We have had this puppy (rescued) for about 6 weeks. She has started in the past couple of weeks with chewing on the other dog's hair (4 year old Golden Retriever, male). She will sit and chew on his tail hair and has recently started chewing on the hair on his side leaving him with several bald spots.
Is this some vitamin deficiency or something else like boredom? She chews all the time and I understand that is teething. She has plenty of chew toys (we have to be careful with those because the Golden just had surgery Memorial Day weekend for intestinal obstruction and have to choose toys carefully as he can eat through just about any toy but a Kong).
We have her on Purina Puppy Chow because that's what the rescue organization was feeding her.
Probably not nutritional, although I would like to see her on a much better food for a growing puppy. Iams, Nutro, Hills etc. Please ask your veterinarian for a good diet recommendation.
This has probably become a habit cause by normal investigatory chewing. Abnormal chewing, eating etc. is called Pica. However, in this case the pup may just find it entertaining to chew on this very tolerant older dog. Dogs also "flea" each other and it may have started that way.
In any case you can stop it by distracting the pup and praising her when she chases a new toy, comes to you for a treat, does a command like come, sit, stay etc. When you are not present, try crating the pup so she does not have access to the older dog's hair.
You may need to get the pup some toys just for her (supervised access) so she can have various textures and types to satisfy her need for chewing and exploring the new world with her mouth.
It is time to do some very basic obedience and exercise as a trained and tired pup is a well behaved pup.
Anything in particular that you know she will chew in your absence you can use some Stop Chew product from the pet store.
Thanks! We do most of this already. The puppy is crated when we aren't home or we wouldn't have a house left at the end of the day. :)
The "older" dog is 4 years old and they are still working out their dominance issues, I think. They play constantly and the puppy aggravates the Golden to no end...sometimes I have to put her in the house just to let him potty.
I plan to upgrade her food on the next bag - the Golden is on ProPlan for Large Breed dogs (tried Iams and he wouldn't eat it). Will try her on ProPlan probably.
She usually starts chewing on his hair when they are rested up and about getting ready to start wrestling around again. I'm going to just have to watch her signs closer and get her playing with something else before she starts with the hair. Just wanted to make sure this wasn't a sign of some deficiency.
I agree completely with all of Dr. Humphrie's suggestions, and it sounds like you are doing most of these, and that you are a very dedicated and loving dog parent! However, you do not mention separate toys for the pup and playing/training the pup separately from your older dog - this is important and I would add that individual play and training sessions with each dog (your Golden should get his time with you also) is important.
I have to add that your belief that the two dogs are "still working out their dominance issues" is concerning. There is little evidence that dogs living in homes establish stable dominant-submissive relationships, and lots of evidence that their interactions and relationships are situational and complex, and should not be distilled down into "who is dominant and who is not". In your case, the reason that this is significant information is that you are allowing the two to "work this out", which is not recommended. In a nutshell, a new puppy or newly adopted dog should never be allowed to harass or continually pester (even in play) the older or senior resident in the home. Just as most reasonable people would not allow their younger child to harass, tease, annoy an older sibling, (or not allow to use the bathroom!) , it should follow that a young puppy should not be allowed to do the same to his/her housemate. The best way to handle this is to teach a "come when called" as Dr. Humphries suggested and use this often in the home, in a variety of situations - not only when your pup is doing something you want to stop or when he is highly distracted. You can use a houseline to help with this and use highly desirable treats to reinforce. Your pup should learn that you will frequently call him out of play with the other dog, and he will get a very yummy treat and some quality time with you. If he persists in harassing the older dog, you must step in and separate them. A down or sit stay is also helpful as your pup matures and can learn these.
It is unfair to your older dog to expect him to reprimand the puppy for playing too often and too hard. Expecting this of him and seeing that it is not working is also teaching your puppy to be a bully with other dogs - very undesirable inter-dog communication behaviors. Think of this in terms of you being the "dog parent" and enforcing peaceful coexistence and respect - your pup needs to learn to read and respond appropriately to signals from your adult that he is no longer interested in playing. Very often, the owner must step in and help because many adult dogs are hesitant to correct a youngster or because their corrections are simply not working.
I cannot emphasize how important this is because "waiting and allowing them to work it out" is the underlying cause of many inter-dog aggression or tension problems that we see in multiple-dog homes. At the very least, allowing this to continue is making life miserable for your adult Golden.
I hope this is helpful to you -
Owner, AutumnGold Consulting
Thank you for your comments and advice. It's been a while since I have had multiple dogs and don't really remember these issues with prior dogs, so I'm happy to receive advice.
We plan to take the puppy to puppy class next month and she will be getting spayed in the next month as well. I think "dominence" may be too strong of a word and I probably chose unwisely. There is no aggression at all. They play all the time and the Golden has no problem putting her in her place, although she seems to be fearless. When they settle down and the Golden lays down, the pup is right there laying on him like a baby would with it's mom. They don't like to be apart - where one goes the other follows.
She seems to be very smart and after the second day here, already sits to wait for her food bowl to be placed - she learned that from the Golden (he will actually stay until given a verbal or hand signal that he can eat even from my 6 year old granddaughter - we're working on that with her as well). She pretty much has the sit command down and we'll be working on more as we go and get to the classes.
However, I will get more involved in breaking up the play when it gets too "focused" and will start paying more attention to giving them each "me" time.
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