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Uh oh, visiting family brought a dog into the house, and it's chaotic

1382 Views 9 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  katsdogworld
Sorry for the lengthy post!! I would really appreciate it if you read and gave some input or advice for me. Please?? :)

My sister is visiting for thanksgiving. She brought along with her her adult chihuahua, Gracie. Desmond LOVES chihuahuas. A lot. Every time there's one at the DP he plays with them and just loves being around them. He's met Gracie before and she hated him last time they were around each other (July) but he really liked her. She growls and snarls and barks at him whenever he is near. Desmond is kind of dense though and doesn't get that she hates him. He gets really riled up when she does this and pounces everywhere trying to play... he tries desperately to smell her and play with her but she runs away and growls at him if he does.

I have him tethered to me at the moment (on a harness) but he lunges for her ALL the time. Really hard too, it's very unlike him. And when they're in another room and he knows they're there, he whines and sighs and tries to get at them... it's awful. He's so distracted and he hardly listens to me at all. He will listen if I tell him to sit or down, but if he's already excited he won't leave her be unless I physically pull him away. He's very determined to swarm her constantly. It's so stressful because we can't have the dogs together without Desmond constantly trying to get near Gracie, and we can't put the chi upstairs- Gracie has SA so she's constantly whining and freaking out if she isn't right with my sister... Desmond will bark and whine if I put him in my room because he knows she's downstairs... aughhh... I put him in his crate last night and Gracie would run by and bark and growl at him and get him really riled up for NO reason... My sister always says "Eh eh Grace!" and moves her away whenever she growls. She's trying to keep the peace as well, both of our dogs are acting up and nothing we do is helping much.

Any ideas for getting the two to settle down?! Both of them are terrorizing each other and it's really stressful for me and my sister and the dogs. She's going to be here until next Sunday and I really don't want to have to dealw with constantly dragging Desmond away from her all week.
The only thing that actually worked in keeping Desmond away from Gracie was the Everlasting Treat Ball (he went NUTS for that treat lol) but I got him one that was too small so he popped the treat out within seconds... gonna go return it for a bigger one today. We got Desmond another bone and a new toy (which he promptly ripped up) to distract him but he didn't show much interest in the bone. The Everlasting Treat was amazing though, it was peaceful for like 20 minutes but as soon as he ate the whole thing it was back to being hechtic.
I have a feeling if he could just sniff her for a minute or so, he would be able to calm down a lot, but I doubt Gracie would let him. :/ Once he sniffs a dog he can be like "Alright, mission complete" and wouldn't be so intensely trying to get at her.
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I've seen on the Dog Whisperer where he would take the defensive little dog and hold its butt up to the friendlier dog, so that it would establish a little dominance for the friendly dog and kind of put the snippy dog in its place.

I don't know if that would work, or if someone would get their hands bitten off in the process, but good luck! I kinda think it's a little inconsiderate of your sis to not consider how Gracie's presence affects Desmond. She could easily keep Gracie in a carrier bag right next to her while she's at your house. That way, Des could sniff her through the bag and not get bitten. Then he could just forget she's there and go about his business.
My sister always says "Eh eh Grace!" and moves her away whenever she growls. She's trying to keep the peace as well, both of our dogs are acting up and nothing we do is helping much.
Just a thought on this--it could be that she is inadvertently rewarding Gracie's behavior when she does this, depending on how she does it. Sometimes picking up a little dog at that moment empowers them. I think she should use the verbal correction, pick her up and move her away, but don't hold her. I think a short time out might be the way to go. I don't think it would take many times until the Chi got the message that if she is mean to Des, she has to be by herself and stop doing it.

But having said that, I'm not a pro dog trainer or behaviorist! Just trying to offer what I would try in that situation. :)
If it were me I'd just let them have at it, as long as he is not trying to hurt her I'd say let him get it out of his system and let Gracie establish her place in the pack. He seams just excited to have another dog around.

We currently have a border (whom is a Chihuahua) and she is an only dog at her house so coming into our pack she was growly and nippy but after everyone sniffed and Chiquita (the Chi) set her boundaries everyone is fine.

Let them be and see how it goes.
Yeahh Marian she does pick her up, but she doesn't hold her... if that makes any sense. She holds her away from her body and faces her away from Desmond. If she's on the couch she moves her to stare at the corner for a few seconds and then lets go. Grace does it again she does the same thing, but Gracie is very persistent... She doesn't seem to take the correction seriously.
We could try the butt-sniffing thing. I don't know if my sister would like the idea at all, but hey it's worth a shot to ask. :lol:

Gracie also does have a crate, but again she gets very anxious when she's not with my sister over here. It's because she's in such an unfamiliar place and she feels threatened- my sister says she's not anxious at all about that stuff back home. I will ask her if we can try those though. Desmond could get the sniffing in without having to chase her all over the house, and the ordeal would be over much quicker for poor Gracie lol.
PP- I kind of do that... xD I don't correct Desmond unless he's not listening to me, because he really isn't doing anything wrong when he goes towards Gracie to sniff her, so I feel like correcting him would be silly (he could think that sniffing dogs is bad in mommy's eyes and that would just be confusing for him). I let him be until Grace starts freaking out and then Laura (my sister) steps in to stop Gracie from "being a bully" lol.
They kind of bounce back and forth, Desmond play bowing like crazy and wagging his tail and Gracie with her ears back, lunging at him and then backing away and then lunging again. She barks and growls and snarls, but she doesn't have many teeth (puppy mill rescue) so she couldn't really hurt him if she bit him, but still we don't want her behaving like that.
Well I think if your sis were a considerate guest she would keep her dog secluded or work on her behavior. You shouldn't have to have your dog tethered in his own home. I find the Chi behavior super irritating. She is going to "mouth off" to the wrong dog someday and her mom needs to take this seriously. I'm planning on taking Harley to my brother's next week and he will be crated a good portion of the time b/c my brother's dog, Hawg, doesn't like him. IMO, it's Hawg's house and he shouldn't be put out anymore than he absolutely has to.

I could write pages about issues w/ visiting dogs. When my brother visits he brings all of his dogs, including Hawg who is an 80lb pitbull and horrible on a leash. Their Poodle wasn't doing so well w/ the housebreaking last time they were here either and he was still in his hyper puppy stage. My brother's inlaws live 45 mins from us and they don't want any animals in their house, so I'm expected to watch their dogs, when they visit them. (I don't remember ever being asked if I mind.) I refuse to walk Hawg b/c they haven't worked w/ him on a leash and he's just too powerful for me. He goes on a tie-out, when he needs to go out. As I mentioned the Spoo in very energetic and wasn't housebroken last time they visited. I couldn't convince my brother that he wasn't staying out w/ Paddy long enough for him to relieve himself and use up some energy. I honestly preferred when my bro and SIL were gone b/c I was in control of potty breaks and took Paddy for a couple of walks a day. No accidents and he was an angel.
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Oh goodness, I didn't mean to make my sister out to be irresponsible! :( In fact she's very dedicated to helping Gracie's behavior (who has undoubtedly come a long way since her first visit... before we had Des she would bite at my brothers and growl & bark whenever anyone moved around etc. she's gotten much better, she just focuses all her frustrations on my dog now haha). Laura is very consistent and firm and tries her best to keep Gracie under control. She definitely is not one of those chi owners who lets them get away with stuff cause they're little and "couldn't hurt if they tried". Gracie's just a very upset and suspicious Chi but her behavior is taking a while to fix.

I won't lie- I do wish she was crated more, but I figure that would just make her more stressed and put off the dogs getting along. I figure we will give them more time to get acclimated... Even if she growls and barks we think she may get used to him over time. We tried the butt sniffing thing and it did help Desmond!! He got that good sniff in and wasn't so desperate to be all over her anymore.

Desmond will probably be very upset on Monday and Tuesday while I'm at school. He's not used to being crated for the day with other people (especially guests...ESPECIALLY another dog) active in the house. Maybe I will move his crate upstairs so he's not in the middle of the living room.
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Glad the butt sniffing helped Desmond. I have a crazy idea and I don't know if it would work or not, but I wonder what would happen if you did that a few more times, but this time give Gracie a treat if she tolerates it without growling.

Make a positive association for her, in other words.
Monroe has a special thing for wee lil' dogs too, but I've found it best to just let the dogs work it out. Monroe moves really quick so he seems to be able to get out of the way of those lil nippy jaws, and it seems like once the lil dogs are able to assertt their personal space, then the tension dissapates.
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