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Bullying Smaller Dogs.


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Guest grammarules

We got Shelby as a pup. Her and Gigi, my Bichon, got along fine until Shelby obviously became much bigger than Gigi.

How do I tell if they're playing or if Shelby is bullying Gigi. Sometimes Gigi won't even go past her if she's laying on her pillow to go to her bed. I don't feel comfortable leaving them together in their outside kennel or even in the house unattended. Maybe I'm just applying human thinking to a dog situation.

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Can you tell by body language? Are both tails wagging? Do they hang out together comfortably? Is Shelby "posturing" standing still over Gigi? Is Gigi showing fearful behavior?

 

If Gigi won't approach Shelby's bed, that may just be respect of sleeping terriroy, which is a good thing. Is Shelby also respectful of Gigi's sleeping space, or does she tromp over her when she's sleeping? That would be a sign of disrespect in the dog world, and not ok.

 

When they're "playing" if you watch you can probably tell if it's play or not. Are they both having fun - give and take - or is it one-sided?

 

Lots of times, dogs will make a heirarchy - one will be the boss, one will be a follower, but it's a situation they both will be happy with. It's NOT always the biggest dog that runs the show either. But that shouldn't include any sort of bullying or aggression or intimidation - that's NOT a good pack dynamic, and shouldn't be allowed.

 

Until you figure it out - you're probably wise to not leave them unattended together.

 

Good luck, let us know how things progress.

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Shelby does stand over her sometimes and sometimes tries to push her out of her bed. She gets real upset if Gigi is still eating her treat when she's done hers. Gigi has stopped chasing her ball. She looks to see if Shelby is around before she'll run after it. And if Shelby comes running Gigi will just stop playing.

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My little one--Winston, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel-- is no longer with us but I dealt with some of the same concerns when I first got Piper and then added Spirit and MoMo. Winston was quite a character--he was a breed snob. He played with people, NOT with dogs. :lol The hounds didn't bother him in normal activities--and I'd have corrected them if they did, just because of the size difference--and Winston was good at sticking up for himself. I did make sure he got play time with me in the yard without the hounds. I discourage hounds efforts to play with the cat because play can turn serious so easily. I suppose I (and Winston himself) discouraged play with the hounds for the same reason. Otherwise, he was just one of the dogs when it came to getting meals and treats.

 

Good luck with your pair.

 

 

--Lucy

gallery_2398_3082_9958.jpg
Lucy with Greyhound Nate and OSH Tinker. With loving memories of MoMo (FTH Chyna Moon), Spirit, Miles the slinky kitty (OSH), Piper "The Perfect" (Oneco Chaplin), Winston, Yoda, Hector, and Claire.

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"The Other End Of The Leash" by Patricia McConnell, PHD is very informative. You can definitely skip chapters and just go to you specific problem. She even has sections on play and social status. I wish you luck!

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