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It happened in the past that Beckie was growling a bit at Merlin while she was on my lap and he was too close (to me) to her taste. Not often, and I didn’t allow it because she doesn’t own me. She has to share.

Today was a little different. Merlin was looking at me with insistance, head lowered, wanting to come on my lap. He was close to me, lying straight on the couch. I didn’t allow it because I was too hot. Beckie was next to me too, closer to me and Merlin right next to her. She was sitting.

She started growling steadily, lowering and tilting her head and looking at him. Merlin was still beggingly looking at me to come on my lap, looking pitiful. I could tell she was serious about her warning and getting ready to correct him. So I told her to stop and she did, but I had to insist. I put her on my lap to separate them but she was still annoyed and growling a bit. I put Merlin on a blanket a few inches farther away so he would settle down and Beckie then stopped.

I’m wondering if she was trying to tell him to stop looking at me with insistance ? Maybe trying to enforce my words? Does that make sense ?

I hope I haven’t created a brat. She is so cute she can get away with more sometimes. I’m trying not to have favorites and I love them both equally but Beckie has a little something that is hard to resist.
 

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I think it sounds like fairly typical resource guarding. She was closer to you and was claiming that space.

When I had a male and female in the same house, I tended to gravitate to my female, too, which made it hard sometimes to enforce rules around resources. And I'm not an expert on this (not by a long shot!) but I'm not sure it's a bad thing to allow one dog a more prized place in the home, as long as it's the dog that's more naturally dominant.

When you mess with those natural dynamics is when things can get kinda wonky.

But I'd still probably make it clear to Beckie that the human controls the couch or chair or wherever you were sitting. Gracie twice in her life gave a very subtle indication that she was guarding me from boyfriends who were leaning over to hug me—once on a couch, once in a bed—and both times I sent her straight onto the floor.

You just don't want to erratically enforce this stuff, because that can create confusion/insecurity and escalate the behaviour.
 

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You just don't want to erratically enforce this stuff, because that can create confusion/insecurity and escalate the behaviour.
Exactly. When I got her, I made sure Merlin was always fed first, had treats first and so on. Because he was here first.

We’ll see how it goes. If she keeps doing this she will be sent on the floor for sure. I can’t allow this. Merlin needs protection, and I will be here for him. Just like I am for Beckie.
 

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I feel like smaller dogs have that ability bc their actions aren’t as overwhelming. It was hard to train Gia bc most people thought it was cute and praised her when she jumped on them to say hi but if she was a huge dog it’d be unacceptable.
 

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I am assuming that Gracie is female and Merlin is male. In that situation the female almost always asserts dominance. Gotta keep those boys in line!

Seriously, though, in every group of dogs we have ever had the leader is always a tough female. She usually has to subject the others to a certain amount of mauling to secure her reign. This usually looks much worse that it is. That said, if two females decide to duke it out, that can be the very worst kind of dog fight with real injuries. It's not common, thankfully.
 

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I am assuming that Gracie is female and Merlin is male. In that situation the female almost always asserts dominance. Gotta keep those boys in line!
Yes, Beckie is female and Merlin is male. She sure is the boss ! :)
 

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I have 3 females, and the 3.5 pound rules the roost, they all get along, as I di d as someone mentioned, firtst one here goes first on everything, so we have a pecking order.
 
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