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I need to ask for some additional information. Once I receive your responses, it will likely take 30-40 minutes to type my response. I hope you can be patient.
Can you tell me which dogs are spayed or neutered?
Have any of the dogs been obedience trained by you?
Is Memphis along on furniture?
How about the other dogs?
When was Memphis' last health exam?
Was bloodwork done?
If baily is not spayed, is he in heat by any chance?
Is this a recent problem of pretty much present from the beginning?
This not a recent problem. He has been cold and grumpy towards her from the beginning. We initially corrected him when he growled at her. but we changed/corrected our thinking on the issue and WE make Bailey adhere to his growls , which she does.
Memphis typically gives a low warning growl when she comes with-in a few feet of him. Baily then will go away from him.
Memphis - 8yr old Cocker Spaniel - neutered -allowed on furniture
Charlie - 5yr old Cocker Spaniel -neutered-allowed on furniture
Bailey - 11/2 yr old German Shpd. -spayed-no furniture - to big & fur
We have obedience trained them (not professionally) they listen fairly well. To regular commands
All have had their normal check-ups in spring. No blood work drawn.
Thanks for the additional information. It is helpful. I'd probably start with a vet visit to ensure there is no medical cause for the issue. I don' think it is but with an elderly dog, it would be a good idea.
Memphis is the alpha male of the house. It is his job to make sure the rest of the pack acts correctly. The problem is that he is a relatively small dog and Baily is a much larger dog. Since she is female, she will likely not challenge him for the alpha position, but may still test his authority which would lead to him growling at her. I really would work with both dogs daily on obedience. This helps each dog realize that you are the ultimate boss and if you say no growling or interaction, etc. they will be expected to comply with your wishes. While they listen good, I am going to give you a site that is helpful for obedience training. Be sure and click on the link to the page on obedience at the bottom. and links on subsequent pages leading to detailed instructions.
Training works best if you train at least 30 minutes a day (two 15 minute sessions). I would start making your dogs work via the Nothing in life is free program (NILF). It also establishes you as the boss. It is outlined below.
You have been doing a pretty good job from your description, but I do think you need to tweak it a little. I would keep leashes on both of them and give reprimands to Memphis when he growls and to Baily if she disrespects Memphis either by jumping toward him, trying to get your attention before he does, taking his toys, etc. If you start reprimanding her for the things that he is reprimanding her for, he shouldn't have to act that way toward her. It will be difficult because you will have to keep a close eye on her. This reprimand should be a short tug and firm "NO". This is negative reinforcement for unwanted behavior.
I also want you to provide positive reinforcement in the form of hot dog slices when the dogs are acting the way you want them to. If you see Baily get a little too close, reprimand her but if Memphis didn't growl, reward him. If she starts to go toward him but stops and moves away on her own with no warning growl, reward both of them because they are acting the way you want. If by some chance they do play, praise them and give them nice tasty hot dog slices. I use them because most dogs love them and will work for them while they might not obey for just your every day store bought treats.
You will need to be consistent, but this should help the situation. I should also let you know that since she is maturing pretty fast, it would likely be solved on its own in just another year as she settled into adulthood.
In addition, if the situation is not improving using the techniques I've provided, you may have to consult a professional behaviorist. You can usually find a behaviorist by asking your Vet for a recommendation or you may be able to find one using the following site.
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Thank you Jane for your response. We will definintly start putting your suggestions to work. I am extremely glad that you stated:
"I should also let you know that since she is maturing pretty fast, it would likely be solved on its own in just another year as she settled into adulthood."
I had thought the same, but feel much better hearing it coming from someone in your position. I was just looking for some answers for the present that we could do now. I have booked marked the links and printed copy of your answer for us to start working with our furry ones.