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Bringing a A Third Dog Into The Family

Discussion in 'Dogs - all breeds / types' started by hermann muenster, Sep 7, 2006.

  1. hermann muenster

    hermann muenster New Member

    I am planning to get our first rescue dog. This will for the first time make us a three dog family. We have for many years been a two dog family, but I understand the pack dynamics can really change with the introduction of a third dog.

    The resuce is a two year old neutered male. We currently have a 1 year old neutered male, and a 7 year old spayed female.

    I am starting to have second thoughts - right now my home is very harmonious.

    I would love some tips and ideas that anyone might have to help me make a smooth introduction and transition for this dog.
  2. MyPetTherapyDog

    MyPetTherapyDog New Member

    Here is a great article that will help you very much. Any questions, e-mail me and I can help you through it. I own a pack of rescue dogs (pit bulls and one lab)

    Multiple Dog Households

    "Why do all the dogs get along in my house? Because I am the Ultra Alpha, but also I allow the dogs to be a pack," When introducing a new dog to the pack, use this system:

    * Walk the new dog outside the fenced yard where the pack is, let them get close (sniffing and barking is natural and acceptable), then make sure the pack can't get into the house.

    * Next, take the dog in, let him/her sniff around, then let two dogs in at a time, starting with the middle pack members. The second two dogs let in are the Omega and the Top Dog.

    * As long as things progress smoothly, she continues letting the other dogs in two by two. This is done over the course of 1 to 1-1/2 hours.

    "There are always little skirmishes between siblings here and there, just like with our children and adults, too. " The following article elaborates on the techniques practiced.

    "Living With Multiple Dogs"
    by Judith Halliburton, from Raising Rover

    Far too often, by the time I'm called in on a "fighting dogs" case, there have been serious injuries, and I have to recommend that the client purchase prong collars Human, if you have more than one dog, read this chapter carefully.

    Memorize! Their relationship has to be established. There is no equality, there is no democracy. There has to be a dominant dog; there has to be a subordinate dog.

    Memorize! There is no such thing as jealousy. There is no such thing as hurt feelings.

    Dogs are pack animals; even though they are domesticated, pack etiquette is part of who they are. Canines in a pack will not injure, maim, or kill each other, because all members are needed for hunting. If one is injured or killed, it weakens the pack. They will not weaken the pack intentionally. I'm sure you have some idea of Rover's power and the strength of his jaw and teeth (even if he's a Chihuahua). If he wanted to injure, maim, or kill, he could.

    Now that that's understood, Human, we can go on. I'm going to dispel the jealousy myth first. Jealousy is a very complicated emotion, with a lot of thought going into it. Dogs don't have the ability for that. What you see in dogs and call jealousy is one of two things: competition (which is the equivalent of sibling rivalry) or straightening out the peck order.

    Let's say, for example, we have Rover One and Rover Two. Rover One is dominant. You're petting Rover Two, and Rover One approaches. His ears are up and forward, his tail is wagging, and his body is animated. That's competition. You can pet both dogs at the same time!

    Straightening out the peck order works like this: You're petting Rover Two, and Rover One approaches. His ears are up and forward and his chest is out. If his tail is wagging at all, it's moving very slowly. There's no liveliness in his body, and there's purpose to his walk. He will attempt to get between you and Rover Two. He's saying that he doesn't want Rover Two that close to you. You'll notice that Rover Two attempts to back away. Let Rover Two go. He knows what he's doing.

    When dogs fight over and over again, it's usually on account of incorrect human interference. For example, when Rover One is straightening out the peck order, the human tendency is to say, "Rover Two, honey, you come back here." To Rover One, you say, "Go on, I was petting Rover Two-first," and you push him away. Rover Two is thinking, "Please, oh please, oh please don't do this! I don't mind, I'll just go over here." Rover Two knows that Rover One will have to punish him later. Don't forget, they can't explain it to you. With your tone of voice, you praised Rover Two and disciplined Rover One. You compromised One's position as the dominant dog, and you did it in front of Rover Two.

    When Rover One and Rover Two actually have a fight, our human tendency is to go immediately to the underdog, the one showing submission. You go to Rover Two and begin to check him for injuries, saying, "Are you all right? Did Rover One hurt you?" All this is said in a soothing, comforting voice. To Rover One, you say, "Rover One, shame on you! You get out of here and leave Rover Two alone! Bad dog! Bad dog!" All this is said in a stern tone. You praised Rover Two in front of Rover One, and disciplined Rover One in front of Rover Two. Again you've seriously compromised Rover One's position as the dominant dog. Both dogs now believe you want Rover Two to be dominant, and they're thinking, "Oh jeez, now we have to fight all over again!" because their relationship has to be reestablished as it applies to you and your position in the peck order. After a short time, you have two dogs that get along beautifully when no one's around and fight as soon as you're with them!

    There's serious danger when this kind of fighting starts: the slightest provocation can start a fight. I call those stimulus fights. For example, the doorbell rings and both dogs run for the door. That can start a fight. They're in the yard, and they both bark at something. That can start a fight. You walk into the room. That can start a fight. Company can start a fight. When stimulus fighting begins, there is no longer any "fight posturing," and absolutely no pack etiquette. With the loss of pack etiquette, and fight posturing, the dogs may fight with the intent to hurt each other. They don't know why they're fighting...

    It's very simple to prevent serious fighting. Simply don't interfere. Now, Human, I know that's not easy to do because when they start fighting, it sounds unbelievably vicious and you think they're killing each other. They are usually not hurting each other. A fight seldom lasts longer than three minutes. It only seems like an hour. Any injuries are usually accidental--a scratch on the face (from a toenail, or tooth) or a nick in the ear. Occasionally, there's a bleeding tongue. If you just can't help it, and you must get involved, do so without saying anything to either dog. If you believe you need to check for injuries, do it silently, and check Rover One-first.

    Do not separate the dogs after a fight. By that I mean, don't put them in separate areas. If you do, you take the chance that they'll fight again as soon as they see each other. Don't attempt to break up a fight alone. You can get seriously bitten and the dogs won't even know they did it. If you honestly believe they're getting hurt, and you have a helper, each of you should grab one dog's tail or hind legs and pull. In my business, I learn constantly. I've just learned that hair spray can stop a fight quickly.

    If you have dogs that are fighting or beginning to fight, you can ward off serious problems by putting a few rules into effect. If you absolutely, positively know that Rover One is dominant, give him preferential treatment. You don't have to make a big deal of it. Put his food down first. Pet him first when you come home or the dogs come in the house or you go out to get them. When you give Rover One preferential treatment, you are letting both dogs know that you respect Rover One as the dominant dog.

    If you're not sure who is dominant, notice which one goes through a door first. Who's in front when they walk across they yard or the room? Don't base your opinion on food. Dogs have food available to them on a daily basis...Dogs can show dominance over food, but don't pin your opinion on that one thing. Pay attention when you see one dog walk across the room and hesitate in front of the other dog. The subordinate dog will turn his head a little and look away. Once he does that, the dominant dog will continue to walk.

    If there's been a lot of fighting, sometimes it's very difficult to tell which dog is dominant, because the subordinate dog is constantly on the defensive. I liken him to a child who has been beaten up and pushed around by the school bully. This child's always on guard, looking over his shoulder and ready to defend himself at any moment. It could be the subordinate dog who's starting the fights. If one of your dogs is that defensive, you'll have to watch for subtle signs of who's dominant. Watch them closely and objectively. Objectivity is sometimes hard to achieve. You may have a favorite dog, and you want that one to be dominant Or one dog is of a breed you think should be dominant, and you refuse to believe that he's not.

    Whatever your circumstances are, you can't deny the dominant dog. You must respect the dogs' relationship. You can't decide which one is going to be dominant.

    If you have dogs that are fighting no matter what you do, take them to your veterinarian. It's possible the dog that doesn't seem to want to give up has a weakness of some kind; this could make him over defend himself. I had one case where the dogs had reached the point of intentionally injuring one another. It turned out one of them had serious hip dysphasia. In another similar case, one dog had a serious uterine infection.

    There is one situation where I recommend interference. If you have an elderly dog with geriatric problems like cataracts or arthritis, or one that is weakened for some reason, put yourself in the Head Honcho position and protect that dog. Under most circumstances, the stronger dog will leave the weaker dog alone as long as it's understood that he's dominant. But every now and then I run into a dog that is a bully or has poor social skills.

    Also there are dogs that will fight any other dog at any time for no apparent reason. These dogs are few and far between, and usually do fine if they remain in a home with no other dogs...

    I hope that after reading this, you have a better understanding of the dynamics of the pack order and how important it is in your dogs' lives.

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