two dogs not pleasant walking

Posted by bern
Oct 1, 2009
I have two dogs -the older one a placid and the younger one quite neurotic. Problems are when setting off on a walk the younger one attacks the older dog -not sure if its just excitement or dominance and then is very hard to control even with the gentle leader.He pulls excessively and his muzzle is indented with the strap by the end of the walk.
However if he is walked seperately he is a delight and easily walks in a well behaved manner. I do not have the time to walk them seperately always and do not want to penalise the older placid dog. I need some help please.
Posted by KOPsarah
Oct 5, 2009
Hi bern and thanks for your post.
I was wondering if I could get a little more information. Does your younger dog show any other signs of dominance such as pushing through doorways before your older dog, trying to eat his food or winning access to beds or areas your older dog was using? Also if you give your younger dog a good energy burn such as a really good play session before you go does this help his behavior? Finally does your younger dog tend to pull only until he gets ahead of your other dog while working?

All the best,
Posted by bern
Oct 7, 2009
Thanks for your response. Dash our younger dog was a rescue puppy- we have had him now for over a year but he still is very timid, except with Harry our older and very placid dog.
Dash does exhibit some dominance behaviours -he pushes our hands for a pat- we are onto that -he paws us-we have stopped that after reading your book, he barks to be fed or let in when he has been put outside.He is really good on the lead on his own and now I am trying to give him some seperate time and teach him to heel.
However when I am putting the leads on both dogs-the lead up time to that can be about 5-7 minutes of trying to calm them both down. During this time Dash grabs at Harry on the scruff of his neck and growls and barks. I now turn around and leave them if he is barking at me from behind the back gate.He then pushes through to get to me first - I always put Harry into his harness first.
After this the pattern is then that he now sits and waits to go out the gate but almost invariably then has another bark and snap at Harry- who sometimes responds but not always. He then strain on the gentle leader for the rest of the walk and tries to get infront of Harry at all times- and me too!!
I haven't tried playing with him before the walk but will have a go.
He is a different dog on his own !!Any suggestions would be gratefully appreciated as like us all I am time poor and two walks morning and evening is all I can manage- not 4 sepereate walks. Thanks Bern
Posted by KOPsarah
Oct 9, 2009
Hi again,
It definitely sounds like the problem is that Dash thinks he is or should be the leader of the pack. The solution to this problem is to keep up and build on what you have been doing already. Keep treating Harry as the leader. At meal times have both dogs sit and then let Harry eat first. Continue to get Harry ready for walks first, put him in the car first, let him in and out of the gate first etc. You could also allow Harry access to favorite areas such as the couch but not allow Dash access. When you get home ignore both dogs for five minutes and then greet Harry. Then greet Dash while he is calm and sitting.

If Dash shows any attempt to be first or dominate put him in a 2 minute time out so he learns that that behavior will get him completely ignored by the whole pack.

You could also try getting Dash a shorter lead than Harry so that no matter what he does he is always behind during a walk. This will lead to a lot more pulling and misbehavior at first so it would be best if you start this with a second person. Walk the dogs together with Dash being unable to reach the front, every time he gets over excited or tries to attack Harry the person walking Dash should stop and walk in the opposite direction for a few paces then turn back and start again. As soon as he misbehaves they should work him in the opposite direction again.

Hope these few tips help, this is going to take a lot of patience and hard work to correct but you will get there! Let me know how you are getting on and if you have any further questions please don't hesitate to ask.
Posted by bern
Oct 12, 2009
great advice I will endeavour to implement thm. I have been walking them together and have been letting Harry off leash while keeping Dash on for a period of time and then letting him off . He behaves much better with Harry off lead- I guess its no competition.
Thanks again