Okay, so I have a beautiful nine year old chow mix named Tina. She's wonderful with my family, but here's the thing. I recently moved an hour away and got a job at a petstore, at which I am able to get free shots for Tina at the shot clinic we have on the third thursday of every month. So, I'm going to bring Tina up here to do it. If she behaves well, I'll be bringing her to visit with me much more often.
Here's the thing. My boyfriend and I rent out two rooms in a large house where two other dogs, a elderly lab and an old cranky chihuahua, also live. Tina has lived alone all her life as far as other dogs are concerned. The only contact she's had is with stray dogs wandering into our front yard at my mother's, where she would growl and bark at them through the fence until they went away or we chased them away. She's also seen some through fences when I walked her, but was pretty good at ignoring them when I gave the leash a firm tug and told her 'no'. I'm not worried about the lab; he's very relaxed and is okay with all dogs, thus I'm sure were it just him, it would be easier to get Tina to relax. The problem is the chihuahua. Her owner is a terrible 'pack leader' and lets this little dog be a dominant terror of an alpha. So I'm afraid that she's going to run up to my dog, barking and snarling, and my dog is going to 'put her in her place' because the owner of the other two dogs doesn't know how to control them.
Also, the rules at this house are very different from my other house. At the other house, no one cares if she gets on the furniture because, well, the furniture is crappy. ((There is a pecking order though. Anything that is actively sat on or laid on on a regular basis she only gets on with permission.)) She doesn't have a crate(and when she was a puppy she cried so loudly in one we just got rid of it), but under my mother's bed is sort of her 'den'. ((It's a very tall bed, so it's about the right size for her, just long.)) But here, my boyfriend would have a fit if she got on any of the furniture. I don't know if I can afford to buy a crate for what might be a one time visit if she doesn't behave for her to sleep in. Or if she'd sleep in it at all. I also don't know if I should give her access to water in the crate. I've heard both sides of that argument. However, she's part chow and thus prone to overheating, so I'm thinking I'll provide it regardless.
I want her to come here and be a good girl like I know she is so everyone will love her and her staying here won't be a problem, but I'm so scared she'll do one thing wrong and be condemned.
1) I will be buying her a muzzle. Just in case. It will be a mesh muzzle so hopefully it won't bother her too much. As she lives an hour away and this will be happening in one week, I don't have the time to condition her to like the muzzle. But I'd rather that than everyone be scared of her and her hurt someone or some dog because they don't know how to handle her. She needs time to get used to people, but people around here are used to just walking up and petting a dog because it's there.
2) I will be finding some way to confine her when I am not able to be there to watch her. For her own safety as well as others. It's not that I don't trust her, but she is a runner, and she won't be used to everyone in the house. I'd rather all visits with her be supervised until she is completely comfortable. But I'm not sure if I have eighty dollars to drop on a crate. Even with my discount at my job it would still be over seventy dollars.
3) We have never been successful in feeding her kibble. She's never liked it. She'll leave it to rot in the bowl if we don't notice she didn't eat it. Thanks to my new job, I have a better understanding of dog nutrition and will be putting her on a good quality kibble on a schedule, and will tell my family to do the same when she goes home. I worry that she will not eat it, however. I've heard chows are notorious for being picky, so that at least answers WHY she hates her dog food. ((Also the fact that it's crappy grocery store brands probably doesn't help...))
4) She will always be on a leash when not in our two rooms. I figure that's safest for everyone, especially considering there's another man she does not know in the house. She has never been comfortable with men. She makes exceptions only for my friends and only after extensive introductions. She is a one family dog, and must be approached carefully, as she IS a guard dog and considers all strangers a potential threat to her alpha. ((If anyone ever went for me while out walking, she'd probably tear their arm off first. I'm touched she loves me enough to protect me, but it makes going in public difficult.))
So, does anyone have any suggestions? Anything at all?
First, you gotta relax! Take a breath and stop for a moment.
Ok, so she's a Chow mix and you gotta take that into consideration, but she's not just a breed. She's an individual.
You used the term "pack leader" so maybe you've watched Cesar Milan? (Don't judge. I'm not endorsing him, I'm just trying to relate!) I may not agree with everything Cesar does, but I think he has some good points. One thing he encourages is to picture the positive outcome you're seeking. You've got a *whole* lotta negative going on with you're fears and you're almost setting yourself up for failure.
Dogs are not wolves, but they're close. They are pack animals and from the research I've seen the dog of today is very, very attuned to human behaviors. They take their cues from their leaders. In this case it seems like you're going to be tense and nervous, which will translate to your guard dog breed to be alert for danger.
I don't know what to do about the bratty chihuahua. Sorry.
As for feeding, I'm glad you are learning more about canine nutrition. I will say, it's generally us that make our dogs "picky." Think of it, dogs are actually one of the most successful animals on the planet. They left their cousins, the wolf, behind and ingrained themselves into human culture. They are masters at interpreting human behavior and they are master manipulators! Be assured, NO dog will voluntarily starve to death if there is food available. I don't know enough about your situation to speak to it but usually out goes like this... Food is offered that is new, or different. Maybe it's not exactly what the dog would like so they turn up their nose. The ever dotting human sees this and immediately fears the dog will starve so they offer new food, or "higher value" toppings like gravies, or table scraps. This continues until the dog is eating steak while the human has cold cereal. OK, a bit exaggerated but that's the general idea. Offer the kibble, put it down for only a half hour or less then pick it up and put it away. Do this once or twice a day. No treats. No scraps. Nothing but the kibble and that is only offered for a limited time. Eventually a hungry dog will eat what's offered. You can reintroduce treats but I wouldn't give any around meal times.
Hope this helps a little.
ETA: I've got more ideas, but it's hard to swype this all out on my Android phone. Plus it's almost 5am and I need some sleep! Posted via Mobile Device
The problem is the chihuahua isn't mine, and the owner gets upset with me if I try to control her. And being a master is being an alpha, but if an owner doesn't lead, they aren't one. I don't watch Ceasar, this is stuff I've picked up from watching dogs. A confident person, a good leader, has no trouble controlling their dog. Someone like this woman with the lab and chihuahua, lets them rule her. They have her trained to feed them canned dog food with leftovers sprinkled on top from a spoon for christ sake, she has NO control over these dogs. I'm not a bad owner, but I fear her being a bad owner is going to get either my dog or her dogs hurt.
As far as the furniture, the only one she gets on without permission is a ratty old couch that acts as her dog bed.
I suppose thanks for the advice, though it's all conflicting and doesn't address how to be sure my dog doesn't hurt the other dogs or vice versa. We live upstairs, so there's NO way to just avoid them as they are between our rooms and outside.
I understand your concerns. I've had dogs since I was 2 (am now 24) and have raised a wolf hybrid. I can only share my personal knowledge and opinions with you. It is really up to you to decide what to do.
1) Good for you for thinking about the muzzle. It's a good idea in this situation. It will make everyone involved safer. That anyone ever just walks up and pets a dog blows my mind every time I see someone do it. You should always allow the dog to sniff you first and take your clues on if you can proceed from the dog. All I can suggest is to explain to everyone that she is a little people shy and to please allow her to sniff a hand before attempting to pet.
2) If no crate, can you confine her to one specific room? Not the best of situations, in my opinion, but better than nothing at all. In my experience, this can be done easily with something such as a baby gate.
3) A dog will not starve itself. Once they are hungry enough, they will eat. I feed my puppy (and future service dog) Blue. It doesn't have all the fillers that most other brands have and is made to more mimic the diet they would have in the "wild". Since switching my pup to it, he is in much better health. His skin and furn look fantastic. If anything, you can always add a little chicken broth to the dry food. It wont hurt the dog and I have yet to find one that will refuse it.
4) There are many ways to work with this. My favored method is to have a man give treats when near the dog. Treats are only given if she is calm. He is NOT to look at her. Only give the treat.
In my experience, you are a part of the pack. You can either lead it or be considered a submissive. Yes, you are not a dog but your pet will still see you as part of their pack and will act accordingly.
Again, just my opinions and experiences. I have raised puppies and rehabilitated dogs. My wolf hybrid was trained well enough that I could leave a plate with steak on the floor and leave the room for some time. Going back, he would not have touched the steak. I rehomed him to a family with kids on a farm. Very good dog.
Forget the dominance/pack leader theory. Pack leaders are the ones who control the resources which is by default people. Most other stuff lumped into the theory are based on faulty science or a lack of understanding of dog behaviour.
In any case, it sounds like your chow is dog intolerant, no big deal but you should talk to the other people in your house about rotating the dogs or being able to put their dogs up to be able to get your dogs out. Exercise the crap out of your dog, and do lots of training, so when she needs to be confined it isnt a huge issue.
I would highly recommend not giving leash corrections or other physical corrections around other dogs, as this could backfire and reinforce her dislike of other dogs. Basically it will be other dogs=punishment.
Another thing you can try is asking if you can take one of the dogs for a walk with her. Walk with one dog on each side. She should wear her muzzle at first to keep things safe. I have known this technique to work.
I'll try the walk thing. If I can handle the lab; they're both pullers! Maybe I should hook them to a sled, lol. Anyways, as far as being dog intolerant, it's not that she is, I've just never had her on neutral ground to find out. Thanks for all the tips guys!
If only it was your dog. A head collar is a really quick way to end pulling. I find the look they give you the first time they turn themselves around a little comical. I use them for when I'm training the dog in proper leash manners.