Well, if you came here looking for all the answers I’m afraid we don’t have them…. yet. Why do I say that?! Well, we’re working through it.
So, this is not meant to bash anyone who has made a difficult choice to rehome a dog aggressive dog in a multi dog home but this hopefully will give people some insight. We are determined to take the time, provide the training and do what it takes to get our pack to work together for the long haul!
When I went online to look up dog aggressive dogs, older dog and puppy, dog bites puppy or any of those other things, well nothing really made me feel like anyone else deals with this. Maybe they do. They just don’t talk about it. So, let’s talk about it.
Alright a little bit about our pack if you’re not familiar:
Layla – the OG
Layla will be 10 in April and I’ve had her since I was in college. She’s a dream dog, sometimes a bit bratty but overall she listens well, she’s good with other dogs (a little rumble here or there) but she’s been well socialized and well put together.
Pippin – The baby
Well, we made some errors here when my husband and I adopted Pippin almost 4 years ago as a 7 week old baby. (I highly recommend going to our Instagram for baby pics he was THE cutest!) He’s a little “off” and absolutely neurotic but we’re working on it. Recently we discovered he’s kind of fallen back on some old ways so we need to bring him back. He’s the alpha of the pack, and we don’t quite want him to be so it’s a dog training work in progress. Considering this WHOLE blog is named after him because he’s been the worst dog ever, this really shouldn’t come as a surprise. He’s been a bit coddled, sometimes because he really needs it, but as dog parents we need to acknowledge when we have to make a change for the better. So, you’ll see a bit of that in this post.
Sneaux – the Old Man
Oh Sneaux… okay, he’s the main reason for this post. We got Sneaux when he was 11 years old and we adopted him after his first dog dad passed away. He was found as a stray when he was 1-2 years old and lived with him for 10 years. He went to live with family afterwards, but for medical reasons, he couldn’t stay there. Long story short, we brought him in. Since he was the last in the household he kind of stayed a bit meek, kept his distance and assimilated into the pack fairly easily. Well, we noticed that after that he seemed to become very territorial. Mind you, he was a good boy so we have never really done any real training with him. Well, some things we noticed off the bat: stole and hoarded toys, tried to hoard others food, etc. He had always lived with other dogs, so he kind of seemed to know his boundaries. He sucked up to Layla (always licking her mouth) and stayed out of Pippin’s way or didn’t engage with his aggression. So, under the radar we didn’t realize he’s been a low key Dark Side Dog. (We love him, but he’s a total Sith Lord)
Archie(kins) – The floppy puppy
Ah yes, everyone loves the puppy life, right? Nah. Not so much but it’s gotta be done to have a good dog! So, Archie has only been with us for over a week but he sort of took our rose colored glasses off for us! He showed us that Pippin was alpha and we really had no control over him. Saying the word “NO” means NOTHING to Pippin… He also showed us that the aggression we’d seen in Sneaux 2 times previously (he bit two pups) wasn’t a product of a wrong time/wrong place but instead it’s actually a real issue that Sneaux has and needs to be solved. Thankfully, this little dude is a happy go lucky guy who handles the tension SO well and he’s really probably got the best personality I’ve seen on a dog in 10 years since I raised Layla.
So, I shared all of that so you know what we’re dealing with. We’ve got to teach an old dog some new tricks, get an Alpha dog to start listening to us AND teach a puppy to not bother the older dogs too much while not annoying our perfect princess Layla. (She’s not perfect, she does get scolded but she really isn’t in this post.)
Okay, so what kind of aggression are we dealing with here? Well, Pippin is kind of normal Alpha he gets a little bone aggressive and can be a bit irritated when someone gets in his face but a snarl and some teeth seem too work. On the other hand, Sneaux turns into a devil dog and offensively attacks any other dogs! 😳 Well, this sucks right?
Yupp! Okay, so what do you do about it?! Well, we have 4 dogs and two of us. I know other households manage but I think there are TWO parts to this equation.
Part 1: Find a professional dog trainer! This is important and then see what works. We are starting with one lesson at a time to see if we can solve the problem in home with some guidance.
Part 2: Talk to your vet! This is next on our list because I’ve had bloodwork done in the past year and Sneaux was fine. I haven’t had thyroid checked but that is one thing to look into. I will also be talking to our vet about daily pain meds. It’s 100% possible since he’s an older dog he may be in a bit of pain which makes him grouchy.
I said two things but, how do you live?! Well, everything is a phase right? So, right now the young boys (Archie and Pippin) are wearing leashes in the house. This helps us gain control if needed. Sneaux on the other hand has been given an apartment. Since I’m not sure what is his good vs bad behavior and what to reward I feel better truly putting space between them until we have a full session with the dog trainer (we did an eval). After that, we will see!
So, as we have grown from a house with two dogs to a house with 4 dogs and a cat (by the way that took a good amount of training and a few weeks or months before Sneaux was okay with the cat) we have to grow and develop ourselves. So, stay tuned with us on our adult dog training journey!