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Howdy, y'all. I have a question on bringing a new dog into the home. We have Watson, our 2-year old basset... and now we are 'babysitting' a friends' female dog (a bigger dog, I think she's a boxer mix) for 3 months while the friend is in Europe. I've never "owned" two dogs before, so I'm not sure what is "normal" in terms of socializing between the dogs.

Flea (the borrowed dog) got to the house Sunday... sometimes the two dogs play fight, sometimes they play, sometimes they ignore each other... and then there are instances like this morning. There was a chew toy that they both wanted, and an enormous battle ensued. Bearing teeth, hackles raised, biting, etc. It was enough of a fight to make me uncomfortable.

Also, all Watson does is bark at her. Flea mostly ignores him, but he just barks and barks and barks. Nonstop. Last night (while they were supposed to be sleeping), they were in separate crates in separate rooms and all they did was bark and whine and bark and whine for 8 straight hours. Watson is normally very good in his crate at night, he will sleep all night without a peep. Flea was good the first night she was here, but neither of them would settle last night.

Is this what I have to look forward to for the next 3 months? Fighting and barking and whining? Or will they get used to each other eventually and calm down? Is there anything I can do to make things easier on them -- and me? (ie, prevent fighting/barking/whining all night long). I appreciate the advice!
 

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Is it possible to put their kennels in the same room? Virga whined and cried all night when we got her and once we moved Doppler's into the same room, she stopped crying. Maybe they know the other dog is there and just want to see them. As for the fighting I don't know how to help with this. Sorry! Good luck.
 

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Is it possible to put their kennels in the same room? Virga whined and cried all night when we got her and once we moved Doppler's into the same room, she stopped crying. Maybe they know the other dog is there and just want to see them. As for the fighting I don't know how to help with this. Sorry! Good luck.
We tried to put Chuck and Chumlee in separate kennels when Chuck came home...he cried and cried so we ended up letting them sleep in the same big kennel. They are best of buddies... You probably don't want to try that though since you only have the other dog for 3 months...
 

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it would have been best to let the meet for the first time on a neutral site. but that is no longer and option, there is going to be an adjustment period, and this should get better with time. some suggestions

they were in separate crates in separate rooms and all they did was bark and whine and bark and whine for 8 straight hours.
why seperate rooms? dogs in general will do better when crated in the same room and better still if that room is the room the humans sleed in as well.

then there are instances like this morning. There was a chew toy that they both wanted, and an enormous battle ensued. Bearing teeth, hackles raised, biting, etc. It was enough of a fight to make me uncomfortable
Here is the thing it is the human that is general uncomfortable with doggy comunication not the dogs, If there are no injuries dogs general do better working it out themselves then having a human intervene which tends to mess things up. They will come to an understanding and read each other better over time the following article I thing you will find helpful.

Dogs Use Non-Aggressive Fighting to Resolve Conflicts
. Examples of agonistic behaviors in dogs include threats like muzzle-puckering and growling; submissive behaviors like crouching, lowering the head and tucking the tail; offensive behaviors like lunging and snapping; defensive behaviors like retracting the commissure (lips) while showing the teeth; and attacking behaviors like biting. With the exception of biting that results in punctures or tears, none of these behaviors necessarily indicates intent to do harm. They simply reveal emotion (e.g., anger or fear), communicate intention (e.g., to maintain control of a resource or to avoid an interaction) or function as a normal part of play fighting (e.g., growling, snapping or inhibited biting). To determine if an interaction meets the criteria for “agonistic behavior,” an observer must focus on an objective description of the communicative patterns displayed rather than automatically jumping to judgments associated with the use of the term “aggression.”

If signals such as bared teeth and growling are not typically preludes to fighting, why do they exist? Paradoxically, such behaviors are usually about how to avoid fighting. To understand this contention, we need to understand wolves — or, for that matter, our own evolutionary history. Wolves, like our human ancestors, live in family-based groups whose members cooperate to hunt, defend resources and rear young. At the same time, as we know all too well, family members quarrel.
We negotiate and move beyond such conflicts with phrases like, “Don’t do that,” “Hey, that’s mine!” “Leave me alone!” or “I’m sorry.” Wolves (and many other social animals) convey similar meanings with a varied repertoire of gestures, postures, facial expressions and sounds, including those mentioned earlier as examples of agonistic behavior. Precisely because they employ such signals, wolves can resolve conflicts without hurting each other. This is an important consideration, because serious wounds in any adult can reduce a pack’s viability as a cooperative unit. Fortunately, dogs, as descendants of wolves, have retained many of these behaviors as well as the motivation — most of the time — to avoid dangerous fights. (A recent study* reported that none of 127 agonistic interactions observed at a dog park resulted in injury.)
Puppy license and adult behavior–STOP SEPARATING PLAY.
When we interfere, we screw up a lot more dog interaction than we ever fix.

Humans are REALLY bad at reading what’s happening with dogs. We ignore really bad stuff and we stop, even punish, perfectly normal behavior. This is true even when you’re really experienced; I have spent thousands of hours studying this stuff and I am more convinced that I am an idiot when it comes to dog behavior than I was when I began. Maybe when I’m sixty I’ll start interfering, but right now I know perfectly well how dumb I am.

One of the reasons we screw up interactions has to do with the fact that, just like we humans do, dogs have communications that have beginnings, middles, and ends. The beginning is the series of behaviors that initiate the interaction, the middle is the interaction itself, and the end is when the dogs resolve or end the interaction and move back away from each other.

That entire cycle is VERY important. If it is not completed, the next time the dog or dogs tries to interact the “transaction” won’t go as smoothly. Some of the social lubrication will have been lost.

If interactions are routinely truncated, two bad things happen: First, the dogs involved don’t get to finish the conversation, so they get out of practice in how to finish interactions. This is a lot more dangerous than it sounds–every dog interaction is a finely honed and subtle meeting of two animals perfectly prepared to kill each other. Predator-to-predator transactions are not exactly natural, and dogs have evolved an incredibly complex series of behaviors to keep things from escalating into an attempt to physically harm. If they are bad at those behaviors–if instead of suave and smooth talkers they’ve become awkward and tend to say the wrong thing–they are in genuine danger of falling from normal transaction into a situation where one or the other of them will make a move toward a killing attempt.

The second bad thing that happens is along the same line, but it involves those two dogs in particular. If they cannot finish the conversation they began, they do not have a chance to do all the appeasement/backing up behaviors that they would normally do. The conversation is cut off just when things are getting tense. So when the dogs see each other again, they will be more heightened in their interaction than they would have been if they’d been allowed to complete the cycle. This makes them even more likely to need to have a conversation that gets tense, and when they are again separated the stakes get even higher

If you are uncomfortable enough and not will to let things play out rather than intervene it is better to be proactive and either let neither dog have acess to a toy or object that causes a problem or only let the dogs have access when they are seperated.

I think you will the following booklet helpful as well
FEELING OUTNUMBERED? - HOW TO MANAGE & ENJOY A MULTI-DOG HOUSEHOLD, 2ND EDITION

there is a dvd version but I have not seen it to comment on whether it is better or worse than the booklet but for those that learn better from obdervation it is probably a better choice.

for a fair review of the booklet click here

Described by the authors as a "Cliffs Notes" of sorts, this booklet does contain some good, practical ideas.

...They place great emphasis on the use of body-blocking, forcing dogs to yield space by physically blocking their pathway or invading their personal space with one's own body. If one thinks about it, experienced dog people do use this technique on an intuitive level, and it does work. Self-consciously applied by a novice pet owner, however, this might be a bit awkward and difficult to master. Even the authors acknowledge that some things are hard to explain on paper. As a result, some of the exercises might be difficult for a novice dog owner to implement without additional help.

Notably, this booklet is not for the owner who is experiencing serious problems or any kind of aggression. Rather, it is most helpful for the person with a few bouncy dogs who needs some general ideas for achieving more control. The suggested exercises do require a commitment of time and effort to implement, as they are training recommendations and not simple management shortcuts that advocate crates, leashes, and muzzles for physical control.

Although brief, this is a very readable, very understandable, practical booklet. The owner who follows through on suggestions it contains will undoubtedly have a more serene household. Many owners of multiple dogs stumble on these ideas anyway, but this book would make a nice gift for an owner of multiple dogs who needs a little help managing the chaos.
 

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Thanks, all. There are several reasons why we crated them in separate rooms, and none of them are very good reasons. If behavior doesn't change tonight, we'll try moving the crates into the same room.

Mikey -- we had every intention of introducing them on neutral territory, but the other dog's owner forgot her leash (she's somewhat of an irresponsible gal), so it didn't work out. I was not thrilled with it, but it is what it is. I feel much better now, and hopefully things will start to ease up as they figure each other out.
 
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