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Integrating Older Dogs

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by Ioanna, Jun 15, 2019.


  1. Ioanna

    Ioanna PetForums Newbie

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    Dear all,
    I have just moved back home after university, and find myself in the following situation: Daisy, a Maltese mix who's about 6 years old, was primarily my dog, but has spent about six months of the last few years with my mother. This will now change, as my mother is moving away and I am moving into the house. Daisy is very energetic, demands a lot of attention, and functions, as much as she at 7kg can, as a guard dog in the sense that she barks when she hears people entering the house and has chased other dogs, often larger than her, off our property. She very much has a mind of her own but with some time and insistence she has taken well to training.
    Lucky belongs to my mother's partner. He is maybe about 7 years old, and was rescued off the street, but possibly has some Labrador or German Shepherd in the mix. He adores the partner, is very obedient to him, and generally quite calm (although when Daisy gets excited he often catches on).
    The two dogs spend quite a lot of time together. They get on, but they are jealous of each other, particularly when it comes to attention and food. If some sort of a pack hierarchy has been formed, I am not aware of it - they squabble over everything.
    This is the situation I am trying to work with. My mum and her partner adore the dogs, but they tend to go for whatever solution works; for example, if the dogs (more so Daisy) sometimes pee on the living room carpets, the 'solution' is to not let them into the living room. Now I find out that they are fed on different floors, and that more than one door is closed between them at feeding time. Even though with my mum moving away, Lucky being at ours won't be as common an occurrence, I don't think that this is the best way for the situation to continue at all.
    The problem is, I have no idea whatsoever how to go about resolving it! There are so many problems, including that this is what they are used to (often they even get walked separately which I don't get at all, because I don't have any problems walking them together), and that I am not sure whether Lucky would listen to me in anything. I really don't know where to start.
    Thanks in advance for your help!
     
  2. O2.0

    O2.0 PetForums VIP

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    Hi Ioanna, welcome to PF :)
    I'm not really sure what you're asking? For example, are you saying it's a problem that the dogs are fed separately? If so, why is this a problem?
     
    lullabydream likes this.
  3. Ioanna

    Ioanna PetForums Newbie

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    Ah... fair enough! The feeding issue is what I would start with, the end goal being that the dogs can coexist peacefully. My ideal situation would be that each dog has their bowl and their different foods and you feed them at the same time, next to each other, without it having to be an enormous exercise of shutting doors and keeping them super apart. If it helps, when I feed Daisy I always have her sit and stay until I fill the bowl so that she doesn't jump all over me, but I am certain that would never work if Lucky was in the room.
     
  4. Ioanna

    Ioanna PetForums Newbie

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    Thank you!!
     
  5. lullabydream

    lullabydream PetForums VIP

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    Dogs who argue over resources might always argue over resources... It's not always best to train dogs to do what we want them to do..it can often be a role of management.

    Dogs aren't social beings like us, and they really shouldn't feel like they have to share, or live in fear of food being snatched off them. This is what a dog feels like if they eat in close proximity to others. If I was eating with my family and thought every time I ate that one of them would not only eat their food but might take food off my plate too without me offering I would feel like stabbing them with a fork too.

    When you have a multidog household you just hope dogs tolerate each other. This is going back to dogs not being social beings as we think they are, if they become anything else then that is really an added bonus but you have to be realistic about these things.
     
  6. McKenzie

    McKenzie PetForums VIP

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    Sounds to me like your parents had it right. It’s a very good idea to feed dogs apart so that they get a bit of peace and quiet to finish their meal without the ‘threat’ (real or imagined) of the other dog taking their food. And really, how hard is it to shut a door? But if doors are too difficult, another solution would be to have a soft crate in the area where they get fed so one dog (probably the smaller one) could be put in the crate to eat and not let out until both dogs were finished eating.
     
  7. Ioanna

    Ioanna PetForums Newbie

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    Alright, I hear you guys. Thanks so much for the advice!
     
  8. O2.0

    O2.0 PetForums VIP

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    I get not wanting feeding time to be an enormous exercise of keeping them apart, however, it is every dog's right to be able to eat in peace. Eating next to each other is not a very natural way for dogs. If the dogs don't have good manners around food, one snarfing everything down so that he can go harass the other, the other snarfing everything down to avoid being harassed, none of that is good either.

    We've always had multidog households and the dogs have all had to learn how to behave around food.
    - Eat in your own area.
    - Don't check out the other dogs' food.
    - Once you're done, go to a neutral area, not allowed to even look at other dogs still eating (that's rude).
    - No finishing off other dogs' food even if they leave it. (Not that any of mine leave food but visiting dogs sometimes do in which case the food is quickly picked up and set aside for the next meal. If it won't keep and I let another dog have it, *I* place it in the other dog's bowl in their feeding area.)

    Unless/until the dog can follow these rules consistently with minimal guidance, they eat separately, yes, divided by a door or crate if need be.

    I also do a good bit of work with default leave-its so that dropped food doesn't become an issue either. Food is a very common trigger for fights and the more rules and impulse control you can incorporate around food, the better in a multi-dog household.
     
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