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Skip is in need of help.

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Okay, y'all know I got 6 dogs, 5 younguns, and 2 adults living with me and DH. Things seemed to be going quite well. Y'all know Toby was an out of control, didn't know how to get along with people or dogs, young hooligan. We have taught him basic manners, he has learned certain behavior is or isn't acceptable. He has turned out to be the perfect little family dog. He's pretty smart, learns real quick. I still have a prob with him chasing and gripping on Jackson when playing with them all, but after the 2nd time of getting on to him, he will quit. Early mornings, Skip and him will have a great time playing, chasing, tugging on toys together in the back yard. Inside is another story. I think Skip is becoming insecure in his place in the pack. He leaves Lucy alone. He leaves Cheyenne alone. But I have noticed him "grabbing" Missy's nose and holding it. I get on him, he leaves her and then skulks up to me. I usually ignore him for a bit. He has Jackson not getting on the bed to sleep. If there is playing involved, there is no prob with Jackson being on the bed. I have tried putting Skip off the bed and making Jackson get on, but Jackson stays "worried" the whole time, so I let him get down. But I noticed lately that Jackson will "sneak" off to the bedroom and sleep on the bed, ON my pillow. I think he misses it! Lately, it seems I am breaking up fights between Skip and Toby at least twice a day. At first I thought it was Toby, not so! It's just that Toby won't let Skip get by with his "threats". IE staring(intimidating type), and lip curling. He's a little scrapper and won't back down. Kids, daughter, and cousin are suppose to be moving out within a month and they are taking Toby. But I still don't like what I am seeing in Skip. Eventually the girls will be adopted, but what of other fosters I want to bring in? Jackson and Skip will be together for a long time, how long before Jackson finally gets his fill of Skip? Skip is a very soft dog. He seems, IMO, to be floating in the dynamics of the house. I think he is overloaded on action, and the things going on. IE, there is always something going on in the house. Even though it is hot outside, I have increased the excersise and have been doing some mental excersises with Skip. I think what it really comes down to is jealousy and him not being secure. I don't know if it's because Toby WON'T let Skip push him around or what. I do give each dog some individual time each day, but I think he wants (or needs?) more. I don't know.



What am I missing here?

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Refresh us - how old is Skip?


I have a youngster (15 months) and his dynamics in the family are interesting, to say the least. Even a friend with a great deal of experience in teaching family dog classes and such, wonders about him and is hoping to have a behaviorist friend watch him and give her take on it.


Some of what you describe with Skip and Jackson is what I see with Celt and Bute. Celt is an unsure Alpha now that Mac (a very definite Alpha, well into elderly years) is gone. Bute is, in my opinion, a smarmy social-climber. He's long on supposedly submissive behaviors to Celt (and was also, more so, to Mac) but not really appropriate behaviors. In other words, he put his nose in the "upper level" dog's mouth, did the crooked little submissive sit with his belly exposed, rolled on his back, etc., but a properly submissive dog, when disciplined by the Alpha would leave the Alpha alone - and Bute never does that "backing off" thing. He pushes the so-called submissive attitude. Actually, I call him "submissive-aggressive" because I really believe he's using submissive mannerisms to the point of being aggressive or pushy. Confusing? Puzzles me and my friend.


Celt, who always slept at my feet and who likes to sleep at my feet, winds up sleeping on his bed and Bute gets to sleep between our feet at night. He's pushy - you can't pay attention or pet or talk to another dog without him worming his way into the prime position to get the attention. Any rebuttal on our part simply results in a more submissive posture, but not a proper "I get it and I'm gone" response.


Yet Bute tends (and he's gotten much better) to get snarky with strange dogs. I think he's very much an Alpha-wannabee but, since direct confrontation with the family dogs wouldn't get him there (either because the other dogs are "ahead" of him in the queue by default or because they are simply much more powerful and willing to assert themselves, and because we wouldn't allow a fight), he's smart and clever and determined enough that he's going to work on it by "devious" means, via so-called submission. I think he's just trying to wear them down, all the while with the "I'm being submissive, you can't hurt me" thing going on.


So, all my dogs get some private time, Bute isn't allowed to dominate things, I feed and treat the other dogs first and make Bute wait his turn, I allow the so-far dominant dogs to maintain their status as long as their behavior is acceptable (and it is), and I stick up for Celt and don't let Bute "win". But I sure couldn't do anything more than crate or tether Bute at night to solve the bed problem (because I'm asleep when the shuffling happens and, for all I know, Celt might retreat to his bed anyway, with or without Bute's presence). Maybe that would be the right solution for keeping Skip off the bed and letting Jackson have his place back.


So, even though we don't have quite the same thing going on, I do think our packs share some similar or related reshuffling dymanics going on. I hope some one chimes in with some helpful advice.

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Sue, thanks for the response. Skip turned 1yr. the 15 of May so he is 13mos. just a bit younger than yours. It is kinda weird with Skip and Jackson, in that, for instance: I throw a toy, Skip gets it first, watches Jackson, Jackson moves towards Skip, Skip drops toy for Jackson to get then chases Jackson back to me. Why? Food: if I have left over food on my plate, Jackson gets to eat it first, then Skip. Skip has no prob. If I forget or am gone, and the food bowls are empty for a bit, then I refill, Skip doesn't want any of the dogs to get near the food, (I free feed from two bowls) which is hard cuz the dogs have to go by the food bowls to get outside. Once I call Skip away from the food and give him a talking to, it is all fine. It is the only time there is a food issue. By free feeding the dogs have all learned to respect the space of anyone feeding and they all seem to have preferences for time of eating so it is never an issue. Skip really is such a loving lil guy that this behavior is really hard to get a grip on. I literally have NO place to put a crate! Jackson is such a tollerant dog, I don't know if that isn't helping Skip act the way he does. Skip literally had no "older" dog correction until around 4/5mos. when I got Lucy and Missy. Lucy did the correcting. Jackson never did a single correction with Skip!

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