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My Molly is bossy and Oscar won't stand up to her!

June 9th, 2008, 07:51 AM
This is Molly's 3rd week with us. She turns 12 weeks old today.

For the most part, the dogs can be in the same room as each other, but Oscar prefers to be up out of Molly's reach because she will chase him and nip at his arse. :rolleyes:

One thing that I've noticed though, is that Molly will walk right up to Oscar and take his toy, and Oscar won't stop her. He will try to hide it by jumping up on the couch and out of her reach, but if she gets her mouth close to him he won't take it back. I feed him first, and midway through his meal I feed her, but if he is at his bowl and she gets over to him he will walk away from his bowl and just go and eat from hers! :confused:

When we are outside, he WILL turn on her if she is chasing him and snarl, and she rolls to her back and starts doing this soft twist of her head...very submissive, as if to say she is just trying to play. So that's is good, right?

Last night I had them both in the living room on leash, and they each had a treat in a ball. My husband allowed Molly's leash to go slack (:mad:) and she got over to Oscar and they ended up having a snarling spat where they were rolling together a bit. Luckily they were on leash so we seperated them.

I just get the feeling that Molly is going to turn out to be the more dominant dog, and I don't that ok? I've read lots that says to allow your older dog to discipline your younger one, so they can establish their spot and teach the younger one manners, but my vet wasn't keen on this.

What do you all think about the dynamics here? Is it normal for the older dog to sometimes step back and let the younger one have their way?

June 9th, 2008, 08:47 AM
What you are describing sounds exactly what Harley :rip: and Buster did when I brought Buster home. Harley had always been an "only" dog and he tolerated Buster. Things did get better but I worried so much about Harley getting annoyed with Buster. For the most part I let the two dogs sort it out unless it got nasty, but they eventually figured it out. Buster was the more dominant dog.

As for feeding, it was more difficult when Buster was on puppy food and Harley was on his regular stuff. So, I used to feed them seperately. Once Buster got on regular food, I would just put the two bowls down and they would sample from each bowl (I free feed).

Good luck, I am sure they will sort it out between themselves!

Any pictures????? :D

June 9th, 2008, 08:53 AM
IMO: I think that unless one dog is really harming the other one (growling/wrestling/snapping doesn't count, I'm talking about an actual ATTACK)...dogs sort themselves out quite nicely and in a language they both understand, and they don't need much interference from us. Both dogs should see YOU as "da boss" and you should be able to step in any time you feel it's necessary and they should respond to that authority, but it sounds like your two have some very normal and healthy dynamics going on. Your older guy is being pretty patient, from the sounds of it, but he's also correcting the pup when it's warranted, and doing it in a very reasonable way. I don't think it's a big deal if the new one ends up dominant over the other. You may notice the hierarchy shift several times as the pup grows and they work on establishing their places with each other. The important thing is that your older dog doesn't feel displaced in terms of his position with respect to his PEOPLE (ie you). As long as your expectations of him are consistent, even with the new addition, and you're still giving him lots of attention, that's what matters. (IMO)

June 9th, 2008, 10:37 AM
Thank you both so much!

I guess I'm just worried because I really want this to work out. They don't have to be best friends, but they need to at least be able to live in the same house comfortably.

We have almost been overcompensating Oscar since Molly came home. He's a pretty fussy fellow, so we knew this wouldn't be the easiest adjustment for him. In the long run though, I know that it will do him well to have a playmate/company.

One quick question...

When they got into a snarly spat last night over the treat balls (again :mad: at my husband) I wasn't able to tell if they were snapping/biting each other. (they both look like overgrown hamsters) It sounded ugly and scary, but neither walked away with any scratches or bloody spots. How do you tell the difference between a spat and a true fight?

June 9th, 2008, 12:04 PM
"normal" spats, and even play, can sound horrible...growling, snarling, teeth bared, the whole nine yards...they can look really scary. It can sometimes be hard to differentiate, so I can only say that when it's for real, and potentially dangerous, you'll know it, and you'll know you need to intervene. One dog yelping during a squabble is normal too...for example, if your older dog snaps at the younger one to discipline her, she may give a high-pitched yelp that means "too rough!" and the older one should back off right away as his job is done. If one dog is yelping and the other is not letting up,then you've got a situation that needs intervention. We had a total of three incidents like this when our younger dog was a pup, and our older dog has a history of dog aggression. We knew right away there was a problem (before any yelping, actually), and dealt with it IMMEDIATELY by physically removing the older dog and making it crystal-clear that that sort of behaviour would NOT be tolerated. Now, our girls play REALLY rough, it sounds like they're going to kill eachother, but tails are wagging, they both take turns being "the boss", and if one gets too rough, a yelp brings the situation back down to a comfortable level immediately. They play like this ALL the time, and love it.

If they're fighting over treats, I'd make sure everyone, including DH, knows this is a trigger and makes sure they both get treats so there's nothing to fight over, and maybe separate them a bit spacially until the treats are done. Make them work for the treat (sit, down etc.) so their focus is on you and not each other. If they really, really can't handle being near each other when treats or a specific toy are out, don't give them, it's not worth it.

FWIW, our older dog was really not crazy about the puppy for the first little while and avoided her as much as possible. Puppies are royal pains in the butt, they pester and they push their limits and can really be a nuisance for an older dog. Now that Jaida's more mature, they are really the best of buds, have a wonderfully compatible relationship, and sleep/snuggle together all the time.

June 10th, 2008, 08:38 AM
Thank you very, very much for your responses!!