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Old 08-31-2008, 02:27 PM
surfsup1977 surfsup1977 is offline
At a loss in Alaska
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Alaska
Posts: 2
Exclamation Help: Aggressive Shelter Dog to Resident Dog

Someone please help me. My husband and I are from Alaska and just adopted a 2 year old sharpei/terrier mix from a high kill shelter in California.

We have a very sweet and submissive 2 year old Golden Retriever at home that needed a companion while we are at work (about 3 hrs at home at a time). We really wanted to get a shelter dog, so we adopted Hannah.

Hannah had a shelter buddy (another sharpei mix) that she seemed to get along with wonderfully, so we thought she would be a great companion for our dog.

We brought Hannah home yesterday and all hell broke loose. It seems Hannah is EXTREMELY attached to me. She won't let our retriever ANY where near me and tries to bite her and will stare at her whenever she's in sight. She doesn't care when our retriever is near my husband, but I'm a different story.

Not knowing her history, I can't imagine what this dog has been through. My husband and I want to start trying to have a baby next year, but I can't imagine bringing a baby into this household with a dog that is so attached to me.

What do we do? She is SUCH a sweet dog otherwise. She loves people and is very affectionate. She just hates our other dog. And our other dog is scared to death. She just hides under the table the entire time. I feel horrible because I just wanted her to have a friend, but it seems we did the exact opposite.

I don't want to give Hannah up. She has probably had such a horrible life as it is, I don't want her to go from owner to owner.

Does ANYONE have ANY advice?! I'm at a loss...
Will it get better just letting the dogs work it out? I don't want my retriever to suffer for our mistake.

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Old 08-31-2008, 02:35 PM
Zoom's Avatar
Zoom Zoom is offline
Twin 2.0
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Denver, CO
Posts: 40,739

I'm sorry you're in this situation. This is why I'm not a big fan of "unseen" adoptions, because you can't introduce the dogs prior to bringing the new one home.

You could always give the two an adjustment period and see if that works, but also know that a sharpei/terrier mix is also a pretty good candidate for dog aggression. Goldens seem to be a favorite target, probably because they're so bouncy and loving. It's odd, I know.

Wait, just re-read this. She's only been there a day, let her settle in...right now you are the only familiar thing to her. I would NOT, however, let her get away with being possessive of you. If she starts acting like a brat because your Golden is coming over, she goes into time out for a minute. You can also start using some high value treats anytime your Golden starts walking over (but only if she's not growling or giving a hard stare), like hot dogs or some such that she only gets when the Golden is near her. Teach her to form a positive association.

There is a two-week initial adjustment period with any new dog. It takes about six weeks for the bonding process to really have any progess. Take things slow and see how it goes. We'll help out any way we can!
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Old 08-31-2008, 03:30 PM
surfsup1977 surfsup1977 is offline
At a loss in Alaska
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Alaska
Posts: 2

Thanks for your help. I will definitely try the things you suggested!
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Old 09-01-2008, 01:30 AM
Sch3Dana Sch3Dana is offline
Workin' Dog
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 391

Personally, I do not think it's fair to bring an aggressive dog into a household with an existing dog. The existing dog should have a part in the decision making, preferably by taking them to the shelter and introducing them on neutral ground. You did a generous thing by adopting a needy dog, but I would encourage you to make the decision that is right for the existing three members of the family. There are many sweet, loving dogs who are also in high kill shelters and would make a great addition to your family.

Aggression is not an easy thing to work with and is generally not fixable in adult dogs, but may be manageable. Do you really want to live with two dogs for the next 10 years that you have to "manage" which probably means never leaving them home alone together (one of your primary motivations for adding a dog).

I would recommend finding a no-kill shelter or possibly shar pei rescue that is willing to take Hannah on and find her a home without other dogs, or possibly with a different type of dog that she can get along with. Living in a household where she is constantly feeling aggressive will not make her happy and it will not make the rest of you happy. It sounds to me like she is a dog who would do best as an only dog.

FYI, shar peis are known for aggression, especially towards animals. I've only ever met a couple shar peis that didn't have serious aggression issues as adults and they were all from one breeder who emphasized social temperaments in her breeding program. They are not a breed I would generally recommend in households with multiple dogs or small children, especially if they were not raised in that environment from a puppy.

The Sha-pei is famous for possessiveness of its family. This can create a problem when people visit or if the dog is to be around small children (especially children the dog does not know.) If you will be adopting a puppy, will you have time to socialize the puppy properly? If you are considering an adult dog, it is important to obtain information about the dog’s temperament. Have there been problem situations?
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