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So, our new poodle, Tessa, who's 2, has been running circles around our poor older dog, Theo, who's a 10 year old Airedale Terrier. We thought for sure he'd be the dominant one, but I think she's wearing the pants in the relationship.

Is it okay for her to be the "boss" if he doesn't seem bothered by it, or should we be encouraging Tessa to somehow be submissive to Theo?

When they are play fighting and trying to dominate each other, Tessa does this weird thing where she turns in a circle in front of Theo and basically puts her but in his face. Is this a submissive thing (ie. go ahead and mount me), or is it her way of being dominant?

This two dog thing is definitely a learning curve!!
 

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You can let them work out their own relationship, as long as they are only play fighting. My dog and cat do it all the time, and I can tell by the cat's demeanor and body language when he's had enough. And he lets the dog know it and the dog backs off. It's kind of amazing to watch, actually.

I don't know how long you've had Tessa, but you really want to make sure she knows that the humans in the house are The Boss, so if you see that she's annoying Theo a little too much, you can tell her to leave him alone and she will obey. I think the main thing is that you don't want her to start thinking that because she has dominated Theo, she can dominate the whole family too.

As for the butt thing, I have no idea what she's doing. LOL
 

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You can let them work out their own relationship, as long as they are only play fighting. My dog and cat do it all the time, and I can tell by the cat's demeanor and body language when he's had enough. And he lets the dog know it and the dog backs off. It's kind of amazing to watch, actually.

I don't know how long you've had Tessa, but you really want to make sure she knows that the humans in the house are The Boss, so if you see that she's annoying Theo a little too much, you can tell her to leave him alone and she will obey. I think the main thing is that you don't want her to start thinking that because she has dominated Theo, she can dominate the whole family too.

As for the butt thing, I have no idea what she's doing. LOL
She's only been here since Sunday afternoon. I get what you're saying about knowing her order of importance of the family. I noticed her bumping the kids when they were running around with her, like she was kind of herding them, and while the kids loved it, I think it was her way of bossing them around, so I'm going to nip that one in the bud.
 

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I would limit the playing as poor Theo is an older man and needs his space and down time. It's better for you to step in and separate them while they are still playing, than Theo needing to step up for himself and put Tessa in her place. That is how fights start.
 

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Even play fighting can get rough, so I would correct this as it happens. I always say if it doesn't feel right........maybe step in and reroute them. Dogs tend to work things out BUT because Theo is older his patience may be a little thin.

Good luck and congrats on your new spoo!
 

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When we got our 2 yr old spoo our 11 yr old Border Collie didn't seem to be reacting to her desire to play and seemed to be getting pushed around. We let it go, Keelyn has always seemed to be submissive. However, I think Keelyn (the BC) was ignoring the new dog b/c she thought Ginger (the spoo) would go home soon and wasn't worth the effort. After a couple of days and some human encouragement she joined in the play. It didn't take long for Keelyn to establish what she would tolerate and what was out of bounds and even though she's much smaller she's the boss. Some people think it is odd that Keelyn comes through doors last and things like that if she's the boss but she's a herding dog and she's just bringing in her herd. If Ginger tries to turn and go back that's not allowed. Keelyn makes all the decisions about when to play, if she doesn't want to she snaps and Ginger submits. She does instigate play as well so she's chosen the role she wants in their relationship. Both dogs still look to my husband and myself to alpha role and listen quite well so we've never had to worry about that. If either of us say quit they both quit and come over for reassurance that they're still good girls.
 

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Putting her fanny in his face is a submissive thing. I think she is just trying to play, but Standards play so hard that it may be too much for the old man. I don't let my dogs rough house inside and outside, I encourage them to run around with a toy rather than wrestle with each other.
 

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Putting her fanny in his face is a submissive thing. I think she is just trying to play, but Standards play so hard that it may be too much for the old man. I don't let my dogs rough house inside and outside, I encourage them to run around with a toy rather than wrestle with each other.


Same here. We don't allow any type of roughhousing inside. Outside, we watch them run and play; which usually involves a favorite toy and a game of keep-away. As soon as we see them getting rambunctious, we step in and stop it and redirect. If it continues, playtime is over. Like when Alfie got tethered to a tree on an outing because he was too excited to listen.

We have seen displays of dominance over one another in our pack where it got rough. We quietly go up to them and send them off to do something else.
 
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