Jump to content
BC Boards
Sign in to follow this  
Shetlander

Reintroducing Two Blockheads

Recommended Posts

Quinn and my Lhasa, Chili do not like each other. They enjoy a fairly peaceful coexistance, with occasional quarrels, but through management and training, we all do ok in general. One big trigger though is if they are separated for more than 24 hours. This usually happens when I leave town and take only one of them with me. The ideal would be to take both dogs, but that doesn't always work out especially when I go to visit my mother. She finds Quinn annoying and fusses about him. No doubt picking up on her tone of voice and attitude, he has a hard time relaxing when we are there so usually Chili is the one I take. I don't leave the two of them with the sitter except in a dire emergency because I worry she won't be able to keep on top of their dynamics.

 

So, today Chili and I are leaving for the next 3 days. I'm dreading the return home. Much of the problem seems to be Chili when we are all reunited. He will approach Quinn very confrontationally (stiff legged, in his face, growling at times). I don't see Quinn doing anything other than trying to avoid Chili and be by me, but I could be missing some body language/eye contact on his part. And if I can't keep Chili out of his face, he will start curling his lip and snarking back. The first several minutes are tense for me, probably for all of us, with me trying to run interference between Chili and Quinn and correcting Chili and sometimes Quinn as well. I'd like to try a different approach this time. Maybe leave Chili in the car and take Quinn out to begin a game of fetch. Then bring Chili out on leash and when he seems calm, reward the good behavior and let him off to sniff around and hang with my Sheltie, while I return to a playing with Quinn. The four of us hang out in the yard like this every day, so maybe it would put Chili (and Quinn) back in the correct frame of mind.

 

Thoughts? Suggestions? Any help with these two goofballs would be much appreciated.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Does this happen whether they re-meet outside or inside?

 

I find that Sammie and Dean tend to do better if they re-meet (after a separation of several days) outside.

 

Your plan sounds like something worth trying.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Does this happen whether they re-meet outside or inside?

 

I find that Sammie and Dean tend to do better if they re-meet (after a separation of several days) outside.

 

I've tried both inside and outside. Chili can really get up in Quinn's face, either way, if I don't intercede. When I do stop him, he blusters quite a bit. This would be the first time I've tried the reintroduction with an activity (fetch/relaxing in the yard) as part of the picture. As I said, our routine of playing/hanging around outside is very firmly established and something we all enjoy, so I'm hoping that will distract Chili from his plans of world domination. :rolleyes:

 

Besides meeting outside with your two, have you done anything else to ease the transition? I do a lot of positive reinforcement with them, but haven't figured out how to introduce a clicker approach when the tension is so thick.

 

Thanks, Kristine!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I've tried both inside and outside. Chili can really get up in Quinn's face, either way, if I don't intercede. When I do stop him, he blusters quite a bit. This would be the first time I've tried the reintroduction with an activity (fetch/relaxing in the yard) as part of the picture. As I said, our routine of playing/hanging around outside is very firmly established and something we all enjoy, so I'm hoping that will distract Chili from his plans of world domination. :rolleyes:

 

Besides meeting outside with your two, have you done anything else to ease the transition? I do a lot of positive reinforcement with them, but haven't figured out how to introduce a clicker approach when the tension is so thick.

 

Thanks, Kristine!

 

 

It sounds to me like Chili is resource guarding you a little bit. Having had you all to himself for a few days, he is threatened by Quinn's reappearance, especially since Quinn really wants to be with you after the separation.

 

Could you crate and rotate for a few hours immediately after your arrival? Give each dog some alone time with you to cement their bond with you and reduce insecurities? It would also give Chili a chance to calm down and relax so you can get his focus more easily.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It sounds to me like Chili is resource guarding you a little bit. Having had you all to himself for a few days, he is threatened by Quinn's reappearance, especially since Quinn really wants to be with you after the separation.

 

How nicely you phrase it. :D Given his druthers, Chili would resource guard me, the Sheltie, food, toys, furniture, any visitors, etc. a whole lot. We've worked hard on this issue with both dogs because Quinn isn't immune from the behavior himself. It's pretty well under control (for a Lhasa) but rears its ugly head after separation from Quinn. For a while, Quinn was the golden boy who got to go with me to my parents because my dad liked him best and Chili drove him nuts. But since my dad passed away last November, it's mainly been Chili (who is my mother's favorite) who goes with me. He was just as bad when he stayed home (with the great sitter whom he loves) as when he was the one who went with me. I think it is the time away from each other that is the biggest factor. I almost feel incidental to the situation. :D

 

Could you crate and rotate for a few hours immediately after your arrival? Give each dog some alone time with you to cement their bond with you and reduce insecurities? It would also give Chili a chance to calm down and relax so you can get his focus more easily.

 

I've thought of that. My only concern is Chili will likely tantrum for an extended period of time over such injustice. I guess if nothing else, he might be too tired to mess with Quinn when I finally let him out. :rolleyes: It's worth a try. I need to figure something out. Thanks for the input!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Besides meeting outside with your two, have you done anything else to ease the transition? I do a lot of positive reinforcement with them, but haven't figured out how to introduce a clicker approach when the tension is so thick.

 

Outdoors, I haven't done anything else to intervene. They seem to have an understanding out there.

 

If they do need to meet in the house, it helps to make sure that Dean is mentally engaged with me, or is busy playing ball as Sammie comes in. Since Dean is the one who tends to egg Sammie on, if he is busy, he won't bother with Sammie and then things tend to stay more in balance.

 

I did try doing some work with them together with a clicker, but it backfired. They both got snarky over the opportunity to work with me. I can't say I blame them in the least. They don't like each other - why would they want to share a traning session? I've considered doing more structured work with the two of them together, but I've found that keeping Dean occupied as Sammie enters the house tends to solve the problem, so I've never really gotten around to it.

 

Sammie is 10, so I'm really geared more toward managing the situation than trying to train through it. If they were closer in age, I would probably be more inclined to work with them together to try to build their tolerance level for each other.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just an idea - I have no experience with this, but maybe the idea will trigger something for you. What about establishing a "welcome home" ritual for everyone to play out each time you come home? Each dog needs a role to play in the ritual, e.g. something like:

 

Liz comes home with the "returning" dog.

"Returning" dog runs to a certain spot (indoors?) where something good is waiting (stuffed kong?).

"Stay at home" dog plays a certain game with Liz (fetch?) in a different location (outdoors?).

 

At least this would deflect the two dogs from thinking about each other immediately on your return, since they each have an enjoyable role to play that does not involve any interaction with the other dog.

 

This would be a different approach than trying to reward the dogs for initially interacting well, which might be more of an effort than the dogs in question (or at least Chili) are able to make.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What about parallel walking? That's what always helped Maggie adjust to fosters. It would avoid the initial stiffness and get them back into a group mindset by doing something together.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Update from the chief blockhead (me). Thanks for the input. I'll have much to consider for the next time Chili and Quinn are reunited. I mishandled the reunion because I got home so much later than I had anticipated, it was dark out and I was tired. I thought Chili was calm enough to let out with Quinn in the backyard (stupid, stupid). I had him do his usual sit stay before being released from the porch but the first thing he did was literally launch himself at Quinn who was standing several feet away looking happy and relaxed. It looked like he made contact. I heard Quinn snarl but don't know if he nipped. There was no fighting and Chili immediately looked unhappy. I'm guessing he knew he was in trouble but Quinn could have given a small nip. I verbally corrected Chili and put him back on the porch before releasing him to the yard again. That time he kept away from Quinn but still looked tense. Quinn just wanted to play with me and ignored him. Chili shook it off within a minute or two of Quinn fetching. The two were about as good as they ever are with each other from there on out. So other than the initial "greeting," things were fine.

 

Well, as they say, the good thing about a chronic problem is you have lots of opportunities to work on it. :rolleyes:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey it sounds like that did go better than expected in that they didn't fight - the correction from Quinn sounds quite effective and appropriate from your description!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hey it sounds like that did go better than expected in that they didn't fight - the correction from Quinn sounds quite effective and appropriate from your description!

 

Oh, definitely. Quinn thought he was in trouble too because I've been very strict about posturing between the two and he's done his share of sneaky snarks. But yesterday he was an angel and clearly saying "Dude! Back off!" I think he was just so happy to have me back home that Chili was just an annoying, fuzzy blip on his radar that quickly went away.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm hoping [to] distract Chili from his plans of world domination. :D

 

Ha! :rolleyes: If you succeed, I think you will deserve your own show on APL - The Lhasa Whisperer! :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Part II, Return of the Blockheads:

 

Well, yesterday we finally had a good (as it gets) reunion of Quinn and my irrepressible Lhasa after being away from home for few nights. This time, I stuck to the plan. When Chili and I arrived home, I left him in his crate in the way back and let Quinn and my Sheltie into the garage while I pulled some stuff from the car. Chili had time to see the other dogs (no doubt muttering curses after being an only dog for three days) and I gave him a few pieces of kibble, then closed the door again. I went out to play with Quinn and when it was time for a break, brought Chili out, carrying him until we were in the yard with Quinn on the other side of the screened porch. Chili huffed a tiny bit at Quinn who ignored him. Chili peed on few things and said hi to the Sheltie (my only truly good dog). I then picked him back up, let Quinn out and put Chili on the porch with a few more pieces of kibble. Quinn and I started another round of fetch. After several throws, I let Chili out while Quinn was on the other side of the yard. Chili stared at him when he came back with the Frisbee, then decided to go pee on as a large variety of things while Quinn and I continued to play.

 

So within 15 minutes, we were back in our normal routine with a minimum of stress, including all of us taking a break on the porch together. Quinn did earn a verbal correction for making a face at Chili when he wandered too near where the Frisbee was lying on the other side of the screen, which of course Quinn was monitoring. But that is the kind of thing that periodically happens, not daily, but certainly weekly around my house. This incident was naturally my fault for leaving the Frisbee there since I know it's a trigger for Quinn and I haven't fixed that. Otherwise, all was peaceful and we had a very relaxing evening together.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...