2nd Dog Syndrome
Xia’s mom writes:
“My 6 year old Akita is dog aggressive. We are able to walk by other dogs but only with strict discipline from me and a tight leash. She has never been able to play with other dogs. She grew up with an older Akita and they always did play rough. At 4 months I started taking her to the dog park and when she exhibited the same play behaviors there it was clear that I should have gotten help, but thought I could handle it.”
This is a common issue among dogs who were adopted after another dog. The first dog gets walked alone, gets exposed to the world, taken to dog parks, etc. He becomes very confident and well socialized.
Then, when the new dog comes in a few months or years later, the owners think that she will learn everything she needs by hanging out with the first dog. It’s built in exercise & entertainment.
The 2nd dog doesn’t (or rarely) gets walked alone, doesn’t go to the dog park alone, and doesn’t get out to tons of new places like her older brother did. So, her socialization process is stunted and she doesn’t grow into being a confident, happy dog.
She also learns rough play with her brother and therefore doesn’t understand how to invite other new dogs to play. Imagine a 6 year old child thinking that, since it’s OK to run up to their brother and tackle them to initiate play, that they then try to tackle an unsuspecting child at the playground. The same rules do not apply! But they do not understand this since they did not get a chance to learn how to properly introduce themselves to new potential playmates.
And added issue with dogs is that the uncomfortableness they experience usually turns to fear and then to aggression by the time they are 1.5 years old. There usually is dog on dog aggression and, if the dog wasn’t properly socialized with people, then there can be human aggression as well.
So, if you get a 2nd dog, please make sure and socialize them on their own. Walk them, take them to new places and especially take them to the dog park so they can be taught appropriate behavior by other dogs and not just rely on interactions with their sibling.
For more info and some free tips on multiple dog households, click here: poochcoach.com/multiple-dog-households