View Full Version : Need help with Crys

Squirt's Mom
11-30-2009, 01:32 PM
Hi ya'll,

I have a problem with Crys and Ruby and don't know what to do about it...if anything.

Ruby is the pack leader, the Alpha dog, in our house (but don't tell Squirt! ;) ) and Crys is the Omega. Crys is very submissive to Ruby and all the others, but her behavior toward Ruby is strange to me.

Crys will grovel, lick, and whine at Ruby, and often Ruby will tear into her in repsonse. I had hoped that in time they would work this out but it isn't happening. Crys will go right back to Rube immediately after she has been torn up, dripping blood, and start the submissive actions all over again, only to jumped again. This is the part I don't understand and don't know how to address.

I always intervene when the fights start trying to spare Crys further damage - Crys never responds with aggression toward Ruby. Ruby doesn't instigate the confrontations, Crys always does with her behavior toward Ruby.

I don't know whether to fuss at either of them as this is instinctual behavior to a degree or to reprimand them both. Do we let Ruby do her worst to get the message across to Crys? Do we keep them separated? Is Crys' behavior truly submissive, or is she just plain nuts? :confused:

Any suggestions or experiences to share would be greatly appreciated! Last nite and this morning Ruby got Crys again, and her snout and chin are all torn up plus a tiny wound by one of her eyes. I am afraid Ruby will really harm Crys, or even kill her, one of these days. :(



11-30-2009, 02:44 PM
Oh Leslie,

I don't have the smarts about dog psychology to offer advice. I have seen similar in some of my dads farm dogs years ago. I always thought it was the alpha dog showing strength when being annoyed or challenged otherwise the balance of power is changed very quickly. Any weakness from the alpha dog caused changes in the pack. This behavior seemed to go on until the alpha dog did not react and very soon after there was a new alpha dog.

Maybe Crys and Ruby will work it out but I would still intervene so nobody got hurt.


11-30-2009, 03:12 PM
Hi Leslie,

after a week of being off-line due to provider trouble, I hurried to check on CC's and see this...

This is a difficult one, especially over the net without being able to see any of the behaviour you mention. I can (and will) try but I may end up by saying that you (well, Ruby and Crys) may need to be seen by a behavioral therapist. Since I can't quite estimate the severeness of the situation, I simply have to assume the worst, anything else would be irresponsable from my part.

But first things first :)

Time to play 100 questions ;)

I would appreciate it, if you can tell me the age, breed, sexe (neutered/spayed) of all dogs. Who came to your house first, second, etc? What was the packorder? Did it change down the line (after adding a new dog for example?) The pack dynamics are important here for starters...everything you can tell me, will be appreciated :) Did Ruby and Crys had these confrontations from the start? If not, when did it start?

On a general note: I know you're a pro and most likely know all of this already, yet I will still mention these "general" rules.

You have to follow the packorder. Assuming you're the Alpha dog/packleader you cannot ever give a lower ranked dog a treat/food/cuddle/etc before the higher ones have gotten theirs. You have to work down the ladder, with everything you do. This will reinforce the current packorder. If the packleader (you) starts to behave outside the rules of a pack, the other packmembers become confused. They may think the packdynamics are disturbed and they will feel the need to establisch a new packorder, resulting in fights. So, leash/feed/cuddle/play/say hello on entrance/ etc. to the topdog first, then the no 2 dog, 3....etc.

Generally, it's best to let the dogs decide amongst themselves what the packorder will be. You should not interfere with that process...UNLESS one of the dogs is in danger to get seriously hurt or wounded. In that case you have to seperate them and in the worst case scenario, you may have to find a new home for one of the dogs. Because sometimes, 2 dogs simply can't live together.

You need to decide wether Crys is in real danger of becoming hurt/wounded and act accordingly. I can't tell you what to do since I can't tell how serious it all is from here.

From the little I have read, I am almost positive you need the help of a good behavioral specialist. A good behavioral specialist, as the number 1 rule, comes to your house. He/she will want to see the dogs in their own environment and how they behave there. Bringing dogs to a behavioral specialist's home, may very well not give a clear picture of what is going on. Dogs may behave very differently when in an unknown area. So, if you decide to find a behavioral specoialist, you need to find one that will visit your home. That should go without saying.... If they won't or try to persuade you to come to them, then you know you have the wrong one. Don't let them tell you otherwise!

But for now, if you can answer my questions (and answer probably some more after that ;) ) I will do my very best to help in any way I can.

Saskia and Yunah :)

11-30-2009, 03:14 PM
Hi Leslie,

I sure wish I had some answers for you but I do know that this problem is more likely to happen when there are too many females in the house. Everything I've read indicates that once the alpha injures another dog, this behavior is likely to continue so you may need a lot more help than you can get here. Saskia is a marvel when it comes to canine behavior so hope she has some advice for you.

I feel so sorry for you and for poor Crys, who doesn't seem to learn that going near Ruby is not such a good idea, despite acting like the world's biggest wimp. :( At this point, I think you should try to keep them totally separated until you can come up with a solution because the next encounter could be really really bad. My girlfriend had the same problem, only her little chi mix was the alpha dog who constantly went after her Shepherd mix. The Shepherd finally had enough of it and mauled the little one who spent quite a while in ICU.

Ha, I see that Saski showed up while I was typing. Awesome!!

Squirt's Mom
11-30-2009, 04:26 PM
I would appreciate it, if you can tell me the age, breed, sexe (neutered/spayed) of all dogs. Who came to your house first, second, etc? What was the packorder? Did it change down the line (after adding a new dog for example?) The pack dynamics are important here for starters...everything you can tell me, will be appreciated Did Ruby and Crys had these confrontations from the start? If not, when did it start?

Ok, Saskia, here we go -

Ruby - approx. 13 yrs old, mixed breeds unknown, spayed
Squirt - will be 12 in Feb, Cairn Terrier/LH Chihuahua, spayed
Goldie - approx. 5 yrs old, Terrier mix, spayed
Crystal - 1 yr old, Terrier mix (probably Pit or Staffie), spayed

That is also the order of arrival. Squirt and I moved into Jim and Ruby's house almost 4 yrs ago. There were challenges between Ruby and Squirt immediately, with Ruby the clear winner. When Goldie came along, there were no challenges between her and Ruby, but there were between she and Squirt - with Squirt coming out on top which placed Goldie as the Omega at that time. Crys is the last addition and challenges started immediately from Ruby, Squirt, and Goldie. Crys rolled over for all of them. Squirt has shown no more challenges unless it involves her food or Crys trying to take her spot on the bed, couch, by me, etc. All Squirt does is growl and show teeth, Crys bows down and that's the end. Goldie barks, growls, and makes advances toward Crys when she comes too close to Jim or her, or she thinks Crys might be headed that way, otherwise she basically ignores everyone. (Goldie also reacts this way to anyone or anything that gets too close to Jim. :rolleyes: )

I do feed, greet, love, pet, etc. in pack order, except for Goldie who doesn't come for petting, greeting, love except from Jim. She kinda holds herself separate from the rest of us. :)

Jenny said something in her post that reminded of a change that did happened. When Ruby was so sick recently, Crys would come to her with the usual cow-towing but Ruby felt so badly, she didn't react - she would either lay there and take it, or move. After this happened a time or two, Crys moved on to Squirt and began the groveling, licking, etc. with her instead of Ruby. Squirt's reaction was to growl and show teeth, but she didn't attack Crys. Now that Ruby is nearly back to her old self, Crys has returned to this behavior with Ruby. The attack yesterday and this morning were the first since Ruby got sick and there's was no doubt that Ruby was letting her know she was still the Alpha dog.

Ruby is also a protector; she will get between me and the vacuum because she is sure it is going to get me; she comes running anytime she hears Gary sounding like he is hurt or upset and does the same with me, Jim, and the other dogs; she gets very anxious when we are playing with the other dogs or Gary and things get loud - she will come to us and start whining and pawing. Once we stop, she is fine. When we play with Rube, she prefers 1-on-1 - one human, no other dogs.

I don't recall an attack ever happening outdoors. Crys and Ruby will chase squirrels, bark at neighbors and their dogs, sniff the yard, and act just fine together outside. It seems to always happen in the house.

I don't know how to access the severity - Crys has been to the vet twice for wounds. The first time I had to take her, she had so many wounds on her head and I couldn't get some of them to stop bleeding, but none of them required stitches, etc. The second time she had to go, Ruby had layered one of her ears and it became infected. I now have several items in my pet pharmacy for wound treatment and cleaning plus a stock of anti-biotics just in case. :rolleyes: The attack yesterday resulted in a wound on her snout that requires some attention daily and I started ABs to be on the safe side. She looks like a Roman-nosed horse today! :eek:

I have a video posted on Photo-Bucket of the girls playing...mostly Ruby and Crys, tho you can hear Goldie and almost see her get involved. Some of the postures of Ruby and Crys in this video are very, very similar to those when they are NOT playing. Maybe that will give you an idea...here is the link to that video:


I will try to video Crys' submissive behaviors for you, but just don't know if I could stand trying to get a video while the attacks are happening. :(

Thank you so much - all of you for offering your thoughts!


11-30-2009, 04:38 PM


I think Saskia is the best resourse here, on this issue. But I would also urge you to consider what she has to say and to continue to research.

I could not tolerate this in my household and would have to divide the warring parties until I found a way to deal with with this.

I have brought many into our home over the years, both dogs and cats. There has never been anything like you are describing. Thinking and praying for you all.



I have just viewed the link.

Is this the worst of it?


eta, the little dog is clearly baiting the larger dog

Squirt's Mom
11-30-2009, 04:45 PM
Hi Scott,

That link is them playing! :D So, no, that is nowhere near the worst of it!

I am at my wits end with this and am so hoping there is an answer that doesn't mean giving one of them up...that would have to be Crys in this case. :(:(:(


11-30-2009, 04:50 PM
Hi Scott,

That link is them playing! :D

Hi Les,

Yes, looked like playing to me as well.

Do you have video of the aggressive issues.


Squirt's Mom
11-30-2009, 04:51 PM
Not yet, but am working on it...of course now that I want to tape it, they are ignoring each other. :rolleyes:

Squirt's Mom
11-30-2009, 04:59 PM
I just watched that video again and noticed something...maybe because I haven't looked at it from this perspective before so I didn't see it before. Or maybe I am looking for indicators and am seeing things that aren't there. :o

Jim is in his chair, Goldie can be seen coming from the sides of his chair, Squirt is under the table between Jim's chair and the couch, and I am on the couch. It really looks as if Ruby is trying to keep Crys from approaching our area! Could this be an indication that she simply does not accept Crys as part of our pack?

11-30-2009, 05:01 PM
I will be very interested in Saskia's take on this, but I also think the person reclining is a major issue.


11-30-2009, 05:10 PM
Oh Leslie, I surely hope you can work things out. But I, too, am really scared right now about the potential damage that Ruby could inflict on Crys...:( :(

Saskia may already remember this, but I also wanted to remind her about Crys' early history as a little puppy -- about being abandoned alone and starving in that empty house where Jim found her. I am wondering whether that early trauma may be affecting her behavior now, because she was not able to learn "normal" puppy socialization from her mom or other siblings. Maybe she doesn't know or understand which "cues" she needs to offer up in order to be accepted by Ruby?? And at the same time, maybe she's especially needy as far as WANTING to be accepted by the Alpha dog in her pack?

I know Saskia will know much more about this than me. But I just wanted to remind her of Crys' early history...


11-30-2009, 05:19 PM
Leslie, you know I am going to be frank with you, right? I watched the video and I saw several things. Crys is acting rather as she should behave, you can tell she turns her head when Ruby looks at her and things like that. And her behaviour indicates nothing but wanting to play. Unfortunately for Crys, Ruby, being the grand old lady...isn't interested in play anymore. On top of that, Goldie also isn't tolerating Crys's behaviour eventhough it isn't even directed at her. In between Crys's play behaviour and "letting Ruby know she's the boss" behaviour I also saw signs of fear behaviour in Crys (not talking about the tail between her legs) and that worries me. Crys is a lively young pup, active and playful but she can't act on it. She does, she tries but doesn't succeed and she gets scolded by both Ruby and Goldie. It's play for Crys but no play for either Ruby or Goldie. And in all honesty, Crys (and her behaviour accordingly) looks frustrated, quite understandably so even. I think that Crys doesn't get a fair chance at being Crys in the current situation. Everywhere she turns, there someone telling her off.

Well, that's as far as my observations go from this one video. I'm guessing (and it is just that, a guess) that in order to restore some sort of balance in the pack, you will need to work with all dogs. Frankly, Goldie's behaviour is unacceptable. She might be higher in rank then Crys, but she should not be going at Crys for no reason or just the fact that Crys is walking there. In such a case, the absolute topdog (you/Jim) need to "tell" Goldie that this behaviour is not acceptable at all. If the "quarreling" between 2 dogs is justified, we should not interfere and let the dogs sort it out. But...if the "quarreling" is uncalled for (as it was with Goldie) then the Alpha has to correct that dog.

I think you are looking at a very complicated packdynamic. Four females is not a good combination and is more likely to cause problems. Crys cannot be the dog she is....and that gets her frustrated. Goldie has some issues with territorial aggression and that needs to be solved and so on. It will take a lot of effort, work, dedication and training with all 4 dogs to try and make this a pack in which there is a safe and clear position for everyone. Being the "underdog" doesn't mean they all can jump on you just because they feel like it :)

I will write a more explaining piece about this subject in general to give some better insight in the subject of "sibling rivalry" but I cannot help in the sense that I can give you some tips or some advice and things will be better. This does call for a behaviour therapist on the scene...that's the best advice I can give you to help in the best possible way :)

Saskia and Yunah :)

Squirt's Mom
11-30-2009, 06:19 PM
ah, geez...thanks, Saskia. I have a lot of thinking to do. Money is a real issue right now so I don't know that a behaviorist is feasible but I will check into that.

There is a young lady who has expressed an interest in Crys. She's my respiratory therapist, lives close by, has a daughter and they both love Crys above all the other girls - they homed in on her first thing. Crys gets along with them just fine and has a blast playing with them here. It is always just the 3 of us in the room when they come so there is nothing to interfere with Crys' interactions with either of them. I may end up having to give Natalie a call. :( That would cause me many tears, but Crys has to come first. She has overcome too much already and I know they would take good care of her.

Man, love hurts, don't it.....

Not going to make any decisions right now, but this option has to remain in the forefront of my mind as I consider everything.

I look forward to reading more of your insight on sibling rivalry! And thank you so much!


11-30-2009, 06:25 PM

You are the best therapist for your pups.

You just really need to understand what is driving the agressive issues, and then put them in their place. You have to be the 'Big Dog'

God, Like I am an expert:eek:

I say take Saskia's advice and put it into work. Involve a Dr, if you think you need to do so.


11-30-2009, 06:48 PM
Hi again,

I had seen this video before and remember smiling at how much fun they were having. However, after hearing about Crys' injuries, your comments on the doggie dynamics in your home and Saskia's take on things, I viewed that video a lot differently the second time around. Crys still looks like she is playing and while Ruby's tail was wagging, I wasn't totally convinced that she was playing. I swear I could see the hair on her back standing up. If she is a Rhodesian Ridgeback mix then that might explain it, otherwise, it looked like Crys was not just playing but was playing with fire.

The only nasty turd in my crew is Jojo. He is an old codger who has no interest in playing and will snap and snarl at the other four if they get near him or his bed but only if I'm near. Otherwise, we have a cohesive and playful pack of vertically challenged dogs.

I wish you all the best, my friend. This is not going to be an easy row to hoe so I hope you are up for the challenge.


P.S. I just saw your last post and why am I not surprised that you are going to do what is in Crys' best interest. Just know that I am incredibly proud of you and that I love you more every day for having the biggest heart in the world.

11-30-2009, 06:50 PM
Haven't got much to add to what the others are saying.*

Sounds like you have a rowdy teenager stirring up the "old girls" and that no-one is happy...:( I was also wondering if Crys's past hasn't made her a bit "needy" in some way and that this might be playing a part too. Whatever it is, it does sound like she is asking for something from Ruby (and the others) that they do not want to give. I bet Ruby still isn't feeling 100% either (even if she isn't showing it) so that wouldn't be helping either.

I remember seeing one of those vet shows on TV where the vet was saying that the most serious doggie domestics - the ones that lead to real injury or even death - where almost always female-on-female. Until our older dog Biddy passed away none of us realized how much she stressed poor Mia (Biddy was the unequivicol alpha and there was never any disputes between them and anyone would have said they got on very well - but still Mia suffered I think). Once Biddy was gone Mia was much happier - although I hate to say it really looked like "Ding, dong the wicked witch is dead":eek:. Although Mia and Zac had some food-aggression issues (I believe Mia's Cushing's is what created this issue but it was easily fixed with crating at mealtimes) they rubbed along really well and Mia was very much more relaxed with him than she had been with Biddy. The psycho/social stress that Biddy caused Mia (bitch-on-bitch rivalry) was why we decided to get a boy dog, BTW.

I'd really consider re-homing Crys if you can and maybe, in the meantime, using crating to keep everyone safe and give them some space while letting everyone hang out together. Not a permanent solution but maybe for short term safety and sanity it could work especially if, for some reason you can't supervise or the situation is likely to result in an explosion. Of course, being in the crate for whoever is "doing time" should be a positive experience. Be very, very careful over the Christmas holidays as everyone is a little out of routine and there is excitement in the air and that could well lift the general tension level with the dogs.

How much exercise does Crys get (I know she's had a knee issue)? Exercise, particularly early in the day, can really help behavior generally, I find. Maybe a walk and/or a vigorous game of fetch in the am could help, too.


*She says and then types three (no four!) paras!:p:o:D

Squirt's Mom
11-30-2009, 06:51 PM
Sweet Mr. H, ;)

Thanks so much for your vote of confidence!


Squirt's Mom
11-30-2009, 07:03 PM
I CANNOT believe what I was just told by the closest behavior specialist to me (Nashville area)...."separate them until Ruby is dead; she won't last that much longer anyway" !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :mad::mad::mad:

This young man is very lucky he IS in Nashville and I don't feel well enough today to drive over and whomp his butt! :mad:

He may very well be right, but for crying out loud it could have been put a bit gentler!


************************************************** ************************

ok....for now I am going to bed and gonna do some thinking...and lovin' on my girls

I cannot thank you all enough for your input, sharing your experiences and knowledge with me, and just being here for me...once again! You are all amazing folks and we are so blessed to have you in our corner.


Harley PoMMom
11-30-2009, 07:22 PM
Oh Leslie,

My dear, sweet friend...I don't know if this will help but maybe try walking them all together...maybe this will unify them as a "pack" after a while.

My nephew & his girlfriend live with me too, they also have 2 male pugs (2 yrs old). When my nephew's pugs could walk with their halters we started walking them with Harley and Bear. All our dogs and Alex the bad cat get along because I am the pack leader and I demand it, but I do believe male dogs, especially the smaller breeds, are easier to handle. Harley is the alpha dog and all the other pups know this, yet there are no fights about toys, territory, etc. They are all neutered and none of them are agressive, so just maybe we got lucky. But I do the things Saskia says to do...when I come home, greet Harley first, Harley gets the treat first, even when I buy them toys, Harley gets his toy first.

Oh Leslie, I wish I had some better advice for you, but I know you are getting some very excellent advice from Saskia...she is definitely the pro here. Just wanted you to know that you are in my thoughts and prayers my dear friend.

Love and (((hugs)))

11-30-2009, 07:38 PM
Hi Leslie,

I'm so sorry that you are experiencing these problems witth your babies. I wish I had some advice to offer, but Corky's been my only baby. I know you'll do the best for all of your girls.

My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Roxee's Dad
11-30-2009, 10:08 PM
Hi Leslie,
Sorry about your circumstances and do hope they learn to get along.

We had a similiar experience with Roxee and Bailee. They just never got along. It started with fights with both drawing some blood, Pattee and I kept on them, especially Roxee (yes, my sweet Roxee) and finally they would just about tolerate each other. When they walked into a room from opposite ends, you could watch them go out of their way to keep from getting to close to each other.

In our case it took persistance from me to let Roxee know I was not pleased. She eventually got the message.

I really hope it works out for you and yours.

12-01-2009, 03:07 AM
Okay, as promised, a general piece on sibling (or interdog) rivalry.

Dogs are social animals. They have rules that dictate how they have to behave around each other. Without our interference, most canines will easily slip into their role. It’s when they disagree about their place in the pack or family unit, that the problems start.
One of the reasons that problems may arrise, is bringing together dogs with too many simularities, like the same sex, same age, same breed, same litter… When there are many simularities, it makes it difficult for dogs to settle who is the top dog. Other times the cause is redirected (or frustration) aggression, for example attacking their companion or owner when agitated about the postman, is more common than you would imagine.
Often, owners, unwillingly, can stoke the fire. People can disturb the hierarchical balance by rushing to protect the "underdog" from being "bullied" by a higher ranked packmate or by granting him liberties, like being petted first, which your dog may consider his due. The low dog on the packladder now feels encouraged enough to challenge the other. People should understand that dogs have their own set of social rules and that they should follow those rules. As people, we often prefere a more democratic approach but we fail to forget that for our dogs, democracy is a concept they don’t understand and aren’t able to grasp, it will cause chaos.

Now, what to do? For starters, prevention. It's important that puppies socialise with other dogs, for example in puppy socialisation classes or in the dogpark. This way, they learn the unspoken but strict rules of the canine society.
Exercise works wonders and obedience training is also extremely important.
Owners must look for signs that tension is building… Watch for eye-to-eye contact between your dogs, as well as stiffening and shouldering. As soon as you see signs of trouble, take steps amd don't wait for the fight to happen because that changes the dynamics considerably.
Often the problem can be reliefed if, instead of protecting the underdog, the owner supports the hierarchy. Determine which is the more dominant dog and reinforce that position by feeding, greeting or letting the top dog out first. Usually this will help, but not always. The problem with this approach is that it's often difficult (for an owner) to tell who should be the lead dog and secondly, it's really difficult for owners to play favourites with their dogs because that’s how owners often perceive it.

It's crucial that you take a strong, leadership role in the packdynamics. Faced with a tough sibling rivalry case, owners should establish their own place in the pack as leader as a first priority. Make the dogs "work for everything." (NILIF – Nothing in Life is Free) Before they are fed, given a treat or taken out for a walk, you should order the dogs to sit or lie down. The same applies to demands for attention. And you need to regularly practice the sit stay/down stay and release commands.
If your dogs indicate they're about to fight, calmly, but forcefully, intervene. Your approach should be like "I don't care who started it, both of you, down!” and you put them in the down position. You are basically telling your dogs, "You don't have to worry about her, and you don't have to worry about her. You both have to worry about ME."
If the dogs are still regularly fighting, one could consider bringing in a behavioural specialist. (Occasionally, a veterinarian or behavioral specialist will recommend drugs for one or even both dogs. Usually though, medication should be an absolute last resort, as it fails to fix the underlying cause, namely the household dynamics)
Until the problem is solved, keep the dogs separated on a leash at all times, so you can easily pull them apart if a fight starts. It's best not to grab either dog, by the tail/scruff/collar or anywhere else, during a fight. Stepping in between two fighting dogs can be extremely dangerous and is often the main reason why owners are bitten.

Sibling rivalries usually can be resolved, but not always. Sometimes the owner is unable to implement the neccessary changes, or when genetics or socialisation shortcomings are part of the problem. If that's the case, the best solution may be to find another home for one of the dogs.

What it comes down to is that dogs require leadership and control and you, as an owner will have to provide that to them.

Saskia and Yunah :)

12-01-2009, 08:29 AM
So, now on to some more specifics for your situation :)

First of all, I would strongly advise you to start implementing the NILIF method. (just google NILIF and you will see a ton of links to this trainingsmethod) It's closest to how I work with my dogs and it works just fine. But all people have to be following these rules, not just you but also Jim and Gary and any other persons entering the house. This way you will set new "rules" and this will only help the dogs to be much more clear about their position in the household/pack. *for example, Yunah knows she always has to enter the house/room/etc. last and that is exactly what she will do. However, on some occassions she is sooooo enthousiastic with certain visitors for example, that she will jump and dance about and she may go through the door first. I always, always call her back and let her sit and wait. Because dogs know no exceptions, if you allow it once, they don't understand it was "just for this one time". So eventhough her intention wasn't bad (she wasn't trying to climb the ladder) she still gets put in her place by me. And that's what dogs expect...the leader has to be the leader at all times :)

So, start with the NILIF, Next, get Crys some playtime with preferably other dogs that know and "speak" doggy language very well. This will help her to direct her energy in a more proper way with more proper dogs for that specific purpose. Is there a dogpark in your neighbourhood or neighbours that have a suitable dog to play with? Preferably twice a day, a good, long play outside with other dogs would benefit Crys a lot. (these playsessions shouldn't be with any of your other dogs around). Also, spent time training with Crys, this will keep her mind occupied and will make her tired.
With Crys being probably a pitt mix, this breed is highly intelligent and very active. Certainly at her age, she needs the space to use her intelligence and to let off steam :) So play and train...lots. Crys cannot get what she needs from the other dogs in the pack, so you have to provide it for her :) The others need more peace and quiet time due to their age and such...Crys is not giving it to them, so you have to provide if for them. It's about the needs of all the individual dogs. Their needs have to be met or else they will bcome frustrated, agitated and that will result in aggression.

As far as the other dogs go, they will all benefit if you all start to become more packleaders. Goldie's territorial behaviour, to me, was totally unaceptable and eventhough the thread is about Crys/Ruby, I really think you should address that too. And as it is with every "pack related problem" it's never the one, or the 2 dogs that need addressing, the entire pack needs to be sorted out :)

If you (all) could manage to work on the above (NILIF, leadership,play and training) I do suspect you will see a change after a while. But in the meantime, make sure Crys (or any of the others) can't get injured.

I would feel more comfortable if this process was overseen by a behavioral specialist at the scene but these are the things you can work on. And, as you mentioned, however heartbreaking it may feel to you, keep in mind that in the end, it still may be the best solution for Crys to place her elsewhere. That would not mean at all that you have failed, that your dogs are mean or any other negative thought you tell yourself. At the contrary, it would be a very selfless, loving act and at the end of the day, you are the one that has saved Crys, in every way possible. A person cannot be any better then that :)

But that's not for now... For now let's see if you can manage some adjustements as I mentioned above, see what the results are and let's go from there. It won't be easy, it won't be quick, it will take time and dedication from everyone involved but lets give it a try, okay? :)

At any given time you feel things go wrong, become dangerous or anything else that worries you, contact me asap please?

Big hugs to you and yours,

Saskia and Yunah :)

12-01-2009, 08:45 AM
Oops, forgot to add some tips on what to do when things get out of control. The one best thing you can do, is to look for signs that things get out of control, don't wait till they are. Dogs sent signals and you have to familiarise yourself with them. When you notice the tension building, distract the dogs with a sound (clapping your hands, say "beeeep" in a funny voice, whatever) and walk away. This will usually distract the dogs and so they can let go of the tension that's building. Signs that things become more serious are for example the growl becomes higher pitched (dogs can growl during play, no big deal, but that's a lower sounding growl) or stiffening of the dog.
Some money very well spent would be buying the book: "Calming signals: what your dog tells you" and/or "On talking terms with dogs: calming signals" both by the Norwegian Turid Rugaas. It's a must have for understanding and "reading" your dogs behaviour.

Okay, enough for now. If you have any questions, just let me know,

Sasand Yunah :)

Roxee's Dad
12-01-2009, 08:56 AM
Hi Sas,
Your explanation makes good sense. I unknowingly did this whenever we brought a foster home because it just made sense to me. Roxee was always the Alpha even with her sibbling sister Rozee. She was always the first to get attention, first out the door, first in the door, first to get a leash on etc...

When we would bring home a foster, I would always stop the foster dog from going out first or comming back in the house first. I let them know that Roxee was always first. Looking back, this seemed to work great and was the right thing to do even though my wife thought I was being unfair. :( The only exception was Bailee, who was one of the foster's we kept because he was old, had atrophy, mostly blind, and had alot of other medical issues. He would bite at anything or anybody that starteled him. Not a good fit for a new home. We decided he would retire in our home, (little did I know he would go on to live another 5 years:)) He was mean but we loved him. As I mentioned earlier, Roxee and Bailee eventually learned to tolerate each other and no fights for the last 4 years of Bailee's life.

With Roxee's passing, Rozee now has assumed the role of Alpha with Mickee and LittleBit. She gets fed first, gets attn first etc...and I enjoy watching them especially since Mickee is almost 3 times Rozee's size.

Leslie, I really hope it all works out with your pack of girls. I think you really have to keep after it and not let up even once until they learn to get along or at least tolerate each other.

Wishing you the best of luck as I know how heartbreaking this can be.

Squirt's Mom
12-01-2009, 11:21 AM
Mornin' ya'll,

VERY informative post, Saskia. Thanks! I have located and ordered On talking terms with dogs: calming signals but haven't yet located the other book.

The NILIF approach is something I first heard about here a while back and did a bit of research on the topic. You are right - there's lots of info on the web about it. ;) Oddly, my approach to training Squirt when I got her was very similar to this, only I didn't know it was an "approach". Like John said, this just seemed to make sense with her and it worked great!

Unfortunately, she was my last puppy to deal with on a daily basis until Crys. When Jim and I met both Ruby and Squirt were in their senior years, well established in their behavior - both of which was acceptable (to us anyway... ;):o ). Of course, Jim and I were also well established in our behaviors and beliefs, being old codgers ourselves. :p

Jim's life-long beliefs about dogs were pretty narrow, leaning more toward what I call a "farmer mentality" - dogs are meant to work - until Ruby came along. I think her sad condition when he found her, her oh-so-sweet disposition, and her protective stance with Gary (who is developmentally disabled) broke that concept for him. Then I come along and it all blew up in his face. :D His and Goldie's bond developing as it has, surprised me from both of them.

I can see where a lot of this is our/MY fault. When Goldie came along, I felt so incredibly sorry for her she was allowed to simply act as I thought she needed in order to let her find some trust and comfort with us. Her frequent screaming really, really bothered Jim, tho, and he treated her as if she were made of glass - rarely dealing with her for fear of hurting her while I rushed in to try to sooth and comfort. Then BOOM!, they are bestest buds! I pushed her too hard; he stayed away from her and that was what she apparently needed.

Crys was also a pitiful case and totally stole my heart with that first honey-coated, cold-tongued lick. But her arrival came at a time when our personal lives became rather embroiled, not between Jim and I but with illnesses, family deaths and much resultant travel, as well as issues with Gary. So her training sorta fell to the wayside. :o

So, we have a great deal of work to do to try to salvage our pack. Jim and I talked last nite at some length about some things to try. Funny, the lead usage, NILIF theories, and his and Gary's place were some of the subjects we covered...and some of my thoughts were pretty close to the suggestions you gave me this morning! :cool: (There may yet be a functioning cell up in this head of mine yet!) Gary's position is going to be the most difficult to manage.

The only dog park I have located was dirty with trash and feces, and the people I observed there weren't paying any attention to their dogs at all, so I haven't been back. I am a real introvert in person (tho no one here seems to believe that! :p ) so I don't make friends very easily. My interactions with humans is very limited outside my family but I will talk to our vets about this and see if they can recommend someone that might have an appropriate play-mate for Crys.

Another "problem" in our dynamics is mine and Jim's age and my general health. Crys is so strong, stubborn and full of energy she is at times more than I can physically handle on a lead. Jim is self-employed so his work schedule is erratic which makes me the one who interacts with the dogs the most. So there is quite a bit to take into consideration.

Since it appears there are no behavior specialists in our area, I am going to start talking to some of the many trainers around here and try to find one who is suitable for us...I will definitely be mentioning Turid Rugaas when I talk to them, after I find out if they are followers of a certain person, most of who's ideas I don't agree with. If they are, then the conversation need go no further. Are there other persons or philosophies about canine behavior you would recommend I listen for or ask about?

Thank you so much...I don't feel quite as desperate as I have about this situation.


12-01-2009, 12:14 PM
Dearest Leslie,

first of all, whatever is happening, it is NOT your fault! You did what you had to do, so much more then most other people would do...you took in dogs that had been abbandonned, abused...you loved them all dearly and gave them a loving and safe home to call their own. There is no fault in that at all, it speaks of a caring and wonderful person with empathy and love for those who need it most. So no more "it's my fault" talk...or I will have to have a talk with you :p

Secondly, I am so happy you feel a bit better about the entire situation :)

Thirdly, I will do my utmost best to guide and help you in this, I promiss.

And also, if you could find a good dogtrainer that would be able to help you, perhaps pay a visit to your house and see the dogs, that might also be an option instead of a behavioral specialist. Better a good dogtrainer then a bad behavioral specialist... And maybe a dogtrainer would know a few dogs/owners that would like the idea of playdates :) Perhaps people that have closed gardens so it's safe but still they have the room to run and play around if the dogpark isn't a suitable place. With 3 or 4 of such people, you could even set up a rotation schedule where the dogs go play once a week at each others house....wich would result in a playdate every other day at someone elses home and that would be a good start :)

I'm so sorry but I didn't know about Gary. Maybe we can come up with a great pasttime that Gary and Crys can do together...will talk to you about that in a private message :)

And how is Crys's recall? Does she ever walk off-leash and comes when called? If she doesn't know her recall yet, there's a fun and easy wat to learn it, simular to the clickertraining method :) Buy yourself a simple (referee)whistle for 1 dollar orso. Take Crys apart, blow the whistle and give her a treat. The purpose is to teach Crys that whistle = treat :D Once she knows that whenever you blow the whistle....she gets a treat (should be fairly fast) you create some distance between you and Crys. (do you have a closed garden? You could practise it there) You walk a few steps, Crys starts to sniff perhaps and you blow your whistle. Crys should come running to collect her treat...and you gradually increase the distance. Once she understands the concept, you can use it indoors as well..to practise. (never use it for any other reason such as breaking off a fight for example) If you're in one part of the house and Crys is somewhere else, blow the whistle and when she comes running to you, give her the treat :) This is a fun little game for Crys and at the same time great excercise as well... Always make sure you have treats in your pocket when you use the whistle. I don't care if Crys needs a treat for her recall the rest of her life...really, that's not important, I rather have her do a "perfect" recall (eventhough she does it for the treat ;) )

Saskia and Yunah :)

Harley PoMMom
12-01-2009, 01:28 PM
Are there other persons or philosophies about canine behavior you would recommend I listen for or ask about?

Cesar Milan ~ The Dog Whisperer

I realize Saskia has probably never heard of Cesar, but I think he is fabulous. I have learned so much from watching his shows.


Love and hugs.

Squirt's Mom
12-01-2009, 01:33 PM
Ok...there is a gentleman named Sam Jones coming to our house tomorrow. He told me to get 2, 1' lengths of light-weight chain today and he will instruct me in how to use them tomorrow. (Surely they will be attached to the dogs :eek: ...:p ).

Mr. Jones is a 3rd generation trainer, has trained for the police and military, and is a strong believer in establishing us as the pack leader. He feels he can help with not only Ruby and Crys, but us all. He has a great sense of humor, a gentle voice, and is an obvious lover of dogs.

When asked about certain trainers, philosophies, his response was, "I take it one situation at a time. There is no one approach that will work for all packs or problems. I deal with the dogs and the people who deal with them. I can find good and bad in all approaches, as I'm sure others can find with mine." Sounds fair to me! He said for today to let things rock on as they have rather than try to implement things until he has a chance to observe us....UNLESS there is another altercation, then I am to reprimand RUBY, not Crys.

I will let ya'll know how it goes tomorrow and what the game plan is from there.

Thanks, thanks, thanks, thanks!

Squirt's Mom
12-01-2009, 01:44 PM
And how is Crys's recall? Does she ever walk off-leash and comes when called?

To answer this question, Saskia, Crys will respond best to me when called but isn't usually quick about it. There are way too many more interesting things to look at, sniff at, and do! I started whistling with my mouth several months ago VS calling because she responds better to that stimulus. She basically ignores Jim and totally ignores Gary when they give a command. She will "sit" and "stay" for me most of the time, "drop" after a bit of encouragement, but that is about the extent of it. Her attachment to me is very strong so I feel that is probably why she does better for me. Plus I am with her more and ask more of her than they do.

So Jim is bring chains home this afternoon and we will see how the trainer coming tomorrow works out.


Harley PoMMom
12-01-2009, 02:21 PM
Ok...there is a gentleman named Sam Jones coming to our house tomorrow.

Oh Leslie, I wish you and your beautiful girls the best of luck...I know you and Jim, with the help of this man, and Saskia excellent on-line advice, can do this.

Will be looking for your updates on this situation as to what Sam Jones has to say and do.

Love you and I am keeping you and yours in my thoughts and prayers.


12-01-2009, 02:59 PM

I know you will be taking the measure of this man from the moment he walks in.

I have no idea what the chain is for.

Please let us know.



12-01-2009, 03:00 PM
Me too, I wish you all the best for tomorrow and that Sam will be able to sort things out and to train you and yours ;) I'm a bit confused about the chains though :confused: Also the fact he used to train army and police dogs...and the fact he is a man (poor thing :p) has me raise an eyebrow. But that maybe very well quite uncalled for from my part and I surely hope so :) When, at any given time you are not comfortable with whatever is happening, you have to tell him, don't be shy :) I'm a bit worried he might be of the "firm, forcing dogs on their backs, chokecollar, macho masculin school". But I hope I am just being overly suspiscious (seen too many male trainers like that) and that tomorrow you'll come back praising his skills :D

All my best,

Saskia and Yunah :)

12-01-2009, 04:06 PM
Good luck with the training from me, too!

I found the following online about Sam Jones/Humane Train ... is this the same Sam Jones who is coming to your house tomorrow?


So, after some research we found Sam Jones, (his real name) President and Chief Training Officer of Humane Train, based in Traverse City, Michigan. Humane Train helps people create well-behaved, well-adjusted pets using positive reinforcement ONLY. Their approach turned out to be simple, straightforward and pretty easy to do. That was a surprise. But even more surprising was what going through that process taught me about managing people.

Sam arrived at our door covered in dog fur and signs of prior slobber sessions, to inform us that the training, much to our dismay, was more for us than it was for the newest member of our family. He also made the point that most dog behavior problems are rooted in how they are initiated into a family. Sam boiled it down for us into five simple steps:

2.No opportunity for mistakes
3.Enthusiastic rewards for the desired behavior
4.Correct quickly, consistently and without anger
5.Practice (or do it again)


At Humane Train, we would like you to have the wonderful experience of owning a well behaved, relaxed, and willing companion you can involve in your daily lives as a cherished family member. We offer 4 different levels of Family Pet Training classes that all utilize modern, non-confrontational, positive training principles. This approach teaches your dog to enjoy success, rather than experience failure! We work with close to 500 owners and their dogs each year and truly enjoy every minute!!...

(look below the "blurb" about Sam Jones in the 2nd link above to see several pages of "reviews" about him, which all seem to be very positive)

12-01-2009, 04:29 PM
I hope things work out well for you and the girls. I hope the trainer is very successful. You'll be in my thoughts.

Squirt's Mom
12-01-2009, 04:46 PM
I'm not too sure that is the same man, Cushy. This Sam Jones has been in the Memphis area for some time. Mr. Jones did tell me that I could find comments from his former clients online, tho, I just haven't taken the time to look yet. He holds obedience classes in several of the pet supply stores in the area, Hollywood All Star being one of them.

Saskia, if he does turn out to be of the "firm, forcing dogs on their backs, chokecollar, macho masculin school", he will be shown the door, with all the Southern politeness and hospitality this old gal can muster. ;) If I want my babies cowed, I can do that all by myself. I want them safe and happy - period. Hey! I might even find a use for those chains he hadn't intended. :eek::p oh yeah...southern politeness and hospitality...must keep that in mind. :D

Hugs to all,

12-01-2009, 04:54 PM
hehehehe....Good girl, leslie :D

Nevertheless I surely hope everything will turn out just fine, truly :)

Hugs and for now, from this end of the world.....goodnight and sweet dreams to all,

Saskia and Yunah :)

12-01-2009, 05:14 PM
Ok...there is a gentleman named Sam Jones coming to our house tomorrow. He told me to get 2, 1' lengths of light-weight chain today and he will instruct me in how to use them tomorrow. (Surely they will be attached to the dogs :eek: ...:p ).

Thanks, thanks, thanks, thanks!

I am hoping, (betting actually) that the chains will be used as a distraction. Like coins in a can, if you know about that technique.

I know you will not tolerate abusive correction. And I am betting he will not employ it, but you should still be very aware of what he is doing and why.

Very best to you all. I am hoping so much you are able to keep them all.


12-01-2009, 05:37 PM
Hey Leslie,

I have been following this and you have received tons and tons of great input.

I am the choir for calming signals - I use them myself when things start to get a bit tense....I yawn really big and make a big yawn sound and that immediately calms the girls. Humans can mimic all these signals too and being the pack leader they will follow your lead.

My best for tomorrow and I too am curious about the chains....

One rule of thumb I learned from a great trainer/lady and that is "never set up a dog to fail" (Saskia :))

I use food a lot too - but I use different treats for different scenarios - I even toss tidbits at them to get their attention, again, when things get a bit overzealous. Myclan being the smallest of all tends to play the roughest and I have to calm her down. I do clicking noises and toss food her way or her favorite ball. Great distraction.

Please keep us posted.

12-01-2009, 06:21 PM
Hi Leslie,

Mr. Jones is a 3rd generation trainer, has trained for the police and military, and is a strong believer in establishing us as the pack leader. He feels he can help with not only Ruby and Crys, but us all. He has a great sense of humor, a gentle voice, and is an obvious lover of dogs.
Sounds promising :)

When asked about certain trainers, philosophies, his response was, "I take it one situation at a time. There is no one approach that will work for all packs or problems. I deal with the dogs and the people who deal with them. I can find good and bad in all approaches, as I'm sure others can find with mine." Sounds fair to me!
Absolutely! Very reasonable. Obviously not from the BW academy of dogtrainers:D He sounds very much like he will treat the girls with respect.

Oh Leslie, I do hope things work out for you all. Crossing our fingers and paws.

Jane and Franklin xx
Extreme q (http://extremevaporizer.info)

12-01-2009, 09:45 PM
Wishing all of you the very best tomorrow and will be anxious to hear what goes on. I'm betting the chains are a distraction too.

12-01-2009, 10:33 PM
Boy you've got your hands full girl! I watched the video, Crys really looks like Lulu only Lulu is brindle. Lulu will steal Erik's tennis ball and sit with it in her mouth until he notices. Then he will chase her and she is so quick and turns on a dime that he gets really frustrated. I can tell from his bark when he's had enough and so can Lulu. She will then drop the ball and run like the devil is chasing her, because he is and his name is Erik.

The man who trained Erik said they are never to go out the door before any of us humans do, they sit before they get their food, and they don't tell us when to play, eat, or go for a walk - we tell them. So far it's worked, hopefully it will continue to work. I have always been fearful of having two females of any breed, but I was told before never to have 2 female boxers and anything with terrier is off limits to 2 females.

Dexter was always treated like a King (which he was to me and always will be) he was always given everything first - but all Sophie would have to do is walk over to him while he was sleeping and stomp her foot, yip at him and he would get up and let her have that bed. It was amazing. But they always ate out of the same bowl and never had a problem.

I wish dogs could talk. I have no answers for you I hope you get some good advice and eventually things work out. I know ultimately things will work out for the best because you will only have the best for your girls.

Take Care,

Squirt's Mom
12-02-2009, 12:54 PM
Hi ya'll,

Unfortunately, this meeting has been put off. Mr. Jones' wife has CHF and is not doing well this morning so he will remain home with her. That worked out perfect for us, as my fever came back last nite, Gary came home from school sick, and Jim is home sick today. I would hate to pass an infection on to Mr. Jones' wife in her condition, so for the humans involved, this worked out just right.

For my girls, well, I am ignoring his recommendation not to implement anything new for now, and am going to put some of sweet Saskia's suggestion in practice. ;) Plus, Jim and both have been coming down hard on Goldie the last few days and I can see an improvement already...altho minor! :p Little Miss Psycho definitely has ideas of her own as to how much power she has but that apple cart is getting upset regularly now. Jim has spoiled her rotten and allowed her to get away with things she really shouldn't...and in my sympathy for her and joy in her growth, I haven't helped the situation any. Goldie is very food motivated and she is getting the idea that Mom has goodies in her pocket now, but she doesn't get any just because she's cute and Mom is so proud of her...only when she complies will she get one of those goodies. Last nite she actually remained patient and didn't try to snatch anything from the others before it was her turn. :cool:

Other than saying "NO!" when she comes charging and barking at Crys, I am not really sure how to handle that problem. :confused:

I am really looking forward to the arrival of my book and learning these calming signals to help my babies...and us!

Keep the info, suggestions, experiences, and knowledge coming!


12-02-2009, 01:28 PM
Leslie, I hope you feel better soon.

Making a little progress with Goldie can eventually go a long way. My favorite expression is that we have to take baby steps. I hope everything settles down with the girls.

12-02-2009, 01:46 PM
Hi Leslie,

I have tons of other stuff to do this evening so I have to keep it short for now, sorry :)

Good to hear that Goldie is already responding to the new treatment she is receiving, way to go! :D

When Goldie comes charging and barking at Crys, you could try the following: Stand in front of Goldie, make yourself "big" (hands on your hips, inhale, etc..), look her in the eyes and growl, grrrrrrrrrrrrr....at Goldie. If she understands doggylanguage and accepts you as her superior, she will turn her head away and will stop her charging and barking. This is like telling her in actual doglanguage to back off, that you don't tolerate her behaviour, which often is better understood that the word "no", Give it a try ;)

Sas and Yunah :)

Squirt's Mom
12-02-2009, 02:53 PM
O M G! What fun!

I did as you said, Saskia, and at first Goldie took a step toward me, eye to eye, and growled back. I just lowered my sight line, took a step toward her, and growled deeper and longer back at her. She stared at me for a few seconds, then turned her head away! She walked a few paces back from the door where Ruby was waiting to come in and watched it. When I reached for the handle, she started barking again and I resumed the stance, eye contact and growl. She backed off! Ruby came in with no response from Goldie!

As Goldie left the room to return to her chair, she made eye contact with me and issued a low grumble. I responded with the stance, eye contact and low growl, and she went back to her chair chastised - tail down (not tucked under tho), ears back and in silence.

Amazing! :D

12-02-2009, 03:22 PM
Good, very good! Now keep this routine going, Goldie may try a few more times to stare and/or growl back, but soon she will understand it's not (no longer) her place :)

Check for "looking away" behaviour, that's a clear sign she is "submissive" and the low tail and the ears back, are too....so that's fantastic. She did (after trying to bullie you at first) precisely what she needed to do...in a sound relationship with her leader, good girl Goldie ;) You can't blame her for trying to resist you at first, since she is used getting away with everything. But if you keep this routine up, in situations that call for it (don't use it left and right) you'll see she will improve a lot.

Sas and Yunah :)

p.s. I would NOT recommend this technique if you have a 100lbs aggressive dog...it can be really dangerous because you are really challenging the dog.

12-02-2009, 04:43 PM
Way to go Leslie with the first round.


Harley PoMMom
12-02-2009, 04:50 PM
O M G! What fun!

She stared at me for a few seconds, then turned her head away!
Amazing! :D

Way to go Leslie...You go girlfriend!!...I mean Packleader. ;):D

Love and hugs,

12-02-2009, 07:48 PM
Congratulations Leslie!! And I hope you feel better very soon....do you have lots of Vitamin C?

PS- If I was close enough to Lady I would show her my teeth, no noise though, and she would turn her head away and stop whatever it was she was doing. This could happen when I wasn't finished grooming her and she thought I should be! ;)

12-03-2009, 04:33 AM

Yay! Good job! You're off to a great start, and we hope it continues.

Jane and Franklin xx
vapir oxygen vaporizer (http://oxygenvaporizer.com)

Roxee's Dad
12-08-2009, 09:44 PM
Well....... how about an update :)

12-09-2009, 06:53 PM
Hi Leslie,

How is the training going with your girls? We haven't heard anything lately. I'm hoping there has been more progress.

Squirt's Mom
12-09-2009, 08:21 PM
Thanks for asking!

I have been in bed for most of the week so training has been limited. Goldie has challenged Jim once while was down and he bowed up and growled at her too, which broke her little heart. She slunk over to him with her head turned, ears back and eyes down making this little mewling sound. So he picked her up and loved on her. :rolleyes: I told him I didn't think that was the way to do it, but she hasn't challenged him again and didn't charge at the other dogs when he let them in either. When I was back up and letting them in and out, she challenged me again but immediately responded correctly when I challenged back. :) Today I let the two big ones in and she came into the kitchen, looked at me and went back to her chair. :p Oddly, she has been more affectionate with me since I started doing this. But I'm not complaining!

There have been no altercations between Ruby and Crys since the last one, thank goodness! Crys is learning that she has to go out and come in last, even tho that means we have to hold her collar for now. Ruby and Squirt can be really slow about coming up and going down the steps, and patience is not one of Crys' virtues! She is the best one about waiting for treats, tho. She sits very still, watching me and makes no move until her name is called. Why she can't extend this to other areas, I have no clue. I have started making her make eye contact before getting her food as well as sitting first, which she has always had to do. I started by touching my face between the eyes and as soon as she looked me in the eye, I set her bowl down. This morning she made eye contact without being cued! :D

Mr Jones and I haven't made contact again as I haven't wanted to spread my germs to his wife. I did ask the man who manages the pet supply store where I buy their feed if he had ever heard of him and he hasn't. Marty has been in business in the same area for several years so that didn't do much to bolster my confidence...kind of a pink flag, I guess. He gave me the name of a couple of folks he was familiar with but hasn't used them himself. I will be looking into these folks too. We'll just have an interview time in coming weeks....may have to wait til after the holidays tho.

I got Ms. Rugaas' book in the mail today and have been reading it and studying the pictures. Quite interesting and really logical. In time, maybe I will be able to talk to the animals like Dr. Doolittle! :p


12-10-2009, 01:12 AM
Leslie, such good news! (well, not that you have been sick of course...hope you feel better soon) But I am very pleased with how things are going in "the pack" :) Goldie behaving much more acceptable, no altercations between Ruby and Crys, seems like the pack is settling down some more after you introduced only a few changes :) And that's what clarity (clarity = leadership) will do, it will help settle things down simply because they are now clear to them, good doggies :D Very glad to read as well that Goldie is becoming more affectionate towards you. Before you showed her "who was boss", you were of no importance to her simply because you were lower in rank. Now that you are rising on the packladder, she is coming to realise she better show you some respect because she might just need you :D Dogs want to be in the good grace of the higher ranked ones...because that's beneficial to them :)

So, there are many signs and signals things are changing for the better within the pack, absolutely well done!

Sas and Yunah :)

12-10-2009, 02:39 AM
Thanks for the update, Leslie.

I'm glad you're feeling better.

You have made some real progress with the girls.:) Keep up the good work.

Roxee's Dad
12-10-2009, 09:07 AM
Hi Leslie,
Hope you are feeling better soon. Glad to hear that the pack is working out. Good job "pack leader" :)

Squirt's Mom
12-10-2009, 10:17 AM
AH HA! Calming signals worked! :cool::cool::cool:

"Fun-n-games" started just a bit ago downstairs. Jim was in his chair (of course! :p ) and I was on the couch. When it got started, it was Crys wanting to play as usual with Goldie charging and growling and Ruby stiffening up. I started yawning and leaned over with my arms stretched toward the floor. Goldie got back in Jim's lap and lay down, Ruby came and sat by the couch at my feet with her side to Crys, and Crys got on the couch and lay down. WOOHOO!!!! The whole thing lasted less than two minutes!

Absolutely amazing!

I also saw Crys raising her paw to Goldie a bit before that when Goldie started growling at her from Jim's lap. When Crys did that, Goldie turned away!

After reading Ms. Rugaas' book last nite it is unreal how much more I can see...and how much more I want to see! I gotta get the DVD now and her book on leash pulling.

Thank you so much, Saskia! I hope you can feel this big hug coming across the pond to you from us!

Leslie and the girls

12-10-2009, 11:53 AM
Sure felt it, Leslie.... and you're welcome :) You'll see you will get addicted to understand "how to read your dogs". Once you start to understand, the more you will see and the more you will understand...and the more you will want to learn :D Even if you don't have problems to solve, it's just so darn interesting to watch for the behaviour and to see how the other dogs respond to it... You'll never look at them again with the same eyes ;)

I am really pleased your girls are responding so very well. A bit of doggy language can go a long way, growl and yawn, lick your nose and you'll see how fun doggy language can be ;)

Saskia and Yunah :)

Squirt's Mom
12-15-2009, 01:24 PM

Squirt's Mom
01-20-2010, 01:30 PM
Hey ya'll,

Thought I'd update on our "training" here. ;)

Goldie is learning...slowly but surely...that she cannot attack Crys or Squirt as they come in the door. Unfortunately, Crys is an instigator and aggravates the phooey out of her! :rolleyes: Goldie is NOT interested in playing with her at all....period, and makes that well known but Crys just ignores her signals. She has gotten so big and is so strong that we have to make sure she doesn't inadvertently hurt the little ones in her rough housing.

Crys and I have been working on several things lately. She is doing much better with the recall...inside. Outside, she gets distracted easily and when something gets her focus, it is very hard to break, no matter what I am offering as reward. So we continue to work hard on that.

I bought her another halter, one that is supposed to stop the pulling. It works much better than a regular halter on her and helps a great deal with her pulling. I also use Turgid's method of turning her in a different direction. Unless she is strongly focused on something, she complies readily. The lead is loose most of the time now and we both enjoy our walks much more.

Something else I have started with recently is teaching her to put her nose in my hand when I say "hand" and hold it down by my side. Crys is very smart and catches on to things easily. This is one of the "mind-agility" games I will work with her on in a effort to help her use her boundless energy without the risk of hurting her legs in the process.

She will soon have to start learning to use ramps in anticipation of her surgery and recovery. I am HOUNDING Jim to get some made now. I don't want her to have to learn to use them during recovery...too much risk of injury. Teaching her not to jump is something I have no idea how to go about. Crys has always jumped on our bed, the furniture and into my truck for rides. For now, I am lifting her up and down as much as I can, but often she is too quick for me. And she is a 50# lug now, too....not easy on my old body! :p

Speaking of her weight....the staff and vets at our clinic are amazed that she has gone from 4# at 7 weeks old to a whopping 50# a year later. :D Her weight is all muscle, too. I have done my best to keep her lean so she has no excess fat and has a perfect body condition score! But she is still more dog than any of us ever thought she would be. :D

Leslie and Crys

01-20-2010, 03:24 PM
Hi Leslie,

I am so happy and impressed by your update, you've done down right magnificent :D I am so pleased that you can also find yourself in Turid Rugaas's way of training...and that it is working very well for you and Crys :) I have had the pleasure to attent 2 seminars of hers, what a woman!

And you'll see (or perhaps you've already noticed it) that once you start training with a dog, they tend to pick up new things much faster, they become accustomed to "learning".

As far as the no jumping goes... In general, the best way to stop a certain behaviour, is first to encourage it, to make sure the dog understands the behaviour and the name for it. So for example, every time Crys jumps (on te bed, in the car) say "Jump"... although I realise this is not a good time for her to be encouraged or praised for jumping. But that's how it works. Make sure she understands the word "jump"...that she associates it with her behaviour. Once she knows the word "jump" and what it means, you can introduce another way for her to get into the car or on the bed. Through a ramp or a little "step" (Do you have the brand "Curver" in the USA? They make easy, very light, anti-slip, little steps..) Here's a video of Yunah using one of those Curver steps to help her throw something into the garbagecan http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lOt4MDPn1ho

You could buy a couple of those and put one beside the bed, the couch, etc and learn Crys to use those. Find a name for the command and start training. Tell Crys for example "Step" and reward her when she places a foot on the step. Whenever she tries to jump, say "No jump" and when she stops and doesn't jump, praise her. Point her to the step and say "Step"...etc. :) You know the drill by now ;)

But in order to prevent the jumping, she first has to understand "jump" and only then can you teach her not to jump :)

Hope it's clear. If not, just whistle...;)


Saskia and Yunah :)

01-20-2010, 03:34 PM
Hi Leslie,

It sounds like you are doing really well with the training. I love reading the updates and the advice (especially from Saskia) to help with Luke. We use a muddle of training types and sometimes we get lucky and it works.

I do know that all dogs love to please and it's up to us to help them understand what makes us happy.