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HarleyBear's picture
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Joined: 2011-08-17

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I was hoping I can have some input on how to handle our two dogs.  We own a three year old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel who is very sweet and people oriented.  Very submissive and will hide under a chair to get out of a situation she doesn't like.  She doesn't usually acknowledge other dogs, just wants to be on people's laps

Our Doberman puppy wants to play with her so badly and she wants NOTHING to do with him.  Sometimes she hides under the couch and he'll lay there crying for her to get out.

95% of the time they get along fine.  He ignores her and she is happy.  But in the evenings, when the puppy zoomies kick in, he gets all over her.  He has a tendency to open mouth bite her on her back. Which she doesn't like and she tells him by barking at him.  I don't think he is trying to be aggressive, since he doesn't hurt her.  He also lets her take food from him.  I think he is just trying to play (but correct me if I am wrong)

Our trainer has suggested that we let the dogs work it out on their own, since Harley will listen to her more than he will listen to us.  Is that true?  Cause sometimes he keeps going.  When he does keep going we put him in time out (which does nothing).

I know when my parents-in-law got a springer puppy, he did the same thing and now that he is older and more mello they have that ignore relationship our cavalier likes.  Will that eventually happen with our Doberman?

Any advise on raising a Doberman puppy with a small dog?

missdoglover's picture
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You'll want to seperate the dogs while feeding, it seems like your cavalier is submissive but her patience is going to run dry soon. You don't want any food agressive to start. As far as your dobe puppy, he is just being a puppy and probably doesn't realize that the cav is a small fragile dog. Reward him for good behavior, always use positive reforcement training. :)

sweetpea's picture
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I partially agree with your trainer's advice, because they will work it out to an extent.  Dogs read each other well and know how to establish their own boundaries.  But Harley doesn't realize his size or strength and that can take a while, so in light of that I would work on teaching a "gentle" command.  I know there's at least one thread on here about teaching to be gentle.  Methods vary a bit, I teach it first using a treat - put him in a sit and offer a treat but when he goes to take it from your hand pull back and say "gentle."  Repeat this and don't let him have it until he is very soft with his mouth.  Once he knows that command it is easy to apply to other situations.  Tone of voice is key; you want to sound firm but use a soothing tone to help him understand what you want. 

And yes, he will mellow out eventually!  :)

HarleyBear's picture
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Thanks Sweetpea and Miss Dog Lover!  Its good to know that it sounds innocent.  I have worked on giving him treats so that he takes them gently from my hands.  I will now start putting  a command to it to see if he can generalize it to other areas.  Thanks!

Our cav used to be submissive to every dog she met, but now with Harley, your right, her patience is running out. We don't leave them alone together yet... hopefully in time once they have established their relationship.

Thanks for the advice and nosebumps! 

jeshykai's picture
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If they were of equal size, I'd agree with your trainer but since they are not I disagree. It takes one misjudged leap for a growing Doberman to hurt your small dog - I know, it happened with Steve and my chihuahua. I'd teach him to "leave it" with her. She clearly does not want him near her and that level of play is overwhelming. When Steve wanted to go bonkers at night and it was time to settle down I put him to his tie down with chews and toys so my small dogs could have some time unharassed with us. When Steve went to bug the small dogs when loose, out came my water bottle to squirt and say "no". I also had a gate that let small dogs in my room but kept Steve out so they had their own safe space. Your cav is trying that with the couch and it isn't working. Imagine her stress level! At a year now and 96 pounds, he ignores the chihuahua but for a sniff (to Miles growl) if hello and then about his business. I know your trainer meant well in her guidance but pitting a cav against a Doberman is like letting a 9 year old kid play roughhouse with an infant. I hope my suggestions helped.

HarleyBear's picture
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Joined: 2011-08-17

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Jesh,

Thanks for the amazing advice.  We will definetly be taking it to heart. We'll have him tied down tonight so she can relax this eveing. I may also go out and buy a squirt bottle.  We haven't tried that.  I will tell you how it goes tomorrow.  

I have to admit when we first brought Harley home I shed a few tears for Ellie who was so comfortable and happy with her life. Here we go and disrupt her life by bringing this huge bouncy puppy home.   I know in time she will grow to appreciate having another dog around when we are not there, but we will have to work to get to that point. 

Thanks Everyone!

jeshykai's picture
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It gets easier, it really does.  I just want to make sure your dogs are safe and have the best chance at successful interaction.  I really found the tie down to be the best way to keep Steve's antics minimal after he'd had his nightly romp, tug, training and walking.  Then my smaller dogs got to enjoy their usual quiet time with us on the couch.. everyone had chews.. it worked out well.

And if you have to redirect Harley, that's okay too.  He's still learning and it sounds like your sweet Ellie isn't the type to be the "boss dog" anyway so the adjustment may not be as hard on her once she knows that this big puppy isn't going to squish her in his exuberent play.

Steve's best friend right now is 15 pound puppy and boy does she tell him who is boss!  But they are a better match for each other's playfulness more than anything.

Please let us know how it goes!  Everything is sometimes trial and error when raising dogs.. and I say that from experience.

HarleyBear's picture
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Jesh, thanks so much for your advice and support on this one.  It means a GREAT deal coming from someone who has gone through this before.  When we first brought Harley home I scoured the internet looking for how to deal with a large puppy and a small adult dog and I could barely find anything! 

We had training class last night, then we locked ourselves out last night (long story), so by the time we finally got home we went straight to bed.  But I promise we will update you on the tie-down and water bottle.

The tie-down is especially a good idea, because we haven't been able to give them any chewies because it is the one thing they do seem to get testy over. 

Hickory67's picture
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Joined: 2011-07-20

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We have the same problem with Gideon and our chihuahua, Stormy. Gideon doesn't know his own strength, and on top of it he takes Stormy's defensive snapping as regular play.  We just keep them separate unless Stormy is safely in someone's lap, and they get equal around-house time when either Gideon is in his crate or Stormy is in my oldest's room. They'll eventually get there - we just keep a close eye out for now.  I'm going to try the water bottle, too.

tpastar's picture
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Joined: 2011-10-10

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I'm having this problem too... Diesel (dobe, 4 mo) loves our little white fluffs... they aren't loving him so much when he chases and bites them.  I, too, have let them work it out but i still feel i need to step in and let him know that i'm the boss, the little ones are MINE, just as i would furniture or something else.  I also step in for safety reasons.  he doesn't realize how much bigger, stronger, and clumsier he is.  he needs to learn that he's last on the totem pole in our house and it's taking some time.  i'm not sure if i'm doing the right thing or not, but he needs to learn that rough play is not ok, he is not to bite or paw them.  he will protest, lie down and bark and moan, but that's too bad.  i wont lie: it gets taxing on me sometimes but i try to stay focused.  we give him exercise 2x/day, as much as we can for a puppy but he still has lots of energy. i will be honest: i'm ready for him to be bigger and growth plates to fuse so i can take him on some long runs to really wear him out.  this guy needs a 10 miler...thankfully my husband and i are endurance athletes so when he's old enough that wont be a problem.  but in the meantime: yikes.  keep suggestions coming!

HarleyBear's picture
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Joined: 2011-08-17

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It's been a month and half since I started this thread and it does get easier.  He still has his "moments," especially when we are all outside playing.  But the tie-down and squirt bottle are excellant advice, it really does help.

Baron's mommy's picture
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Joined: 2011-10-01

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tpastar I feel you I have the same problem Baron has a lot of energy I walk him but he still is to young to take on long walks or running it will be a while before I can do that with him. I try to keep him busy but I get tired before he does  I am hoping it gets better soon. 

tpastar's picture
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so far as long as i get diesel to burn off that crazy energy in the evening, it makes for a more pleasant time for everyone.  we walk/run in the morning followed by obedience, and try to walk in the evening (if his feet are ok...they are taking a while to toughen up) and do obedience.  if he's just way to nuts, i go out in the yard and run around with him.  then i will tie him to me if we are busy.  the exercise thing is so fundamental.  all of my dogs are so much more manageable after exercise. 

also something you might try: my husband and i will split them up for training sessions: he will take diesel, i take the little ones then switch after about 15 min or so.  then we practice some commands all together (sit, down, wait, etc).  i think it helps with bonding them all together, and when i give them treats one at a time they learn to wait their turn and respect one another's space... they feel more like a "pack" like when we all run.  but they all get one on one time with both myself and my husband, so we all are working on the bonding but it's more under control and less stress on everyone.  but i won't lie: i still have to keep a close eye on them all.  and my little ones do have "safe places" so they can take a breather like jes had mentioned. 

Hickory67's picture
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Joined: 2011-07-20

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That sounds like a great idea Tpastar (the group training). Our chihuahua could stand to learn something other than the "stand & spin."