Is the honeymoon over with our multiple dog home?

Okay, here's a plea to all you experienced multiple dog households for some advice and wisdom.

Last week was a dream. After much anticipation (some of you saw the story in the rescue area) we brought Quincey home last Sunday. He was a little anxious about all the new people and places but quickly got pretty comfortable in the house and at my office. As for Otto, aside from periodic Homer-Simpson-and-Donuts behavior (glassy look, drooling, mindless jaw chopping--typical intact boy who has just gotten a big snoot full of a really good sniff, like a giiiiiirrrrlll), he was (or seemed to be) handling it all very well. The boys even started playing together by Thursday and they really seemed to be enjoying each other--give and take, quite appropriate (or at least so it seemed to me), and then afterwards they collapsed into an exhausted heap right next to each other behind my chair at the office.

Well, yesterday everything changed. Otto started to get really obsessive--licking Q's ears, non-stop attempting to sniff him (and lick him--eww!), and best of all, hump-o-rama. :roll: In addition, Otto started this obnoxious panting/whining behavior. And it's been almost non-stop since then. 8O I think I now understand how crazy parents of colicky babies can get. What the heck happened to my good boy? Quincey (until just a few minutes ago--he's now being a bit vocal) has basically been putting up with it. I've been telling Otto to cut it out, and physically pushing him off when he doesn't listen (after all, I'm the leader in this house--benevolent, but kind of p-o'ed at the moment!). I've also bought some of those dog appeasing pheromone diffusers (no help so far) and been dosing them with Rescue Remedy like crazy (I'm about ready for a stiff whiskey myself!). I also have a call in to Quincey's foster mom for her input. I just don't have any experience with multiple dogs, so I'm quite confused (not to mention appalled) by Otto's behavior. He's downright hysterical. Should we keep interfering? Ignore them? Wait until Quincey tells him to get off? I don't want any violence, but maybe Otto needs to hear it from Quince because he's not listening to me or to my husband, that's for sure.

Otto's getting just as much attention as always, and Quincey doesn't pester him like a puppy would. I hate that Otto is so unhappy, but his level of hysteria does seem quite out of proportion. You'd think we brought a bitch in season in to the house and started feeding her steak and beating him with a stick ... sheesh.

Please tell me they'll work this out ... won't they? They were getting along so great for the first week!

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Some of the humping is usually dominance reinforcement however, by the sound of it Otto is very confused. Have either/both been castrated?

I've often said with rescues it's often for every two steps forward it's one step backwards.

The pre-existing dog in the household is usually the natural dominant one should a new dog enter the home. Not always the case however, as the rescue is much like a foster child...they behave well and are rather meek for the first couple weeks. As they feel more comfortable their true personalities start to emerge.

Otto may be able to pick up cues as to this emerging confidence in Q and be putting him in his place...via means of humping which is dominance related. Even at dog parks all owners are advised not to let their dog hump another dog as often it's the anacedent to a fight. Some dogs whom are naturally passive don't appear to be annoyed by it..but the odd dog will take acception to it and start to fight as if saying.."You're not the boss of me!". Keep removing Otto and be firm..NO!

The heirachy usually establishes its self over time but urg! Having gone through it several times I sympathize with you.

How you can prevent or anticipate some of this behavior is you become a dog watcher...sit back and really pay attention to all their interactions. Hard to tell with sheepies but usually the position of the tail , body , ears will give indication as to the signals they are sending out. Familarize yourself with dogspeak and body language. In my home Blue has never fully accepted his new brother even after two years, but there is only the rare fight as I can tell from their body language if one is annoyed and so I distract and difuse any potential situation.

Some regulars on here are so lucky in the majority of the case and the meetings are bliss and continue to be. Males seem to be more prone of establishing the heirachy and once that is done...99% of the cases when each knows his place...peace will return.

Curious to know how their eating, sleeping, arrangements are - as you may be also giving signals as to who you view as Alpha without realizing it.

Marianne and the boys
My only experience is with my previous dogs2 bitches, a 8 year old boarder collie and a 1 year old labrador - the lab came into the home and just bounded about, tried to keep goading the collie, who sat and took it for a while, then she went for the lab, I have to say I did watch and let this carry on and the lab backed off. This did go on for a couple of weeks, but it sorted itself out -I only intervened when I really thought is was necessary. What did help was things like feed the collie first, always the collie first, so the lab would know her place and in the end they just accepted each other.
THanks for the thoughts. Marianne, I think you might be on to something. I had assumed that Otto was the dominant one, but this delayed reaction could well be that he is picking up signals from Quincey that he is actually the higher-ranking dog. This is hard for me, of course, because Otto is my baby--but dogs don't think like we do, right? It doesn't matter if Q outranks Otto as long as everyone is clear on their place, right? Last night after telling Otto off about 47 gazillion times, my husband just let it go further and Q did growl and tell Otto to get off himself. Not that it worked ... finally husband got so fed up he banished Otto to sleep downstairs. About 5 a.m. I couldn't stand it so went down there to check on him and sleep on the couch. He seemed fine--no panting, all well. We got up, I let him out, he came in and got some food (he hasn't eaten since Sunday morning), and then ... he caught a glimpse of Quincey in the backyard and the whining, panting, pacing began. Brain is gone again. Sigh. I'm afraid he's going to give himself a heart attack, he's so whipped up.

Would it help to keep them more or less separated for awhile? Should one of us more or less take charge of Q and the other Otto (and perhaps switch off periodically)? I have to take them both to work today (someone coming to the house to do some work), but after today should I trade off and leave one home? Or is it just going to take as much time as it's going to take for them to work this out and we can't really do much to help it along?

Oh, and Otto is not neutered--we used to show him and (until now) he's always been quite appropriate with other dogs (not to mention that he is never out unsupervised!) so we didn't see the need to put him through the surgery (and he's terrified of the vet). But would that make much difference at his age? He's 8.5 y.o.

Well, I must truly be insane. I already have a 6 1/2 yr. old Yorkie, a 2 yr. old Lhasa, and a 1 yr. old Old English Bulldog! All BOYS! Sunday, 4/9, my husband brought me a gift, (a puppy - a childhood pet), SHE is an Old English Sheepdog, 3 mos. old. I now have FOUR dogs in my house, 3 boys, and now a girl. My boys are sort of house broken, for the most part..they try, but still have accidents occassionally. The newest baby is now having accidents and they are marking over hers - what can I do???

Crazy Mommy in Houston, TX
I, too have 3 boys and a girl. The boys are Ben and Fozzy,who are 1 1/2 year old OES, Dudley, an 11 year old Brittany, and Ruby, a 6 year old sheltie. I could write a book. Christmas day before last, we spent 7 hours in the pet er after Ruby bit Ben in the eye.

Last fall Dudley chomped Fozzy and then ran and hid in his crate. I guess he didn't figure on Fozzy gettig in the crate with him. Another trip to the vet...hole in Fozzy's lip.

It seems the alpha position is always changing. For a while Ruby ruled the roost, then Fozzy asserted himself for a while, now Ben seems to be less passive and more likely to back Fozzy down rather than take his stuff.

But for the most part, they get along pretty well (better than my son and daughter, actually). When we adopted Fozzy, Grannie Annie told me to just step back and let them work it out. I'm sure it helps that the boys are neutered, but we still had our share of humping contests. Now they don't do it anymore.

As long is nobody is getting seriously hurt, we just let them settle their own differences and that works out well.
It sounds to me like Otto just has a big crush on Quincey. When I worked at a dog daycare we saw this a lot... every once in a while an in tact male dog would just obsess over another (typically male)dog... following them, drooling, humping etc. There didn't seem to be anything we could do to curtail this, but we did find that castrated males that previously behaved like this stopped all the humping/obsessing after they were neutered. have you considered having otto neutered?
I also had 3 boys, 1 girl. We pretty much let them figure out their issues themselves. We never had to break up any fights, although there was no war there were some skirmishes. I wouldn't interfere unless it truly gets out of control.
Thank you so much to everyone for your thoughts and ideas--just knowing that we aren't alone is a huge help. The obsessiveness continued last night (we had to put them on different floors of the house for sleeping--no one would have gotten any sleep otherwise!) and this morning, so I brought Otto to work alone and my husband decided to work at home and hang out with Quincey. We have a call in to the vet to discuss whether neutering Otto would help (he really is miserable, and if the surgery would help then the risk would be worth it). We're observing the behavior to try and understand better what exactly is going on. And the bottom line is, we are absolutely committed to Quincey, and of course to Otto--so we will get through this and find a way to make it work. I'll keep you posted!



What happens if you don't intervene? Is Quincey scared or do you think he'd tell Otto off when he'd had enough? We now have 2 boys and a girl. The boys are best buddies and Clyde only pulls rank if Bear tried to push Lucy around (even though it seems to me that Lucy is quietly the alpha) or when we meet new people, kind of like he's trying to remind us that he's more important in the pack then Bear. Do you think Otto may be doing this for your benefit? To prove his place in the pack? It's just a suggestion but it reminded me of Clyde's humping. It does sound as though your situation goes beyond an occasional hump though!

one word of caution, we recently brought a new female dog into our home with our old man, Bailey. Bailey was used for breeding before we got him from the rescue at 5 years old. He was neutered just prior to our picking him up. He is now 11 and although neutered he was exhibiting some humping behavior I ignored it until our young grand-daughters were over and playing in the yard. I corrected Bailey and he growled at me, the up-until-now submissive female jumped him. She was protecting me.

I had a similar incident several years ago with two female OES and I had forgotten the lesson I learned then.

The panting and whining leads me to believe that this is more than a dominance issue. Maybe your vet can shed some light.
I should have mentioned, Bailey did not like other dogs. He would bite without warning. Not your usual growling snarling stuff. Just a silent bite on the nose, which usually resulted in retaliation. Then the fight was on. We dealt with the issue by avoiding it for the most part and keeping him away from other dogs.

I anticipated fights when we brought Max into our house so I enlisted the help of our adult daughter and we walked the dogs together every night. We would trade off who walked whom to avoid jealousy. We moved at a quick pace and kept them on a short leash at first. At first they ignored each other completely. When ever Bailey growled we would simply reel him in a little and correct him.

After about two weeks of this we would pause after about a half hour of walking and let them sniff noses etc. If one of them started to posture we would just resume walking quickly. We let the leashes out longer and slowed a little after time to give them an opportunity to mess up, so we could correct them.

What I found was that after a brisk walk, they were too tired to act up. They returned home wanted to drink some water and take a nap. Maybe this will help Quincy to be around Otto but have his mind occupied and expend some of the extra energy at the same time.
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