Help! 2 dogs in household

Posted by TJay
Sep 22, 2009
Really appreciate anyone giving advice on my issues...

I have a 2 yr old female maltese which is super hyper and loves to run around. She's very active and cant seem to sit still in one place for a long time.

Now here's my problem: I recently gotten a 3 month old female chow chow and I am having lots of problem socialising both dogs. My chow will always try to play and bite the maltese. Although I know that the chow is a puppy and is just playing, due to the size of the maltese I am scared that the chow will unintentionally hurt the maltese. The chow will run around chasing the maltese and will always bite the maltese's tail. The maltese will then get very barky and will react very fiercely to the chow chow by biting on the chow chow's ears. This will anger the chow and the 'play' will turn aggressive with both dog growling at each other.

I will usually let them be, until i see that the play has gotten too rough and I will then stop them both.

When I hold the maltese, the chow will follow around and when i stopped walking, the chow will sit in front of me. This is where the disturbing part comes in. The chow will look at the maltese in the exact same way she will look when I bring her food bowl during feeding time.

All these causing me to really wonder if I am able to train them to get along well with each other or will my maltese get hurt one day? My partner is urging me to give away the chow, but I really love her and want to keep her.

Any suggestions?
Posted by KOPsarah
Sep 28, 2009
hi Tjay and thanks for your post,
You have a tricky situation here at the moment but with a little work you should be able to have two happy well adjusted dogs in no time. It sounds like your dogs are having trouble deciding who is the boss. When you pick one dog up on your lap you are implying to the dogs that that one is the boss. Similarly when you feed or greet one dog first you are suggesting that that dog is in charge. You can see how if you greet or feed one dog first one day and then another another day your dogs will be very confused. In your situation I would recommend making the maltese the higher dog as it is older. To make the order clearer to your dogs have both dogs sit and wait before feeding and then feed the maltese first and then the chow. When you get home ignore both dogs initially and then greet the maltese first and then the chow. If either dog misbehaves for example becomes aggressive with the other immediately put the dog that misbehaved in a separate room for a 3 minute time out. This will show both dogs that aggression is not acceptable and will help nip fights in the bud before they can begin.

I hope this helps, and if you have any further questions please don't hesitate to ask.
Posted by smallzoo
Oct 1, 2009
We have a slightly similar situation and I wondered if your solution is the same. We have a 2yr old estrela with a number of behavioural issues with strangers coming to the house but with dogs off the lead and outside he is brilliant. Just last night we were given a puppy to look after from a friend who has personal problems ( the owner not the dog ! ) its a 14week old Bichon Frise. Our dog is 12st and big !. 95% of the time his is brilliant withe puppy but it seems ( maybe understandably ) he gets a bit fed up and when the puppy goes to sniff him when he is lying down he starts growling

A number of people have said this is normal dog pack stuff but what do you think.. should we stop it now or allow them to sort it out ?


Posted by kjd
Oct 1, 2009
Keep your eye on it, but this just sounds like the older dog needs some peace from the younger dog.

Imagine yourself exhausted from work and your 2 yr old nephew keeps coming at you to play -- jumping on you, pulling your eyelids up. I suspect you'd end up growling if lesser warnings didn't work.

And that is what you have to check -- if the growling doesn't work, the older dog might escalate his show of dissatisfaction. If, however, the younger dog stops immediately at the growl, there shouldn't be any problem.
Posted by TJay
Oct 26, 2009
Hey all.. thanks for the advice and suggestions. I have tried all methods in making the maltese the alpha dog. But due to the difference in size, the chow chow can easily control the maltese. From my observations when they are together I realised the following: the maltese tend to 'taunt' the chow chow. The maltese will try to get near to the chow, but when the chow comes close, she will run around and the chow will chase her. The problem is that once the maltese gets too hyper, she seems to irritate the chow. Haha. Things are getting better now.. they will chase each other for abt 15 mins after which they will lie down next to each other, provided the maltese doesnt get up and run around again.. then the whole thing will start again.