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 A slight "hiccup" in Gunner's behavior

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GunnersMom



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Age : 48
Location : Ohio
Registration date : 2008-09-24

PostSubject: A slight "hiccup" in Gunner's behavior   Wed Sep 24, 2008 10:03 am

Hello everyone -
I'm new here and just posted my introduction, but I thought I'd jump in and ask my first question already. I'm having a problem with Gunner and I'm looking for any advice or suggestions that anyone can throw at me.
I'll try to keep this brief, so if there's anything you need to know that I'm leaving out, please feel free to ask.

Gunner is a very mild-mannered, gentle GSD who gets along very well with my year-old Golden, Riley, with the exception of one particular situation: He's started going after Riley at the back door when we're trying to come back in the house, after being outside.
This started, seemingly out of the blue, about two weeks ago or so. We were coming back in the house, Gunner turned around and went after Riley, a scuffle ensued (not serious - mainly a lot of noise.) We started putting Riley in a sit/stay a good ten feet away from the door, allowing Gunner to enter the house first, after this incident and it was fine for a while. But now, everytime we come in, Gunner goes after Riley even when Riley is nowhere near the door. I've escorted Gunner into the house and then let Riley in when we're a good four feet into the kitchen... he still turns around and tries to go after him.
Like I said, they get along very well in every other situation. They eat next to each other, play together and it's fine. It's just this thing with the back door.

I don't know what started this or how to stop it, without potentially making matters worse.
I've had GSDs my entire life and we're on our second Golden. All have been males and we've never had so much as one scuffle, so I'm a little out of my depth here.

Any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!
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PostSubject: Re: A slight "hiccup" in Gunner's behavior   Wed Sep 24, 2008 2:34 pm

GunnersMom wrote:
Gunner is a very mild-mannered, gentle GSD who gets along very well with my year-old Golden, Riley, with the exception of one particular situation: He's started going after Riley at the back door when we're trying to come back in the house, after being outside.
This started, seemingly out of the blue, about two weeks ago or so. We were coming back in the house, Gunner turned around and went after Riley, a scuffle ensued (not serious - mainly a lot of noise.) We started putting Riley in a sit/stay a good ten feet away from the door, allowing Gunner to enter the house first, after this incident and it was fine for a while. But now, everytime we come in, Gunner goes after Riley even when Riley is nowhere near the door. I've escorted Gunner into the house and then let Riley in when we're a good four feet into the kitchen... he still turns around and tries to go after him.
Like I said, they get along very well in every other situation. They eat next to each other, play together and it's fine. It's just this thing with the back door.

That is odd. My dogs have a similar problem. I learned to recognize the signs that come about before it happens, and I taught Cookie to back off when I say "no". At first, I'd have to go and stand between them and say "no!" to stop them, but now Cookie will stop when I say just "no!". And I'd also recommend that you warmly praise and richly reward Gunner for leaving Riley alone when you say "no!". Good luck. Smile
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GunnersMom



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Age : 48
Location : Ohio
Registration date : 2008-09-24

PostSubject: Re: A slight "hiccup" in Gunner's behavior   Wed Sep 24, 2008 11:12 pm

I can get between them and stop a scuffle from happening. That's what I was trying to do by escorting Gunner in the house. I figured if he did go after Riley again, at least I could stop it before an actual fight started.

What concerns me is the possibility of that approach being counterproductive. Yes, I can correct Gunner when he starts to go after Riley and praise him when he calms down, but it's still allowing him to go after Riley in the first place. I'm afraid that's going to form the habit.

Problem is, I can't think of any way to avoid the behavior altogether, short of not letting them outside together at all. Which is what we've started doing, until we can (hopefully) figure this out. I don't like it as a long-term solution, but for now, I don't know what else to do.
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PostSubject: Re: A slight "hiccup" in Gunner's behavior   Thu Sep 25, 2008 10:43 am

I can see the problem, but can't think of a great solution. I read your post yesterday so I will ask today, is Gunner on leash?
Maybe allowing Riley in first, will stop Gunner's "herding instinct" from starting. My boy, would not let Baby out side first. She is about the size of his head, so that became a problem. Even on leash, he would turn growl and try to nip her to stop her from going through the door. I had him do a sit/stay, and told Baby to go out, and made him wait and see her go off the deck, then we would go through the door, and off the deck, down different stairs.
He now understands that although I allow them to find their own place in the pack order, that I am still the boss, and what I say goes.
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