Here`s another great article:
My husband and I have a 12+ year old Mini Schnauzer that we've had for over 10 years. We recently adopted a very sweet natured 6 year old pit mix. The pit mix lived in a multi-dog household and was best friends with a chihuahua prior to us adopting her, so we weren't concerned with her being dog friendly.
We've had her for a week and for the most part the two dogs get along fine. The schnauzer is a little wary the new dog because he is not used to large dogs and doesn't really like it when larger critters (us included) lean over him. His peripheral vision isn't very good anymore and it makes him nervous.
They are allowed free roam of the house when we are home and we keep them in separate rooms when we leave. Both have their own beds – in multiple rooms.
Neither dog food guards – they eat within eyesight of each other with no problems, and I give them morning treats right next to each other and they've shared their crumbs. The pit mix even watched the schnauzer finish off her bowl of kibble and didn't do a thing about it.
The new dog has exhibited some jealousy/guarding tendencies towards the schnauzer with toys and with us which we are trying to work through by praising good behavior and keeping toys up when it isn't play time. I have by reflex sternly told her 'No ma'am' or 'Leave it' when she has growled (low growl, no teeth) at the schnauzer when guarding what I can only assume to be us (no toys present when this growling happend, and she is usually between us and schnauzer when this occurs) . I am not sure if stern command/reprimand is the right or wrong thing to do since I get conflicting information from the various online sources I've looked up on jealousy and guarding. I mean, it worked in that it made her stop at that moment – but is that really a good idea for the long term?
So I wanted to ask for those with multi-dog households what their thoughts on the following would be and for any other tidbits of advice that has worked for them in this situation:
1) Walking both dogs together helps build trust between the dogs. We confirmed that after our first walk with the two – there was a big improvement in the Schnauzer's behavior in that he was no longer completely terrified of getting within 5 feet of the new dog. BUT – the pit mix requires way more exercise than the schnauzer (at minimum two-hour long walks a day from what we've read), and that is a pace our schnauzer can not maintain, since he has a heart condition. We are going to continue to walk them together, but I'm not sure if taking the new dog out on her own for a run or really long walk could have any negative impact on her or the schnauzer's understanding of our "pack" dynamic. Could taking her out for walks on her own worsen her jealousy/guarding towards the schnauzer? Is there a better solution?
2) Giving dogs their own space to rest in, like their own bed, is usually recommended. The pit mix has tried to lay down in the schnauzer's bed multiple times and we call her over to her own bed, tell her to 'lay in your bed', then give her treats for obeying. Is enforcing a strict 'your bed'/'their bed' a good idea, or could this lead to territorial/guarding disputes later down the road?
3) In reacting to an unexpected or sudden guarding behavior such as growling, I know it is not a good idea to punish, but is a stern 'Leave it' or 'No' also a bad idea? What would be the best way to handle something like that on the fly? I can't exactly just turn my back to her and ignore her when she wasn't paying attention to me in the first place.
Any suggestions, personal experience, or resources that worked for you would be much appreciated.
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