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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
One month ago, we added a new member to our fur family. I read a lot on how to introduce a puppy to a single dog household, so they were introduced on neutral ground and the introduction went smooth. But Gustave is still a puppy and wants to play A LOT. He often nips Charlie to introduce play, which she hates! At first, I let them be because I was told that I should not intervene between them to let them figure out the hierarchy. That advice was given to me by someone who is very knowledgeable about dogs, so I did not question her advice. However, with time, their fights seemed to escalate and after speaking briefly with a dog trainer, I learned that I should not let that happen and separate them when it happens, which I did after... But the damages were done. It did get a bit better though. Gustave still jumps, push and nips Charlie to play, but I don't let him do it anymore. When he does, I tell him to calm down. He listens pretty well for a puppy, he lies down and I give him a treat and redirect him on toys (but let's admit it, toys are much less interesting than a moving living being...). If he persists too much with Charlie, I put him in his playpen.

I think that Charlie is fed up with his pushy and nippy behavior, even though I stop him when it happens. She seems miserable and frustrated... She is always on alert since the arrival of Gustave. She is always watching him, she cannot rest if he doesn't. If he goes in another room, she follows him. If he has a bone, she wants it, even thought I bought two of the exactly same bone. She will try to steal it or fix it until Gustave leave the bone and she can get it. When she eats a bone, she growls, barks and snaps at Gustave even though he is just passing by close, with absolutely no intention of stealing her bone. Sometimes, he is eating a bone calmly in his playpen and she growls at him. She is savage... I've never seen her mean like that. She was such a sweet girl, I never had major problem with her. She never did ressource guarding with humans. And Gustave is not a bad dog either, he is not mean, he only wants to play, even though his approach is a bit brutal and too pushy. She also seems jealous. When I take Gustave in my arms, she tries to bit him, even if I only take him in my arms to put him in the playpen because he is being too pushy and nippy with her.

Since the start, I made sure to give a lot of attention to Charlie so that she doesn't feel left behind. She gets single walks, she gets time for herself only, she sleeps more often in my bed (before, I would only let her sleep in my bed on weekends. Otherwise, they sleep in their crates in my bedroom). When I train him for basic commands, I train her at the same time and give her as much treats. They get plenty of physical exercices and mental stimulation (interactive toys, puzzles...).

Recently, my mom went to the chalet with Charlie for a whole weekend and when she came back, she told me how Charlie was thriving when she was alone without her brother, how she was happy and much more playful... My heart broke, I don't want her to be unhappy just because of my selfish desire to have two dogs. I don't need them to be best buddies, but I want them to at least tolerate each other.

I already contacted a dog trainer to coach me with these problems, but our appointment is only next week. Meanwhile, do you have any advice for me? Anything is welcome, really.
 

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Here’s a link to some backstory for anyone offering advice: I want a second puppy!! Am I crazy?!

@Sarah Poo, years ago I followed a similar timeline (added a male puppy when my girl Gracie was an adolescent) and I ended up re-homing my boy, Tucker.

It was heart-wrenching and very much the right thing to do for us. Gracie instantly reverted back to her wonderful self...but better. She had made it very clear she wanted to be an only dog, and I just kept fighting it. I spent so much money on someone who claimed to be a behaviourist, but had no certification. I exhausted myself walking them each separately, training them each separately, giving them chews separately, and on it went. No one was happy.

I’m not saying this is the case for you and your household. Maybe you’ll be able to do what I couldn’t, and make it work. But I’m sharing this story because there is no shame in doing the right thing for your dogs, even if it’s hard.

Tucker went to live with my parents and was treated like a prince for the rest of his days. He and Gracie actually were friends whenever they were reunited. He was the only dog she played with in her whole life. But she would often pee inside when he visited, to mark her territory. I always took that to mean, “Don’t ever forget what happened when he lived with us. You made the right decision.”

It’s good that you figured out letting them work it out is ill-advised. My only other advice would be to make sure you work with a certified trainer or behaviourist (don’t make the same mistake I did). And use gates to keep their space divided until next week when you’ve got a longer term plan in place. Gustave should be nowhere near your girl when she’s got a bone. Charlie needs to know that her space is hers and she has no reason to defend it.
 

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When we added Javelin to our family I was fully prepared to return him to his breeder if there was fighting. Lily did not love him, just tolerated him and when he was young Peeves and he played a lot (not what I anticipated). Your older dog should not be allowed to be harassed by this puppy. She was there first. It is not easy to add puppies to already existing families with dogs. You have a lot to work on undoing. I suggest you consult a certified trainer or behaviorist so you can sort things out for a peaceful group or have an objective opinion on whether or not things can really be fixed or managed safely for all concerned.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
It’s good that you figured out letting them work it out is ill-advised. My only other advice would be to make sure you work with a certified trainer or behaviourist (don’t make the same mistake I did). And use gates to keep their space divided until next week when you’ve got a longer term plan in place. Gustave should be nowhere near your girl when she’s got a bone. Charlie needs to know that her space is hers and she has no reason to defend it.
Thank you for sharing your story, it is very heart-wrenching, but I'm glad you figured out a way to keep everyone happy and thriving. Sometimes, the decisions we have to make are not the easier ones. I really hope I can work this out and won't have to get to this point... The dog trainer is a certified one and I took puppy classes with her, so I'm familiar with her positive approach. She also recently (7 months ago) added a second dog to her house, so I really hope her experience will be helpful for my case.

By curiosity, when you adopted Tucker, did you have similar struggles to mine? At what age did you rehome him?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
You have a lot to work on undoing. I suggest you consult a certified trainer or behaviorist so you can sort things out for a peaceful group or have an objective opinion on whether or not things can really be fixed or managed safely for all concerned.
Yes, I will definitely ask the certified trainer for her opinion on this and won't hesitate to contact another certified trainer to get a second opinion.
 

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Thank you for sharing your story, it is very heart-wrenching, but I'm glad you figured out a way to keep everyone happy and thriving. Sometimes, the decisions we have to make are not the easier ones. I really hope I can work this out and won't have to get to this point... The dog trainer is a certified one and I took puppy classes with her, so I'm familiar with her positive approach. She also recently (7 months ago) added a second dog to her house, so I really hope her experience will be helpful for my case.

By curiosity, when you adopted Tucker, did you have similar struggles to mine? At what age did you rehome him?
It was so long ago, my memory is hazy. There was no resource guarding that I recall, but I didn’t really know what I was doing, so maybe? There was definitely constant swapping of treats and toys. Whatever one had, the other wanted. They also barked hysterically together. And that persisted their whole lives. Gracie was an angel in the car unless Tucker was with her. If my parents and I ran an errand together and left them? Oh boy. We could hear them barking all the way across the parking lot. They just brought out the worst in each other.

The same thing would happen on walks. We’d have to cross the street if we saw a dog coming, and even then it was absolutely mortifying.

And the peeing. Ohhhh the peeing. It was like Gracie hadn’t been housetrained at all.

What I remember more than anything was just feeling in way over my head. And also, a little selfishly maybe, I remember feeling like I didn’t want my whole life to revolve around managing dogs.

Gracie was a perfectly portable companion. I could take her everywhere. With Tucker added to the pack, my life became all dog, all the time. I couldn’t even buy the new condo I’d fallen in love with, because it had a single pet limit. And I wouldn’t have subjected neighbours to that anyway.

In retrospect, my life would have been very different had I kept them both. I brought Gracie to work with me for years downtown Toronto; she was so good on the subway and I was able to advance in my chosen career because she was there working long hours right by my side. Eventually I ended up moving from Toronto to California to North Carolina to Washington... I did multiple cross-country road trips, staying in hotels along the way. I lived in vacation rentals. From 25-35, I was all over the place, literally. I got married ten days after getting engaged and lived out of a suitcase for six months. None of it could I have predicted.

And none of it could I have done with those two dogs together.

But with Gracie? We rocked it.

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
It was so long ago, my memory is hazy. There was no resource guarding that I recall, but I didn’t really know what I was doing, so maybe? There was definitely constant swapping of treats and toys. Whatever one had, the other wanted. They also barked hysterically together. And that persisted their whole lives. Gracie was an angel in the car unless Tucker was with her. If my parents and I ran an errand together and left them? Oh boy. We could hear them barking all the way across the parking lot. They just brought out the worst in each other.

The same thing would happen on walks. We’d have to cross the street if we saw a dog coming, and even then it was absolutely mortifying.

And the peeing. Ohhhh the peeing. It was like Gracie hadn’t been housetrained at all.

What I remember more than anything was just feeling in way over my head. And also, a little selfishly maybe, I remember feeling like I didn’t want my whole life to revolve around managing dogs.
View attachment 478379
Thank you for sharing your experience! There are times where I also feel a bit overwhelmed, but I have a strong feeling that I can surpass it. I don't know if it is justified or if I idealise it, but I am hopeful for the moment :) I'm not an expert, but ressource guarding seems natural to me (though not tolerable) and it seems to be trainable when a dog does it with a human, so I don't see how it could not be trainable with another dog. As for the nippy behavior, I hope that it will get better once his teething phase is done. He's a real little shark right now, even with us, humans.

I walk them together often and it's going well (Gustave is a bit barky at other dogs when he wants to greet them, but it's getting better and better every week). Charlie is barky, but I'm teaching Gustave to focus on me and not bark when she does and it seems to work quite well most of the time (he is very food motivated, which makes things easier). Potty training is going well for the moment, only a few accidents per week.

What I omitted in my post is that a week ago, Gustave got a leg sprain, so I'm restraining his physical exercice. That might have made things worse, as his physical energy is probably not all spent. Before the sprain, I had started to play fetch with him and it made an important difference in his energy level. He was a lot less pushy and nippy with Charlie.
 

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Anything we really want is worth fighting for! Wishing your little family the best. :) Peggy is a resource guarder (with both dogs and humans) and we had good luck implementing a protocol developed in collaboration with a behaviourist. We’ve focused on the issue of guarding resources from humans and choose (for now, at least) to just manage guarding from other dogs.

I agree it’s a natural behaviour and it’s good that you realize that. One of the most important questions our behaviourist asked was whether or not we punished Peggy for guarding or had ever driven her to bite. Luckily our answer was no. If we had, the protocol would have been very different and much more complex.
 

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Sometimes a dog needs to be in a single dog household. That being said, I can only share my experience. We have a 12 year old Bichon and an almost one year old poodle puppy. For the first month I was sure I made a terrible mistake. The puppy wanted to play all the time and super annoyed my older dog. My Bichon would run and hide if the puppy was in the room and it broke my heart. But after some time they got along and play several times daily. The vet says the playing keeps my dog young and I agree. Are they best friends today (9 months later)? No. But they co-exist and get along. Daily I spend special time with my older dog playing or snuggling and he gets everything first - food, play, treats, my attention - even though the puppy is clearly dominant. The puppy still annoys my Bichon all the time but now he just moves away or closer to me and more often than not, they are fine together. So I agree give it time (a few months) but if you must rehome do not feel guilty, you had no way of knowing how they'd get along.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
One of the most important questions our behaviourist asked was whether or not we punished Peggy for guarding or had ever driven her to bite. Luckily our answer was no. If we had, the protocol would have been very different and much more complex.
Hmm I don't punish her in the sense of scolding, but I do take the ressource she guards. For her bone, I take back the bone and give her a treat for exchange. If she guard the sofa, I put her down... I'll see with the behaviorist. And thank you for your encouragement 😊
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
So I agree give it time (a few months) but if you must rehome do not feel guilty, you had no way of knowing how they'd get along.
I will definitely rehome him if things do not improve, but I want to give it a try first! Thank you for sharing your experience
 

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I will definitely rehome him if things do not improve,
If it comes to this, and I hope it doesn't, review your contract with his breeder. You may have agreed to return him to them if you're unable to keep him.

I've skimmed thru the posts again but not closely. Has it been asked or mentioned if they're both getting enough sleep time, quiet time, and alone time?

It sounds like Gustave might have far too much freedom. At his young age, he should be kept restricted by tethering, expen, or crating, if you or another responsible adult aren't actively engaged with him. Draining his mental energy is equally important, possibly more, than draining physical energy. This little boy needs to earn his place.

That would also mean no unsupervised interaction with Charlie.

At the time of my experience with adding a second poodle, I knew nothing about resource guarding, and the other sorts of conflicts that might occur and not be fixable or livable.

I had a 13 year old miniature poodle girl. She was still clear of mind and sight and hearing but definitely slowing down physically.

Without consulting Missy, I brought a new puppy into our home.

Initially there was not a meeting of the minds. Puppy Sass was a pain in the rear for Missy and Missy had to find ways to escape. She started moving faster, then started jumping up on the sofa again to escape. It took a while, weeks, maybe even a couple of months but one day I noticed that instead of escaping, Sass was running with Missy chasing and it was Game on! They were good friends for the rest of Missy's life.

Sass definitely brought fun and activity and companionship to Missy thru her last years. Without even considering how it would affect Missy, I accidentally made a best possible decision for her. This isn't everyone's good luck but it was ours.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Has it been asked or mentioned if they're both getting enough sleep time, quiet time, and alone time?

It sounds like Gustave might have far too much freedom.
Yes, they do! You are right, I think Gustave had too much freedom, even though all their interactions were supervised. I now use the playpen a lot more frequently (for alone time, for chews, etc.) and things got better. Charlie is more tolerant now that he isn't always around her. Slowly, Gustave is starting to understand that Charlie does not like to get nipped, even for play. He is a lot less pushy.

I got my first appointment with the behaviorist and she gave us many exercises to work on jealousy, patience and ressource guarding. So far, it's going pretty well! Now that Gustave has healed from his sprain, I make sure to spend his physical energy first thing in the morning. It has made a HUGE difference!

I am hopefull for the future. I don't think they will ever become BFF, but they are doing much better together. Sometimes, Charlie even joins Gustave in his playpen :)

Thank you all for your help and insight!

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I am happy to see that the behaviorist gave you good strategies for helping them to build to a relationship that gives you a quiet multi-dog household. I don't love the picture though. First when you know they aren't reliable with each other I would not put them in a small enclosed space together. If something goes off the rails it will be really bad if neither of them can retreat to a safe space. Also (and forgive my not knowing which is which) but there is stress in the body language of the light colored dog. It is clearly avoiding contact with the other dog and is trying to actively send calming signals by showing its back to the dark colored dog. The light colored dog also looks pretty wide eyed (can't see in pic, but maybe showing whale eye (whites showing around rim)). Whale eye is definitely a stress signal. Please reconsider having them in the expen together. Having Charlie in the pen sets her back in her privileges and having them in the ex pen with the gate open gives Rufus privileges he hasn't earned.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
there is stress in the body language of the light colored dog.
The cream one is Charlie. Yes, I'm aware that she is not yet comfortable with Gustave, so I'm very careful. The playpen was open and it's Charlie who joined Gustave, as strange as it may seems... I don't know why she goes in there if she is not comfortable. I will keep that in mind, thank you!
 

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The cream one is Charlie. Yes, I'm aware that she is not yet comfortable with Gustave, so I'm very careful. The playpen was open and it's Charlie who joined Gustave, as strange as it may seems... I don't know why she goes in there if she is not comfortable. I will keep that in mind, thank you!
It is strange that Charlie opted in on getting stressed, bu just so long as she opted in and you watch carefully then perhaps we can see some progress there. Then just make sure each of them always has a way to leave and hopefully over time things will get better. It took many months before Lily had much use for Javelin. Pictures of them together when he was a puppy show Lily working very hard to pretend he didn't exist. I look forward to hearing how things progress.
 

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While Alfie (my 13 year old toy) terrorizes Bode (my new pup), he did set the example for housebreaking and made it a simple task for me. Perhaps "terrorizes" is the wrong word. Probably just schooling the youngster.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
It is strange that Charlie opted in on getting stressed, bu just so long as she opted in and you watch carefully then perhaps we can see some progress there.
It might be because I sometimes treat her when she is tolerant with Gustave. Maybe she jumped in with the hope to get a treat, idk.
 
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