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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 19832
Experience:  Behaviorist /Trainer and Dog breeder 18+ years
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I have two chilwieniees, one boy, one girl. I have had them

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I have two chilwieniees, one boy, one girl. I have had them both for two years, they are brother and sister. They have always played together now they are scared of each other , they want sit anywhere near each other and if I make them they both shake. They want even look at each other. any advice
Hi Jacustomer,
My name is Jane. I have been working professionally with animals especially dogs in both health and behavioral issues for over 18 years. I have over 14,000 satisfied customers. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.
In order to supply you with the best information, I do need to ask for some additional information. Once I receive your answer, it will likely take me about 30-45 minutes to type up your response. I hope you can be patient.
Are they fighting with each other?
Have they ever fought with one another?
Who is the larger dog?
Are they fixed?
When did they stop playing with one another?
If she isn't fixed, when was her last heat cycle?
Have they had any obedience training?
Do you walk them?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

they do not fight with each other, once in awhile they have when they running together, Maggie is the bigger one, they have both been fixed. they have had no obedience training, I do not walk them


Thank you for the additional information. It is helpful. Dogs that are littermates start very young determining who is the more dominant dog and they have many mock battles and these eventually help determine which dog is the boss. When dogs are younger, they are playful and expend a lot of their excess energy in play. Once they mature, they do tend not to play as much as they did earlier and start acting more like adults. Adult dogs do not invade each other's space without the other dogs permission.
So I suspect that since they were littermates and she is the larger dog, there is no clear alpha. Normally the male would be alpha and I'm not saying he isn't, but since they were littermates, his position isn't as clear cut as it would have been if they had not always been around each other. There is some things you can do to help them become more comfortable with each other.
I'm going to suggest that you treat the dog you feel is the alpha differently then the other one. Feed that dog first, give treats to that dog first and show affection to that dog first. Be sure that dog goes out first and comes in first. When the other dog sees you acknowledging his alpha place, then they will be more likely to become comfortable with being the submissive member of the household. Often owners will try to be fair and try to rotate who gets what first, but dogs are not like humans and that behavior just confuses them.
I do suggest that you have them obedience trained. It makes them more comfortable around people and other dogs as they get socialization at classes. That also gives them self confidence. You can start at home, but classes are a must to help them become better adjusted. The following site is helpful for teaching you how to train your dog. 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 dog work via the Nothing in life is free program (NILF). It is outlined below.
I suggest hot dog slices as treats for training. They are messy but dogs love them and if you slice them paper thin, they give you 30 or more treats easily. The oil stays on your hand and keeps the dog interested in you even without the treat.
I'm also going to suggest that you start walking them together on a regular basis. This helps them be close to each other without being right next to each other since you will likely be between the. You can also take them to places where there are other dogs around. You do not need to let them play with the other dogs but do let them get close enough to see them. This will help them bond closer together as a pack as a pack to show a united front to the other dogs.
I would not force them to interact with one another. It just causes more stress in an already stressful situation. As you start showing preference to the alpha dog and walk them together and institute some of the other suggestions, you should see them naturally becoming closer to one another and possibly playing again.
I hope this information is helpful to you and you are satisfied with my response. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have .
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