to stay. Jack has been with us for over a year now and Monty will still give him the odd grumble if he get too close without being invited (Monty is a bit of a funny guy ... if he decided to flop down next to Jack, no problem, if Jack was to do the same to him, he grumbles).
Keep showing them who makes the rules. Don't give up on them. Best of luck.