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Middle dog syndrome

Posted by longislander (My Page) on
Wed, Feb 29, 12 at 16:45

My old man Shitzu, Bubba will be 17 this August. Last May I got a puppy, Coco who will be 1 this month. When we first brought Coco home it took a while for Bubba to adjust to the fact that this little punk was staying and understandably so, he was an only dog for over 5 years is nice our other dog died. Coco has been a good girl for the most part, potty trained easily, doesn't chew anything that isn't hers. some food issues in the beginning,her not wanting to eat from the dish, but only if I placed food on the floor for her. I hit myself in the head and reminded myself that I am in charge and she learned pretty quick i was.
Fast forward to Christmas 2011 at which time we get another puppy, Jovi. He is actually my daughter's puppy but we have a Mother/Daughter house so we now have 3 Shihtzus.
Coco and Jovi have been a tumbling pile of playing puppies since the first day he came home. They play a little rough, but nothing crazy.
Here is the problem... Bubba, the old man snaps at the baby if he gets too close, which is normal. Showing who is boss, etc. The problem is Coco. She is getting almost obsessive about her food. Especially breakfast. Coco and Jovi get fed a few feet away from each other, the same spot for Coco, nothing new. Bubba, as he only eats once a day was kinda lurking for a while which I would imagine would make her possessive, but we keep him in his room until after breakfast is over and she is still,having issues. My daughter feeds them and a few times has put Coco in her crate with her food to eat as she kinda has ADD when she eats sometimes and then if my daughter goes by the crate she growls at her. She tried to snap at me a few weeks ago and I put her in her place. Now last night she was upstairs in their apartment and snapped at my son in law when he went to take a rubber bracelet away from her she shouldn't have had. Also the other night we came home after dinner to a chewed pair of earphones. She has NEVER chewed anything before. NEVER. She also just seems more on edge, jumping at noises, not really staying in your arms to be petted.

Sorry this is so long, but I am at my wits end. Coco is MY dog and generally so good (Bubba is my hubbies and Jovi is my daughters)
Any and all advice is appreciated!!

Marg


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Middle dog syndrome

Is Coco spayed, Marg?

Ginny


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RE: Middle dog syndrome

No, she isn't spayed. We thought perhaps she was coming into heat, but it has been a few weeks. Too long of a period of time.
Now this morning she pooped on the floor. Again more uncharacteristic behavior for her. Now I question any piddle I find that I attribute to Jovi if it a small amount or Bubba if it a larger puddle...


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RE: Middle dog syndrome

If you don't intend to breed her, then get her spayed. Some of her behavior I saw in one of my dogs when she came into heat.

It sounds like she needs a refresher course on obedience training but I would make both puppies go thru the training at the same time. Be sure to teach all three dogs the 'drop it, leave it' command.
Also, I wouldn't crate one dog along with its food if the other dogs are around. Either isolate her to another room or crate everyone during feeding time.

Before starting any training I would first have her checked by a vet to rule out any physical problems.


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RE: Middle dog syndrome

IMO, these behaviors are hormonal and territorial. Coco may be exerting her dominance within your small pack, just so it is clear to the new kid. :) I would suggest you spay her and neuter the little guy. I also think it is important to immediately reprimand her negative behavior so she learns just exactly who is the alpha in her pack. Namely you and the other humans. :) I have seen this kind of behavior many times in my pack of 3 intact females, one intact male, one neutered male, and puppies occasionally from all three moms. IMO, these behaviors are not uncommon and often can be solved with behavioral training and altering the dogs. Hope this helps. :)

Ginny


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RE: Middle dog syndrome

I do anticipate breeding them, at least once, so getting them fixed is not in the immediate future.
Her behavior doesn't seem to be directed at the baby though, more of a protecting of her food from Bubba who is now penned up. She just seems so 'frantic' these days. even if you reach to pet her, she doesn't always allow it, she pulls back away from you. Most of the time, not all the time though. Sometimes she will 'allow' me to have her on my lap and pet and love her.
@Annz why specifically those commands above the come command or others?


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RE: Middle dog syndrome

I think the drop-it command is one of the most important commands to teach your dog. You mentioned your dog snapped at a relative when they tried to retrieve a bracelet she was chewing on. If she knew the 'drop-it' there wouldn't have been the chance of someone getting bitten.
It also becomes a safety issue for the dog. If you ever take a dog out walking/running there are too many instances where they may come across something they feel they should eat or chew on. In some areas, one never know when poison has been used so your dog dropping whatever is in his mouth can be a lifesaver.


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RE: Middle dog syndrome

Thank you Annz for explaning, I hadn't considered either of those scenarios!

I just had an epiphany a little while ago in that before I got Jovi for my Daughter, Coco was the be all-end all. My DAU and SIL used to leave a few minutes early for work in the morning to play with her even. I just watched the interaction, or actually lack thereof with my SIL and Coco just now. Dau took Jovi out to do his business before they went out (I puppy sit) and SIL was in the house with Coco. She wanted to play, but his interaction with her was uninterested. She dropped a toy at his feet and he kind of soccer kicked it and then he went outside and left her at the back door to wait for the three of them to come back. I let her out at that point as I felt bad for her.
Am I possibly onto something, or grasping at straws?

Thanks,
Marg


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