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View Full Version : Dog behaviour - a dog getting along with a dominant dog



Captcha
05-17-2013, 03:48 AM
I have two dogs in my story. One of them is an aggressive, tough old farm dog, used to being king of his castle. He's beaten up any other dogs who've tried to challenge his place, and isn't all that enthusiastic about non-family humans, either.

The other dog is a prissy city dog. The humans will try to keep him away from the farm dog to keep the city dog from getting beat up. But I'd like the city dog to escape somehow and end up getting along just fine with the farm dog.

Am I right to think that if the city dog is just immediately submissive, the farm dog might not bother beating him up? I can google submissive dog behaviour, but I wanted to check with people that the scenario makes sense that way.

And is there any chance of the farm dog actually letting his guard down a little around the city dog? Could they possibly be friends? Or is a dog that crusty probably going to be crusty with everyone, always?

Thanks for any insight!

jclarkdawe
05-17-2013, 04:10 AM
Depends upon the dog, training, and the humans.

I have an Akita mix, with a very high hunt/kill instinct. She lives with three cats and a horse. The cats are her cats. No issues. Other cats? Dog food if she can catch them (She's not a good hunter.)

A neighbors dog viciously attacked me in her opinion. (The other dog wanted me to pet him.) The dog became my dog's sworn enemy. With time and explaining that I didn't want this other dog killed, they now play together. Still need some supervision, but it works.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

ECathers
05-17-2013, 04:58 AM
Well your descriptions of "prissy city dog" and "dominant farm dog" don't actually make a lot of sense.

A "prissy city dog" can be a dominant dog or a submissive. And actually if he's spoiled to hell, he's probably going to be dominant - including to his humans.

Your farm dog isn't interested in being dominant, he's been told that he's a "good guard" when he alerts on anything from possums to coyotes.

Dominance/submission issues aside, if you want dogs to work together: walk them together, work them together. IMO integrating dogs takes about 1/2 hr at most by which time they should have worked out who's on top and the answer should be: you.

ETA: Just because a farm dog alerts/guards against various types of critters that doesn't make him a dominant type. Just makes him good at his job. My most submissive dog is also my best guardian of my other critters because he somehow "cares" about those critters and their least movements. He's the first one to notice that something's gone astray. Meanwhile my other two more dominant dogs are either barking it up or roaming the woods for something to terrorize.

Captcha
05-17-2013, 01:59 PM
Well your descriptions of "prissy city dog" and "dominant farm dog" don't actually make a lot of sense.

A "prissy city dog" can be a dominant dog or a submissive. And actually if he's spoiled to hell, he's probably going to be dominant - including to his humans.

Your farm dog isn't interested in being dominant, he's been told that he's a "good guard" when he alerts on anything from possums to coyotes.

Dominance/submission issues aside, if you want dogs to work together: walk them together, work them together. IMO integrating dogs takes about 1/2 hr at most by which time they should have worked out who's on top and the answer should be: you.

ETA: Just because a farm dog alerts/guards against various types of critters that doesn't make him a dominant type. Just makes him good at his job. My most submissive dog is also my best guardian of my other critters because he somehow "cares" about those critters and their least movements. He's the first one to notice that something's gone astray. Meanwhile my other two more dominant dogs are either barking it up or roaming the woods for something to terrorize.

Well, one dog, in addition to being a farm dog, is dominant. The other dog, in addition to being from the city, is submissive. Does that work?

And the idea is that there is no human supervision of the event. The humans haven't tried to introduce the dogs because they don't think they'd get along and don't think there's any need, and then there's an accidental meeting and the dogs go ahead and do it on their own. So I'm looking for a no-humans-involved interaction, if possible.

Thanks!

mirandashell
05-17-2013, 02:17 PM
If the new dog is submissive, there shouldn't be a problem. He will show submissive behaviour immediately and that will be understood between the two of them.

The only problem is when you've got two 'dominant' dogs meeting. That usually ends in a fight but they will normally sort it out between them. One of them will retreat. I think the usual problem with pet dogs is when there is nowhere for the 'beaten' one to retreat to. If he can't get away then the fight can continue for how ever long it takes for one of the dogs to be either badly injured or dead. That's why pets need the owner to be the leader. They fight, I shout, it's done.

Hope that helps.

kelzey2
05-17-2013, 04:48 PM
Depends how aggressive is aggressive.

If another dog escaped unsupervised into the same yard as my old dog (my avatar) he would have fought until one of them was dead, however after several weeks of supervised interactions he did end up being able to live in peace with a submissive dog.

If my current dog ended up in the same yard as a submissive dog he would attack until he was sure the other dog was gonna leave him alone, and then he'd probably leave the other dog alone, but I doubt that he'd ever be friends with it (although he has been attacked by several other dogs in is 1.5 yrs of life so he's probably not the best example).

So with my dogs, it wouldn't work, but it sounds like a plausible scenario, so I'd just go with it if it fits with your story.

Sonata
05-17-2013, 06:10 PM
Do you have any breeds in mind for your characters? Reason I ask is that it sounds like your "grisly old farm dog" might be a bit slower. I have seen some of the toughest dogs befuddled by a zippy young thing.

So yes, stick with the dominance/submissive thing for sure. But if Grumpy-pup is a slower moving large farm breed, and Prissy-pup is a slimmer, more agile breed, Prissy might be able to out move Grumpy.

For example, my parents have a couple Great Pyrenees which outweigh one of our dogs, a German Shorthair Pointer, by about 80lbs, but the Pointer can literally jump over the Pyre's backs and run circles around them. Something like that might help prevent Prissy from getting his butt kicked, along with the dom/sub behaviors.

Also, I've seen a lot of young dogs mimic older more dominant dogs. So long as the youngest isn't being pesky and stays behind, the eldest seems to accept the behavior. If I knew how to upload pics, I'd try to show you the body language I'm talking about. Might help with your descriptions.

One more thing... dogs are IMO one of nature's most opportunistic creatures (how do you think they've built the relationship with humankind that they have?) If your prissy-pooch can help the grump somehow and prove itself a useful "pack" member, the grump might be more apt to accept it without violence.

mirandashell
05-17-2013, 06:20 PM
I'm assuming from the OP that these two dogs aren't kept in the house together?

pkbax
05-17-2013, 08:23 PM
A couple factors have already been mentioned, but besides dom/sub and breed, you may want consider other factors as well. Age: Some adult dogs will do great with a younger dog but not so much another adult. Then again, some very old, slower dogs can be easily irritated by the hyperness of a puppy. If your farm dog is adult and your city dog is younger but not puppy, it might work best. Sex: We've had several dogs over the years and have had dog visitors and this has been a big factor. For example: our dogs were a female Aussie/Husky and a male Lab. Both of our dogs were more insistent on establishing dominance over a visiting dog of the same sex, but had no problems with one of the opposite sex.

If you craft it well, it is possible that the two dogs would work it out themselves without a problem. I personally wouldn't try it IRL if I had 2 dogs that were going to be sharing a living space even for a short time, but it is possible.

Liralen
05-17-2013, 09:21 PM
The sex of the dogs can be a huge factor as well, along with their relative sizes.

ECathers
05-17-2013, 09:44 PM
One more thing... dogs are IMO one of nature's most opportunistic creatures (how do you think they've built the relationship with humankind that they have?) If your prissy-pooch can help the grump somehow and prove itself a useful "pack" member, the grump might be more apt to accept it without violence.

Exactly this. In the past science talked about how smart we were to adopt the dog. More recent science has suggested that it was the dog who adopted us.

ECathers
05-17-2013, 09:59 PM
Depends on the personality of the dog as well. Zen is a pit bull who at the age of 2 months tried to deal with the family cats by sharing his toys with them. He later befriended an older "wiser" pit whom he used to play with on a regular basis.

Crab, the neighbor's pit hated pretty much anybody. The locals thought he was a "bad dog."

I'm not sure what might have made me or Zen different for Crab. With Zen, he possibly saw him as a younger dog and not worth harming.

As for me, I was always kind but firm. and like pretty much every dog I've ever known, that worked. Other than his mom/dad me and my hubby seem to be the only ones who could work with Crab.

IMO pretty much anyone can work w dogs if they're gentle, respectful and at the same time can be a little dominant, but what the heck do I know?

Captcha
05-18-2013, 03:05 AM
Re. breeds - I'm thinking mutt for the farm dog, but probably a retriever cross - the dog I'm modelling him on is a Chesapeake Bay Retriever, but I think the Chessie I know of is a bit grumpier than the breed generally is, so I think I'll leave the precise breeding out. But, yes, definitely slower than the city dog.

I'm still working out the breeding for him, but I'm thinking Golden Doodle (Golden Retriever x Poodle). All the Doodles I've known have been gentle and happy-go-lucky, and that's what I'm looking for with this dog.

And, no, these dogs don't share a household. They may down the road, but not when this scene takes place.

Thanks for all the ideas, guys.

Liralen
05-18-2013, 09:49 AM
Don't feel you need to dumb down the dogs' ability to get it sorted out. They can be far more clever and socially savvy than expected when necessity dictates, or when there's advantage to be had http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YxJf2L2B5fY