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There's a saying that's been repeated many times, "Management always fails." When you state you "won't tolerate being on red alert all the time" - well, isn't that what it's going to take to stay on top of the situation?

 

The other thing that concerns me is your statement about Brodie, that he seems like he's always fighting for attention and fighting off a rear guard attack at the same time.

 

This, to me, at 11 months old, seems like it is a hard wired personality trait. He's not going to get calmer in an environment where he gets jostled all the time.

 

You're also not talking about Ladybug as part of the mix. She may not be participating at all in the melees, but make no mistake, a third dog, even a mature and opposite sex dog, is part of the social environment and is by her very presence contributing some tension.

 

Along with Anna, I feel that your comment that they jockey around you for position is a big red flag, as well. I hope all of us naysayers are wrong, but I can't help but feel pessimistic.

 

Ruth

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There's a saying that's been repeated many times, "Management always fails." When you state you "won't tolerate being on red alert all the time" - well, isn't that what it's going to take to stay on top of the situation?

 

The other thing that concerns me is your statement about Brodie, that he seems like he's always fighting for attention and fighting off a rear guard attack at the same time.

 

This, to me, at 11 months old, seems like it is a hard wired personality trait. He's not going to get calmer in an environment where he gets jostled all the time.

 

You're also not talking about Ladybug as part of the mix. She may not be participating at all in the melees, but make no mistake, a third dog, even a mature and opposite sex dog, is part of the social environment and is by her very presence contributing some tension.

 

Along with Anna, I feel that your comment that they jockey around you for position is a big red flag, as well. I hope all of us naysayers are wrong, but I can't help but feel pessimistic.

 

Ruth

 

 

Hi,

 

I have a nice warm wool sweater that I wear when I'm training the dogs, it says "SHe who must be obeyed." I will have obedient dogs. DH has about three rules, don't bite, don't poop/piddle in the house, and come when you're called. My expectations are somewhat higher.

 

 

You're right about the jockeying for position - like little kids demanding attention, they've got to learn to take their turn...also about Brodie. He hasn't had his fair share (remember DH's three rules? Once he reached that level, life was beautiful ). What energy I had this summer, I concentrated mostly on Robin and Ken, when he wasn't working or taking care of the house, would just sit down with the pups, petting them. I'm the one that takes them places, does more of the training, etc. and its really starting to show that Brodie hasn't had the level of attention that Robin has, but having recognized it and feeling up to par mostly now and learning how to handle all three critters, he's going to start to shine, I'm sure, Hopefully, with some one on one time and training that suits him, he'll start to blossom.

 

I guess I'm just a naturally positive person and having had to fight a serious battle with cancer has given me the confidence to know that with the right information, attitude and "try", a situation can be overcome...as for not tolerating the behavior, well it's obvious if it can't be cured,...one would have to go. I'm not going to insist on keeping two adult male dogs together that don't get along. It's a waste of time and energy and frustrating for everyone, but I'm not there yet.

 

As for Ladybug, yup, she's the in the equation too...but doesn't play a huge role in starting trouble. IF anything, she's the one who has taught me through observing her how and when to step in. She's a good little girl.

 

 

PS - when I say I want Brodie "happy" around sheep, I mean I want him relaxed and confident, ready to listen to my commands, not excited and defensive because its strange, when we start training in earnest.

Liz

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Thanks, Marilyn. We'll keep a very close eye on their interactions. I had read before we brought them home that, like human siblings, littermates don't necessarily grow up to like each other but for the most part, they do seem to get on fine...except in these moments of excitement. I've just got to be extra watchful for unexpected triggers and train DH to do so as well.

We still do have a standing offer from the breeder to take either or both back, particularly if I become ill again to the point where I can't care for them (one year scan and check up tomorrow...fingers crossed everyone!)

 

In fact, she'd probably take Brodie for a few weeks to work with him on sheep, but I'm not sure a temporary separation would do any good but we do make separate visits to the farm now to give Brodie a chance to be his own dog, so to speak and for me to totally focus on desensitizing Robin from chasing those darn guinea hens!

I really do appreciate and take to heart all of the good advice I receive on this board. My goal (Or at least I thought so at the time of their arrival) was to raise two dogs of sound temperament, who are obedient, healthy, and happy....we're getting there!

 

Liz

Good luck on that... the dogs are easier to train than a spouse sometimes...no offense to fellas, my spouse would say I'm harder to train...

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Good luck on that... the dogs are easier to train than a spouse sometimes...no offense to fellas, my spouse would say I'm harder to train...

 

 

I'm with you here. At best my SO will mimic some of my rules and commands, but as far as consistency and patience go, he has nothing...

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As for Ladybug, yup, she's the in the equation too...but doesn't play a huge role in starting trouble. IF anything, she's the one who has taught me through observing her how and when to step in. She's a good little girl.

 

Just as a side note here... the third dog may have little to do directly with the specific interactions. However, in my experience often it is when the numbers tip past two that the dynamics are changed and the dogs become more "pack" like.

 

Every time you post a thread about what's going on with your dogs I get ready to post and then get distracted or something else gets in the way. It turns out I'm wasting time before final potty, so here goes - an example of what I've dealt with in my pack.

 

Back when I first got into border collies I started out with one non-BC and then a BC mix. Both female, four years difference, who topped out at about equal sizes. They slept crated together, and they were happy happy little hippos. When the youngest (the BC Mix, Bree) turned about 15/16 months I added June (my first PB border collie). All manners of craziness started breaking out between Ginger and Bree within short order after bringing in June.

 

June had nothing to do with these altercations, it was the mere presence of a third dog that changed the dynamics greatly. I went out and bought separate crates, and immediately started crating everyone seperately. However, even though there were sheets covering their crates, I found out that Bree and Ginger were talking trash even through the barriers - they would come OUT of their crates scrapping. I had to change that so that they weren't beside each other at ALL. No trash talking. And yeah, I'm spastic and vigilant, and somehow they were sneaky like ninjas and talking trash anyway.

 

I was *eventually* able to get enough control over things to keep the altercations down to maybe... oh... once every two to three months. That was mostly luck I think. Trust me when I say I can enforce the voice of DOOM and make dogs scatter. But it didn't matter. I could wear my "I'm the top dog" sweater all day long and wield the sword of righteousness, and while it eased the frequency it didn't completely fix the problem. Other than complete separation I could not possibly be vigilant enough. Period.

 

I'll tell you one of the reasons why - these TWO dogs have limited self control. Both of them have hair triggers when it comes to dealing with certain things, and developed a hair-trigger when dealing with each other. Each incident decreased the threshold. Anyway, I agonized. I cried on the phone with my friends. I figured out as many triggers as possible. I drug it up over and over and over on emails.

 

Oh, and did I mention that when these two dogs weren't fighting to the death they absolutely ADORED each other? Seriously... they laid together, they groomed each other... they snuggled. They were happy to see each other. Except when they were trying to kill each other.

 

My story has a happy ending - the husband left and I agreed that he could take Bree with him. All of the dogs in the household and I both heaved a gigantic sigh of relief. I was *so* determined to make it work - to prove something I suppose. Truly the answer is so clear now - it was going to be a life of management, and hoping I could keep it so that nobody died. Seriously.

 

Your two dogs are about to hit social maturity. It's possbile that this thing might rectify itself - but it's also possible that things might escalate through no lack of your own. Sometimes it's just the way it is. I'm not saying you won't conquer this, because I'm not there and I don't know. But this thing has some warning bells going off in the heads of a good many of us who have already been there, and have borne the scars.

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Hey, Liz, best of luck tomorrow!!! We're beaming our best mojo in your direction!

 

Thanks so much. I buy the occasional Powerball ticket...I've got this thing about jackpots with the number 8 in them, so when the prize reaches some number containing 8, I buy a ticket. Ken asks why -- I've already used up all of my good fortune and blessings with this recovery! :rolleyes:. I'll be okay and if not, there's some very good doctors who will make me okay. :D.

 

Hey, I almost forgot....something fun to look forward to! Robin takes his Canine God Citizen on Saturday! His other "grandma" who is an obedience instructor and behaviorist is running the clinic - she owns his Pop, (more pressure on him - he'll have to behave plus she'll have some tips for Brodie. ) Thanks to Root Beer's tips, we now have a nice "finish" to the recall. He comes "front" then I tell him "get in line" and he falls back to the heel position and sits. (Robin never did catch on to the meaning of "heel" so I switched to the phrase "get in line" and coaxed him by using the phrase to have him stand beside me before I'd toss a ball and now he swings right around or backs up to the correct position when I ask.)

 

Brodie is also doing well at learning "front" then coming to heel, only he understands "heel" :D. He's trotted alongside quite nicely from the beginning and has all the other requirements down pat except that meet and greet thing. It takes him two or three passes before he's comfortable with another dog walking past him, even on the off side. . There's a dry run with different dogs at the AKC club on Thursday run by an entirely different group where we took obedience lessons...so we'll see how he acts there....He'll get there, though. Plus there's two more lambs to visit on Sunday! Spring is in the air if not on the ground!

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Thanks so much. I buy the occasional Powerball ticket...I've got this thing about jackpots with the number 8 in them, so when the prize reaches some number containing 8, I buy a ticket. Ken asks why -- I've already used up all of my good fortune and blessings with this recovery! :rolleyes:. I'll be okay and if not, there's some very good doctors who will make me okay. :D.

 

I wish you all the best, as well.

 

I'm coming up on a year myself. Hard to believe.

 

Hoping you get excellent results!

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Just as a side note here... the third dog may have little to do directly with the specific interactions. However, in my experience often it is when the numbers tip past two that the dynamics are changed and the dogs become more "pack" like.

 

Every time you post a thread about what's going on with your dogs I get ready to post and then get distracted or something else gets in the way. It turns out I'm wasting time before final potty, so here goes - an example of what I've dealt with in my pack.

 

Back when I first got into border collies I started out with one non-BC and then a BC mix. Both female, four years difference, who topped out at about equal sizes. They slept crated together, and they were happy happy little hippos. When the youngest (the BC Mix, Bree) turned about 15/16 months I added June (my first PB border collie). All manners of craziness started breaking out between Ginger and Bree within short order after bringing in June.

 

June had nothing to do with these altercations, it was the mere presence of a third dog that changed the dynamics greatly. I went out and bought separate crates, and immediately started crating everyone seperately. However, even though there were sheets covering their crates, I found out that Bree and Ginger were talking trash even through the barriers - they would come OUT of their crates scrapping. I had to change that so that they weren't beside each other at ALL. No trash talking. And yeah, I'm spastic and vigilant, and somehow they were sneaky like ninjas and talking trash anyway.

 

I was *eventually* able to get enough control over things to keep the altercations down to maybe... oh... once every two to three months. That was mostly luck I think. Trust me when I say I can enforce the voice of DOOM and make dogs scatter. But it didn't matter. I could wear my "I'm the top dog" sweater all day long and wield the sword of righteousness, and while it eased the frequency it didn't completely fix the problem. Other than complete separation I could not possibly be vigilant enough. Period.

 

I'll tell you one of the reasons why - these TWO dogs have limited self control. Both of them have hair triggers when it comes to dealing with certain things, and developed a hair-trigger when dealing with each other. Each incident decreased the threshold. Anyway, I agonized. I cried on the phone with my friends. I figured out as many triggers as possible. I drug it up over and over and over on emails.

 

Oh, and did I mention that when these two dogs weren't fighting to the death they absolutely ADORED each other? Seriously... they laid together, they groomed each other... they snuggled. They were happy to see each other. Except when they were trying to kill each other.

 

My story has a happy ending - the husband left and I agreed that he could take Bree with him. All of the dogs in the household and I both heaved a gigantic sigh of relief. I was *so* determined to make it work - to prove something I suppose. Truly the answer is so clear now - it was going to be a life of management, and hoping I could keep it so that nobody died. Seriously.

 

Your two dogs are about to hit social maturity. It's possbile that this thing might rectify itself - but it's also possible that things might escalate through no lack of your own. Sometimes it's just the way it is. I'm not saying you won't conquer this, because I'm not there and I don't know. But this thing has some warning bells going off in the heads of a good many of us who have already been there, and have borne the scars.

 

Laura, I appreciate your sharing your experience. You had pretty close to the ideal relationship with the original two dogs, separated by several years. A male and female with that kind of spread would be the ideal for a non-working (herding) situation and that is what we has set up when things went haywire, lost Scotty and gained the pups.

 

Forewarned is forearmed and you are right, as with many things in life, some things are out of our control. One difference in my situation is that these dogs came as nine week old puppies and Ladybug immediately became "Mom" -- she was a rescue to as at four years old and had not yet been spayed so it was a pretty good guess that she'd had pups of her own. At any rate, she knew alot about handling them and took off right where Daisy left off as far as directing their play. She mostly stopped supervising when they got to be bigger than her, but they still respect her ultimate leadership. I do see competition between them for our attention....who gets closest and all that, which I also need to control. We've got them pretty well trained to come up on either side (not competing on the same side) and working on waiting until we're ready to pet them instead of charging up to us, demanding attention. Robin has come a long way in two weeks regarding his head butting of my hands. He knows "go lie down" now. It amazes me how fast these dogs learn. Brodie was always more gentle in this regard and is not a problem. I could leave him loose all day and he'd do nothing more than lie on the couch. Robin, if left alone for any period of time, would eat it. Different dogs, different personalities, different approaches. Especially as they mature, I have to be sure to treat them as their personalities demand, not just automatically the same.

 

 

After musing over all the posts on the board and thinking it out very carefully myself, I am reasonably confident that it is their immature need for attention as well as Brodie's reactivity rising during moments of excitement that causes theses occasional flare ups. Keeping the level of excitement down and helping Brodie through this nervy stage as well as focusing more on his training needs should solve the problem for the most part and hopefully they won't grow into an adult pattern of grouching and fighting at each other. But, as a realist, I understand that some critters just don't get along and it makes no sense to force them to live side by side. We're a long way from that yet. The question your experience raises for my future is what will happen when we eventually lose Ladybug -- the pups will be 5-6 years old by then and what changes will happen between them then.

 

Robin takes his CGC this weekend so we're seeing the lady who bred their father and knows their lines very well - she's a behaviorist as well as an obedience instructor and will also have some good observations, I'm sure. She's also running a clinic in a few weeks to address these kinds of problems...we'll be there!

 

Thanks again,

Liz

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I think what people are trying to tell you is you will only manage this situation but, you wont always see it coming. My dad dog rye isnt allowed to enter the rescue space. He always appears totally focused on what I'm doing but, it sets all the dogs in the room off. I mean barking charging the fronts of the crates if they are inclined.

 

Fights arent always about advanced warning either. I've seen fights break out in the dogs yard that rolled dog to dog for 1/2 an acre.

 

Both of you have to be on board with breaking up the fights too. Ken cant hide his dog. He has to be equally mad or it will encourage sniping. Brodie will be hiding behind Ken taunting Robin.

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Hi,

 

IYou're right about the jockeying for position - like little kids demanding attention, they've got to learn to take their turn...

 

So teach your dogs self control and teach them the "turn" game. I start that as soon as a puppy or a foster dog comes into my house. I teach it at my seminars to resolve resource guarding issues, and to resolve or prevent resource guarding issues in class situations where one dog doesn't want another dog coming up to it's owner because it doesn't want to share the food rewards or toys.

 

Between my friends 8 dogs and my 4 we often have 12 dogs running around outside or the training centre. We always play the turn game. I can say Tucker's turn and throw the ball and the only one that gets the ball is Tucker - on one else tries to get the ball or grab the ball. They might follow Tucker a few feet to make sure that he getss the ball, but no one tries to compete for the ball.

 

Same thing with going out the door - name one dog and the word turn and that is the only dog that goes out the door. I do the same thing with treats. I can put a treat down on the floor with all 12 dogs and when I say Tucker's turn, get it, Tucker is the only dog that goes for the treat - all the other dogs just watch.

 

I diffused a potentially nasty situation when a friend of mine stayed with me. Her young dog Karma found a big bone and was walking around with it. My dog came up and grabbed the end of it. You could see that a competition for who was going to get the bone arising and body tension, etc. Both were not willing to the bone up and the tension was mounting wher a spat was gong to ensue. All I had to say was it's Karma's turn, and my dog immediately released the bone and walked away.

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So teach your dogs self control and teach them the "turn" game. I start that as soon as a puppy or a foster dog comes into my house. I teach it at my seminars to resolve resource guarding issues, and to resolve or prevent resource guarding issues in class situations where one dog doesn't want another dog coming up to it's owner because it doesn't want to share the food rewards or toys.

 

Between my friends 8 dogs and my 4 we often have 12 dogs running around outside or the training centre. We always play the turn game. I can say Tucker's turn and throw the ball and the only one that gets the ball is Tucker - on one else tries to get the ball or grab the ball. They might follow Tucker a few feet to make sure that he getss the ball, but no one tries to compete for the ball.

 

Same thing with going out the door - name one dog and the word turn and that is the only dog that goes out the door. I do the same thing with treats. I can put a treat down on the floor with all 12 dogs and when I say Tucker's turn, get it, Tucker is the only dog that goes for the treat - all the other dogs just watch.

 

I diffused a potentially nasty situation when a friend of mine stayed with me. Her young dog Karma found a big bone and was walking around with it. My dog came up and grabbed the end of it. You could see that a competition for who was going to get the bone arising and body tension, etc. Both were not willing to the bone up and the tension was mounting wher a spat was gong to ensue. All I had to say was it's Karma's turn, and my dog immediately released the bone and walked away.

 

 

 

Your training tips are wonderful and we're working what you suggest. We play taking turns catching different toys...they all line up - I call their name and the command "catch" they also know "turn" i.e Lady's turn, Brodie's turn,Robin's turn. and I'm working on getting one to stand, one to lay down, and one to sit -- in other words, think as separate individuals and not be shocked, surprised or jealous when they have to wait their turn. If I toss a ball, only one gets to run for it and then its someone else's turn. When it was just Scotty and Ladybug I had them trained to toss the ball back and forth to each other on command.

 

Liz

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I'll swear I posted two days ago regarding the "taking turns thing" in relation to "jockeying for position." If they are indeed jockeying for position (and I believe they are), then "taking turns" is simply not going to do it. It does indeed have to do with "pack structure," and who ranks higher than whom. As others have pointed out, even though you may not necessarily notice the signs, they are there. And, yes, I had two bitches who got along wonderfully, worked together as a brace a LOT, and were fine. Greeted each other happily most of the time. But the tension grew, and ended up affecting all the other dogs in the household. One of the dogs went down the road,

A

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I'll swear I posted two days ago regarding the "taking turns thing" in relation to "jockeying for position." If they are indeed jockeying for position (and I believe they are), then "taking turns" is simply not going to do it. It does indeed have to do with "pack structure," and who ranks higher than whom. As others have pointed out, even though you may not necessarily notice the signs, they are there. And, yes, I had two bitches who got along wonderfully, worked together as a brace a LOT, and were fine. Greeted each other happily most of the time. But the tension grew, and ended up affecting all the other dogs in the household. One of the dogs went down the road,

A

 

 

So, it seems we've gone full circle. Thank you all for your input, received both here in the public forum and privately. As always, it's a learning experience.

 

Liz

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