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Sally G.
Sally G., Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 9640
Experience:  Service /assistance dog trainer,Therapy dog evaluator and trainer, AKC evaluator, pet first aide and member of PAS Animal Response Team.
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I have a 6yr old Male intact Labrador and a 6 yr Great Dane

Customer Question

I have a 6yr old Male intact Labrador and a 6 yr Great Dane mix who is spayed, I am planning to have my male neutered in the next week or so. A few days ago i was asked if I wanted my aunts neighbors 1 yr old male neutered Husky who I had completely fallen in Love with about a month ago. When she told me that they were going to get rid of him because the man couldnt care for him and was going to take him to the shelter I couldn't get there fast enough and the thought of him ending up in a shelter was not acceptable. I didnt really think I was going to have a problem because my lab has always been so mellow and my female I thought would be ok with a male pup. Well I was wrong. I did the wrong thing and brought the pup to my house and immediately noticed my male dog was highly stressed as he was chasing and vocalizing (whimpering) He didnt try to bite him but I was familiar with the signs of stress but my female was growling at him and actually nipped at him. I thought that maybe I could just gradually get them used to one another in the hopes that after my male dog is neutered that they might get along. The thing is I am running out of time before the guy is forced to take him to the pound and I cant bring him home yet because I cannot take a chance that they would fight while I am at work. If I cant have them all in the house with us calmly It doesnt work for me. I love this puppy and he has really taken to me he is well behaved and sweet he just wants to play and did get submissive with my male dog. I really need to know if there is anything i can do to help them to get along or have I ruined my chances by not introducing them on nuetral ground before bringing him into the house. Please help me
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Sally G. replied 1 year ago.
Hello and welcome. This is just a short note to introduce myself or to request needed information for your problem. My name is ***** ***** I have been in the dog field for 25 years. I am a Therapy Dog & AKC Evaluator/trainer/ as well as an assistance/service dog trainer, specializing in behavior. It will be my pleasure to help you today.You may be able to have them meet on neutral territory and still have them be okay in the home. I would see the reaction on neutral territory and then I would gate off a spot in the home for the new dog to stay so your other two dogs are not forced to interact with him right away , but they are still seeing him and smelling his presence. I would also look into crating to keep all dogs safe while you are not in their presence. Sometimes bringing in an adult dog can cause chaos , the good news would be that this dog did submit to your older dog. If you can contain them in different spots when you are not at home and then take them out to open areas daily to get to know each other they may settle in just fine.I would also be training the resident dogs daily in obedience because when you have more than one dog it is important that commands be listened to by all dogs. A good command to have all dogs learn is 'leave it' as this can stop trouble before it starts. Putting the other dogs on the learn to earn program should help as well because this furthers your status among them. Training and the learn to earn show consistency to dogs, consistency helps to build security in where each dog stands in the home by putting them all on an even playing field. I would do positive obedience training using something like hot dog slivers as the reward along with the dog's dry kibble, Use the kibble throughout the day but with a gate between the dogs do a few sits, down and stays, while rewarding with a hot dog sliver. This way you are not only training but you are also giving your dog something special when this new dog is near them. This may have them view the new dog as something good.I am going to direct you to sites on clicker training which is positive based training and put my article on the learn to earn program below.Clicker training/positive method training/ print off video’s to see how clicker training is done, scroll down to videos Reactions to Actions or Learn to EarnCopyright Sally G In some instances with training depending on how well the dog responds to the above training you may also want to incorporate a type of ‘learn to earn’ training as well. What learn to earn training means is that you are taking charge of their entire life’s wants and needs. No more free food is put down in front of them. Keep the daily dose of food in a closed tin in the area where the dog is fed, call the dog to you and ask him to sit. When he sits, he gets a handful of food. Do this throughout the day using any command that the dog knows and the dog must obey that command in order to get some food. You will also take control of when the dogs can play. The toys should have been put away before this but if they were not, put all toys away, then when you are ready to play take out a toy and play with the dog, when you decide play is over put the toy away again. Petting does not come to them just because they nudge you, you decide when this takes place, which means you would call them to you and pet them at your discretion and ask that a command be obeyed . If they nudge to be petted, you ignore that, but you can give the dog a command at any time to obey and reward that behavior with petting. Again you always want to reinforce a behavior you have asked for. So even though you know the dog has nudged you to be petted, you don’t have to totally ignore the dog, in fact this is the perfect opportunity to turn that nudge into a trick or command and praise and reward the dog for that. Anything your dog takes for granted such as you opening the door to let it out, putting on a leash to go for a walk, allowing it to walk though a door before you, etc. these are all privileges to a dog that come naturally due to the human’s repetitive actions over time but many humans don’t realize this. So before you go through that door put the dog in a sit or wait and you walk through first then invite the dog to walk through. Again this should be rewarded with praise. Before you put the leash on you ask for a sit stay. Furniture is a no, no for dogs that have aggressive tendencies because it puts them in a higher charge over the others in the home, even children. Dogs should not just be allowed on the couch without specific invitation if at all. This need to be close and cuddle is more a human thing than a dog thing. Dogs do like to be close to the one they love and respect, but sitting on the floor next to that person will be enough to please them. This is not to say that no dog should ever be allowed on a couch, it is perfectly fine if you have stable easy going dogs. It is when there are problem dogs in the home that furniture should be off limits to all dogs. As mentioned above, in most cases dogs have developed habits that some owners allowed and gave in to over time but did not realize it. What might be helpful to the owner is to sit and make a list of all the good things your dog gets for free by an action that you have let the dog do for years. This will help you to turn those free behaviors into commands or tricks that can earn a reward. When the dog tries that action to get the desired reaction from you, stop and think, did I call the dog over to be petted? Did I tell the dog it is time to go out and that is why he brings the leash? Did I say let’s play so that is why he dropped the ball in my lap? All of those actions got the dog reactions in the past usually in a positive beneficial way to the dog. So now it is time to turn that all around. Keep in mind that dogs do what works for them and if it stops working they usually stop doing it. So when they growl or snap at you when you reach for that bone, it usually works as the human won't take it. I would never suggest to take anything from a growling dog, merely explaining that this works for the dog so therefore they do it. Using the learn to earn program does not really give them a chance to become possessive. Dogs that are well balanced within a group to begin with do not really need any of the above things to change; it is your right to spoil a well rounded dog! It is only homes with dogs in it that have social limitations around other dogs that should need the above direction.
Expert:  Sally G. replied 1 year ago.
I will be away from my desk for the morning but if you have any questions feel free to come back and ask and I will get back to you as soon as possible.
Expert:  Sally G. replied 1 year ago.
Hi Kathie,

I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?

Sally G.