Two dogs, no dominant?

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Dasz88's picture
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Joined: 2015-11-10

Hi all!

This is kind of a silly topic, so it's not important to respond or anything, but I'm curious to hear the input from other dog owners!

I have 2 dogs, a 15.5 yr old golden retriever (Rusty) and a ~1 year old doberman mix (Stryker), both male rescues. (From my reading on this site, I've since learned that I shouldn't have 2 same sex dogs in a doberman household. However, as Stryker is a dobermutt and rusty is very, very old, I am hoping I'll be okay.

Anyways, growing up we normally had two or three dogs, and it was very clear who the 'top' dog was. The humans were always pack leaders, but the dogs had their own  clear pecking order. However, with these two, I can't tell who's boss at all! Is there always an alpha and beta dog? And if so, how do you tell? It probably doesn't really matter, but I am just curious as to which one is the leader!

Stryker dominance traits:
-tried to hump rusty, especially from 7-10 months (doesn't anymore)
-will steal toys from rusty (Rusty doesn't care about toys though)
-will try to test boundaries with mom (me!), but dies not try to assert himself over me

Rusty dominance traits:
-will eat all of Stryker's food in front of him, and Stryker will let him (Stryker doesn't care about food though)
-goes through the back door before Stryker
-claims the better spot on the couch

Traits of both:
-flop around the floor and will show each other their belly
-are friendly to other dogs but both hold eye contact and stand their ground. Both on separate occasions have had to be intimidating/tough but overall are very good-natured.
-eager to please (well, rusty is now ancient and slightly senile, so he just does what he wants in a generally good way, but when he was younger, he was eager to please).
-neither

I can't really think of other traditional dominant/submissive traits to list. This isn't a very serious query, but I am just curious! Anyone have any guesses for these two? Is there sometimes not a dominant dog? Could it be because they are so different in age? How do your household setups work? How do you tell which dog is the 'boss'?

AresMyDobie's picture
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Joined: 2015-02-28

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Dogs all have their own pecking order but I'm the leader and they sure as heck know and respect me. I don't allow stealing, or possession of objects. My dogs are all treated equally no matter the size all the rules are the same. One wants to get snippy I'll step in and put an end to it. In my house there is no boss dog just me that's the boss and that's the way it's gonna stay.

Lady Kate's picture
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Joined: 2009-10-28

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Amanda.. how I wish we had a " Like" button here.. Good answer.. great advice and obviously working for you.. Thanks!!

The theory that there is always a dominant dog is not accurate. Some dogs may be more dominant in one thing or another and the other may be dominant in another area. I do have a dominant bitch in my home and I do feed her first in order to avoid issues. But each of my three have things that they seem to lead in.  I am clearly the most dominant of all .... but don't consider myself an "alpha" - haha... as I'm not the same species  ;-)

I do think that the age difference in your dogs will keep you from having male on male issues - 15 1/2 is a really old dog in any breed - hugs to him!

Dasz88's picture
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Joined: 2015-11-10

Thank you all for your responses!

Aresmydobie (Amanda?) I totally agree! AND I am sure you are an awesome alpha mommy to all your fur babies! I should have been clearer in my question wording: the human should always be on top (although my guys will try to be ornery when they thinking i'm not looking, which is where most of these observations arose). I was just curious about the inter-dog politics, so to speak haha!

Fitzmar, that's exactly what I was wondering! Growing up I've always seen the dogs have clear hierarchical distinctions, so I was wondering why mine didn't. I guess mine are 'switches' lol. And I'm glad to hear that we should hopefully avoid the same sex aggression! My vet said that, as well, and they interact with each other really sweetly, but it's good to hear that from someone with actual doberman experience! THANK YOU!!!

That brings me to another point-- I really want to thank all of you (and everyone else who has given me such great input) on gentledoberman! I know I have a dobermutt instead of a purebred, and I've heard that a lot of these breed-specific forums don't really like people with mixed breeds crowding up the site. But I've gotten nothing but friendly responses and helpful advice here! Which is great because when you adopt a dog, you don't have a breeder or anyone else like that as a resource. So this site and all of you have been that resource for me!!

AresMyDobie's picture
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Joined: 2015-02-28

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Awwww we aren't gonna judge someone who has done a great deed in rescuing, mutt or not it's still part dobe even if it weren't a dobe many of us on here would still offer as much advice as we could to help someone out :) it's great to know at least one side of the dog since he's a halfer haha when I got shep mix I knew far more about the GSD, but had little knowledge of the pharaoh hound and it made all the difference in the training I've set up her :) so I personally can truly understand the benefit of knowing both breeds of your little mutter cuz it makes much easier to pin point a good way to train:)

Anyways they probably have a set up just a subtle one :) the age gap will play a big party too and golden oohhhh got to love them! I had one he was my boy I wish he lived till the beautiful age of 15 <3 unfortunately I lost him two years ago at the age of 6 due to cancer :( I do suggest for safety sake if you do ever get another dog in the home it would be smartest to have a female :)

 

 

 

 

Lady Kate's picture
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I think there's a lot of us who have "Honorary" Dobermans... Bella is such a strange mix that we can only GUESS what she is.. As her vet told us:

" She's ALL ......yours."

leslieak's picture
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Same here about the dobermutts but it is pretty amazing that mine seem to present with alot of the doberman characteristics so this group has been very helpful. With the dominance thing, one of mine, the male, Argo, is definitely the dominant one although he never challenges me. He actually doesn't have an issue with me feeding Zooey first BUT if I'm not paying attention he will eat her food. Argo also tries to take toys away from Zooey and then I have to say no stealing and take it back (which he accepts with no problem). So basically when I'm not watching he bosses Zooey around although she tries to not take it sitting down by what? complaining to me and pouting like a typical little sister. They are really like a couple of 5 year olds. Unfortunately, I also have to watch Argo like a hawk and really don't go to dog parks very often because he will not back down if challenged by another dog. Zooey gets along with pretty much all dogs except little ones which kind of scare her. I don't think Argo was socialized much with other dogs with his first owner and that probably has made a big difference. Luckily Zooey and Argo have never had a fight and we've had them together now for 2 years so I think they just ended up a good match.

talisin's picture
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Joined: 2011-02-25

I have always had only males in my house and as many as 5 at once different breeds without any trouble HOWEVER, the doberman is different in that they are prone to same sex aggression as I learned here on the forum. I count my lucky stars I never had any issues with all my dogs, I had no idea even as dog smart as I was I had not seen same sex aggression. Reading some of the posts here it is very scary indeed to see it in action and some have died or been forced into rehoming. So just stay on your toes for any behavior that signals it.....the old man doesn't deserve to be attacked by a youngster.....

kudos for having a senior!!!!