Saturday, July 26, 2008

A House of Six

I would like to introduce our two newest family members.

This is Jude.

He's 3, very happy and easy going and just wants to be your friend.

This is Hope.

She's 6, very sweet, LOVES the water, and appears to be the dominant one of the two.

We're not yet settled on their new names. Right now we like Dillon and Dixie/Daisy or Tex and Rosie. Dillon is because we love Colorado and skiing and Dillon is the town where we stay whenever we go. Tex is rather obvious, but also because I had a pound puppy named Tex that I adored as a child and am still devastated that I left him behind in a hotel room in 6th grade (yes, he still traveled with me in 6th grade). Rosie would be for the Yellow Rose of Texas and her pretty reddish coloring. But if you have any ideas after seeing the pictures, let me know!

Landon adores them and gets a huge smile on his face every time they come up to him. Given that they outweigh him by 50 lbs. a piece, I thought he might be a little tentative, but nope, he loves their kisses and being right in the middle of the tail wagging action.

We went on a family walk to a nearby park at 6:50 this morning. At first we couldn't figure out why our neighborhood looked so deserted, but then we remembered it was Saturday and it wasn't even 7 AM and who in their right mind would be up right now if they didn't have to be? The dogs did great on their leashes and Landon kept turning around in his wagon to check on them. He even got a few kisses along the way.

We're a little bit concerned about Hope's aggressiveness when Jude tries to play with her or when they go after the same toy. They slept fine in our room last night and see to get along well in general, but every now and then there will be a growl and a lunge - no biting and no escalation (even without our intervention), but it's a little unnerving. It seems to happen most when Jude starts to play with her- she'll play along and then she'll decide she won't. They were both fostered in homes with young children and other rescued dogs, and they were recommended as the least aggressive, most kid/pet-friendly of the choices. For those of you who have multiple dogs, any thoughts? Is it the new house, new family, new doggie sibling situation all at the same time? Is she just trying to set her boundaries? They're great with Landon - he nearly gouged out Hope's eyeball this morning and she just sat there. We're in touch with the foster families and the organization, and we'll make a change if we feel we have to, I'm just curious as to other people's experiences.

And now, because I only studied TWO hours yesterday, I'm going to go learn a whole bunch of law. It's a little horrifying to realize that there are subjects that are tested on the Bar every year in their own essay that I have yet to look at. But our walk left me feeling quite energized - let's see how long that lasts as I slog through Consumer Law.


  1. well in my professional opinion, which is just volunteering at shelters and going to dog parks, in all likelihood it's fine - they're just working things out for themselves. since hope is a little older and female, she's probably a little more aggressive, but i wouldn't be too troubled about it. you'd likely know already if they were the "fighting types" - and as two labs i doubt it!

    good luck studying! we are so, so, so close.

  2. Hooray for doggies! They're both adorable and look so happy to have their very own house, yard, and boy. Sounds like Jude is just nervous. Our dog was like that for a few months as she adjusted from shelter to family. If she's already letting Landon poke her in the eyeball, she's a keeper!

  3. Oh my gosh! They are so cute! I'm really excited for you guys :) My only experience with two pets at the same time is with cats (and we rescued our cats separately, the female being the older/original/dominant one, and the boy being the newbie). At first we couldn't leave them alone together, then they grew to love each other, but even still, they fight kind of aggressively from time to time. I think it's ok as long as they always calm down on their own, but I guess you'll be able to feel it out. Landon is SO lucky to have two cute and furry new friends!!! :)

  4. I'd say just give it some time. I rescued a dog 3 years ago and it took us about a month to really get to know each other and develop a rhythm. Give her some time to adjust to her new situation and for her and the boy to agree on who is boss and what that means.

    It's nice to see you guys rescuing adult dogs rather than running out for $2000 designer dogs.

  5. I am no help on the pet front - never really had any (but I love them! I just adopted the neighbors...) But it seems that they get along with Landon. I would assume as long as they don't play rough near him, you should be fine. They are probably just determining which one is dominant...

  6. As the pet mom of 3, it is going to take some time for them to get together on how is the higher doggie in the mix. Even now that our second dog has lived with the older dog for 6 years, we get the growling, etc. It is basically, "I want to play on my own, or I am tired of you or I am just plain tired, I want MY bone and yes, just because you thought it was yours, no, it really is mine!"

    I would watch them together, socialize them with others and just keep watch as you would any other "kid" in your house.

  7. Congrats on the doggies! I have never had two dogs at the same time but I do remember that at our PetSmart classes, there were two dogs that would play a lot. Neither was aggressive in any sense, but the female dog would sometimes growl if she was done playing before the male dog was done playing. Of course, these dogs did not live together. I'm sure that once they get used to each other they will have a settled way of interacting and figuring out who is dominant. A new house and family - including a dog sibling! - is a lot of change.

  8. We have had two dogs for five years now. And while they get along most of the time, we have experienced the "lunge" as you described. I wouldn't be concerned because this has never led to "real" fighting, but I would be concerned that a baby/toddler could be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Personally, I would just keep one of the dogs - they both seem as if they would be wonderful pets and great with a little one - but keeping both would concern me.
    Just my two cents :)

  9. I have 2 dogs, and for what it's worth, it sounds like they are working out the dominance issue on their own which is good. But make sure that they recognize that Landon is also "in charge" and don't let them ever think for a moment they can be dominant over him. They should never be allowed to take his toys, push him out of the way, or show any kind of aggression towards him. Your son will love having dogs in his life!

  10. congrats here again! when i saw on facebook i checked here to get the whole story. how exciting! hope doesn't sound aggressive - aggressive would be following up her warnings with an actual bite, she's just dominant, warning jude and establishing herself (this is from someone with a not at all aggressive, but dominant dog who spends a TON of time with other dogs). if she has reason to growl, then growling is good - i don't reprimand my dog for growling with good reason (like if he doesn't want to play anymore) because i want him to know that he should give a warning before snapping - if you reprimand for growling, then maybe next time she'll just go straight to the bite without a growl warning and that would be a bad habit. she should be allowed to give her warnings when there's something going on that she doesn't like. if my boy were to growl without reason, then i would probably reprimand him (he never does, greyhounds at tracks live with their packs for years, unlike most dogs who leave their packs after a few months, so he's got the dog communication thing down and knows exactly when to express what and how). it's great they're so tolerant with landon (no possession regarding the water bowl in the picture and hope being so tolerant with her eye in danger!) the following book has been recommended to me (I obviously have no kids but my dog and I work with low income kids). "Childproofing Your Dog: A Complete Guide to Preparing Your Dog for the Children in Your Life" I've never looked at it but in case you want to. From the Amazon reviews it seems like a primer on basic dog pack, dominance behavior but it might be good in order to get some ideas about how to establish Landon's dominance for him so the dogs are clear on where they stand in their new pack (below both the big and little people). you don't want them to treat him as their equal because dogs growl and nip their equals in communication and while nips are fine between dogs, Landon's a bit more vulnerable to being hurt so it's important they understand that he's above them in the pack just like you and JP are. Cesar Milan is also amazing to watch for tips - although he's more strict with his dogs than i feel most families with well adjusted dogs need to be. The labs I know though are just naturally so tolerant and not at all dominant with any people (as you obviously know with your old dog), so you probably won't any trouble at all with them and Landon but it doesn't hurt to be safe. As for their little two dog pack, they'll work out which one of them is more dominant themselves - you won't feel hesitant anymore when they growl/snap once you watch them more - i was always nervous whenever a dog growled or snapped at another dog because it seemed scary to me until we started going to the dog beach ALL the time and i just picked up instinctively what was ok and what wasn't ok just by watching dogs interact with each other - it's a nice reminder that they are, as sweet and domesticated as they are, still animals. ok - super long post - i always get so excited when people get dogs! must go study commercial paper now. ps. i vote for tex and rosie as names.

  11. If the names they came with have been their names all their lives, I don't think I would change them. It might be confusing for the poor doggies! :)

  12. What awesome additions to your family. As a foster parent of 20+ years I've watched adjustment take place between new kiddo's entering our family and there is always a time of what I call shifting, everyone has to find their respective pecking order. I guess the same is probably true with dogs. We raise Pomeranian's, Simon & Ashely are our house dogs, we have 1 yellow Lab Blu and one beautiful 10 year old mix breed (Cookie). Our females are by far the dominate one's. Cookie owns the acreage and Ashley owns the house.
    It's wonderful that Landon has two best friends to grow up with. Good luck on Monday I'll be praying for you.

  13. Not much I can say except that I agree with all the above posters. :-) They are working out their dominance/play times. If there's just a few growls so far I think you are doing well!!! Even G, sweetest dog in the world, would growl sometimes when my mom's boy dog would try and come get her bone. We realized it's cuz they were always trying to settle out their dominance and it just made us laugh after a bit. But doggies are like people and sometimes we just don't want to play anymore.

    Love Landon's expressions. He's going to be in 7th heaven with these pups. :-)

  14. Congrats on the new dogs! They're adorable :) I have two miniature dachshunds (I know, a whole different ball game than the big dogs), but I'd say that they're probably just being dogs and they need to work it out on their own. One of my dogs is much more dominant than the other and if she feels the other one isn't respecting her authority, she lets her know.

    Give them some time. They seem to be doing amazing for having so much change all at once! And they look like they're awesome with Landon, which you can't beat.

  15. Same as everyone above... They are just getting to know each other and determining boundaries. Once they get settled in and used to their new surroundings and each other, they will be fine and get along famounsly. I had a bit of the same issue when I got my second dog, Sally. Her older brother, Harry is a golden retriever, and by nature a lover, not a fighter. But when Sally came along, she definitely snapped at him a few times when it came to the matter of food and treats. Now, though, they couldn't care less about the other one eating their food, and as a matter of fact, they are so laid back about food now, that the don't even feel the need to inhale it as soon as I put it in their bowls... They leisurely graze during the day. :) Your two will sort everything out very soon. :)

  16. I wouldn't worry about it, particularly since she saves the growling for the other dog. It's just her way of letting him know she's in charge. We have two dogs and one is definitely dominant over the other - they play when (and only when) he's interested. As long as she understands that the three people in the house are boss, she should be fine.

    Oh and don't be scared if they start playing and they look like they are going to tear each other apart. It's just how they work.

  17. So pretty!!

    Why rename them? Especially Hope, who's definitely old enough to know her name!

    Great dogs, congrats.

  18. Congrats on the new pups! But really, I'm beginning to think you're a little crazy. I mean, I remember the bar exam...ack!

    Anyway...the dogs...
    We have five from rescue, so this is just personal experience talking...reinforce, whenever you hear it, that it is unacceptable. Don't assume that they will work it out themselves, because it can escalate without warning (which can be pretty scary). You don't have to yell...we just do a little "shush" type noise. That way you establish that you are at the top of the pack and even if they are annoyed with one another they know they are to listen to you as the leader. Kind of like kids knowing they can argue but when mom says to stop, they should stop.

  19. As far as I recall, if you have a male and a female dog, the female will automatically be the dominant one, if the male likes it or not. I'm guessing it's just growing pains and Jude will learn to live with the new situation soon enough.

    I'm kind of with the others on the name change. The babies have enough to do, getting used to their new situation. Good luck!

  20. wow. you now have your very own jude! my jude is excited. ;)

    i echo what a lot of people are saying here. hope is an alpha bitch establishing herself. don't be surprised when she tries to hump jude to get the message across.

    my charley dog is also an extreme alpha, and needs to be put in her place when she oversteps her bounds with us. (which usually entails us making her lie down and standing over. subtle much?) pay attention to details like demanding to be pet when you have finished petting her, sitting on your feet and not moving, etc.

    in my experience, female over male alpha assertion is a whole lot of harmless noise and melodramatic actions (like the lunge), and i really bet it will subside soon.

    meanwhile, like everyone else says, make sure landon is clearly the leader over both of them (the standing over them thing while holding him will get the
    message across...).

    congratulations on becoming a pack!

  21. Oh ma gah. I go away from the computer for a weekend and you get a dog??

    Well done. Looks like a sweetheart!

  22. *dogS. I left out a crucial letter there.

  23. I've got two dogs and I'm sure Hope/Rosie is just making sure that frisky Jude/Tex stays in-line. :) Maggie does that with Ginger Ginger a nip and a growl to let her know she's on thin ice. In the three years we've had them, I've only felt the need to intervene once (mostly because Cooper was still a small infant and was sitting a little close to the action).

    Congrats on the two new additions! Landon's going to LOVE having them around. :)