Poodles R Sheep Posted June 8, 2012 Report Share Posted June 8, 2012 Background: I currently have a pack of 5 dogs; Merlin a black male Standard Poodle age 8 (carefully selected from a reputable breeder after 2 years of research), Peaches a cream female Moyen/Standard Poodle age 13-14 yrs adopted at age 9 to be Merlin's buddy, two rescue dog companions taken in unexpectedly to help a friend in an emergency - Zilly a Rottie/GSD mix age 8+ and Zack a BC or Australian Shep. age 10+, and Sophie (profile pic) a BC adopted from a shelter now age 7 mos?. I grew up thinking of my dogs as my siblings - the only kid in 5th grade who responded to the assignment 'Give a report on the famous historical figure you would most want to be' describing El Lobo, a notorious, huge wolf living in the early times of the Southwest much to the amusement of my classmates who all chose people! As an adult, I've had a Great Dane which I attempted to show in conformation (futile but fun), two Dobermans with whom I did novice obedience and Canine Good Citizenship titles, and Merlin, the Standard Poodle, which I began training for agility before issues with my special needs son who is High Functioning Autistic overtook me. I have always been awestruck by the BCs I saw at agility trials but realized my skills and reaction time were way to slow to handle one. Then Zack landed in my life. He is a very melancholy, 'shell-shocked' veteran of multiple owners/shelters who apparently failed to herd a car at some point in his younger days. Zack not only comprehends everything going on around him at the moment but he also forecasts what is about to happen and vanishes BEFORE trouble begin. Merlin does the same thing BUT I raised him from a pup so of course he can 'game the system'. Zack walked in cold and immediately began to play chess. I found a home for Zack back in January with a family who had lost an Aussie from old age. All seemed a great fit but Zack bolted immediately after arriving and was missing for almost a month during the wettest, coldest part of our winter. His new owner and I combed the area and shelters. That's when I found Sophie. She was a ball of tuxedo fluff with blue eyes who just cut her baby teeth. A woman with a baby in arms and an untamed toddler were squealing about her cuteness and I asked 'Do you know what that is??? It's a Border Collie!!!' as if she were considering a rattlesnake for a pet. Right then it became real to me how dogs like Zack got so messed up and I decided to get that puppy out of there. If I can handle her - great, if not, ... I'll make sure she is placed in an experienced home. Zack arrived at the shelter the day after the new owner adopted another collie from death row ... so Zack is back. As feared, Sophie has been like a hurricane in a trailer park. First the pup tried to nurse my grumpy, snarky old female poodle who growled at and punished her every move. Then Sophie decided Peaches and Merlin were sheep to herd (hence my user name)!!! I shaved them down and put denim vests on to blur the woolly image. She ski's on the hardwood floor clamped on Merlin's tail as he races through the house, In the yard, she badgers the 90 lb Rottie mix who is too slow to catch her. Zack just ignores her - looks up at the sky as if watching a hawk and waits for her to go away. The puppy shenanigans were expected, put life back in the geriatric pack, and has me scrambling to absorb as much from this website as possible . Problem: In the last 2 weeks, however, Sophie has "begun to experiment with guarding and confrontational behaviors." She is giving Peaches a big dose of karma - has had several fights which are escalating to poking holes in the old girl's face. She has also lunged and threatened Zack and Zilly. Merlin isn't a big eater so he doesn't threaten her as much. Most of the fights are food related. She guards the pantry which contains the kibble, her bowl, her crate in which she is fed etc. I have rearranged the furniture to put her crate away from any walk path and pick up all bowls once the food is eaten. From the beginning I sit with her while she eats and scoop the kibble for her to eat out of my hand - so far she is only dog aggressive. Some of the issue will resolve when Lilly is adopted and/or Peaches dies (probably in 1-2 years). Questions: Should I feed her in the laundry room or basement away from the others instead of her crate? Will that eventually reduce her guarding of the crate? Can I keep a large, loose muzzle on Sophie when she and Peaches are in the house together uncrated? I have one large enough she can drink with it on and nibble kibble. She seems to calm down when wearing it. How long will it take for the insecurity to extinguish, once she no longer feels threatened? She has been sleeping in her crate on the bottom floor alone while the other dogs and kids sleep upstairs. Is this helping or making her more insecure? I have taken the Tellington Touch seminar - is there any part of a BC that is known to hold a lot of stress that I can stimulate? Are there some BC people in the Atlanta area that might be able to evaluate her and help me? What can my boys do (ages 14 and 12) to assist? I fear Sophie was taken from her mother too soon and/or is from puppy mill breeding. I don't want to give her up but don't want to ruin her either! Any advice or tips are welcome. Thanks in advance. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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