Help! My Dog Doesn’t Like to Share My Affections with My Other Dogs!

  • Pin It

  • Pin It

Don't Allow Your Dog to be a Bully!

I have had a few questions lately from people who need help because one of their dogs does not like to share human time with the other dog/dogs in the home!   A lot of us have more than one companion dog or pet in our homes and it is all about finding a good balance between all of us.

I have 3 dogs and never seem to have less than two, which is just the way I like it!  And, sometimes there are some jealousy issues even in my home!

Some people would argue that dogs don’t have emotions much less complex emotions like jealousy, but having spent almost 20 years training animals I can attest to the fact that they have emotions and complex emotions.

Basic emotions                                                  More Complex Emotions

  • Joy                                                             Excitement
  • Trust                                                          Shame
  • Fear                                                            Frustration
  • Surprise                                                       Envy
  • Sadness                                                        Worry
  • Disgust                                                         Curiosity
  • Anger                                                            Sorrow
  • Anticipation                                                  Pride

Some might say that one dog is the dominant dog and that is why they are resource guarding the person, it has nothing to do with emotion because dogs don’t have the capability of having much less showing emotion, but I have witnessed dogs show all these emotions and many more!

While it is true that some dogs are immediately defensive and possessive of EVERYTHING they have and don’t want to share anything with the other dog/dogs in the house some dogs only get jealous of their owner’s time and affections.

Obviously the dog with universal possessiveness has many more issues and sometimes is just a bully!  He needs the “nothing in life is free” principles applied!

But, the dog that is just possessive of his owner’s and his/her affections may be feeling a bit slighted whether or not it is warranted.

What Can You Do?

  • Make sure that everyone is getting alone time
  • Make sure that all of your dogs are getting equal time
  • Be the parent or the leader and do not accept aggression between your dogs

Alone Time

The Intimidating "Stank Eye" from my Fury!

I believe that no matter who it is in our life that is important to us; sometimes they deserve our undivided attention.

When I was a child my mother and father would split up my sister and I and spend the day one on one with each of us.  We got to decide what we wanted to do with each parent and where we wanted to go.  This one on one attention with each parent helped us to feel special and therefore not slighted when we all spent family time together or if time was lavished on one of us due to an event or special circumstances.  I recommend all parents do this with their children.  Some of my favorite memories came from those days that it was all about ME even though I loved the family time we all spent together.

Likewise I think that marriages and relationships are strengthened when one on one time can occasionally be spent.  Couples need at least monthly date nights and to carve out quality time daily to spend with each other.  This simple principle can help couples feel less stressed and can keep jealousy and other negative emotions at bay.

I believe that our pets are the same way and deserve some one on one time with their owners.

My husband and I are avid hikers.  Most weekends are spent climbing mountains and geocaching with our dogs.  It is great exercise and I am lucky because when I come home my dogs are EXHAUSTED, and that in itself is priceless!  Unfortunately a few weeks ago was my oldest dog’s last hike.  Nix hiked 2 miles before his old body gave out and I sat with him for an hour as my husband finished the hike.  He was simply unable to continue do to his age, and medication from his meningitis.   Now we are forced to only hike with the youngest two, which does break my heart.

Jealousy and sadness could overcome his world if it wasn’t for the fact that I let him do things that my other dogs don’t get to!  He gets to accompany me on car rides and the occasional slow stroll around the yard.  I let the other two outside, while he gets a massage and vice versa.

In an attempt to train toward competition goals, my other dogs get one on one time training with me each day and I make a point to ensure that everyone gets appropriate snuggly time!

I even make sure the cat and our adopted raccoon get one on one time.  Sometimes it feels like I am pulled in all directions, but to keep the peace and ensure happiness for all I believe they all need to feel special.  And, just to be honest I like spending one on one time with them as well, it helps me develop a deeper relationship and get to know them on another level.  Just like a person may be different without their parents, friends, or their spouse, I get to know my pets as individuals with no barriers.  MAKE TIME!

Equal Time

Although most of you wouldn’t admit it, you may have a favorite!  We are told we shouldn’t have favorite children and likewise we think we shouldn’t have favorite dogs within our family structure but some of us do.  I think it is kind of normal and I will admit that my oldest is my heart and soul and he should be; I have spent the last 11 and a half years with him by my side and we have been through many tragedies and triumphs together!

That doesn’t mean I don’t love my young kids, I certainly do!  But, to them spending all of my time or affection on one dog can cause animosity!  Can you imagine your parents spending all their time with one of your siblings?  Even if you didn’t say something, you would feel slighted and probably hostile to the brother or sister even if it wasn’t their fault!

Although very young puppies and very old dogs require a lot more of our concentrated time, do your best to be equal and fair!  I insist that my dogs earn their privileges at my house; you must earn your right to sit with me or get on the furniture but to be fair I have to give my dogs the opportunities to excel and receive my affection, which requires my time!  Although the time I spend with them may be different (I may spoon with my oldest and train with the younger two), it is about quality for where we are in our relationship and I require respect, nothing at my house is free (until you are at least 11)!

This is the Beginning of a Serious Problem!

No Aggression Allowed!

I am the Mom, Alpha, Ruler or Queen of this house depending on what verbiage and semantics you prefer!   I simply won’t allow blatant aggression under my roof towards the humans, children, or other pets in my home.

Blatant aggression means no outright nasty displays.  My female dog who is about a year and a half now is definitely “on top” after me.  She has this “look” I call the “stank eye” that can stop just about anyone or anything in their tracks.  She is easily able to manipulate the other animals by stiffening her naughty little body or by shooting a look across the room.

I recognize and accept these minor behaviors and allow her to “work her magic” with the rest of the pack.  If I did not allow her to exert her demands on the other dogs to some degree it could make things worse for all of us, because she would feel even more helpless if I took all of her control away.  She is a dominant female; there is absolutely no changing that, so I accept it to a tiny extent.

It is important to be able to recognize these changes as they are the beginning of more drama if you are not careful.

Dogs do not need to hackle, growl, snarl, bark or snap.  A simple look and a change in body posture is all it takes to signal to another dog that they want the behavior to stop.  I also do my best to ensure her status as “bitch royale” meaning I don’t allow the other dogs to test her past her bounds.  I respect her by letting her do things first and not allowing the other dogs to steal her things or muscle up on her.  This keeps tensions lower because the other two see that I respect her next.

However, she is NOT allowed to hackle, growl, snarl, bark, snap or bite at the other two dogs.

Aggression = a loss of privilege!

So if she is being possessive of my time and she growls at the puppy or Nix, she loses the ability to spend time with me in that moment and she may just earn a time out.

If she growls, I would take her calmly by the collar or the leash and put her in another room or outside for a few moments by herself.

She is not a child, so leaving her there to “think about what she did” is not going to be effective.  But denying her access to what she wants, which is me, can be quite effective.  A minute or two is enough to suffice, but it must be immediate at the first sign of aggression.

Blatant Aggression in Unacceptable

Do not wait until there is a biting match and expect to split the dogs up.  They should be safely separated at the first and lowest sign of naughty behavior.  If you know that your dog will growl or escalate, I would reprimand and separate at the first sign of “stank eye” or stiffening!  They are much easier to control in the beginning stage of aggression than waiting until there is about to be an altercation!  Fights can also be somewhat satisfying, so it is important to make sure they never get the satisfaction of taking it that far.

When she comes out, I am not going to exploit or fawn over the other dog to make a point.  In fact, I probably won’t have any contact with the other dog and will just let them go back to normal behavior.  Rubbing it in her face will undoubtedly make it worse, but I will also not keep the other dog from me.  She will not be allowed to instigate or cause more drama or again she will lose a privilege.  If I need to, I will keep a leash on her to make sure everyone is safe.

It is important that you be consistent and figure out what you will and what you won’t put up with and then stick to your guns no matter what!  If you accept even a little growl, it is liable to escalate and soon the behavior will be worse.

If your dog cannot sit on your lap without being aggressive and threatening the other pets or people in your life…perhaps he hasn’t earned the right to be on your lap?  Privileges should be earned and sometimes dogs need to stay on the floor until they can grasp this concept.  This is not to say that you can’t have one on one lap time with this dog, but he may not be able to stay there with the other dogs around until he has figured out that you won’t tolerate aggression or possessive behavior!

If you continue to have problems or resistance from him or her, you may need to back up and start doing daily obedience so he is use to listening to you!

Stick to these principles and you will see a change!

AND, don’t argue!  Don’t say you don’t have time to give all of your dog’s one on one time, don’t tell me you don’t have the time to share your time equally while they are around, and DON’T tell me you are unwilling to keep the offender off of your lap or out of your space if he is showing naughty aggressive behavior.

Change has to start with you and you must be willing to take control and do what you need to keep the peace under your roof, or woof !

 

 

There are 23 Comments

  1. Teala says:

    This article is excellant and I totally understand your position. I have a small dog and she can get aggressive when she doesn’t get attention,especially when my son comes over with his dog. They are very good together nomally,but if the other dog wants attention from me, she lets us all know that she is there. I am working with her and she has gotten a lot better. So,yes you are absolutely correct about dogs having feelings,they definitatly do !!!

    [Reply]

  2. Janine says:

    Having just aquired a second dog I see my first becoming very possessive, acting just like my children.
    A dog is exactly like a child. I would take my eldest dog out for a walk, just us, and suddenly he’s the happiest dog in the world and even his new little sister can share his bed. Making sure he knows he’s loved is so easy to do, and helps settle the jealousy.

    [Reply]

  3. Absolutely dogs can have what you refer to as more complex emotions, particularly (in my experience) jealousy and shame.

    My Rottweiler was always very jealous of me paying any attention to my Staffordshire Bull Terrier – even though they were the greatest of friends. She would simply walk up to me and push herself between me and the other dog – every time.

    And when she grew old and suffered paralysis of her back legs and was unable to control her bladder (and then her bowel) she was without question embarrassed /shamed by soiling herself.

    And I have heard many pet owners report similar types of behaviors.

    [Reply]

  4. Jo-Ann says:

    This is great advise for indoor aggresive behaviour, however my problem is when I take my little dog for a walk and he sees another dog or someone speaks to me while they are passing. How can I stop that behviour?

    [Reply]

  5. Teri Beach says:

    GREAT article! I have a large Dane puppy who is not aggressive, but who butts in and pushes everyone else out of the way. He ignores signs from my other Dane that he is treading in dangerous territory.

    [Reply]

  6. Howard Schaffer says:

    My dog does not like it when I am playing with my 5 month old grandson. She gets very jealous and tries to insert herself to get my attention. I spend all day with her, playing and walking (3-4 miles per day) and she snuggles with me all the time. I tell her when she does this to stop in various ways but she continually tries to get my attention away from the baby. What do I do now?

    [Reply]

  7. Wretch says:

    What a useful article and good “advise”–whoops, “advice.”

    We have a new dog park. My schnauzer trips to be the alpha male and terrorist, but other dogs won’t allow him dominance. They teach good lessons to him. Having dogs interact with each other is so important in developing enhanced social skills. My schnauzer could care less about me when he is galloping around with other dogs, and he is exhausted at the end of the time at the dog park. Then I’m o.k. again, I guess.

    [Reply]

  8. Carinna Burnett says:

    When my dog goes up to a dog she’s familiar with and raises her hair up on her back is that to much aggression? She eventually will let it down then bring it up while they are chasing each other. What do you think?

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    It depends if it is followed by other aggression. I wouldn’t worry about it if she is older (not a puppy) and it is followed by play and chase games.

    I would worry if it is followed by growling, or nipping and if it was say on your lap or somewhere else inappropriate!

    [Reply]

    Carinna Burnett Reply:

    Okay, She’s is 2 years old. She just play’s afterwards. How do I get her to not be so dog crazy? If she sees a dog she just stands and stares growling/whining mixed. She won’t pay any attention to you at all! She’s fixed.

    [Reply]

  9. Deb Wroblewski says:

    First time dog owner-I have aquired two puppies-their mother was hit by a car and they were left orphaned at three weeks. They are in the house as they are very small dogs (boy-1.2 lbs & girl-1.4 lbs at 7 weeks) They are becoming aggressive and I wasn’t sure if it was just puppy play or working up to real aggression. They act jealous, when I pick one up then the other they growl and snap at each other. I’ve been just putting them both down and say ‘No’ firmly. When I take them out to play they run all over the place and sometimes jump on each other and growl and snap also. At times one will shreik in pain. Should I allow this at play or is this just aggression in the making.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    They are growing up into little monsters 😉 not your fault but by fault of their situation. Find a good mother dog who has been a mother and is well vaccinated and let them learn some skills from her, they need a good, kind, but firm dog to teach them some impulse control and social skills.

    I would also recommend beginning training NOW!

    Are you keeping both? I don’t usually recommend two pups kept from the same litter for some of these reasons!

    [Reply]

  10. patti worrell says:

    I clicked on the option of not recieveing any more emails from you by mistake.Please continue to email and when i can afford to buy one of your training programs I will.I have a 5 month goldendoodle and I am hoping one day to have him trained to be a therapy dog.We started puppy classes 2 months ago but had to stop due to the death of my husband. I have enjoyed reading all your info and I’m trying out your methods.Thank-you
    patti worrell

    [Reply]

  11. hi lately ive been on this web site to see if I can find a souloution to my dogs problems such as … biting me when im trying to feed him steak and tons of other things …and im having trouble trying to teach him sit and stay and other basic tricks . Im eight years old and this week is my birthday and I really would like if I could teach him to be a better dog and beable to teach him to atleast sit by the time its my birthday . love Destinee Moriah Rimer

    [Reply]

  12. John A. says:

    I have a male dacshund whose bout 2 years old and about a couple months ago we had taken in a little under a year old toy poodle, they started out so well together and my 2 year old didn’t care for it at first but then they became great friends and were normal and the other week we took my poodle to get groomed and since then my dacshund now whines when my poodle is near one of my other family members typically my sister since she is home and takes care of them but with me they play it simple and sleep and don’t bother one another, it’s odd because my dacshund will not even leave my poodle alone at all he will always be by the poodles side and won’t leave him alone as he gets near my sister, he will block my poodles way off from my mom but yet leaves my sister in reach to lay by and then as my poodle lays down he sniffs and cries and irritates my poodle to a strict snapping from my poodle and my sister gets on to my dacshund for crying so I’m not sure what the problem is because I come he every couple or so weeks and this time I’ve noticed more affection towards the poodle then my dacshund!

    [Reply]

  13. Faye says:

    We have lost our 12 yr. old lab. We currently have a lab/mix = she and our older lab were best friends. We lost our 12 yr. old about 6 weeks ago. We are in the process of adopting a 7 yr. old lab/mix, our current dog is 9 yrs. we feel she would like another dog to hang with. the soon to be adopted dog is same mix as she and very sweet. I wonder if our current dog will have a problem sharing affection with this new furbaby. What do you think? What should I do?

    [Reply]

  14. Nina says:

    I have 3 shepherd rescue’s all around same age..They all have gotten along great..Recently the one Ii got about a yr before other 2 is so possessive of me!!! She and I are very close, but she was never aggressive towards her siblings, or any dogs til as of late!! Past 2 weeks..She growl snaps, nips, every morning IMG I wake up she and my boy gsd. Come to say good morning, he jumps up on the bed she jumps up..I HAVE A FULL BLOWN DOG FIGHT ONTOP OF ME..I CANT SIT, IF ONE OTHER DOG comes to see me FULL BLOWN FIGHT.. AT LEAST 3/4 aggressive fights a day!!! Why has her temperament changed out of no where ..same situation and routines

    [Reply]

  15. Mahaly Rodriguez says:

    Hi I have a 1year old female mix German Shepherd with husky and 2 chihuahuas. She is very jealous of them even though she was brought home as a puppy and has grown up with ther other dogs she is mainly jealous of the other female chihuahua she has growl barked and even gotten in fights with her cause my kids or I will Pet her even though we have already pett her and played with please help

    [Reply]

  16. Alisha says:

    I have 3 shihtzus 7 and 5 year old males and recently got a female she’s a year old now. Recently she has started to show aggression to my male dogs. It started with eating. She watches the boys eat and then starts eating her food but always looking up at them and sometimes growling at them. When she is finished eating she will always go straight to my 7 year old and growl at him. If I pick her up she growls and gets very aggressive. She would go after him to fight if I don’t hang in to her.
    Also if the other dogs are sitting on my lap she sometimes comes and growls at them and it quickly turns into her trying to fight with them. I have tried putting her on the floor when this happens and recently have started to put her in a kennel at the first sign of a growl I keep her in there for a minute or two when I let her out she seems better.
    Am I doing the right things??? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. We have no children and are very upset with this situation.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    First I would feed them all separately or crate her for feeding.

    Yes, I would definitely give her a time out and work on obedience like sit or down stays so you can also control her behavior.

    [Reply]

  17. Sumer Pritchett says:

    Hi! I found this article to be very helpful but I do have a question…but first I’ll introduce the situation.

    I have a 7 yr old female (Tigger) and a 1 yr old female (Roo). They could not be any more different from one another if I tried. One is obsessed with food and the other barely eats. One is hyper and in your face and the other is laid back and needs her space.

    The problem I have is with my 1 yr old, Roo. She bugs the heck out of Tigger. She is constantly getting in her space and wont leave her alone. Tigger will tense up and give a look but that does not have any effect on Roo, she continues. Then Tigger will growl and eventually bark, but even that barely gets Roo attention. She is not afraid of Tigger at all. Partly because Roo is just a fun loving, hyper, crazy boxer who just doesn’t understand boundaries. But also part of it is because Tigger will never back up her bark or growl with a bite. Her bark is literally worse than her bite. She is a sweet and gentle dog. I think Roo knows that.

    Sometimes Roo puts her paw on Tigger’s back or head and I know this to be dominant. She also puts her head on top of her head. But she does this in front of me. Usually when I take them into the living room with my parents and Tigger gets any attention, Roo attacks her, won’t leave her alone. The weird thing is, I could be giving Roo attention and if my mom tries to give Tigger attention at the same time Roo will go “attack” Tigger. She won’t let Tigger have any attention. When I say “attack” I don’t mean dangerous behavior, just paw at her, jump on her, nip at her neck and feet. My attempts to correct it just fail. Finally I just put her up cause I can’t take anymore. No matter what I do, this behavior persists. My mom says it only happens when I’m here; that Roo doesn’t do that when I’m gone.

    I feel really bad for Tigger because she is my first baby. I got Roo because I thought Tigger needed a friend and now I feel like I ruined Tigger’s life by getting her 🙁

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Put the new dog on a leash and don’t allow her to interact with the other dog this way.

    I allow play, within specific and tactful boundaries. I won’t allow one of my dogs to bully or pick at another. It is my job to step in and put an end to it and make the aggressor follow obedience commands, like a down stay.

    [Reply]

  18. Santiago Mino says:

    Hi thanks for the article, Our labrador who is almost two years old is usually a super well behaved dog. Excellent behavior around people, and super conditioned to listen or please us. However, ocassionally he seems a little scared of other dogs and lately we saw him growl and even snap at other dogs that were just being playful with him. We have seen this happen twice recently. We want to correct this behavior. We don’t think it has to do with being possessive or jealous, since it also happened when he was not near us, so we think is some form of insecurity or fear aggression. He gets along pretty well with females and we see that he never plays with male dogs or just avoids them, the two incidents happened with males. Some additional info, we notice that when we are in doggy parks he has absolutely no fear an he is very relax and balanced among all the dogs, but if we encounter other dog on the trail running along, he will avoid the other dog fearfully, aggravating the situation because then the other dogs chase him. Do you have any insights about why this may happen? Please send us some advice! We really appreciate it.

    [Reply]

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *