Zac Is Stressed By The Puppy...

Discussion in 'Dog Behavior Problems' started by running_dog, Jan 31, 2012.

  1. running_dog Honored Member

    At first I thought this was about straightforward resource guarding. Zac is jealous over his toys... well anything that is on the floor even a crumpled piece of paper is his and worthy of a growl if the pup touches it. But I think it may also be a bit more complex.

    Zac does play with boisterous puppies outside (the ones that belt him across the face), he does also sniff and lick all new puppies he meets though as a general rule I don't let him play off leash with pups unless I know they are very in his face. He has never even tried to sniff or lick this puppy he just looked at it as if it were particularly distasteful. I'm guessing this must be because they met on Zac's turf. But the pup isn't allowed out for walks for another month so I can't change that.

    Zac often has visitor dogs. He is not very impressed with them but only gives a warning growl if they take a FAVOURITE toy or are doing something against the rules (eg/ counter surfing or jumping in the pond). He certainly doesn't refuse food while they are there.

    Zac finds the puppy a genuinely stressful situation. He won't touch food if Gus is even in the next but one room with 2 doors between them. When he first realised there was a puppy in the house he did not eat (pushed his chicken dinner right back under something without touching it) though the pup was at the other end of the house and he had never seen it near a toy. Yesterday (2nd day of him knowing) he stood by while the pup dived into his dinner and then after I put the pup in another room he again pushed the food away. He did eat it when I hand fed him (LOL I know I'm soft, but he will refuse food until he looks like an anatomy lesson if he takes the whim).

    This disinterest in food makes the clicker harder to use though this morning I figured out I could make a game calling Zac and throwing the food away. It was only at the end of the game that I managed to build up gradually so Zac would willingly take a step into the room where the puppy had been (it was shut in the next room) and then throw the reward out into the corridor which was (by then) far enough away for Zac to be prepared to eat a very high value treat and also rewarded him with a chase and most importantly rewarded him with leaving the place that worried him.

    I'm hoping to keep building on this game but keep them more or less separate until Zac feels better able to cope. When Zac will confidently go into a toy devoid room with the pup I'll start worrying about resource guarding O_o.

    Am I right to treat Zac's apparent insecurity and the resource guarding as separate issues?

    More suggestions of ideas or training and training games are welcome :)
    tigerlily46514 likes this.

  2. Dogster Honored Member

    Ohh... poor dog...:( If they met on Zac's turf, he should be the one in charge. It looks like he's anxious to me. But why won't he eat?? Maybe, sight hounds are more sensitive to these kinds of things than other dogs. My dog won't eat when her BFF Carmel comes over, but she's fine the next day. Maybe it's just a matter of time.....
  3. charmedwolf Moderator

    Sounds like you have a good plan running_dog. The other thing you could do is have the puppy on a leash and just keep going in the room and walking out. It just shows the dog that sooner or later the puppy is going to go away, Zac just has to walk a second for it to go away.
    Dogster and tigerlily46514 like this.
  4. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    ohhhhhhhhh, poor lil Zac, oh. I got nothing, i just came here to post a similar problem for Buddy.
    I wonder if once Zac HAS sniffed the pup, if that would calm him down a bit. I wonder if the pup were held read-end facing Zac, and Zac on leash, and Zac got a sniff,
    if 'knowing' the pup would help defuse this for Zac?

    Maybe have Zac sniff at pup, and then remove pup back away to the other room??

    Buddy, who loathes all German Shepherds, once made pals with a giant GSD, when the trainer held this GSD's rear end to Buddy, so Buddy could sniff him. Indeed, once Buddy sniffed the GSD, he did settle down and decided he did not need to kill the GSD after all.

    no idea, but this is good you posted this, Rdog, to help find ways to get Zac and his new "cousin" off to a good start.
    Dogster likes this.
  5. running_dog Honored Member

    Charmedwolf - I like the idea of having the pup on the lead - it could sort of give Zac the idea that we will look after him so he doesn't have to react either. Also not a bad idea for the pup to spend a little time getting used to the lead.

    Tigerlily - he doesn't even want to sniff this puppy :ROFLMAO:

    Dogster - I think the importance of Zac not eating is that it can be a symptom that the dog is distressed or hyper. For example Zac won't take treats at the vets, he doesn't take treats when he can see a cat, deer or rabbit.

    Zac is better if he's not thinking about the pup - if he's thinking about going for a walk he'll dance around me carefully ignoring but avoiding standing on the puppy and even jumping over him if he needs to. We've kept contact brief today and only had a couple of incidents where Zac reacted - at least one of which was my fault for forgetting and trying to give Zac his kong without shutting the pup out :eek: . We've kept the doors open and lots of space so Zac can get away if he wants to.

    Zac finds it easier to cope in the yard - we played a recall game where I called one dog and another person called the other and then we each switched to calling the other dog. So both dogs were active but no toys and lots of space for Zac to avoid the little monster :rolleyes: .
    Dogster and tigerlily46514 like this.
  6. running_dog Honored Member

    Also Zac is starting to eat while the puppy is around :D:D:D:D
  7. Dogster Honored Member

  8. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    How long have you had the pup?

    If you haven't had him very long, I would say it's pretty normal for Zac to be stressed over this annoyingly adorable little addition. (:ROFLMAO:) If he is eating now in the presence of the puppy, maybe try shaping interest in him. (Yes, I did say shape interest in the puppy, lol!) He looks at the puppy, he gets a super high value treat. Just like you would do with a dog aggressive dog--looking at another dog without reacting in any way gets you a reward. Dogs become a sign of something good. So for Zac, puppy becomes a sign of something good. Make it a training game.

    Also you might use the puppy leaving as a reward if that's more rewarding. NOT for him looking at Gus, certainly don't want him thinking he has the power to move the puppy with his glares, lol! But for instance, if he lets the puppy come within x feet of him without growling, his reward is for the puppy to go away. "I'm trying to tolerate this little thing, PHEW glad that's over now he's gone."

    Does that make sense? Not sure if I explained that very well...
    tigerlily46514 and Dogster like this.
  9. Dogster Honored Member

    To running dog: What happens when you take them out for a walk???:oops:
  10. running_dog Honored Member

    tx - The pup is a very new addition, he has only been with us since late on Saturday, Zac didn't know it was here until late on Sunday... when he became thoroughly freaked out. All our other introduced dogs have had a proper introduction on neutral territory this one neither Zac nor I had any say in. Zac has got a lot better today so I'm daring to begin to hope we can work through this fairly quickly...

    You have confirmed what I'd decided to do and already started with some diced ox heart (ugh) that Zac adores as a treat, we ran out of that and I used his dinner (which again he hadn't eaten) By the end he was getting better with the pup around... I think :cautious: he was looking at me when the pup came over instead of giving his baleful glare. Afterwards I moved him quickly into a "zero pup area" and owing to my ineptitude the pup followed (it is like greased soap crossed with a battering ram :ROFLMAO: ) and they both reached a toy at the same time, Zac started to react and I shouted something, I can't remember what :ROFLMAO: but it wasn't a negative and Zac looked at me and simmered down while the pup came hurtling back to me.

    One of the flash points is when the pup jumps at Zac when he's lying down. He can jump all around when Zac's standing and Zac doesn't react but when he laid down he does. So I'm thinking that is an easy place to start with mega treats. I just have to go and get some meat that Zac really likes to work with :D.

    Dogster - a good walk would probably be a lovely easy solution but the pup only had his first vaccination on Monday and the vets say he shouldn't go out until 10 days after the 2nd vaccination :eek: so that's almost a month before they can meet on neutral ground.
  11. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    I bet you will have it all worked out in no time. :) Good luck and let us know how it's going.
  12. Dogster Honored Member

    GOOD!!!:)At least you're making progress!!!
  13. running_dog Honored Member

    Things seem to be going a lot better - I haven't had much time to work with Zac but he seems to have got over the worst of his insecurity and isn't bothered about guarding most of the toys now.

    We still make sure Zac has plenty of space and can get away if he wants to.

    For now we keep his favourite toys out of reach and just get them out when the pup isn't around, he's never possessive of toys with humans and I'm not sure dogs should have to just let other dogs take toys off them? The only recent resource guarding? incident we had was when Zac growled (not spectacularly) when Gus tried to take a bone off him. Should I be worried about that?

    Otherwise Zac has instituted a no-Gus-zone around himself (about 1 metre radius) when he is laid down. No problems any other times, sitting or standing he doesn't react to Gus. Gus respects this zone and will bounce and yap just outside of the area. Otherwise they are not best buddies but they co-exist without problems.

    Yesterday I trained Gus for a little while and gave Zac treats at the same time. Pretty soon Zac was obeying the commands I gave Gus.

    Zac also lets me play with Gus for quite a while without getting jealous or unhappy.

    Maybe they just needed to have some time to figure things out between them and for Zac to teach the puppy his ground rules... if so, I wish we were as effective in teaching the puppy OUR ground rules :ROFLMAO:.
    southerngirl and tigerlily46514 like this.
  14. Dogster Honored Member

    Pretty soon they'll be buddies!!!! Zac is improving with Gus at RECORD speed!!!!:ROFLMAO: SOOOO GREAT!!!!! Do you know how long you'll be keeping Gus???
  15. southerngirl Honored Member

    That's great that they are getting along! Maybe they will become friends eventually if not it's not a big deal my two dogs co-exist as in they put up with each other it's just nicer having dogs that are friends with one another.
  16. running_dog Honored Member

    Gus has wanted to play with Zac all week but Zac has cut him dead.

    Today it snowed. My oh so dignified Zac loves snow. After he had played snow balls he wanted to play with Gus... Zac bounced like a puppy wagging his tail, play growling, yapping and barking. Gus was more frightened than when Zac warns him off!

    Poor Zac, poor Gus, one day they will figure each other out :ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO: .
  17. running_dog Honored Member

    Good question... how long is a piece of string? I guess that's a "No" ;)
    Dogster likes this.
  18. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    too funny, i bet you laffed so hard, RDog, that is hilarious story! I'm so so enjoying hearing about the progress of Zac and Gus!:ROFLMAO: It will *almost* be a loss for those of us who love a good chuckle, once Zac and Gus find their way with each other!
    Dogster likes this.
  19. running_dog Honored Member

    Today was actually a bad day between them. I had to be out for a lot of the day and when I came back Zac had become very grumpy with Gus again.

    At first they seemed to have lost a whole days worth of socialisation with each other. But they both settled down quickly with a couple of training sessions and some time apart. It was after that Zac tried to play with Gus.

    I guess they were both a bit bored, they are used to having a person each! Today's regression reminded me not to get complacent, Zac still needs a lot of encouragement to be nice.
    tigerlily46514 and Dogster like this.
  20. Dogster Honored Member

    Why does it have to be sooo complicated??? My dog LOVES puppies!!! Oh, I WISH Zac would to!!!!!:( Well I guess they'll eventually become desperate enough that they'll play together!!!:ROFLMAO: When we first got Shivon, my cat (Patches) COULDN'T STAND HER. She also wouldn't look at US for 2 weeks.:censored: Of, course, she got over it and now she just ignores Shivon.:LOL::LOL:

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