(sorry so long but i have to include some background)
So...our family (me and the two pups) has been through a lot of changes in the last 2 years. Most notably-- moving 3 times last year and me getting a new/full time job.
Appa has been a little testy since her brother entered the household. Admittedly, I don't think she's liked him from the beginning. They get along "okay"...but it would've been better if she had been an only dog. I don't feel like I can give either of them up though (1. I love them both, 2. I took on this responsibility to care for both of them and I think it's my responsibility to also figure out a solution here).
Since we moved into this newest place, she spends almost all of her time except for feedings and the occasional excited greeting me when I come home, under the bed or in her own bed in the same room (which is upstairs and away from everyone). I literally have to pull her out from under the bed to get her to go out in the morning and for walks.
I try to exercise both of them adequately with walks and trips to the dog park. I try to give them both equal attention. But we can't really have toys/play inside the house as it creates fights between them and lots of loud/angry barking from Appa (my girl). She is 100% a resource hoarder.
Should I try separating their play-time (playing with Appa and then playing with Iroh?) so she can play with some toys like she used to/feel like the attention is just on her. Or is there a solution to actually getting them to play together without wanting to kill each other over toys? Or any other suggestions are welcome.
Please give the age of the two dogs and at what ages they joined the household. Also, did this under the bed upstairs behavior start at this new location, if not when did it start. Is Appa on any medications?
Appa (the one that I think is depressed) is 4, Iroh is 2. Appa was 2 when Iroh joined us, he was 9 weeks.
She's done this from time to time but not for extended periods (only if I was out of town and someone else kept her for a few days), it started to be an everyday thing when we moved to this new location (the 3rd place we'd moved in a year--which was unavoidable due to my marital status changing and then me getting a new job). She stopped playing with toys when Iroh was around pretty soon after we got him. But she'll play with them/bring them to me to play with her if he's not in the room. She is not on any meds.
There are a few things to consider. If the second dog came in as a puppy and it's been two years, it's unlikely that she is acting this way because of him. The 3 moves may have thrown her off a bit, meaning a month or two, but dogs do adjust to these situations and can actually be stimulated by the change. What is more likely IMO is that she is reacting to you and however you feel about either the moves, or the changes in your own personal life as they can be very in tune with their owner (some more than others) and actually reflect back to you what is going on. If you do not feel this may be the case, another suggestion would be to check her thyroid level, as an under active thyroid can affect behavior and energy levels.
Thanks Anna, good food for thought. I'm going to try to concentrate on giving her extra attention and see if that gets us anywhere. If no change soon we'll go to the vet and have her thyroid tested. My mood/feelings are pretty stable/life is good right now so I don't really think it's a reflection of my feelings. I appreciate the replies.
Hmmm... Y'know...if it were my dog, I'd talk to a vet about that behavior. There could be some organic reason for it: possibly Appa isn't feeling well.
Sometimes Ruby or Cassie prefers to reside in her nest...and sometimes one or the other will decline to come out if called. But neither has ever had to be dragged out to do something they love to do. The utterances "doggy walk!" and "doggy treat!" will get them out in an instant.
I've heard (not from any sources I can remember or vouch for) that it's not a good idea to keep siblings together. You might look into that question -- again, ask your vet.
Which of these dogs do you regard as dominant? And are you sure? Was the female dominant at the outset? You may want to reinforce that with your behavior toward the dogs.
Cassie was the Queen of the Universe before I brought Ruby into the house. Ruby is highly energetic and has some pretty dominant traits. I try to maintain Cassie in her place as the Queen by feeding her first, seeing to it that Ruby does not trot over and chase Cassie away from her dish to vacuum up the last few flavor molecules, giving Cassie a treat first and then Ruby, and lifting Cassie onto the bed first at night (yeah...sorreee...they do sleep on the bed with me) and lifting her off first in the morning.
If Appa was the Queen before the other dog surfaced, treat her as though you still regard her as the Queen.
Yeah, I agree--think it might be worth a talk with the vet, for sure.
Thanks for the input/the advice!
After making sure there isn't anything medically wrong, why not try some time with each dog separately. If you crate them, put one in a crate and take the other for a 1/2 mile walk or maybe some individual training in the living room . Trick training is a great way to rebuild a bond with your dogs.
I don't exactly have the same problem, but I now have two dogs about the same age apart. Jeli was 3 when I got Jaxx at 14 weeks old. I know Jeli misses our 'alone time' together, and frankly so do I! LOL. So I often work with one, then the other. I rotate a few times a night, and then also do stuff with both together. I think it might be work a try for you. Good luck.
I took her with me to work one afternoon last week (which can't happen a lot but every once in a while it's ok) and she seemed to really enjoy some time alone with me/getting a lot of attention from my coworkers. She hung out with us downstairs for the next few nights after I got home from work too. So maybe it is just that she's not getting enough one on one attention. Still going to ask the vet what she thinks next time we have an appointment.