New puppy and my 22 mo female Aussie is biting

Posted by ellen9997
Jan 18, 2011
I have a new Aussie male puppy, 3 3/4 months old. I have had him for almost 2 months. I also have a 22 mo female Aussie who up to now has been very well trained and not aggressive except rarely around food if one of the kids grabs her by the collar if she gets into the food cannister, not the bowl.
She has a love / hate relationship around the puppy, but cannot have special treats, or be fed near the puppy. I am alpha in all situations and can always take food or treats away. My husband is now claiming that she is a dangerous dog because the dog bit my daughter ( didn't break skin) and growled at her the other night as she tried to get the dog's head out of the food canister ( since moved out of reach). We are doing dominance exercises with my daughter, the dog is otherwise fine and not acting strangely, what should I do and how much should I worry?
Posted by KOPCaroline
Jan 19, 2011
Hey Ellen,

First off, great start with dominance training with your daughter and working through the individual problems coming up!

This sort of behavioural change is relatively common with the addition of a new dog. Is your 22month female spayed? It might be partially due to hormones/pheromones if not, and fixing one or the other could help.

Some fighting between the two dogs is totally normal. Typically fighting to establish who's boss doesn't get very rough, shouldnt draw blood or anything between the dogs, but it can sound very intense. Figure out amongst your family where your cut off point is for seperating the two dogs if one starts acting aggressively or dominant or is just picking on the other, keep them apart about 10 minutes or so, then put them back together again.

You should identify which dog will be the top dog (I'm guessing your female), and help to establish her rank over the other dog by feeding this one first, giving this one attention first, etc. Its just about establishing an order that helps to establish between your dogs which is boss dog, and smooths out the transition period you're in now.

Its totally acceptable, and common in many of the dog households I know, to feed seperately (as in feed in two different areas, you can still feed one dog before the other or at the same time). Try walking the two together to bond them a bit, as there are distractions and smells and sounds to pay attention to, not so much each other.

Overall, I wouldnt be too terribly worried, try some of my suggestions and see if they help. If not, we'll regroup Like I said, I think this behaviour is pretty common for new puppy arrivals into a house with a dog already, including acting out against other family members (and as you said, your female was known to act out against being pulled from the food canister before the puppy came home, so it might just be that shes a bit more testy). Hope things smooth out!
Posted by ellen9997
Jan 19, 2011
The older puppy is spayed, I do walk them together every day for at least an hour off leash and feed them in separate rooms. I try to let the female be the dominant dog, but I actually think the male will ultimately win out. He is not at all intimidated by her and gives her back a bit of her own. Is it normal for the female to grab grim by the neck and cheek and shake him? She does this if we are playing together and when they are coming in from outside. In addition to this there is loud barking...
Posted by KOPCaroline
Jan 21, 2011
Hey ellen,

I do think thats normal, thats what my dog did to my flatmates when they were younger and playing together. We cut it off when they starting barking or growling excessively loudly, but that was just our preference. I do think biting and shaking is a normal play behaviour, as is barking. You'll know when it turns serious, someone will squeal and try to get out of it.
Posted by ellen9997
Jan 22, 2011
Ok, I'll just keep an eye on things for now.
Thanks for your advice.