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evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

How to get two dogs to get along?

Asked by evelyns_pet_zebra (12878points) June 9th, 2009

We recently acquired a second Jack Russell Terrier. The first dog is a four yr old female, fixed, named P. The second dog, the one we recently acquired, is a six yr old female, fixed, named H. H is aggressive towards P, and has to be kept in a crate. P is submissive towards the older dog, even though it is P’s territory. We are giving it three days, and if things do not improve, H will have to go. We have already tried trying to get them to ‘kiss and make up’ by holding each one, but H is still damned aggressive. H came from a house with four other dogs; P has lived here almost three years, single dog home, but she gets on well with other PT dogs. She is a trained PT animal.

Does anyone have any suggestions on how to get the two dogs to get along, or is it just going to be one of those things of letting them get used to each other?

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14 Answers

avalmez's avatar

i am by no means a dog expert but we have two dogs as well. luckily ours get along generally well and can be left alone without having to be kept apart. your issue is a frequent topic on the show The Dog Whisperer. Based on my viewing of that show, 3 days is probably not enough time to resolve your issue even if you knew how to resolve it. Maybe go to the book store and pick up one of the Dog Whisperer’s books or DVD’s. Many people I know swear by his advice.

crisw's avatar

Do NOT trust anything the” Dog Whisperer” says. He is a charlatan! (MUCH more info available if you want it, but this guy is one of my pet peeves…no pun intended.)

What happens when H goes after P and you do not intervene? Is either dog physically damaged?

If not, then it’s best not to intervene, in my opinion. Dogs do a lot of posturing when figuring out ranks. It can look noisy and awful but is usually just ritual. On the other hand, if actual damage is occurring, or if H doesn’t stop when P gets submissive, then something does need to be done.

When a fight occurs, is H put in the crate and P comforted and coddled?

If so, that’s probably not the best option. It’s going to actually increase the likelihood that H goes after P. Hard as it is for humans to accept, dogs have dominance hierarchies and, once they are established, they are happy with them. H may be a higher-ranking, more dominant dog than P, and you may need to treat her that way. It’s tough for us fair-minded humans, but the dogs really don’t care- they get a lot more upset when we do things that go against their hierarchical nature. If we “support the loser,” it can actuially result in the fights continuing.

I’ll get a couple of links to some resources and post them in a minute.

DarkScribe's avatar

There are several approaches, but one I have found effective is to introduce another, a third dog – temporarily. A large dog. They will team up against it if it is the most recent “interloper” – become buddies. Dogs always sort themselves out once dominance has been established, they don’t hold grudges, or keep fighting when the other submits. The other is something most people will object to, and that is let them sort it out themselves without well meaning interference. It will be mostly noise, not as scary as it looks or sounds, but they will do it.

kheredia's avatar

Well when I got my second dog we introduced them in a neutral area and walked them together so they could get familiar with each other without making our first dog feel invaded in his own territory. After we took them both home we kept a close eye on them. They got into a couple of little fights because they had to determine which one was going to be alpha, but nothing too serious. Since then we’ve used a lot of the methods that Cesar Milan uses and they’ve worked great. My dogs are best buddies now. You just have to be patient and persistent with whatever method you’re going to use. Not all methods work for all dogs. Good luck!

avalmez's avatar

@crisw them’s strong words. i know people that have used milan’s methods successfully (fortunately i’ve not had serious issues with my pets that required advice). i’m sure no method works in all cases, but that doesn’t mean the method’s developer doesn’t know what s/he is talking about. in any case and please take this the wrong way, i’m not interested enough to learn the details behind your assertion (which i’m sure is not totally baseless).

avalmez's avatar

um, “and please [don’t] take this the wrong way…”

crisw's avatar

Well, if anyone really does care to see the documentation about Milan, you can start here :>)

kheredia's avatar

All I know is that a lot of Milans tactics have been very effective in my case. My dogs are very well behaved and very happy and balanced animals. But like I said before, not all methods work for all dogs.

syz's avatar

Ah, jeez, not the dog whisperer again…

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

Thanks for all the advice, except for the one about some guy who claims to be a dog whisperer. I have a problem with self-proclaimed experts that try to sell me a book or DVD. Doesn’t anyone do anything anymore WITHOUT trying to profit from it?

There is also a guy who claims to be a pet whisperer, and he is obviously a kook. I just visited his page, and as soon as I read the word homeopathic, I knew he was psychopathic. Homeopathic medicine works as well as Catholic demonic exorcisms.

But then, some people are pretty damn gullible.

avalmez's avatar

@evelyns_pet_zebra i have nothing to do with or to profit from the dog whisperer. my response was offered with the best of intentions.

and yes, some people are pretty damn gullible. you should not have introduced a second dog into your household before having done due diligence. that said, best of luck to your dogs.

sakura's avatar

I agree with @kheredia have a go at introducing the dogs in a neutral place, @crisw is corect too… dogs usually need towork out who is the boss, they just do it differently to us humans and although can look a little brutal, as long as tehy are not hurting each other they will sort them selves out… Good luck and I hope you gain a happier household !

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

I see you folks gave your responses a lot of thought. No offense intended in any of my replies, we can disagree and still remain civilized. The situation resolved itself, and we no longer have a problem with two dogs in one house. Of course, the great suggestions here will be squirreled away for future reference in case we do decide to try acquiriing a second canine.

GAs and LURVE all around. Thanks for your time to make a response to my question. That’s what I love about Fluther, so many differing viewpoints, keeping things lively without degenerating into drama and flame wars. Cheers, salut and glass clinks to Bendrew.

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