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Discussion Starter #1
"When you train to fix one problem you often create a second problem." Guy Fornuto, my mentor

Riley is Thor's brother. He had been abused for about five years when he finally became part of my household. He had developed many issues due to the abuse. I worked tirelessly on these issues and I am happy to report that I have been successful. However now Riley has suddenly started growling at Thor. How could this happen? Well I don't know, this is a new experience for me. Some research and evaluation of my training leads me to believe that my counter conditioning techniques for Riley have caused this. I am now trying to fix this. I have been working on this for 1 1/2 days. I am excited about learning something new. Also hopeful that I am successful.
 

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Kristy
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"When you train to fix one problem you often create a second problem." Guy Fornuto, my mentor
......I am now trying to fix this. I have been working on this for 1 1/2 days. I am excited about learning something new. Also hopeful that I am successful.
Well, shoot. I'm sorry you've arrived at a bump in the road. I'm interested to hear updates as you work through it and will be rooting for you. Our dogs just keep teaching us new things, don't they???
 

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I've been wondering how Riley has been doing and will be very interested to see how you tackle this.

We have two male dogs, one neutered (a toy poodle), one not neutered (Duster). The poodle is older, has been here longer and perceives himself as being superior. He was awful when we first got Duster, to such an extent that I thought this might be our first-ever pairing of dogs that didn't work out - it literally took months to be able to have them in the same room without the poodle attacking the puppy. They worked it out eventually and are now friends, but the poodle will still occasionally growl or send out "negative energy" to Duster, usually when the poodle is sitting in someone's lap or is in my daughter's room, which he perceives as "his" territory. We've treated it like resource guarding (with the humans being the resource) and it's never gone beyond the occasional mild manifestation.

Maybe Riley has decided that you're his human and is staking his claim?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
ceegee
A little bit about what I did. I exchanged Thor with Riley. I could work with Riley alone at my house while his owners could get used to having a dog without issues. I thought this was a good idea. The owners also needed to interact with a dog that had no issues.

Results:
1. We bonded and I have eliminated Riley's issues. However I need to do more of this with his owners. So far so good but we need to do more.
2. It seems to me that upon Thor's return it seems like Riley has made this HIS home. I feel that I created conflict.
3. I definitely feel that Riley has been resource guarding me.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Another thing that I did that I feel is a mistake. I was so focused on Riley that I ignored Thor. I gave Riley my attention so that he would be conditioned to touching and petting. Riley got many treats while in the presence of Thor---I carry treats in order to reward the behaviors I want in Riley. All of this worked for Riley but now, looking back, I realize that Thor started to play second fiddle to Riley. I would even push Thor away while working with Riley. The message that I was sending was that Thor was unwanted, he was an "intruder". I confused both Thor and Riley. This is definitely not what I wanted. So, the next step was to review everything that I had done and then do some research. Again, I feel like I had created this.
 

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I am confident you will be able to fix this.
 
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Duke and Moe went through something similar last summer. The situation was a little different. We sent Moe to a trainer for six weeks. During this time Duke was here and the only dog for two weeks and then we welcomed Cruz to the house. When Moe came home we were expecting some issues with him adapting to having a puppy in the house. We were shocked when Duke decided Moe no longer belonged anywhere near us or Cruz. Duke was definitely guarding me and the puppy from Moe, but primarily the puppy. Duke took to Cruz as if he was his very own puppy. He had always had a respectful and tolerant relationship with Moe but never like the one he quickly developed with Cruz. Duke was down right nasty toward Moe. It took 2-3 weeks to get the balance back in the house. In the beginning they were kept separately and then introduced only on leash with myself holding Duke and husband holding Moe. (Duke is my dog) We did everything outside in the yard and from an obedience prospective. (no close quarters) The first time they were both off leash in the yard we did structured retrieves using all of their hunt training skills. We kept the puppy separated from both adult dogs until things had hit a safe balance. We started giving each adult dog time with the puppy individually and then we slowly allowed both adult dogs to be together with one on one supervision. They did have to sort some of it out on their own, but within a month everyone was safe again.

Duke has always been a very dominant male, more so then you may expect from a Golden. Moe is the sweetest dog ever. We now have the interesting situation where Duke is older and showing his age and Cruz has decided he's going to be top male. Duke is allowing Cruz to slowly take over the role which has been interesting to watch. Moe has decided to challenge Cruz but within acceptable behavior limits. That being said when one of them gets on Dukes nerves he very clearly sets the boundary even if he does it laying down. Our house is not for the faint of heart, but I love watching the way they interact. I don't know what I would do without strong obedience skills and lots of exercise.

I can't wait to see how you resolve it. I know last year I had a few really tense weeks.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Duke and Moe went through something similar last summer. The situation was a little different. We sent Moe to a trainer for six weeks. During this time Duke was here and the only dog for two weeks and then we welcomed Cruz to the house. When Moe came home we were expecting some issues with him adapting to having a puppy in the house. We were shocked when Duke decided Moe no longer belonged anywhere near us or Cruz. Duke was definitely guarding me and the puppy from Moe, but primarily the puppy. Duke took to Cruz as if he was his very own puppy. He had always had a respectful and tolerant relationship with Moe but never like the one he quickly developed with Cruz. Duke was down right nasty toward Moe. It took 2-3 weeks to get the balance back in the house. In the beginning they were kept separately and then introduced only on leash with myself holding Duke and husband holding Moe. (Duke is my dog) We did everything outside in the yard and from an obedience prospective. (no close quarters) The first time they were both off leash in the yard we did structured retrieves using all of their hunt training skills. We kept the puppy separated from both adult dogs until things had hit a safe balance. We started giving each adult dog time with the puppy individually and then we slowly allowed both adult dogs to be together with one on one supervision. They did have to sort some of it out on their own, but within a month everyone was safe again.

Duke has always been a very dominant male, more so then you may expect from a Golden. Moe is the sweetest dog ever. We now have the interesting situation where Duke is older and showing his age and Cruz has decided he's going to be top male. Duke is allowing Cruz to slowly take over the role which has been interesting to watch. Moe has decided to challenge Cruz but within acceptable behavior limits. That being said when one of them gets on Dukes nerves he very clearly sets the boundary even if he does it laying down. Our house is not for the faint of heart, but I love watching the way they interact. I don't know what I would do without strong obedience skills and lots of exercise.

I can't wait to see how you resolve it. I know last year I had a few really tense weeks.
Thank you. Your post has a lot of useful information. I will be posting updates.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
OK, I think that I correctly identified how I created this problem. My research brought me to an article by Stanley Coren, Aggression Between Dogs In The Same Household. Those having similar problems should read this article. Right in the article it says that one of the things is the actions of the owner such as paying attention to one dog rather than the other. And that is exactly what I have been doing. I have been giving Riley extra attention when I am working on his fears and anxiety triggers. Coren says that the good news is that this is treatable by using behavioral techniques. I am five days into this and I am reluctant to evaluate my techniques. I am learning as I go but I will say that learning what doesn't work is as valuable as learning what does work. I am not unhappy.

More on what I am doing later.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
SETBACK OR SOMETHING ELSE?

BACKGROUND
Up until last night I felt that we were doing well following Stanley Coren's suggestions. He does say that noticeable improvement does not occur until at least more than five weeks after the process starts. Also, he does say that many of the dogs have other issues like phobias, anxiety, etc. That is Riley.

WHAT HAPPENED
While walking the dogs last night (one leash in each hand) Riley picked up a discarded plastic salad dressing container. (Irresponsible landscapers tossing trash.) As he approached it he growled at Thor. Riley picked it up, I finally got it from him with difficulty, and we took a half step away from the container. As I lead Riley around, the dogs came face to face, noses touching. This lead to growling and biting and me yelling---at 12:30 in the morning in front of neighbors' houses. I pulled on leashes, separated them, and continued walking. My shoulder is arthritic and because of this I am now hurting really bad. I kept them seperated the rest of the night.

ZEN AND MY ASSESSMENT
I was very troubled by this. What is going on? I never like to act without thinking so I spent the night and this morning trying to figure out what happened. And how to deal with it. I decided that this was a result of Riley's issues which I have posted about before, specifically resource guarding. In fact after thinking about this for a long time I am sure this is what happened. All training may have ups and downs. I will continue with my plan. Still too early to evaluate progress but I have been happy overall so far.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
My training plan for this is right from Stanley Coren. Here it is:
1. NILIF---Nothing in life is free. The dogs must respond to a simple learned command in order to get treats, a toy, petting, really any resource that they want.
2. Supporting one of the dogs, in this case Thor. He gets everything first. I chose Thor because I felt that I wanted to correct the negative message that I had sent.

These methods work because both dogs must act in a controlled manor and events occur in a predictable manner, i.e. each will get what they want and no conflict is needed. I am very optimistic.
 

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This is very interesting, especially the supporting of Thor. I don't do NILIF, but I do support our poodle, who has by far the more assertive personality of the two dogs. Duster seems happy to play second fiddle in these things, even though he's "my" dog and the poodle isn't. But I've had to add negative consequences if the poodle sends negative energy or becomes aggressive towards Duster, as still happens occasionally. For example, the poodle may be sitting in my lap (he weighs 11 lbs., and laps are his preferred space), and nine times out of ten, if Duster comes close there's no problem. Occasionally, however, even if the poodle isn't growling and isn't doing anything overt, Duster will shy away and run behind the couch. This is what I mean by "negative energy". The poodle isn't doing anything that I can detect, but Duster has received a message that he mustn't come close. Whenever that happens, I immediately set the poodle down and make him lie on the dog bed instead, and invite Duster to lie close to me (he doesn't do laps). Similarly, the poodle will occasionally behave badly around food in the kitchen - not often, maybe once every couple of months or so - and when it happens I banish him to his crate and give the guarded resource to Duster. We have a generally peaceful household and the two dogs get along very well for the most part.

If I remember well, your two dogs are littermates. Do you think this has anything to do with what's happening?
 

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Discussion Starter #15
ceeegee

First, Thor and his brother Proof were both top dogs in the litter. They were both big and bold. I actually had originally named Thor "Tank". Riley was middle of the road. Also, we are all currently in Thor's (my) house. I had Riley here alone several times, two weeks at a time, while Thor was at Riley's house. This I think was critical in creating uncertainty with the dogs. While I remediated Riley's issues I created a problems with peck order. The dogs do seem to respect each other's space. However Riley seems to have grown his space or at least his influence in Thor's house. I in essence turned Thor's house into Riley's house. What I have seen now is Riley giving a warning growl at quite a distance. Totally uncalled for IMO.

Thor in a way is acting like your Duster. I believe that there is body language that I can't identify. This is in addition to things that I can identify. Thor will hang back at times from Riley. However Riley also will hang back from Thor. This has confused me but I think that these instances are related to resource guarding "space" and "me". It just seems to me that Thor is more of a gentleman with Riley while at the same time obnoxious about getting attention. Riley has no patience---if he decides time with me is his time he will not share.

Let's mix in some other factors. Riley is more apt to growl in tight spaces. My house has many of them. Riley is more apt to growl in the evening. Add these together with a resource ---me---and you get a growling situation. Two weeks ago in the yard Riley was about 30 feet away from me but close to the side of the house. He was looking at me. Thor approached him from behind placing Riley between him and the house and Riley growled at him, causing Thor to turn the other way. On the other hand if I let them in the yard alone, they run and play with absolutely no problems. Behavior is quite normal and this has actually provided a laboratory situation to observe normal dog behavior.

I think that the bottom line is that I am dealing with resource guarding, "jealousy", excitedness of the dogs, and confusion. I wish I were better at this. I think that the referenced article has good advice. I will do my best to follow it.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Yesterday we had a particularly good day. I am very pleased. I need to think about what may be different, what I did differently, so that I can repeat it. I will post updates.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
We had another exceptionally good day yesterday. No growling at Thor and what appears to be a better tolerance of Thor. I hope that this is not an accident but results of behavior modification. I will post a more detailed description of techniques if there is continued success. I am feeling my way around with this.
 
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