Rough-housing all the time and over-the-top

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Face Taster
Barked: Wed Dec 5, '12 1:56am PST 
Update #2:

Peanut butter kongs: They each get one. But Connor leaves his own and rushes to fight over Avalon's. Ends up creating more excitement. Same issue when I toss a ball. When I toss two, Connor always goes for the one Av is chasing. Excitement and more wrestling ensues.

I have a pen for Connor. When he starts physically biting on neck or ears, I placed him back for 5 minutes. But after bringing him out to play, they're wrestling again. Connor bites again, I put him back. Cycle repeats. This ends up with Connor being in the pen for the majority of the day.

I tried combining all this with down stays. So far there's no fruit yet. The two go right back to wrestling a few seconds after reward.

After their romps, they rest for about 10 minutes indoors. Then they wake up and start wrestling again. Doesn't look like more exercise will change the habit.

I've been trying redirecting their wrestling to tug-o-war with rope toys too. It generally keeps them from biting, but I'm thinking to create a new game for them that doesn't promote wrestling and fighting all-in-all. Since tug-o-war doesn't seem to be helping the wrestling cause, just keeping it up.

They're still getting amped up and Connor's angry within 5 minutes of fighting. Connor really tears at the ears. Avalon's 100% easygoing and bulletproof. He won't care crap whether Connor is actually angry or fighting. Only watching for Avalon's yelps isn't going to cut it before the damage is done. Av will probably never yelp in his entire life.

Main issue I want to get rid of is the neck and ear biting from Connor. And a lot more down time than there is now.

Connor also seems to understand that I don't want him biting. Whenever he thinks I'm not looking, he takes a rush at Avalon's neck or ears. I can't keep my eye on them 24/7 like this.

So far that I'm seeing, the only way is to design a new game for them to play together that won't promote wrestling. All of your suggestions were great. But still no fruit yet. Connor finds ways around them. Seems that anything Avalon is doing, Connor needs to join in on.

Edited by author Wed Dec 5, '12 1:59am PST


Woo-woo- whineybutt
Barked: Wed Dec 5, '12 7:10am PST 
I think they both need to be separated and given alone time with you. Right now Av is super reinforcing, like a giant juicy steak he can take a bite out of whenever he wants..
You're like.. a piece of celery.. Uhm, ewww. laugh out loud

Your goal is to be a steak. To do this you have to show that you are more fun, cool and spontaneous than Av. BUT you can't do this if Con has a bigg juicy steak infront of him 24/7.. Thus they need to be separated while you work to better your bond with Con.

Face Taster
Barked: Wed Dec 5, '12 3:08pm PST 
That makes sense. Thanks.

Here's the plan I have in mind then. Let me know if you think it will work.

Av and Connor will be separated 90% of the time for the next month. I'll bond with each separately playing tug-o-war, ball launching, trick training, tag, and walks. When they do have time together, it will only be 5 minutes when they're both tired right after romps and games. They can still see each other. But separated with a gate. Over the course of a month, I'll slowly increase the short calm times they spend together.

Hope the plan works. What do you think? What other ways to bond?


Let's play tug!!
Barked: Thu Dec 6, '12 2:25pm PST 
These two obviously feel safe with each other, but they're only resting for 10 minutes after playing outside. I just don't think they're getting enough exercise, even now. Some dogs need so much that it is really tough to meet their needs. I saw some people at the dog park playing with their dogs with a laser pointer- the dogs were tearing across the park chasing it. Maybe you could try that, or a chase-it toy, or teaching fetch, or setting up a fake little agility course. Or, is sending them to daycare one or two days a week an option? Exhaustion is the goal smile

Face Taster
Barked: Thu Dec 6, '12 9:21pm PST 
That's possible, though I have reason to believe there is a more direct approach. Because when they are outside, they are chill. And can chill for a long time. Able to do activities peacefully together without wrestling whether tired or not. Thing is, once inside, then WOAH time to wrestle. EVEN IF they are dead tired already or were when outside. In the past, I let them wrestle for hours. And they just kept going. They essentially will wrestle until they die of exhaustion. So it seems like they associated specifically indoor time with absolute wrestle time, no matter how exhausted.

"Stubborn" dogs- don't need- corrections
Barked: Thu Dec 6, '12 11:57pm PST 
If they've associated indoors with lots of wrestling, then now you have to make sure that indoors no longer means wrestling.

Is it at all possible to keep them separated while indoors? It means that you'll more than likely have to spend a lot more time outdoors, giving them lots of exercise, but it shouldn't be permanent. Basically, you want them to start associating indoors with calm time.

Continuing giving awesome treats for being calm. If they do go back at it, just keep separating them. Consistency is key. Don't worry; they'll get it! (: It won't happen overnight.
Tiller- (Skansen's- Ira in the M

I DO Exist...To- Drive You Batty
Barked: Sat Dec 8, '12 12:35pm PST 
This is all interesting and not very normal. I wonder if you know Connor's history....if he was inside or outside most of the time?

If I were his foster, I'd be wondering if this were a social issue. Play can be used to relieve stress or to test social boundaries. It's always a guess, but that is what I am reading, particularly in that it seems to far more likely be occurring in enclosed spaces (vs the outside). That is very striking to me.

Flow with me here for a second and see what you think of this, as you are the one witnessing this and have your own interpretations, whereas I can only use your words to visualize this scene. Sometimes, dogs are feeling unsure or insecure. That insecurity may either be worried what the other dog wants to do, or, you can have dogs who would prefer to fight, but for a balanced dog fights are something you answer....meaning you don't start a fight. That's not "honest." It's why in some breed descriptions you will read "will never start a fight, but will always finish one." That's what that means. An honest dog who will not prompt a fight, but is more than willing TO fight.

At any rate, because the dog is either insecure as to what the other dog might do, or in testing social boundaries sort of would prefer to fight but all the other dog wants to do is play, they may get intentionally rough trying to spark a temper from the other dog.

That this is happening only inside, which is a more defensive area as it is enclosed, this is what I am HIGHLY reading into these scenes.

If they are really roughhousing to this extreme extent and you are being very diligent about exercise....which is VERY important....one thing you might do in addition to the gating is to tie Avalon up with Connor on a long line, just for control. Then just let him hang out, and also work him in the presence of Avalon. Lots of treats. Just sits, downs or whatever else he knows. Try to work him close to Avalon while you do this. If he starts to go after Avalon, you have the long line (you can just use his leash, also), just pick it up, lead him away and restart. To be around Avalon and not obsessing is your goal.

You also should be tying them both up, near but not so near that they can make contact. You can give each a bone or a toy. Let them spend an hour tied up, close but unable to make physical contact.

Get a family member to work with you...I hope you can do this....sit in different chairs with both dogs leashed, and give them both attention, or play with them, etc. And then, I know this boring, but have them both down quietly and settle. You can also watch tv together, both dogs down, leashed with one person holding each.

Take them on walks together with a family member. Walk closely together. Then come back in, treats at the ready, and just have one sit with each and interact with them.

What you are trying to do is acclimate Connor to being around Avalon and settling. Not feeling a need to start anything. Better his social security and ability to relax.

Finally, Connor may highly benefit from learning the "place" command. Give him a place...a doggie bed or pillow....and train him to go to it when you ask. Be sure here Avalon, who sounds like an easygoing boy, is told to keep away. This may offer him a sanctuary and option as to what to do with himself, if he has his "place" which is reaffirming and with Avalon keeping away.

All the treat work is highly beneficial in the beginning, but you want ideally is to just tie them both up, or to sit with each, and have nothing much going on other than the sensation that they are chilling and nothing is happening. You need to build this boy's social confidence, IMO.

Edited by author Sat Dec 8, '12 12:39pm PST


Beauty and the- Beast
Barked: Sat Dec 8, '12 11:58pm PST 
When I first brought Seela home (she was six at the time) the rough-housing started right away which quickly escalated to a near fight. One always seemed to push the other a little too far. Absolutely no rough-housing is allowed in the house. Willie and Seela took a few months to adjust to each other and are best pals now. I do not think you can say rough-housing only a certain percent of the time, either they are allowed or not, black or white. You have to be consistent with dogs. They will learn quickly if they want to blow off energy they have to do it outside. I found a great way to drain energy from a german shepherd's is to throw a ball downhill where they have to run back uphill, otherwise you could throw ball all day before they tire.

I never leave my dogs unattended in the yard, so even if you have to be outside with the dogs a short time, just do it several times a day. I find this works great with my two dogs. They are no extremely well behaved in the house and everywhere I take them.
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