Brando finally made it home after 48 hours spent in the Houston airport, and Sky gave him a nice big bully's welcome! I never even thought to be worried about Sky, I was concerned with how Lyla would react. I introduced the dogs outside and Lyla loved him instantly, but Sky just acted like he didn't exist. When they came in Brando was sniffing around and started smelling a sock on the ground. Sky instantly snarked... apparently it was "his" sock. So far Sky is telling off the puppy for everything... that's my toy, my corner, my mom...

I'm not sure if Sky is "in charge" of the dogs around here (I've never been able to tell between him and Lyla, I go back and forth) or if he's thinking "oh good, someone for ME to be in charge of now." I also know that if anyone asked me this question, I would say to supervise closely, but let them work it out... but it's so hard to see your new baby get picked on! I thought that since Brando was still a puppy (4 months) these two would give him some leeway, but I guess not? Any suggestions are helpful (even though I think I basically already know what I need to do, lol).

And one from yesterday's snow day that kept Brando from arriving.

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Comment by Beth on January 31, 2010 at 6:13pm
The new boy sure is adorable!

Personally, I allow my dogs to protect their personal space, but no one is allowed to guard a toy or a corner or me! So for example, each dog has their own crate, and if one wants its crate and the other one is IN it, then I have no problem with a little snark. But if one snarked at the other just for approaching the (empty) crate, I'd have a problem with that. The dogs don't own a thing and therefore have no right to guard. They can snark if one tries to steal a toy the other is actively playing with, but no guarding ignored toys. They can snark if one is on my lap and the other tries to crawl over the top of the first dog to get to me, but they can't guard me.

I tried letting my two sort it out for themselves when I brought Maddie here, and it did not work at all. Jack was not used to living with another dog and was not severe enough in his correction of Maddie. Maddie is the more submissive of the two but was incessantly humping Jack when he would play and would not back off when he told her he didn't like it. Jack was getting increasingly frustrated and Maddie, not at all a natural leader, was getting more squirrely. Once I stepped in and started giving her a correction things smoothed out and they became friends.

Joanna is correct that adult males will snark at younger puppies, but in a natural pack an adult male would also drive out any young males as soon as they hit adulthood, and you certainly would not want that! I think if it were me I'd let him know that he can protect his own space from the puppy, but it is not his place to decide who gets to go where in the house.

As for sorting out who is "alpha" between one male and one female, remember that there may not be true rank because in a wolf pack, there is a different hierarchy for males and females. Dogs are not like wolves in a lot of ways, but for the analogy the alpha male and alpha female would be in a separate chain of command. Dominance issues are more likely to arise when there are more than two, or if there are two of the same sex.

Good luck and let us know how they do.
Comment by Joanna Kimball on January 31, 2010 at 6:04am

Sky is doing his job. If blood isn't flowing, let him discipline the puppy. Older dogs know that's their job and they do it (usually) very well. Even if it seems like he's going out of his way to pick on the puppy, as long as there's no real fighting (and "real" means "bite wound") it's just the ritualized hazing that older males know they're supposed to do with younger males. It makes a better, more polite, healthier young boy, so even if it's hard to watch it's important that it happen.
Comment by Rebecca Marie O'Bryan on January 30, 2010 at 11:09pm
it will take some time for them to get along and then they will be best buds:) i went through the same thing two weeks ago. snoopy doesn't really like other dogs, no matter how much i socialized him he just didn't want to hang with them. when we brought teddy home we let them meet in neutral territory introduced and then took them for a walk (to keep them not focused on each other) we then let them just hang around each other before we got home. when we did bring them back home they acted the same way as your baby's did. after a few days they settle down a bit. we found something that worked. went sky does something nice to lyla tell him what a good boy hes doing and give him lots of attention but if he does something bad tell him no just ignore him for that little bit. after a wile he will get the message. but do keep taking them out for short walks so sky can see that she isn't so bad and that she can be fun to play with:) i hope this helps!
Comment by Sam Tsang on January 30, 2010 at 10:35pm
Whenever I had a new foster joinning my pack, I amp up the walk, sometimes double or triple the time. When your dogs are tired, they are much more calmer, also walks build relationships, relationship with you, relationship with the rest of your pack.

The most vocal one may not be your alpha, the calmer one that rarely speaks and only speak when the sky is falling is your true alpha. The order can also change when the pack dynamics change, sometimes it changes due to aging, sometimes there's a re-challenge among the group.

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