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Jealous dogs - I need two of me

May 5th, 2008, 01:15 AM
I have two chihuahuas - both are desperate to be near me for different reasons. First, my oldest (Cooper) is pretty insecure and shy and he leans on me for support. He knows and treats me as his boss and we have never had any problems, other than his constant need to be on my lap or next to me. He's a low-energy dog and is happy just to be with his Momma.

Then enter the crazy high-energy puppy, Henry. LOL He's 8 months old now and loves to torment his big brother. He continuously tries to get between us and I think he does it for several reasons. I know he's a more "dominant" dog, so he feels he should be nearest to me when we're hanging out. I also know he loves to listen to his brother growl and snarl and make all those noises, so some of it has to be just for fun. And I also think he wants to be near me as well since he knows I'm the one that makes the food magically appear.

I'm having trouble trying to find a middle ground with the both of them. Even if one is looking at me from across the room, the other has to stand between us as if they are forming a wall so we can't look at each other. Cooper does NOT get along with the puppy - in fact, he hardly even acknowledges his presence in the house unless he's growling at him to stay away.

I have been taking them on walks together for months, thinking that would eventually help but Cooper is so stubborn that he refuses to be near Henry. Cooper is a really well trained dog; he's been through CGC and works as a therapy dog, so when he starts criss-crossing through and around my legs on walks to get away from Henry, it's pretty frustrating. Henry, on the other hand, walks perfectly until he sees Cooper being a grump and eggs him on. What ends up happening is I end up looking like some kind of hostage, tied up by leashes and snarling Chihuahuas.

Does anyone have a suggestion on how I can get these two to live together peacefully? I don't expect them to be best friends, even though that was the hope in bringing a new dog into the house but I see that probably won't happen now. But I know Cooper could ease up a little and be a little nicer ... and I know if he did, Henry would stop egging him on all the time with his craziness.

May 5th, 2008, 01:06 PM
All I can say is to be very careful. I strongly suggest that when you go out that if you leave your dogs loose than you leave them in separate rooms. I am worried about Cooper - as Henry matures and appears to be the instigator it could get ugly. Watch for any sign of Henry grabbing Cooper by the back of the neck - Cooper will not likely be able to get away from Henry -and if you notice canine bites on Cooper's neck, please take to the vet. Just be vigiliant. I have been through this so I know what it is like - 2 dogs - same size - terriers. And it wasn't the Alpha that caused the problem, it was the Alpha-want-to-be. You can probably find a way to co-exist - only time will tell. With my guys there was only a 3 month age difference - best of friends in pecking order until puberty then a heck of a shock with us standing right there. Your breed won't back down from each other either.

May 5th, 2008, 04:25 PM
You would do well to start setting some personal boundaries. Imagine 2 kids with totally different agendas vying for your attention and getting pushy about it.

Cooper needs to learn to feel safe and secure 6 inches from you and then 1ft from you. He needs to gain some confidence in the world and himself.

Henry needs to respect your space, and Coopers place in the pack. You dictate how he behaves with Cooper and teach him that being pushy gets him nowhere.

A great way to do this is to work with them individually on the leash. Use the leash to keep the dog at a resaonable distance from you (like you have a bubble around you they can't enter). Each one has their own way of sneeking in - Cooper looks pathetic and winsome and Henry just rushes in - insisting its his right. So be clear with each of them - it will tear at your heart to get Cooper off of you but not to worry with your consistent response he will get it and be fine. Its not that he can never snuggle but it needs to be on your terms and not enabling his insecurity. With Henry its about you saying 'hey, this is my space and you can't just leap on me'. He is going to push, push, push and by the 3rd or 4th time he should back off. Use the leash to meet their challenges or use your hands to throw energy at them and keep them off of you (imagine your hand is a ping pong paddle and you 'pop' the air in front of them as they move in). Do not push them away if you can help it. Pushing is a game to dogs and it actually can feel good. Also it forces you to push them off but they never choose to get off themselves. When a dog backs off then calmly praise him so he knows what is expected of him and what wins good attention.

As this progresses then you can have a dog on each side of you and pet one and then the other. Always ready to catch Henry in a bad choice. They need to learn that there is attention enough for everyone, but YOU set the rules of who gets what and when.

May 11th, 2008, 03:16 PM
Thanks for the advice - I'll definitely give it a shot. I've been "forcing" Cooper to stay on the floor lately (instead of up in my lap) and it seems to be helping a little bit. Conversely, I've also been spending quiet time with Henry when I see he's getting tired and ready for a nap - I just pick him up and put him in my lap and get him comfy and calm so he associates calm with good stuff. I can see a little improvement already when the two interact with each other; their need to be the center of attention seems to be less than it was just a few weeks ago.

It's been rough in our house though; my cat was just diagnosed with kitty alzheimers and a lot of my attention has been directed towards her instead of the boys. I think it's been good for them to be on their own since my availability has been less than normal. They still have their moments but I can see a light at the end of the tunnel ... it's just a really really really long tunnel. :D