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Brady Bunch dog family

Neptune
December 8th, 2006, 07:54 AM
Hi everyone,

This is my first post here, so please excuse any errors I might make. I am still learning the board.

My question is this: my boyfriend and I have a combined total of 7 dogs. I have four, he has three. He used to train German Shepherds for 'bite work' and his three are GSD's now too old for their sport and are 'retired'.
I am a softy and my four are all rescues of indeterminate breed. A rottie mix, a pit mix, a hound mix, and a chihuahua mix.

I am very comfortable with most dogs, including his. His GSD's were not well socialized with other dogs when young, but they are submissive with most people. The are also VERY well obedience-trained.
My dogs are well socialized with both people and animals, including cats etc. They are also obedience-trained, but not to the degree of my boyfriends' dogs.

We are considering living together, and will need to intermingle our dogs together as well. I worry constantly about the safety of my dogs (I have seen his get in some real knockdown dragout fights, with injuries all around.) In all the years I have owned dogs, mine have NEVER gotten in a fight with injuries- knock-on-wood. Just a minor tussle here or there. I should also say, all of his are intact- all of mine are fixed.

All of the dogs have been out together several time, always supervised. They typically ignore one another, but there have been a few 'misunderstandings' between them, and they seem to not know what to do with one another. I am worried about a 'doggy misunderstanding' turning into a fight which I feel certain would go badly for one of mine. Or for both. At any rate, it is stressful for our HUMAN relationship!

Any suggestions for blending this into one big happy family?? Thanks in advance.

Neptune

jessi76
December 8th, 2006, 08:13 AM
I should also say, all of his are intact- all of mine are fixed.

the first step I'd take is getting the in-tact ones spayed and/or neutered.

I'm sure other members with numerous dogs (and integrating techniques) will be along soon to give you some helpful tips.

one thing I'd be carefull of though is any laws regarding # of dogs per household in your area. I know where I live the max is 3, unless you secure a kennel license. might be worth looking into before moving in together.

LibbyP
December 8th, 2006, 08:16 AM
Let me start by saying Hi and Welcome, I don't have any great advice for you, this IMO is a tricky situation all around. I'm sure their will be others that will be able to offer better advice and helpful tips. IMO with that large amount of dogs there will be a very high pack mental state(his dogs /your dogs) some might cross over to the other side when they feel a need, IMO I don't think you would be able to truley trust the two groups to get along unsupervised ~ because if something was started ~ all the stronger more dominate ones would overtage the submissive and it would/could end very bad. What ages are his dogs? How does your BF feel about getting them s/n? Do you have to move in-together soon? Sorry I'm not more help, good luck :fingerscr that everything can be worked out

~michelle~
December 8th, 2006, 09:03 AM
sorry i dont know whats "bite work"?

Inverness
December 8th, 2006, 09:32 AM
sorry i dont know whats "bite work"?

Schutzhund, protection work. Like this:

http://www.northcoastmarines.com/schutzhund.htm

http://www.northcoastmarines.com/pics/pics_on_site/schutzhund_lg.jpg

Neptune
December 8th, 2006, 11:44 AM
Thank you all so much for your quick response.

To answer those questions:
Yes, his were trained for schutzund/protection work. They are very well obedience trained, but listen and respond primarily to him. They DO listen to me...but not when they are in 'fight' mode. Then they don't listen to anyone. They will not attack a human without command, but as I mentioned earlier, they are not well socialized with other dogs- they do not seem to know how to play.

The laws where we live are not a problem as we are in the country. All of the dogs are either secured in kennels or inside the house when we are not supervising.

I agree that it might help to have his spayed/neutered. He thinks the females are a bit old for this (8 and 9 yrs) and is not in agreement about the male (who has not caused problems.) I am not sure I agree.

We can keep all the dogs separate if necessary, but I am really hoping there is a possibility that they can comfortably live together....I just do not want any casualties in the process.

Thanks again for the welcome.

Neptune

Golden Girls
December 8th, 2006, 11:56 AM
That picture disturbs me intensively but I won't say anything else.

Neptune: Welcome to the board. For the safety of your dogs I say do not move in together :shrug: It would be impossible to be guiding all the dogs 100% of the time. I just see it as a very dangerous situation. Sorry.

Prin
December 8th, 2006, 01:25 PM
Me too. I just think your man's doggies are too far gone to start living with 4 other adult dogs.:o I just don't have a ton of confidence in your man's training skills because he didn't care to socialize his dogs.:o

It is NEVER to late to spay. And the older they get the more likely they'll get cancer or pyometra and die because they weren't spayed.

Inverness
December 8th, 2006, 01:58 PM
That picture disturbs me intensively but I won't say anything else.

Neptune: Welcome to the board. For the safety of your dogs I say do not move in together :shrug: It would be impossible to be guiding all the dogs 100% of the time. I just see it as a very dangerous situation. Sorry.

I don't like Schutzhund at all myself, but I must say some protection trained dogs are very much spoiled house pets too. I know at least two. However, the trained dogs I've seen so far are impossible to relocate as family pets because they cannot revert back to not attacking when they get a given signal, which can be done unintentionally. Had a dog euthanized last Summer because he attacked his adoptive dad, who probably just made a movement which triggered an aggressive response. Sorry for this slight threadjack.

As for moving in with these dogs, there might be a way to keep the two clans apart, for example on two floors, or by rotating crates. This is not impossible. I foster many dogs who don't necessarily get along with each other, and I don't have any fights. It's a little harsh to tell someone not to move in with the person she loves. There are ways to work it out. I think. :o

Caney
December 8th, 2006, 03:46 PM
well i just hope you can find some way to work it out with no injurys to you or the other dogs

7 dogs, oh my thats a lot of poop!!

MyBirdIsEvil
December 8th, 2006, 03:52 PM
I wouldn't combine both groups of dogs right now, even under supervision. You have one group that, though well socialized, would be considered a pack. And then another pack who happens to have unaltered dogs in it, and as you said has been in fairly large scuffles.
If it were two groups of fixed and well socialized dogs I would say it was worth a try, but I think you're taking a big risk mixing 2 packs one of which has unfixed and unsocialize dogs.
Your b/f sounds inexperienced with socializing dogs, though he has experience in other aspects of training, which is what kind of sets me against recommending to mix the 2 groups. Since the shepherds apparently respond to him only, I think you could have problems if your b/f doesn't recognize his dogs body language before the fight breaks out. After one dog is already attacking another it's probably too late.

I would suggesting finding a professional trainer, though it would be hard to find one experienced enough to trust with introducing that many dogs to each other. The trainer should be experienced with breaking up dog fights, body language, pack behavior, aggression, etc. and have several years of experience. (decades if possible), especially with large dogs.

I don't really feel comfortable about giving advice on integrating each group, because I doesn't sound like either of you are experienced enough with pack behavior. The dogs need to be introduced one at a time, with knowledge of your dogs rank in his/her own pack. This is NOT something you should go to the internet to get advice about.

Like I said though, I suggest NOT trying it.
I just introduced an unsocialized/untrained/unaltered (for now:appointment's in a couple of weeks) dog to my 2 dogs, and it took A LOT of supervision and a fair bit of knowledge on my part. This was a dog who is only 21 lbs and she attempted an all out attack on one of mine. Had I introduced her to my dominant female first it could have ended tragically, so you HAVE to know your dogs and what their rank in the pack is. Even if you have complete control of your dogs there is some kind of rank within the pack, and you have to recognize that. Introduce 2 packs of dogs, some unsocialized, just isn't a great idea IMO.

Bottom line: If you have to come online and ask whether it's a good idea, you probably shouldn't introduce them without the help of a professional. When you introduce dogs you should feel completely comfortable that you can handle the situation, the fact that you're asking us implies you aren't.
We can't see the dogs in person and we don't know enough about each personality to recommend you do something that risky.

I'm not trying to be rude or anything, I would just hate for anyone, you OR the dogs, to be hurt.

speedbunny70
December 8th, 2006, 03:55 PM
I agree with Inverness....I'm sure there is a way to work this out. Maybe you should have the all the dogs spend more time together and see how they're all reacting. The more time they spend together now, maybe the more they'll get along when you finally move in together. Does your BF not have any suggestions for this problem??

Golden Girls
December 8th, 2006, 04:56 PM
I guess it could taken as harsh but I didn't mean it. The OP was concerned for her dogs whom she rescued and I agree. I wouldn't blame the Sheppards, their trained and one little accident could be a casualty - so :shrug: If I loved the guy and he loved me we would just have to do the sleepover thing :D the safety of my dogs would be a priority that's all I'm saying.

Prin
December 8th, 2006, 05:04 PM
I don't really feel comfortable about giving advice on integrating each group, because I doesn't sound like either of you are experienced enough with pack behavior.I strongly agree with that.

Neptune
December 8th, 2006, 05:31 PM
Thanks for the recommendations everyone. I will take all into consideration.

The ironic thing is, we are both fairly experienced with dogs, training, and pack behavior. Definately not the best trainers out there, but we do both have some experience. Two of my rescues are SAR dogs (the rottie mix and the pit mix.) I trained both and both are certified and working. I have had many other dogs previously, and professionally train dogs for SAR work. I have a soft spot for rescues in particular.

His were intentionally NOT socialized- some protection dogs are trained this way. Not saying I agree with it or that I am happy with it- just that it is the way it is. He has had many dogs that were not trained for this work and were well socialized. Just the three he has right now were not.

Obviously, I love this guy, and our love of dogs is what brought us together. The tricky part is what to DO with the dogs we DO have.
I guess what I am trying to say is that we will have to deal with all of the dogs together eventually....and it would be a heck of a lot easier to feed and exercise at the same time. But if not possible, we will separate them by rotating in/out of crates/kennels as suggested.

It may be that his are 'beyond hope' in terms of socialization. I don't know. Since I have worked with many abused/neglected animals I am loathe to say anything is beyond hope. But think I am also somewhat realistic, and know the imprinting is tough to get around, especially with such high strung dogs. Spaying/neutering may help a bit. I personally am hopeful that if he s/n's his, and we are vigilant about supervision, then they will one day integrate as a pack. (Maybe not the most cohesive one around, but one where no one will be injured.)

I am open to any and all advice re: this- are there any shutzhund trainers out there?
Thanks again for all of the advice.

Neptune

MyBirdIsEvil
December 8th, 2006, 06:03 PM
But if not possible, we will separate them by rotating in/out of crates/kennels as suggested.

That would probably be the best idea for now.

I realize you guys are experienced in several aspects of dogs, but I just feel hesitant giving detailed advice on something that shouldn't be attempted just because someone online suggested it.

Introducing an unsocialized dog to just one dog is risky in some situations, when you bring 7 dogs into the equation it gets much riskier.

There are definately ways to attempt it, and there is a chance you could integrate them all without problems, but the chance is extremely low considering the situation. I wouldn't want something to happen just because some advice on the board was misused.

In any case, even leaving 7 socialized dogs together unsupervised is a terrible idea, IMO.

and it would be a heck of a lot easier to feed and exercise at the same time.

I don't get what you're saying. 7 dogs should NOT be fed together. Fights are bound to break out over food, one of the dogs is bound to be food posessive with 6 other dogs around it eating. Especially considering your b/f's dogs history, they should all be fed seperately, where none of the dogs can get to each others food. In their crates for example.

I only have 3 dogs and they NEVER eat together. My first 2 dogs were sometimes fed in the same room together, but they're trained to stay at their dish and I NEVER left them unsupervised. When you put even one non-socialized dog into the mix, food aggression is likely, and it's best to let them eat seperately. Even if they get to wear they're all trained to stay at their dish, it's fairly easy to supervise and apprehend 1 of 3 dogs, 7 is a different story. If one dog attacked would you feel comfortable that you could take care of it? While one dog is attacking another it also could excite some of te others, could you handle it if more than one fight broke out?

As far as exercise, that depends on how you exercise them. If there's a ball involved, any type of prey type object, or a lot of running and chasing, you're better off doing each group seperately. When you have many dogs chasing, especially 3 schutzund trained dogs who probably have plenty of prey drive, it would be easy for a fight to break out because their adrenaline is going strong.

Prin
December 8th, 2006, 06:08 PM
Oh, yeah, my doggies, even when I just have two, don't eat in the same room. It's just uncomfortable and they pressure each other. I separate them and always feed them in the same way and place, so they know that until they finish, they're safe (which helps them slow down a bit).

LM1313
December 8th, 2006, 06:13 PM
I would not combine them right now. Also, I would definitely DEFINITELY spay and neuter the shepherds. For one thing, even neutered dogs can get a little "crazy" when they smell a female in heat. Imagine if one of your dog tries to hump the female and she thinks it's an attack. For another thing, an alpha neutered dog will often feel that an unneutered dog is a threat to his authority and be snappish. Likewise, an unneutered dog thinks he/she should be in charge--reproductive rights and all that.

mummummum
December 8th, 2006, 08:15 PM
I have nothing to offer that's helpful except to thanks Neptune ! You've just made my life seem like a breeze with my three.

In terms of feeding and exercising I think Neptune is probably saying that when she is visiting her bf, they feed and exercise his gang then have to go over to her house and feed and run her gang. If they lived together then at least they could do it all at the same time and on the same property ~ though clearly with sep. feeding locations. It's tough, I know ~ for every one walk normal doggy households do ~ I have to do two walks and some times three depending on Ceili's stamina and interets. At least if everybody is together, then Neptune and her bf could save some time and effort.

MyBirdIsEvil
December 8th, 2006, 08:36 PM
I have nothing to offer that's helpful except to thanks Neptune ! You've just made my life seem like a breeze with my three.

In terms of feeding and exercising I think Neptune is probably saying that when she is visiting her bf, they feed and exercise his gang then have to go over to her house and feed and run her gang. If they lived together then at least they could do it all at the same time and on the same property ~ though clearly with sep. feeding locations. It's tough, I know ~ for every one walk normal doggy households do ~ I have to do two walks and some times three depending on Ceili's stamina and interets. At least if everybody is together, then Neptune and her bf could save some time and effort.

I thought otherwise because afterwards she said "But if not possible, we will separate them by rotating in/out of crates/kennels as suggested." which should be done no matter what as far as feeding goes.
If I'm wrong I apologize to Neptune, but that's how the comment looked.

mummummum
December 8th, 2006, 09:01 PM
Nah, I misread that ~ you're right MBE.