We had something of a miserable experience this weekend, and I am still beating myself up over it. Remember the Malamute girl that I pointed out last week? Well, we went to meet her and she was just about as sweet as a dog could be, so we decided to adopt her. One big problem. From the word go, Khan was not happy with her, stiffening if she came anywhere near him, and growling at her under his breath. We thought we could work things out if we introduced them slowly, because Khan has never actually been aggressive towards another dog, and this girl seemed to be friendly enough, as she tried to paw him, and was wagging her tail the whole time. She also did the same thing to every other dog that came near her.Came home and kept the two dogs separated. Khan's attitude had not improved, but I didn't notice any provocation from the girl dog. Walked them around the yard, with the two of us walking in opposite directions so we would pass each other briefly, closing the distance, and the first chance she got, girl dog put her head on his shoulder. But, the leashes were barely within reach, the dogs were separated, and we continued on. Then, Khan noticed her peeing, and absolutely insisted on marking on top.

She came back and marked on top of him, and I started getting a little knot in the stomach. We tried crating the girl dog, but she busted out of it as soon as Khan tried to walk past it. No contact made, because we were both right there. This was getting a little tiring, so I took Khan out to the dog park. Came back in a couple of hours later, but called DH and told him to make sure he had a hold of girl dog. He assured me that he had.Khan was walking past DH and girl dog when the girlie slipped DH's Khan and jumped on Khan. Then, she grabbed him by his scruff. Khan just completely stiffened and was letting out loud growls, but didn't move an inch. DH managed to pull her off his neck, but she got him on his ear. By then, he had turned around, and they went at it. It seemed to last an eternity, and although we both had both of the dogs by their rear end and pulling as hard as we could, neither dog was willing to let go.

Finally managed to get them away, and girl dog made one final lunge for Khan's leg. Khan looked unscathed, except for limping on his already bum leg. She had a torn lower lip on the left side and was bleeding a bit.We took her in to the emergency vet (Saturday night), and they kept her overnight as they needed to put her under to suture her lip. As soon as we got home, we checked Khan out, and he had a bite wound on the top of his neck, a tear in his ear, a couple of scratches on his muzzle, and a small, but pretty deep wound in his leg. He went to the vet yesterday, and checked out more or less okay. I spoke with a bunch of dog people, trainers, a couple of breed rescuers, etc.

and all of them agreed that the prognosis for this whole thing working out is not good. They pretty much said that given enough time and space, they may come around to the point where they can peacefully coexist under supervision, but we may never be able to leave them alone. Apparently, the fact that this was initiated by the newcomer and not by the existing dog might actually mean that the problem could worsen over time, as the new dog settles in.

There really was no way to tell if it would ever get better, and considering how miserable Khan was, we decided that the best thing for both dogs was to return her before we all got overly attached to each other. The good news is that she attended an adoption day yesterday, and was adopted out to someone with a slightly smaller female Husky. The two ladies appear to have hit it off (resident dog jumped on her, and she seemed fine with it), and they were even eating from the same bowl at home.
I realize that we got caught completely flat footed on this one. Khan is generally quite good at letting us know when he is okay with another dog and when he isn't, and we chose to ignore the biggest possible red flag because we were so enamored of the girl dog (she has just the loveliest personality). Quite an expensive mistake, as it turned out, but it would really be a complete waste if we learn nothing from it.

What could we have done differently? How should all this have been handled? If there is ever a next time (and right now, we are strongly leaning towards never, content to have a single dog and visiting dogs), I don't want us to repeat any of the mistakes we have made.

Suja
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What could we have done differently? How should all this have been handled? If there is ever a next time ... a single dog and visiting dogs), I don't want us to repeat any of the mistakes we have made. Suja

I am sure you did say the two dogs were introduced away from your property at first. Typically I will not take another dog on my property until the two dogs have met on strange grounds for both of them and have become aquainted and seem to at least be somewhat accepting one another. That is what we did with Blade and Clovis. Had I brought Clovis in the house without having them meet on strange turf there is no telling what would have occurred.
I am so sorry to read this, though.
Khan loves Pan and Izzy. Maybe you should have
let him do the selecting. Afterall you love those two dogs too.
Gwen
What could we have done differently? How should all this have been handled? If there is ever a next time ... have a single dog and visiting dogs), I don't want us to repeat any of the mistakes we have made.

Tons of what-ifs here. Based on what little I know from your description, I'd venture a guess that a combination of Khan + adult behavior initiated the attack. Khan made it clear that he didn't accept her yet and you & DH, keeping her separated, then holding her back when Khan came in just heightened the tension. It could have been any number of things to be honest. The first thing that comes to my mind is that she took on a pretty common attack-first rather than be-attacked mentality. The Boxers do that alot but its rarely an indicator of how the dogs will do long-term. I've personally found it easier to let the dogs have their initial shouting matches with close supervision than to try and avoid them altogether, but that's just me.
You could have tried doing the separation thing for several days but there's no guarantee of the outcome there. I tend to think that further charges the environment with some dogs. You really never know and I don't think any of us here can tell you what you should have done differently. Altering just one variable (the new dog, the existing dog, the house, the handler) can change everything and none of us were there. I don't know your breed(s) so maybe this type of behavior is more indicative of long-term but if someone told me that it was basically hopeless in such a short time-span wrt to two Boxers, I'd be taken aback to say the least.
I do think it ended well though. You found playing musical dogs tiring, were likely on edge w/the scenario, and the dog found a new home quickly so all's well that ends well.

Tara
the attack. Khan made it clear that he didn't accept her yet and you & DH, keeping her separated, then holding her back when Khan came in just heightened the tension.

That's entirely possible. Just to clarify a bit, DH was on the couch, girl dog was with him, and Khan was walking past them in the sense that he was walking past the couch. He made no overtures towards either of them, and was on his way towards going upstairs when she got out and jumped on top of him. The thing that surprised me is that she actually initiated contact.
It could have been any number of things to be honest. The first thing that comes to my mind is that she took on a pretty common attack-first rather than be-attacked mentality.

But he hadn't done that. It hadn't even got to the point where it looked like he would do anything more than growl at her (no teeth, no nasty face, etc.) Her tail was wagging all the time (happy tail not the 'I'm gonna getchya tail').
change everything and none of us were there. I don't know your breed(s) so maybe this type of behavior is ... was basically hopeless in such a short time-span wrt to two Boxers, I'd be taken aback to say the least.

That's not exactly what I was told. I was told that if this really is dominance aggression, there is really no way to tell if it would be resolved without serious bodily harm to one or both parties. Given Khan's previous responses to something much less threatening (attempted humping), the chances that these two would make peace within a short time was somewhere between slim and none.
I do think it ended well though. You found playing musical dogs tiring, were likely on edge w/the scenario, and the dog found a new home quickly so all's well that ends well.

About the only good thing that came out of this. I was really worried that she was going to end up with someone who might turn out to be as unprepared as we were. But, I am really glad she seems to have found a good home that understands the breed, and hope that it sticks.

Suja
I am sure you did say the two dogs were introduced away from your property at first.

Yup. At Petsmart.
Typically I will not take another dog on
my property until the two dogs have met on strange grounds for both of them and have become aquainted and seem to at least be somewhat accepting one another.

That was one of the biggest mistakes we made. Not listening to Khan.
I am so sorry to read this, though. Khan loves Pan and Izzy. Maybe you should have let him do the selecting. Afterall you love those two dogs too.

Absolutely. Kind of ironic - Khan has met and gotten along with literally 100s of dogs since we've had him. Other than minor skirmishes (from accidental stepping on and such), he has never had a problem with another dog. Not even with the 1 year old unneutered male Malamute that would not leave him alone. Just figures that the one dog he wouldn't get along with is the one dog we really, really liked.

Suja
From the word go, Khan was not happy with her, stiffening if she came anywhere near him, and growling at her under his breath.

i suspect, though obviously don't know, that she may have been giving off subtle bossypants signals that Khan was not amused by.
We took her in to the emergency vet (Saturday night), and they kept her overnight as they needed to put ... but pretty deep wound in his leg. He went to the vet yesterday, and checked out more or less okay.

that doesn't sound like a minor skirmish. that sounds like enough of a fight to scare the pants off me. i have dogs who occasionally have minor spats (nothing that's ever required any sort of vet care), but i wouldn't want to live with the situation you've described. that's way too stressful for my liking.
Apparently, the fact that this was initiated by the newcomer and not by the existing dog might actually mean that the problem could worsen over time, as the new dog settles in.

yep. the head on shoulder and the over-marking bode ill. i would be concerned that she's a pushy opportunist. that doesn't spell doom, but it could mean that you would be setting yourself up for difficult, nerve-wracking time. it could turn out okay, but it could also be a total PITA in which neither dog, nor the humans, are happy.
There really was no way to tell if it would ever get better, and considering how miserable Khan was, we decided that the best thing for both dogs was to return her before we all got overly attached to each other.

i think you made the right decision. Khan's happiness is your first priority. and, face it, there are plenty of dogs out there who are compatible with him. you'll find The Dog, and when you do, you'll be glad you didn't try to force things.
I realize that we got caught completely flat footed on this one. Khan is generally quite good at letting us ... the biggest possible red flag because we were so enamored of the girl dog (she has just the loveliest personality).

my experience with harriet and elliott's meeting was similarish. i was so worried about how he would act with a new dog, that i completely forgot to worry about how the new dog would act with him. oh boy!
What could we have done differently? How should all this have been handled?

how was Khan introduced to Izzy and Pan? was it at the dog park? how about next time, trying to duplicate the conditions of those successful meetings?
If there is ever a next time (and right now, we are strongly leaning towards never, content to have a single dog and visiting dogs), I don't want us to repeat any of the mistakes we have made.

i hope you don't let this one bad experience sour you on getting a second dog, as long as you still think everyone involved would benefit from it. the right dog will present itself, eventually.

shelly (perfectly foul wench) and elliott and harriet http://home.bluemarble.net/~scouvrette
That's entirely possible. Just to clarify a bit, DH was on the couch, girl dog was with him, and Khan was walking past them in the sense that he was walking past the couch.

was girl dog on the couch with DH?

shelly (perfectly foul wench) and elliott and harriet http://home.bluemarble.net/~scouvrette
was girl dog on the couch with DH?

Nope. She was at his feet, and he had a hand on her collar. Not too tight, because I had told him that we don't want to transmit any of our nervousness to the dogs. Boy, was I dumb!
Suja
i suspect, though obviously don't know, that she may have been giving off subtle bossypants signals that Khan was not amused by.

That's exactly it. When we're at the dog park, I look to his body language to tell me exactly how much of a bossypants any unfamiliar dog might be. I can't believe we didn't listen to him. I think that part of the problem is that we were so sure he won't start anything (he has generally been willing to ignore the other dog if the other dog is willing to ignore him) and about the amount of control we have over him that we completely overlooked the unknown in the equation. Plus, I had never heard of an actual dog fight between dogs of different genders, expecially when they've both been speutered.
that doesn't sound like a minor skirmish.

Not minor. But not a dog fight either. I've seen one of those from a distance, as a child, and that was NOT pretty. Probably lasted all of
20 seconds, but it seemed like an eternity at the time. Odd confulenceof events - I had been walking around armed with my squirt bottle the whole time, but left it in the car when we came back in because I had taken it to the dog park with me. Apparently girl dog responds well to being squirted (I learned later), and it may have helped out in this situation.
setting yourself up for difficult, nerve-wracking time. it could turn out okay, but it could also be a total PITA in which neither dog, nor the humans, are happy.

I was actually willing to see if things would work out given more time. DH absolutely put his foot down. I am glad he did because Khan is such a different dog now that he knows that this girl is not coming back.
how was Khan introduced to Izzy and Pan? was it at the dog park? how about next time, trying to duplicate the conditions of those successful meetings?

Khan met Izzy and Pan at the dog park. But, we've had unfamiliar dogs come to the house, and he has had no problems with it. He's generally so happy and excited to have company that he doesn't care that he doesn't know them.
I had actually thought about it. Sometimes, being in a surrounding with distractions can really help. But, we knew nothing about her, and considering that Mals can be opposite sex aggressive, small dog aggressive, etc. decided that it would be too much of a risk. If there is a next time, we're only dealing with a rescue, not a shelter. We have to have some assurance that the new dog has gotten along with other dogs before.
i hope you don't let this one bad experience sour you on getting a second dog, as long as you still think everyone involved would benefit from it. the right dog will present itself, eventually.

I know. But, DH has absolutely forbidden me to even think about it. If we are to get a second dog, it will absolutely have to land on our laps.

Suja
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