Posted by keepnhope
Jan 11, 2011
I picked this username for 2 reasons 1) 2 dogs Hope & Keeper 2) because I keep hopin they will become the dogs I want them to be.

Brief background:
Hope adopted 4-2009 approx 9 mnths old from a rescue (was going to be put down because she did not pass "the test" at the pound..went to ACD rescue which is where I got her from.) have been through 3 obedience classes, 1 manners & 2 agility & ongoing obedience a few times.

Keeper adopted 8-2010 approx 9 months old found running along an interstate, spent the night outside at a ladies house then home with me, my hubby & Hope. Got along well, no one claimed Keeper so we named her & kept her. Keeper is also an australian cattle dog a little bigger then Hope in size, about the same in weight.
They started getting a bit more aggressive in their play after Keeper settled in, We would stop this & I went to a dog forum & asked how rough is too rough. Got a lot of mixed responses. They have drawn blood on each other but I feel lately they are listening to me better & have stopped when I tell them enough.

Current big problem; walking Keeper....She started getting super excited on walks with seeing squirrels, people, other dogs, barking dogs she can't see.
When she gets this way if I am walking both dogs Keeps will nip/bite at Hope, bark shrilly, jump & lunge, the attack will be at both of us when I correct. If Hope is not with us she will nip, bite,etc me. I have bruises where she has gotten me so therefore I started to muzzle her on walks. She will also lunge, bark the people or dogs. I used to walk them both & not have too much of a problem until Keeper started to, I imagine it is, feel like she needs to protect. I use calm assertiveness I feel; I stop & try to wait until she is calm. I have tried different methods & know I need to be consistent in something. I also realize I need to get Keeper into another obedience class, my hubby took her to 1 & really does not want to go again, she was bad....lunged other dogs. Both have been to the dog park but I quit taking them when there became too many issues with the aggressiveness to other dogs. If I tried to keep them on the leash they were more aggressive. I would wait it out times but when other dogs are coming up to them it is very difficult.
I just need someone to set me straight on what I should do & be consistent with. I need help. Should I always walk them seperate until I get this resolved?...and many other questions :confused:
Posted by MaxHollyNoah
Jan 11, 2011
Hi keepnhope,

Thank you for adopting the 2 nice ACDs! As you know there is no perfect dog so we need to deal with issues as we notice and of course sooner is always better.

Are you treating Hope as the first dog, I means treat her, greet her, etc. before Keeper? I think it is important, especially both of your dogs are female so there might be some conflicts between them once in a while.

Is Hope a rather confident dog? In other words, can she stays calm if Keeper gets out of control on the walks. It sounds like Keeper's aggression turns on when she gets too excited. Their rough house play also sounds like a result of her getting too excited. Dogs' plays can get pretty rough sometimes but like you, I am not so concerned about your dogs play fights.

I have a similar situation. I have 3 dogs and 2 older ones came from BC rescues and the boy, Noah (adopted Nov 2006), was with his foster mom since he failed the temperament test at the shelter. If his foster mom didn't take him he would have been put down. He gets aggressive due to lack of confidence towards other dogs. However, he trusts Holly, his "big sister" that we adopted in Aug 2004, and Holly is the only dog Noah can play rough house. When he does, it gets so rough that he dashes to and bangs to Holly from a distance but Holly can handle him pretty well. And Daisy, the youngest one, joins in the game They also makes noises like growling and barking so if someone who is not familiar with our dogs sees their play, he would think they are fighting. But I know they are not, because they stop right away when I say "that's enough!" or "time for dinner" or "let's go for a walk", etc.

As for the walking issue of Keeper, I would walk her without Hope for a while. Walking one dog is a great opportunity to correct her own issues: in this case, obsession to squirrels, people, other dogs, barking dogs she can't see. You can try to distract her from all those by having her sit and watch "you" and wait until she calms down. Are you using a short leash? I would use 4' leash and hold it even shorter when I see some distractions coming. You want to be well equipped with some treats too

Once she gets better at her walk, you might want to walk two dogs together but be always aware of distractions. It works much better if you proact when you see a dog coming this way. You can tell them "Easy" or "Be nice" or "Leave it" so that they can ignore those distractions.

I would continue with the obedience class with Keeper. In fact, my Noah had the same problems (barking/lunging/snapping at other dogs in the class) but I discussed with the instructor and he finished all the classes and he even passed CGC test. I am still taking him to those classes to maintain his good behaviors. He still reacts to some dogs but he is now under control since I know how to turn him to me and he has learned how to ignore other dogs. He has come a long way and I am proud of him

Please keep working on those issues and I am sure Keeper will grow out of it once she gains confidence. Good luck
Posted by keepnhope
Jan 11, 2011
I was talking with my hubby about establishing their hierchy. We are going to start treating Hope first. Last night she did get fed first because Keeper did not wait like she is suppossed to. very excited & barks before feeding time. I wait until she stops, sits, place the food & wait for her to make eye contact with me before I tell her ok take it. They scarf their food down. Sometimes Keeper will go over & nip Hope after done. I watch & correct that, Hope will growl & snap back. It is usually a short lived little fit.

If I correct Keeper, Hope is always going in to correct her after I do. Do I stop this or let it continue. I have been telling Hope no. Hope will listen times ok with Keeper running around but it is a struggle for her to stay by me & get calm. Hope herds....circles us in the dog park, circles any dogs playing then goes in for the nip. I tell her NO BITE firmly when I see her going in. We have only been taking them to a park when no one is there lately. I started to try & break her circling by herding her or trying to call her. She does not always come so I will try to break the circling by getting in her way. The circling does tire her out but I do not know if it is a good thing to allow her to do this. Hope is also very protective of me & jealousy has grown since Keeper is becoming more fond of me.

This is a question I hate to ask but feel I need to. Hope has pretty much always slept in bed with us. She will wait until I invite her usually but if I do not invite her in a short time she will jump up & curl up real quick. I have been telling her off if I have not invited her & will wait a minute or so & then invite her up. Keeper sleeps in the kennel still. I allow them to jump up & lay on the furniture. If we are on the furniture Hope will usually come up & sit looking me like can I come up. Keeper will usually just jump up & if they do without me asking I tell them off. How should I be handling I letting them think they are alpha because I let them up?

Another big issue is with Keeper barking..if I treat her for being quiet & don't keep giving her trerats she barks, I ignore & say quiet, she continues I will get up & walk away, sit back down & tell her quiet, she usually barks again...I am frazzled with it.

Thanks so much for the answers & encouragement. I really wanted dogs I could take to the park & hike with. having a hard time with these guys. I had Sheila an ACD for 16 years , my best friend...hardly ever even had her on a leash. Do not know how I did it. My hubby used to say I couldn't beat her off with a stick if I tried. She was always more attentive to me.
Posted by MaxHollyNoah
Jan 12, 2011
Hi keepnhope,

I am pleased to hear that you and your husband are working on straightening the pecking order and you are on top of their behavioral issues.

What I am going to write now is my personal opinion based on my personal experience and belief so please understand it can conflict with other people's opinions:

Letting your dogs get on your bed and furniture has nothing to do with raising their dominance. It is totally personal preference but I do let my dogs on the furniture. The key here is that they know they need to get off when asked. If they can obey our commands, I don't see any problems. If you want your dogs to get on them only when they are invited, train them to do so but please be consistent. Reprimand them each and every time they get on without being invited. If you fail to do this, they will think it's OK to decide on their own. They might be reluctant to get off once they settled and relaxed on the bed. That is not being dominant but just want to keep their resources, the comfort. However, you will have to bring them off the bed, once you ask them to. Failing this will give them a wrong idea that they are the one who can decide what to do. It is a good idea to practice "get on the bed" and "get off the bed" every day so that they get used to do what they are asked to do. I bet you used to let Sheila on your bed and furniture but she didn't act like being dominant, did she?

By the same token, I don't agree with the theory of eating before feeding your dogs in order to prevent the dogs from becoming dominant. I always feed my dogs BEFORE we eat, just because I don't see any reason to make them wait until we finish eating and also we want to enjoy our meals without thinking our dogs being hungry. We always have our dogs laying down on the floor when we eat so it would be so mean to eat in front of our hungry dogs. Are our dogs dominant? Not at all. It is all how you treat your dogs and how much trust you and your dogs have toward each other.

Unfortunately, I don't have any good advice about Keeper's barking - she sounds like my Holly. Holly is a very smart dog and she is a A+ student at the dog training classes. However, she is a big barker, mostly because of her excitement. It is hard to stop her barking when it is an excitement bark. I have tried all kinds of things and methods but not very successful.

As for Hope correcting Keeper after you correct Keeper, I would stop it as well. Just because make sure that all reprimand/correction comes from you, human leader, not from her sister. Even though I have multiple dogs and foster dogs, I want to have closer relationship with each one of my dogs than the relationship between the dogs. I want to be at the top of the pyramid to control them so that all the dogs can live in harmony. In order to do this, I am trying to spend one on one time with each of my dogs whenever I can. I often take one dog for walk, shopping, training, etc.

I hope this will help you but again every owner has a different idea so I hope someone else will give you different views. I love ACDs and herding dogs myself. They are very smart and loyal. In fact, we think Holly is a BC/ACD mix. Good luck
Posted by KOPCaroline
Jan 12, 2011
Hey keepnhope,

Sounds like a handful! I’ll do my best to give my opinion on the issues you’re having. I will say a new dog coming into the house does stir things up a bit, so some of your worries are totally normal for Keepers new introduction.

It sounds like Keepers excitement shows as aggression when she gets really worked up. Does Keeper know “heel”? If not, I would strongly suggest training her to heel on walks. When my dog gets worked up over an approaching dog at the river where we walk, I tell him to heel (repeating the command every few seconds) so that he listens to me, and I have his attention, and there is less on the approaching dog. It works really well for me, it might help your situation. Definitely use a non-extendable lead, and keep the length short while walking. Don’t be scared to tug sharply and give a command, you’re just trying to get her attention and sometimes a physical shake helps (not aiming to hurt her!). You need to keep walking her daily, continual exposure to the stimuli that excite her will help her get used to it and not get so worked up over it. Be consistent in when you give her commands, what commands you give, and what reaction you want out of her, that alone should help the situation.

I agree that its probably best to walk Keeper alone until she learns the commands you want her to. Another dog only acts as another source of “fun” and excitement, so wait until Keeper listens and behaves better before bringing Hope along for joint walks.

Try to establish Hope as the alpha dog over Keeper, while both (obviously) still listen to you. Hope eats first, gets praise and treats first, gets attention first when you come home. Both dogs should still get the same amount of attention and love (of course!), but do it in the order of 1. Hope then 2. Keeper. This will help cut down on the fighting and nipping.

That being said, Hope shouldn’t be over-enthusiastic about correcting Keeper, and definitely shouldn’t do it if you’ve already corrected her. If Keeper is annoying Hope, then Hope is allowed to tell her off. But if Keeper is barking or acting naughty, and you tell her no or correct her, then that’s it. Mommy has spoken, and since Mom is boss, then Hope doesn’t get to join in on being a bully about it. When you catch Hope doing this, tell her no and separate them for a few minutes. Be sure to tell Hope no everytime she does it, so she gets it and will hopefully knock it off soon!

Next issue! I think dogs on furniture and beds is totally ok, but as MHN said, only if they listen about it – getting up only when you tell them its ok to, and getting off EVERY time you tell them to. If they don’t get off, push them off, saying “off!” again as you do it. Its usually not a dominance thing, although pushy dogs can turn it into one. Just be sure they listen! 

As for Keepers barking, that’s a bit tricky with some dogs. No matter what you do, some dogs will just use their voice to show their excitement. You can try anti-bark collars like citronella collars, which spray citronella into the dogs face when they bark – this is irritating to them, but doesn’t hurt the dog. Alternatively, when she gets going with barking, you can try to startle her by shouting or making a loud noise, get a can and put stones in it to shake when she starts barking. Tell her “good girl” EVERY time she does stop barking when you want her to. Try putting her in a time out area – quiet, dark, and alone – when she won’t stop barking, and don’t let her out until she calms down. Hopefully one of these suggestions helps you out 

It sounds like a handful, but I think your idea of going through more classes with Keeper is a great one, and I think with your determination and patience that your two girls will settle down and be lovely!
Posted by keepnhope
Jan 13, 2011
Thank you all so much. I am gaining confidence that I have been doing the right things it is just going to take awhile. Sheila was sooo easy compared to these girls! Sheila always laid by my bed & never jumped up without me asking her to. I don't recall ever teaching her this it is just the way it was.

I guess my biggest problem is with walking Keeper; her jumping up & biting at me when excited ,when walking by another dog or person. Should I just stop, tell her no & wait until she calms? Or should I keep walking as best I can? I put her on her side the other day, Hope was with us & she will go down when I tell her to but it was hard handling both of them. I will not be walking them together again until I get Keeper under control. How should I get her socialized when she gets so nutty?
Posted by keepnhope
Jan 13, 2011
I forgot, another gig question. When at the park Hope circles us (herds) should I stop this? & how do I stop it. I know it is her natural instinct but I feel it just gets her more excited & like I said she goes in for the nip. I am going to try & get her into a herding class I believe. May have to move to the country & buy some livestock!! What are your opinions on the herding? Thanks!!
Posted by MaxHollyNoah
Jan 13, 2011
Hi keepnhope,

Yes, you are on the right track so keep on the good job.

As for socializing Kepper, it is not a good idea to socialize dogs when they are leashed on the walk if your dog has some aggression. When they are leashed or across fence, they tend to get more aggressive. Especially when leashed, there is no way to run away if they want to run away from the other dog. Dogs can either flight (run away) or fight when they are spooked. Usually it is much better to meet stranger dogs in an open area. Therefore, when I get a new foster dog, I usually let the dog in our yard (ideally, a park or something neutral place is better) and bring my dogs out into the yard one by one, starting from Holly, the most confident dog first.

That's why enrolling a dog training class is a good idea since all the dogs are leashed but they can be far apart, they don't need to put nose to nose together, but still in a kind of confined area.

Tonight, there was a new class for Noah, my trouble boy, and there was a 90 lbs male Mastiff:eek: in the class! Noah, or course, reacted at him and barked at the beginning but I ditracted him by a command "Watch me" with a treat and he was able to ignore the dog during the class. He tried to lunge and bark a couple of times but he also responded to my command very well so I was very pleased with him and proud of him. The instructor thinks this will be a good class for him so he will continue to come to this class. If it was a year ago, Noah wouldn't have been able to handle such a big dog this well.

I started fostering dogs about 3 years ago, hoping it will be good for Noah. Of course, I have been very careful picking my foster dogs. Noah could get along with all 30+ foster dogs, except for 2, that were too aggressive and got into fights with Noah.

Socialization is very tricky: If your dog has fear aggression, you tend to keep him away from other dogs, and that would not help at all. Since your dog has fear aggression, he needs to be exposed more dogs so that he gets used to other dogs. However, if you don't choose dogs very carefully, it will back fire. That's why dog parks are risky sometimes. You will never know the temperaments of the dogs at the park. Just like you, I only take my dogs early in the morning so that there aren't very many dogs and if I see a dog that Noah would react (a Husky or a Boxer), I would walk around and come back a little later. I don't want Noah to fail (meaning getting into a fight) and lose his confidence again.

As for circling and nipping of Hope, I would distract her again. I found the best way to teach dogs to stop unfavorable behaviors is to distract them and make them do something that has conflict with the unfavorable behavior. For example, when you dog jumps at you, have him sit and stay. While he stays he cannot jump. When Hope runs around circle, have her down and stay. When she is excited and acturally circling it will be difficult to stop her so you might want to throw a ball and have her go fetch to break it! (I hope she likes fetch)

You and your husband know Hope and Keeper the best so come up with something that they can enjoy but still can work as distraction. Outwit your dogs
Posted by keepnhope
Oct 2, 2011
I am begining to think there is no outwitting them. Iam still having problems with Hopes herding & Keeper's anxiety. Thanks for all the tips. I reposted before I found some of my earlier posts. Decided I better go back & read them & low & behold I am still having the exact same problems. Maybe it is because I continue to allow them to play with each other & they play too rough??? Not consistent enough??? Are there some dogs that should just not be together? They seem to enjoy each other & will share a toy at times & sometimes the play wrestling is mellow. There is some jealousy going on since I have taken over Keepr's obedience training & my husband is no longer taking her. Keep & I are bonding more & they are getting more jealous. Keeper will bark if I pet Hope, Hope will intercept if Keeper comes over to me.
Sometimes I am just lost to if I am making the right corrections.