new dog agression and jealousy toward older dog

Posted by tam
Aug 9, 2011
Hi! I will try to make this quick, but it seems that we have an increasing problem. we got a new chihuahua (3 years old) about 3 weeks ago. He has warmed up to us, but he bites. late at night when he is in his bed or on his blanket he will bite you if you try to touch him. Anytime, if he is on you or near you and you reach out to touch him, he snaps at you. How do I break him of that. Our other chihuahua (5 years old), you can touch her anytime and she tends to just roll over to scratch her belly.

My second concern is the fact that Hunter(the new dog) is growling and barking at Missy(the older dog who has been in the house 4 years now). If he (Hunter)is on the sofa, in our lap or elsewhere and Missy wants to get on the sofa, he growls and barks at her. Hunter jumped up on the bed last night and when Missy jumped up on the bed after him, he bit her in the face, no blood though. She slinked away trembling. When I got home (husband was home when it happened), I picked Missy up and sat on the bed. She did not even want to look at Hunter and just trembled. It seems Hunter has become the Alpha dog and we want Missy to since she was our first dog. My husband continually gets snapped at by Hunter and banished him to his cage for several hours Sunday. I just dont touch him when he does not lick me first. I have already been bit, drawing blood twice. My husband spanked Hunter hard after the incident on the bed. I was wondering if there is a better way. We think he has been very abused.
Is there any thing in secrets to dog training about having 2 dogs in the house? I thought I read somewhere that there was but I cant find anything. Help, please!
Posted by Risa
Aug 10, 2011
Hi Tam!

Its actually good to know that you are concerned for Missy, one part is getting Hunter as a friend! Remember that you are the Alpha in the house, and one way I boost my confidence is to remember the breed, obviously, Hunter is a Chihuahua! Even if he draws blood it doesn't mean it hurts that bad??

Keep that in mind. By the way, you could do this simple excercise I do with Oscar, my beagle:

1. Put a leash on:
I know it may be hard to do this, but remember, if you don't face the problem, nothing could be fixed. One way if he snaps at you, is to grab his neck/collar and back feet and pin him to the ground until he's chilled (however don't do it harshly, its cruel ). If you are scared of the yap, where anything that will prevent it, such as a glove or something . Keep doing it until you could put the leash on calmly with no problem at all. However, don't back away, it will only re-position him as the alpha.

2. Meeting Missy:
After putting on the leash, put Missy (or ask your husband) inside her crate where she can't go anywhere. However, make sure that she isn't feeling tense, so tell your husband to distract her from the excercise in all costs.
Start in front of your door, walk past Missy's crate. If Hunter yaps or tries to bite her, hold her progress, make her sit, and say 'no' or anything that works, make sure that you mean it, telling him in body language: 'I disagree with your behaviour'. Keep repeating this excercise everyday.

* If Hunter walks through Missy perfectly ignoring her, praise him immensely
* Start off leash when trust is established :rolleyes:
* Walk Hunter more often! It will release his stress towards Missy
* I would say Missy will start to chill when Hunter's attitude is better
* When everything is okay, start walking them together, first, your husband with Missy, and Tam with Hunter.
Posted by tam
Aug 11, 2011
the problem is when Hunter is on the sofa being petted and Missy is on the floor, Hunter growls and barks as Missy if she tries to get up on the sofa, so she doesn't. I was reading the section on 2 dogs in the house and it seems like Hunter is the Alpha dog. I dont want Hunter to be the alpha dog. We have only had him for 3 weeks and we have had Missy for 4 years. Why should Hunter get to be the alpha dog? Do I just let Hunter banish missy to the floor or do I reprimand him for growling at her from the sofa. When I mention Missy, Hunter comes running, growling, looking for her. It seems like he is jealous and he wants attention all the time. Could it be that his confidence needs boosting? and if so, how do I do that? Thank you.
He does still bite or nip when you touch him and he does not want to be.
Posted by MaxHollyNoah
Aug 12, 2011
Hi tam,

I agree with you. Don't let Hunter be the Alpha dog.

I have multiple dogs, that were added one by one, and foster dogs coming and going all the time. I stick to the seniority and don't let any new comers to challenge existing dogs. I don't believe the concept of "Alpha Dog" or "Owner being the Alpha Dog" since dogs are pack animals but have been domesticated for thousands of years and they are totally capable to live in a harmony as long as clear boundaries and structures are implemented.

Thank you for adopting Hunter. Each of those once-abandoned dogs has a different story in his/her previous life so Hunter's personality got twisted or wound up. It can take a long time but it is possible to unwind to be more confident and respectful to other dogs and people. I think his problem is a fear, not jealous: fear to lose what he thinks he claims as "his", ie., the sofa, bed, position next to you, etc.

As for biting when you touch him, it is a sign that he doesn't trust you. His previous owner might have hurt him, or neglected him. For some reason, he wants to protect himself from being touched.

He might have had a harsh start in his life but don't give him pitty. Act confident and show him clear boundaries which include: No growling to Missy, no biting people, no access to the sofa (at this point. maybe later when he learns how to behave you can let him on it), etc.

Whenever he behaves wrongly, just remove him from the situation and give him a time-out for 10-15 mins. During that time, give a lot of attention to Missy. She deserves a peaceful life with you without Hunter.

Be consistent and don't feel bad about being strick on him. You should have done this from the Day 1 and Hunter has learned that he can behave as he likes during the last 3 wks. It will be really hard at the beginning but it will pay off. Believe me.

Good luck and let us know how it goes. Also, enrolling him in an obedience class will help since it will give you more power and more structure.
Posted by tam
Aug 12, 2011
Thanks so much for the insight! I will read it to my husband when he gets home. And let you know what happens. Really appreciate it!!!!
Posted by KOPCaroline
Aug 14, 2011
Hi Tam,

I think this can be a common problem with new dogs coming into a house that already has a dog. Especially with younger new dogs - they more often challenge for alpha position, or dominance over the older dog.

To help this, and help establish Missy as alpha dog - treat her first with everything. Missy gets fed first (in front of Hunter!), Missy gets attention first when you come home, Missy gets toys/treats first. Missy is allowed on the couch, Hunter is not. It may seem a bit unfair, but if he is trying to be aggressive over the couch and your attention, then you need to stop his access to them. Obviously dont stop giving him attention, but only do it after Missy gets pats, and dont over do it. No baby talking, if he's stressed, then leave him alone, just interact verbally.

When Hunter calms down and stops growling so much, praise him heaps. Any time he has a good interaction with Missy, anytime you can pat him without him getting aggressive - be sure you make a big deal of it.

MHN's advice is really good - I agree with what she's said to do. Be stern with him, and go slowly. His past has almost certainly set him back socially, so he needs your patience to get through it!

I would suggest going through alpha training with him, you and your husband both, if you haven't already. Hunter with respect you more if you establish yourself as an authority to be listened to. Dogs naturally do well with boundaries and someone watching over them