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What is the best way to handle sibling jealousy?

Discussion in 'Dogs - all breeds / types' started by elizavixen, Dec 4, 2006.

  1. elizavixen

    elizavixen New Member

    Maggie is very insecure and has been doing better but still has her moments. Anyways, her and Indy got into a tiff the other day and I didn't know the best thing to do.

    The situation was: the dogs had been in the house for a few hours, playing, sleeping, etc. Overall, being very good. Then I sat down and started to eat something. They both of course came over and stared hungrily at me (def. not a new thing!) but I tried to ignore them b/c I wasn't going to give either one anything - I never do. Well, Maggie didn't like Indy being there all the sudden. She started giving him the stinkeye, and showing her teeth a little. Indy was trying to ignore her - you could tell he was purposely not looking at her and was kind of sitting back. He tried to go behind her to get out of the way and she tried to get at him and I distracted her. So, he came around to the other side of the chair where I was sitting. She walked over to him and bit him on the face. He turned around and snapped back at her. I got up immediately to try to "break it up" but didn't know how to react to Maggie. I just pulled her back and she was still showing her teeth to Indy. I tried to ignore her and went in the kitchen to put away the food. They followed me in the kitchen and were cool. I then put them out by giving them each a cookie and they were cool then too. All has been fine since then - they've been playing off and on all day.

    *wanted to add that the bite wasn't an "I want to tear you to pieces bite" it was like a warning bite. Didn't hurt him a bit - she wasn't trying to - but still unacceptable.

    I'm wondering if this is a bit of a teenagerlike phase - she's about 1 1/2 now. Indy is technically the boss/dominant one but he is really laid back so he doesn't act like it until he absolutely has to. She gets away with a lot and is very pushy/neurotic.

    Also, what should you do? I've heard to ignore it, but that sort of went directly against my instinct. That is why I just sort of lightly scolded her. I didn't want to make a big deal of it, but I didn't want her to think it was OK either.

    This isn't the first time she's gone after him, but I've ignored the previous times b/c he sort of deserved it. He's very annoying and likes to play all the time and doesn't know when to quit. so, when he gets to playing too rough (biting her tail, head, everywhere, wrestling, etc.) and he hurts her or goes to far, she goes after him. He tries to get away from her but if she gets too out of hand being nasty he'll snarl back at her and that ends it. This has only happened maybe 4-5 times.

    Is this something to be worried about or is it normal sibling rivalry?

    I've been working with her stranger socializiation and she's been doing good. This at home thing is new.
  2. MyPetTherapyDog

    MyPetTherapyDog New Member

    Hope this info helps you.

    The first step to taking control of the situation is you being the "Ultra Alpha". Begin using the program Nothing in life is Free http://www.nomorehomelesspets.org/behav ... /nilif.htm

    There are things you can do to keep the interactions between them more peaceful. Begin by taking the trigger points away. Don't have them near you while you are eating your food and Don't give them food together, or treats, or highly desirable chewables such as pig's ears. When you first return home, give them some much needed exercise time. If you choose to exercise them one by one. You can try using the "Triathlon game" to work them mentally and burn off excess energy also enforce you as the leader. (See below)
    Other things you can do is take them to a local dog park for some fun down time. Or go out walking for a nice relaxing walk. I choose to take the dog that is behaving nicely first.

    The triathlon Dog Training Game:
    This is a great obedience training tool that is used Three Ways.
    1) Mentally stimulate your dog

    2) Exercise your dog

    3) Teach your dog a strong recall (come)

    Tools needed: 26 foot “Flexi brand retractable leash”

    Fanny pack & Dog training treats, & fresh water available for you and your dog.

    The triathlon game should be done daily before your dog goes out on a leash walk.

    The idea is to use up any pent up energy that the dog has and to mentally stimulate as well as teach come to your dog all in one exercise.

    Begin by taking your dog for a long relaxing walk using the flexi leash let the dog have fun running around. Each time the dog gets to the near end of the leash, call out the command "EASY". The dog will soon realize that he needs to slow down when you call out” Easy” because this command means he is getting to the end of the line (this may take a few times of the dog pulling at the end of the line to realize this so dig your heels into the ground deep)

    After first doing this for about 5 minutes or so, your dog will have burnt off excess energy and begin to learn where the end of the line is and you are ready to begin:

    Have your dog sit directly in front of you.

    Say “Good Sit” & treat.

    Next teach your dog “Watch Me”

    (See below how this is done)

    Watch me:
    How to Teach the Watch Me Command:

    Take whatever reward you are using.

    Food is easiest to work with for this command. Stick the treat either near your mouth or up by your face.

    If the dog already knows sit, Ask the dog to sit, once sitting in front of you,

    Say, "watch me" As soon as the dog looks directly into your eyes, ... "Say Good Watch me" INSTANTLY high praise, & treat!!!

    (This command becomes important to keep the dogs focus on you instead of elsewhere, and can be a big help in crowded area's where the dog may be overly excited or anxious)

    After your dog has done Watch me,& has been rewarded, throw out a treat or ball and say to your dog “GO FETCH”. (Make sure the flexi leash button is open and not locked).

    Let the dog fetch the treat or ball.

    Next, you run backwards, and say, “Come”. If the dog doesn’t come, use your flexi leash like a fishing pole and reel the dog towards you.

    Once the dog is front and center to you, say, “GOOD COME” and treat and praise!!

    Keep on repeating this game for at least 10-15 minutes to tire the dog out. Try doing the game in different locations so the dog gets used to distractions. Begin this game in an area that has the least amount of distractions and gradually move into greater amount of distraction areas.

    Now, its time for you to move on to basic leash training:

    Take the flexi leash off and switch your dog to a 6-foot leather leash and buckle collar or martingale collar/ or tighten up the flexi leash to about 6 feet long and begin Leash training Part 1. Once you have mastered Leash Training part one, then (begin leash training part 2 see below)

    Leash training (Part 1)

    Go out walking with your dog. If the dog is staying with you (does not need to be on any particular side) continue your walk. If the dog begins to pull, call out the command "Easy" and pull on the middle of the leash using even pressure like you were pulling back while riding a horse. Now, Slow down your pace and see if this helps slow the dog down, if he still forges (pulls) ahead, just abruptly around about face, and say, "Let's go" Then go the other way on the dog. Keep this process up until the dog learn to watch your "back side" and follow your moves.
    (*You can lure the dog close to you by dropping treats close by you) Keep up this training for at least one full week or until you are sure the dog knows the command. ”Lets go.”

    Now you are ready for leash training part 2

    Leash Training Part 2 (Sit/Stay)

    Now that your dog has learned “Loose leash walking” we are ready for the second half of leash training.

    Begin training your dog to “Sit/Stay” on your left hand side each and every time you stop. While walking with the dog on leash at your left side, stop and have the dog sit. Pivot directly in front of the dog & extend your hand down placing it in front of the dogs nose, say "stay" very firmly. Step out in front of the dog (6 or 12 inches away) from the dogs nose and wait just 30 seconds or less. If the dog does not move, return back to the dogs side, say "good stay” Praise and treat! Give the release word ok and continue on your walk. If the dog does move, re-group the dog and try again the next time you stop.

    Remember a good dog is a tired dog. Working off some excess energy as well as establishing yourself as a leader will be extremely helpful.

    Begin obedience class- one dog at a time--is also an excellent way to increase your control over many situations. It is not up to your dogs dwheather and which dog you are giving attention to it's up to you. Training classes will give you and your dog more confidence, as well.

    Try acknowledging the other dog when you pet one of them.Try giving them a loving look, an air-kiss, a few words, or pet that dog with your other hand. DO NOT permit them to spat at each other when they are next to you . If that happens, MAKE them both move away from you, correcting the dog that began the incident. Give them each a time out!

    You will need to handle the situation it like you would jealousy between children. Dogs will will behave the way they are allowed to behave.

    Begin watching body language and try to catch an incident before it happens. Separate the dogs if you think they are going to go at each other.

    When the first dog gets nasty, you need to instantly correct it.

    When you are successful petting both, praise them on what nice dogs they are to share and behave nicely toward each other.

    If they are not fighting, only crowding the other out, show them you have two hands and can pet two dogs at once. You are the boss so you make the decisions.

    Always give more attention to the one who does NOT start the trouble.

    When the dog sees it as only one rival is getting MORE attention, and him/her less, the dog will behave better.

    It seems like Maggie has decided that she is the top dog in the pack. The important part is that you are Ultra Alpah always in all situations. As long as your other dog doesn't challenge Maggie for top rank, things should work out.

    If you have the slightest doubt that your dogs are getting too aggressive in these interactions, do have an expert come out and take a look at it they will be able to see the dogs interact together and design an entire behavior modification plan catered to your dogs specific needs.

    Enjoy your pooches!

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