Other Dog Reactiveness to Puppy Shikoku
  • brennamwkbrennamwk
    Posts: 51
    So I was looking for some advice on what to do about our other dog's reactiveness towards our puppy shikoku. I have no idea what triggers it and sometimes it honestly feels like it comes out of nowhere. Nanook is a 1 year old Alaskan Klee Kai and he's not perfect but we are working on his behavior, although he's usually very good with puppies such as my friends 4 month old foxhound. He can be a bit resource guardy, but he's not too bad about it and normally just gives a little warning growl and then gets up to leave. He also is leash reactive so he does not meet other dogs on a leash. But, besides that background info, our real problem is out of nowhere he will attack Boba by grabbing his scruff rather hard and shaking back and forth. Twice today Boba was gagging a bit as he sometimes does to spit up excess water from drinking too fast, and I go over to move him to an acceptable spot to spit up and both times as soon as I went to him Nanook ran over and grabbed him and started shaking. There was no growling, no warning of his discomfort, just straight to attack. If I give Boba attention, sometimes Nanook will attack him although its not consistent. If I pick Boba up, sometimes Nanook will try to latch onto his neck out of nowhere although again that isn't consistent. It just seems like random little events will set him off inconsistently like Boba is playing with toy that we gave him or we all just playing together. Nanook shows no body language beforehand that he is going to go after Boba, he just in a split second is fine then the next he's biting his neck and shaking. Poor Boba shrieks terribly when this happens and we separate them immediately putting Nanook in his crate for 20-30 minutes to calm down. I'm getting tired of this but I can't pinpoint where its coming from. Does anyone know what kind of reactivity might be occurring? Has anyone had this problem? I'm hoping that as Boba gets larger that it will go away but its just heartbreaking to hear Boba shriek and putting Nanook in his crate is not effective at teaching him that this reaction is wrong although he is greatly upset about being left alone. Note that Nanook does not do this with the other puppy currently living in our house temporarily for a friend, the foxhound mentioned previously. And Nanook can sometimes be very sweet to Boba and sleep near him and very dedicatedly groom him with kisses. They even occasionally play together briefly until Nanook overwhelms Boba and Boba leaves. Its just so hard to predict where this behavior is coming from.
  • AjaxAjax
    Posts: 108
    The current situation is unfair to the Shikoku puppy. Please keep them separate or at least keep the Klee Kai on lease and tethered to you at all time, even inside. You must stop the attacks. Being attacked by surprise creates the very real risk of the Shikoku developing fear aggression towards dogs.

    I recommend hiring a professional trainer or better yet behaviorist. The dogs need to be assessed in person to find out what is really going on. But here is my internet take based on what you wrote.

    First this is not reactiveness. It is a misnomer to call all aggression reactivity.
    http://www.akc.org/content/dog-training/articles/reactivity-vs-aggression/

    I'm going to make some guesses now. How old is your Shikoku? Are they both boys? Is your Shikoku either approaching or finally surpassed the size of the Klee Kai? Is your Klee Kai neutered and the Shikoku still intact?

    As your Shikoku matures, the Klee Kai is starting to see the Shikoku as a threat to his position. While dogs may not be "pack" animals in the traditional sense of the word, it is also false to say that dogs don't care about where they fit into the family structure.

    The reason that he's good with the fox hound pup is because he does not see him as a threat to his position or competition for your attention. What he is doing is very much akin to resource guarding except your attention is the resource. These aren't really random events. They all have you giving the Shikoku attention in common.

    How do you react when Nanook attacks Boba? Nanook must understand that this behavior is unacceptable. I don't think the crate is a good idea. Never turn the crate into a punishment. You want the crate to be his safe space. I would stick him in an empty room and ignore him and before using the crate as a timeout. Just keep in mind that many dogs are unable to understand the concept of a timeout and do not see it as a punishment like we do.

    You must address this now, hoping this will go away on its own will either result in Boba being traumatized into fear aggression or a dog fight when Boba finally has enough and is big enough to cause real damage to Nanook.


    Post edited by Ajax at 2017-04-03 10:06:21
  • WrylyBrindleWrylyBrindle
    Posts: 3219
    The trigger in the examples you have given is when energy gets elevated, or when you are holding Boba- this is a kind of 3rd Man In thing I have seen with dogs before. Like "oh look, he's coughing (or being moved, held, contained, managed...) and the human is directing at him, exciting! I'll pile on! Let's GET him!" Nanook isn't thinking about it- there's pressure moving at Boba, and he wants in- it's akin to predatory teamwork.

    If you look closely at Nanook, you might see him become alert to the situation and stiffen before launching. It's fast, but you know the kinds of situations that set it off. Nano is uncomfortable when things get exciting and doesn't know what to do and directs his frustration and confusion at Boba. It's kindof a redirected aggression. The puppy is new and NAnook is still not sure what this all means.

    As the adult in the house, you can improve N's comfort by taking responsibility yourself and showing him that you have it all under control and he doesn't need to try to handle this himself. Anticipate, separate, tell N- "not your job!" and always notice and give N calm praise and attention for NOT- jumping on B in a situation where he might have. Make sure N is getting 1:1 time with you as well as all-dogs time. If you have to do something with B, like restrain him for nail trimming and N always sees this a chance to take a pot shot- set N up in another room with a stuffed kong in advance. N needs to learn this is none of his beeswax, and he needs to SEE that you won't let mayhem rule.

    I have a dog who sees elevated energy and will run in to shut that down and be bossy. Roughhousing indoors can make her do it, and if our Special dog is having a hyper moment she really wants to settle him down. So if we see S beginning to get hyper, Jeff holds and soothes J- even if she growls- and I take S out to get hyper outside or create distance and settle him down. They have this idea that when things are out of control if the 'adults' aren't keeping control then it's up to them to do it, and its overwhelming.

    Def as Ajax said, don't allow this-it's not good for either of them. Teach N 'off' and 'wait' - practice doing things where your attention is traded and N who is older and more capable of this, is rewarded for being patient and calm while Boba is asked to do his training moves. I think N would benefit from something like 'Control Unleashed' - which is a kind of training program for dogs who get too excited in an overly 'doggy' environment, or where dogs are moving fast, and learn to increase their tolerance and ability to stay cool under some pressure. The fact that N enjoys and is kind to B in many situations is excellent to build on and you don't want to lose that :) Catch him in the act! -- of being a good boy! You get what you pet, you raise what you praise- make sure there aren't missed opportunities to notice when N is responding well, neutrally, boringly- and let him know that is exactly the behavior you want to see more of from him! :)
    Post edited by WrylyBrindle at 2017-04-03 12:20:38
  • T_DogT_Dog
    Posts: 331
    I'm not sure on sizes of these dogs, but my Shiba was very aggressive with all my Akita as puppies. I had to keep my shiba in a different room. Until the puppy was big enough and agile enough to defend himself. It to almost 6 months but by the time they spent time with the Shiba they was able to spin and jump and even defend with out getting hurt. This is in now way advice. Just a story. Take from it what you wish.
  • brennamwkbrennamwk
    Posts: 51
    @Ajax I agree its unfair, but to predict it is rather hard. Sometimes, they go without incident for days and some days there's multiple incidences. The time out isn't punishment so much as it is to calm down his elevated energy. If I leave him just in a room, he gets destructive of the room because it is not restraining his energy at all. In his crate he can't do anything but calm down. When Nanook does this, we tend to lift him in the air over our heads immediately and hold him there for a few seconds, then he goes to his crate to quell his energy level. I personally still believe he is being reactive and not aggressive because he doesn't outright hate Boba. He often tries to initiate play, grooms him, eats near him, and more a lot more often then he is attacking him. Its just extremely particular situations that I have not yet understood on my own that trigger him jumping on Boba. Again, it is not consistent that my attention is what causes it either. From the beginning, Nanook was a bit too rough for Boba and we've been teaching him to play gently. Unlike Boba, the foxhound does correct Nanook whereas Boba does not and wants me to correct Nanook which I do. So I believe that their dynamic might be easier just because it is the foxhound that communicates when something is too much for him. Nanook often grabs our shibas scruff and shakes, but Kuma just kicks him off and they keep playing. For Nanook with our oldest dog, attaching to the scruff is a part of play but Boba does not like it. We are seeing a behaviorist for Nanook already to work on his other traits but I wanted other's experiences in hopes that someone else had a similar experience and could better understand what was occurring as the trainer is never there when these things happen and so she can't tell me why they are happening. When she is over our home, they all act perfectly because as I said they can go a long time without incident.


    @WrylyBrindle This sounds a lot more accurate to what we've been observing. I think he might be feeding off my own energy in certain situations where I myself am energetic, such as moving quickly while Boba threatens to spit up, and thinks he has to jump in. He tends not to let the puppies run around or do anything without him. If they are playing together, Nanook will stand directly next to them and bark very loudly and will put his open mouth on whichever puppy is on the ground during the play (he doesn't bite, just open mouths them). Sometimes if Kuma joins him while he's playing with the puppies, he will growl at Kuma, our oldest shiba. But, Nanook always backs down to Kuma eventually if Kuma insists. It is strange because it is like he is resource guarding the puppies at times as playmates. This reaction to Kuma is going away though. Also when the foxhound puppy was significantly small, Nanook and Kuma both would circle him and nip his back legs and he would get overwhelmed and we had to step in. Two on one causes them to feed off each other's energy and we often have to tell them that only one on one play is allowed. I feel like that your description hits the nail on the head. Nanook just doesn't manage his energy well when it comes to Boba. It might be different for the foxhound because my husband and I don't consistently discipline the foxhound as our friend comes over to do it. I think he sees the foxhound as more of our friend's concern then ours. Plus, the foxhound will correct Nanook whereas Boba never does and Nanook doesn't know what type of things are okay for him specifically so he just does what he does to Kuma but with more energy. Is "Control Unleashed" some type of video training or a program? If its a program, I doubt any trainers near me offer it. We live in the middle of nowhere.


    @T_Dog Our shiba had these moments as well where he was not patient with puppies shenanigans around him. He didn't want them stepping on him, bothering him, getting in his face, or anything. He has since grown a bit more tolerant now that they are closer to his size and have learned to respect him more. All it takes is one growl and the pups figure out that the behavior is not comfortable for Kuma and they move away. The foxhound is the smallest in weight, but he's very lanky and tall so meets our shiba face to face. The shiba is 22lbs, Nanook is 18 lbs, and Boba is 14 lbs for size reference.
  • WrylyBrindleWrylyBrindle
    Posts: 3219
    Control Unleashed is a book by Leslie McDevitt- PM me your address and I will mail you my copy, I don't need it anymore. It's got exercises for excitement management around dogs moving- such as being able to remain calm at an agility event, but you can read it, understand it and adapt the concepts to your own gang- and since you have multiple dogs and multiple humans, you can probably set up some of these exercises to help Nanook out.

    Nanook is feeling like things are out of control and he doesn't know what to do, so he just does SOMETHING and it's a bad decision. So you want to attack the problem both by teaching Nanook what you want him to do instead (an alternative) AND by creating ways to keep things from getting too amped (as best you can- I mean, obviously you *have* to handle a puking dog! :) ) around the gang. In this way, you'll bring the energy level DOWN and Nanook's tolerance UP and somewhere in the middle they will hopefully overlap.

    The question you want to write in the little thought bubble over N's head is "What do you want me to do when I don't know what to do?" My Special dog- Sage- goes complete Tasmanian Devil when he hears the dogs next door come in our yard and bark at us. (or, he used to!) Rather than tell him to shut up, it's fine- no matter what I was doing, I got off my ass and thanked him, told him to follow me for a biscuit in the other room, which he did, sit, and eat the biscuit. Then I went outside and told the neighbor dogs to GIT! and chased them off. I called the neighbors and told them every time their dogs were out of the yard. Those dogs came around less and less often, and whenever Sage feels overwhelmed about anything outside, he comes to me and stares at me. I have to acknowledge him at this low level of discomfort and handle it for him, and help him out. If I fail to handle it, "not now! ugh! you're so annoying! Deal with it!" - then he will deal with it on his own, and get all amped up and bark and huffing and puffing and flinging spit and so forth. Sometimes now, all I have to do is go look out the window and acknowledge his stimulus ("oh, yep- you're right- the people at the lodge are working other truck, thanks, bud!") So, this does require some attention and teamwork. Don't let him repeat the bad behavior, intercept it, redirect it, and try to reduce stimulus as much as you can from the other end.

    I think you got this! :)
  • brennamwkbrennamwk
    Posts: 51
    Yes, thank you! That is so sweet! PM sent! I know Nanook doesn't dislike Boba because he actively seeks him out to sleep next to or to play with. Nanook will lick in Boba's mouth very often and he will lick Boba like 20 minutes straight sometimes. Boba usually lets him and doesn't show that he is afraid yet of Nanook, but I don't want that to change. I wish I knew how to post pictures so you guys could see how sometimes they are very good with each other but all my photos are on my phone. That is why this behavior is so shocking to me because they'll be doing fabulously, then a bad experience happens and it really sticks with me for a long time. Sometimes instances happen even when I'm not directly giving Boba attention yet other times I'm giving Boba attention and Nanook just watches and waits his turn for love. But, the times he waits is when it is calm situations and we are all relaxed together. I really hope this info helps!
  • WrylyBrindleWrylyBrindle
    Posts: 3219
    Whenever Nanook has those "waiting his turn" choices- make sure he knows you think he made a great choice! Make it so worth it!
  • brennamwkbrennamwk
    Posts: 51
    So after doing a few things @WrylyBrindle suggested, I just want to update that there's been a lot of great improvement in Nanook! We also realized Nanook was this way a lot when my husband was very obviously stress and working on being calm around the dogs has also helped. Thanks for the advice!
  • WrylyBrindleWrylyBrindle
    Posts: 3219
    Hooray! I am really happy to hear this! Keep up the good work, Team Nanook! We're pulling for you! :)
  • AjaxAjax
    Posts: 108
    Awesome great news :)