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Playmate for "finicky" big dog......advice, please?

Discussion in 'Dog Training & Behavior' started by SueAndHerZoo, Jul 15, 2016.

  1. SueAndHerZoo

    SueAndHerZoo Porchie

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    Hello.
    Titan, our 150 pound Saint Dane, no longer gets to enjoy daycare because he spontaneously and for no apparent reason decides to attack dogs. Not all dogs, not all the time, but the few times it's happened was enough to make us realize that he doesn't belong there. However, he is still so playful and energetic that we would love to get him a playmate for home. We have a 14 year old pug that Titan tries to play with but the pug wants nothing to do with him.

    I am actively involved in boxer rescue and can easily adopt or foster from several agencies but I am really apprehensive due to not knowing if and when Titan may try to hurt the boxer. I've contemplated adding a playmate for about a year now and am still struggling with the decision. It could be really beneficial for Titan (and the new dog) or it could be disastrous..... my crystal ball is in the shop. :(

    In talking with someone this past weekend who seemed to have a lot of dog experience, she suggested getting a puppy as a playmate. She seemed to feel that Titan will know and respect that the new dog is small, young and no threat and would more than likely not try to do it any harm, whereas he might feel threatened or competitive with a larger, older dog. Do any of you agree with this theory? I swore I would never have a puppy (I usually adopt and foster seniors) but if a puppy is something that Titan would be protective and careful of, I might be willing to go through the puppy stage one more time.

    Your thoughts, please?
    Sue
     
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  3. Amaziah

    Amaziah Veteran Porchie
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    Is it males or females he has taken after?
     
  4. SueAndHerZoo

    SueAndHerZoo Porchie

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    According to the daycare staff it didn't seem to matter. They tried to find a pattern for this behavior (I believe it happened 4 times in a 3-month period) but they couldn't find one. Gender didn't matter, size didn't matter. (shrug).
    Sue
     
  5. SaintWinslow

    SaintWinslow Veteran Porchie

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    It is really hard when you can't find a pattern. My selective big dog did not like boy dogs, especially intact boy dogs, dogs with very short hair and stocky dogs like pit bulls and boxers. He was not threatened at all by small dogs so was fine with them.

    Do you know when the incidents ocurred - such as during play that became overstimulated or during introductions? Was it dogs he had known and played with awhile or always new dogs?

    If he tends to get in trouble when play gets rough or other dogs are rowdy, I'd probably avoid boxers because while they are a lot of fun, they also tend to be dogs that don't read other dogs signals well and get annoying to other non- boxers in play.

    Some dogs will do much better with a puppy, some will hate the idiocy that is a puppy and will do much better with a calmer adult, it's hard to know.

    If he had more problems with newer dogs, then you might be ok with a long, slow intro.

    I think in this situation, though, you have to be prepared for what you will do if it doesn't work. We ended up in a second crate/rotate situation because we thought we could introduce a female puppy to our corgi but ended up rotating for years.

    I think getting another dog who has great dog manners is huge, you want a dog who will listen to language you may not see. If seriously consider getting a trainer involved if you decide to get one.

    Many times, selective dogs can do great with family dogs, so it could go very well but it takes the right new dog and slow, careful intros (weeks to months)
     
  6. ShiLowe's Lions

    ShiLowe's Lions Veteran Porchie
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    Jaime that is a great post. Our situation is slightly different as Morgan is fearful. When we decided to add Dakota we knew it had to be a puppy and female. We needed a confident outgoing pup. We spent the first 10 days with Morgan on leash and giving him plenty of time away from Dakota to relax. Every interaction involved me holding the chin strap of his head collar and reading his signals and info. I also had to give him space to explore Dakota but be ready to interfere if needed if he got over stressed.

    I was very straight forward with the breeder also. I told her it may not work and she knew all about Morgan. It just happened that Dakota was the perfect fit and wrapped Morgan around her little toe in that time.

    Possibly getting a trainer involved that can observe him interacting with other dogs may help you pin point the cause and how to deal with it. It took a lot of time to pin point that Morgan was not strictly aggressive, but fearfully aggressive. That understanding opened our world to options.
     
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  7. SueAndHerZoo

    SueAndHerZoo Porchie

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    Thank you for your comments and suggestions. I am very torn as to whether or not I should get Titan a playmate or just leave well enough alone. If we found a dog Titan likes, they would have a great time playing together in the fenced in yard, but if we get one that he DOESN'T like, it could spell disaster, someone getting hurt (dog or human, or both) or constant stress combined with isolation/crating/rotation of dogs, etc. At that point I will have wished I had just let sleeping dogs lie.

    It is very difficult because there didn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to the attacks. From what I'm told, Titan would be walking around the daycare, sniffing and observing, and would all of a sudden go after a dog. I have no way of knowing if there were signals given off by either dog, or even who the aggressor was, but since Titan was involved all four times he seemed to be the common denominator.

    It's a shame because I'm a boxer lover and there are so many adults/seniors in desperate need of a home, but you're right about boxers sometimes being TOO playful and insensitive to signals. Not sure what to do so for now I will probably leave things status quo. Thanks for your thoughts.
    Sue
     
  8. SaintWinslow

    SaintWinslow Veteran Porchie

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    I'm sorry, I wish I had better advice. When we had Winnie, we expected it to be many years before we added to our house (only wasn't because he died at 5). It sounds for now like the safest decision. Frustrating because it could be great but it's so hard to know.
     
  9. SueAndHerZoo

    SueAndHerZoo Porchie

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    I truly appreciate your thoughts and opinions. For now I will leave it up to the Universe..... if we're meant to add another dog to the pack, it will happen.
    Sue
     
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  10. jimandthom

    jimandthom Veteran Porchie
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    Aren't Boxers a great dog. Never in our lives had we thought of having one until the 1st of our 2 was given to us 8 years ago. Now we are hooked.
     
  11. SueAndHerZoo

    SueAndHerZoo Porchie

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    "Hooked" is putting it mildly. After rescuing our first boxer (and the love of my life), Baxter, we started fostering and adopting many, many senior boxers to give the older ones a comfortable place to spend their golden years. I can't even tell you how many boxers I've had the privilege to love but when Baxter died January 17th, he took such a big piece of me with him I'm not sure if I can ever have another boxer. I hate to think I won't ever experience those boxer "kidney bean wiggles" again or look into those soulful boxer eyes again, but right now when I see one, all I do is cry. Maybe some day . . .
     
  12. Hector_Dane

    Hector_Dane Veteran Porchie
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    We had a Dane that became dog aggressive so I understand your concerns and frustrations. With Bismark, it was only specific dogs but we could never find a pattern. The worst was, ironically, a dog in our obedience class. However, we were able to bring home a couple of smaller breed (lab/spaniel mix and mastiff/chow? mix), male, younger dogs during Bismark's lifetime with no issues. I think the best advice above is to do things slowly and have a plan B if it doesn't work out.

    If you dog plays with another dog one day and then attacks the next, I would, honestly, be wary of introducing any other dog. However, I am not a good dog trainer so someone better than I may be able to do it. The Whole Dog Journal had an excellent article a couple of years ago or so dealing with just this issue.
     
  13. SueAndHerZoo

    SueAndHerZoo Porchie

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    Just thought I'd post an update and "happy ending" to this post. I adopted an 8-week old mixed breed puppy on July 23rd and Titan, our big dog, took to him immediately. Not only did he take to him, he adores him. The puppy crawls all over him, chews on his face and paws, and the big dog seems to love it. He is so gentle and careful with the pup it warms my heart to watch them. I haven't (and probably never will) leave them alone together but during supervised time together, they are precious and priceless. Our other dog, however, (the pug) wants no part of this puppy and unfortunately gets harassed by the pup several times a day. At times I think the pug might actually enjoy the tug of wars and battles but being a pug he'd never let anyone see that. :)

    What really shocks me is that when the new pup and the pug are play growling or playing tug of war with a toy the big dog runs over and corrects the pug - protecting, defending, and taking the side of the pup. I'm actually more worried about Titan hurting the pug than I am about him ever hurting the pup. Never saw that one coming!

    Anyway, I realize it's all too new to feel confident and relaxed but for the three weeks the pup has been here the dynamic between the three has been surprisingly good. I'm sure it might change over time and when the pup becomes a juvenile there could be some challenging and altercations but we'll take it one day at a time. So far, so good.

    Thanks for all the comments and advice.
    Sue


     
  14. ShiLowe's Lions

    ShiLowe's Lions Veteran Porchie
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    Great news. Keep us updated.
     

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