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As many of you know we adopted a beagle mix named Abby on Saturday. I think she's a couple years old, and our existing beagle Murphy is 7 months.

Abby is absolutely the sweetest dog I've ever met. She's housebroken and crate trained. She rolls on her back and loves her belly rubbed. She curls up on the floor next to us and loves to be petted. I couldn't ask for a better adoption-with one exception.

Most of the time she and Murphy are ok. Murphy, being a puppy, still acts like a bouncy active puppy, sometimes getting a little overzealous. I have no problem with Abby growling or snapping to put him in his place, but twice now she's gone a step beyond that and actually gotten extremely aggressive. If my wife and I were not there I firmly believe that Murphy would have been injured.

I think if Murphy weren't so much a puppy it wouldn't be an issue. It seems the behavior she can't tolerate is the bouncing puppy-in-the-face. She seems to be just fine with older dogs.

Knowing some of you have probably seen this before, do you have any tips for getting her beyond this behavior? She's stolen our hearts, but I also can't risk Murphy being injured, and I'll do or try anything to get her over this.

Thanks for your help!
 

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Although I haven't seen the episodes, from what you describe I do think it still sounds normal for the introduction of a new dog - knowing that not only does Abby need to establish her boundaries, but Murphy also needs to get it that the puppy-in-the-face isn't acceptable... and if he isn't doing that Abby is stepping up her efforts in making it clear to him where those boundaries are.

It sounds harsh but it may be necessary for Murphy to get a little (emphasis on the little) injured before he does get it. And I think the key is to make sure that they are supervised closely when together, and also work not just on stopping Abby from reacting overly aggressively, but also work on trying to get Murphy to understand from you and not just from Abby that he shouldn't be in her face in the first place.

We had a bit of this with Buzz's arrival - although he is well past puppyhood (2 and some years old), he obviously didn't get the in your face stuff out of his system when he was a puppy and he therefore did a lot of it when he arrived. Moosie just let him do it and therefore Buzz still does it to him now - he is usually attached to one of Moosie's real legs, gnawing at it, unless we tell him not to. Booker would correct him firmly but he seemed to listen to her - but then again I think he decided early on that she was his surrogate mother! Popcorn's response was more like Abby's - she would start to snarl and try to snap at him and therefore we focused on making sure they were supervised, and also tried to stop Buzz from bugging her before it even escalated into something more serious. We would correct Popcorn too if it got to that - but put the emphasis on trying to get Buzz to back off first.

I have my fingers crossed that you can work this out - Abby sounds like such a great dog and I do think this isn't ENTIRELY her fault...
 

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What about leashing Murphy to yourself (or other human in the family) when he and Abby are in the same area? That way you could control Murphy and train him as well as work on his relationship with Abby.
 

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I had the opposite problem a couple of years ago when I brought Shasta home as an 8 week ole pup to join the family that included me, Oreo my YorkiPoo and Shiloh B. The worst of it came on Christmas Day - Shasta's first. I had to keep Oreo off by himself because he was elderly and physically not able to be included with the others - it's a good thing I did this. A treat fell out of Shasta's stocking and both Beagles went for it at the same time - Shiloh B. won but not before giving Shasta B. his own form of a Christmas present - a firm nip on the ear that required a trip to the vet and a stitch or two in her ear. They have been and always will be best buddies and the play together wonderfully to this day. Shasta B. will still try to push a bit much when playing and Shiloh B. will VERY occasionally snap at her in order to get her to stop. But when I take Shasta B. out for a walk by herself, Shiloh is right there waiting when we get back and as we walk away from the house - I can here him barking.

By the way, I do like Judy's idea of keeping Murphy leashed to you when the two dogs are together. And don't forget - you are only a few days into this; as the dogs are around each other more and more, things should get better. Also very important - don't put all of it on Murphy. Each dog must learn what is and is not tolerable by you - you have to set the rules. Murphy was the first one there and he is still a puppy - as he matures he will learn as well as Abby. And by the way,
on choosing Abby and bringing her home - she looks like such a sweetie.

And I don't know that you could say I am an expert - but that was my 2 cents worth.
 

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We had a lot of problems with both Daisy and Rocky when we first got them and started visiting my parents (they have 2 big labs). The labs are very dog friendly, but Daisy and Rocky wanted nothing to do with them. The very first visit was awful. We kept Daisy and Rocky crated most of the time because they just growled and snarled at the labs. Fortunately the labs were very passive so there were no fights. We started working with Daisy and Rocky several different ways. We tried muzzling them which they hated, but it helped. We also did the on leash thing and that helped too.

One of the biggest things that helped was walking all the dogs together. For some reason Daisy especially would be fairly aggressive with the female lab, not to the point of attacking her but still aggressive. However, when we would walk, Daisy could walk by her and not be aggressive at all. It was amazing to see. Over time they've gotten to the point where we can leave them all out together at the house and have no problems. Daisy still doesn't like to play with their labs and she sometimes gives a growl but it's nothing like it used to be.

There is hope!
Good luck with Abby, she sounds like a great dog!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Abby is awesome except for that one issue.

We had another problem when we were walking yesterday. Murphy and Abby were walking next to each other down the gravel road. Everything was perfect, weather was nice, birds were singing. Murphy, being the scent hound that he is was tracking back and forth a little. He bumped Abby and looked up-she attacked. Not just a nip, not just a growl, but an all out I'm ready to rip your throat out attack. No doubt in my mind that she would have killed him if I wasn't there. She kept coming even after Murphy was backing off and screaming.

It breaks our hearts but I'm afraid Abby has to go back to the shelter. She's such an incredible dog if it weren't for the issue with Murphy (and other puppy-like behavior).

If it were a snap, a snarky growl, if it were just a dominance issue we could deal with it. But it's far more than that and I'm afraid for Murphy. What really blows my mind is that when she's with just us (my wife and me) there is no sign of this behavior whatsoever. She's sweet, playful, lovable. My wife was with her in the family room this evening and she and Abby were having a blast playing. Then my wife invited Abby into her lap and she cuddled up and just enjoyed being loved.

Thanks for all your help!
 

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I hate to say it but this will happen. Abby being the older female, intends on being the Alpha. She is setting boundaries and letting Murphy know it. On walks, she intends on leading. Its an Alpha behavior. She expects to be treated as an elder by Murphy. By treating Murphy as an equal or better, she may get jealous. That can start it. Even though Murphy was there first, he is still a puppy. To keep the peace, treat Abby as the Alpha. She gets fed first, greeted first, etc. If it continues or escalates, you should also consult your vet or animal behaviorist. You may want to anyway.

Summer and Kali had about one fight a week for the first month or so. It has tailed off greatly. But fights will happen and they need to be broken up quickly (just VERY be careful when doing so). Abby has to be corrected by YOU IMMEDIATELY. When Summer and Kali go at it, I immediately grab Summer (the larger of the 2) and pin her to the ground, yelling very loudly <span style="font-weight: bold">NO!</span> and I keep her there until she submits completely (it doesn't take long anymore). Doing this, I make myself the Alpha and she has to respect that. Frani usually sees to Kali. If I am alone, I quickly check Kali, then correct Summer. Once Summer has submitted, them I give Kali a thorough check, then Summer. Afterward, Summer is trying to get onto my lap trying to say she is sorry. I'll ignore her for a few minutes, then pet her. Shortly thereafter, they are usually playing again.

But yes, we do think about what could happen if we were not there. Summer could easily injure Kali (beyond the usual ear piercings) or worse. We trust that she won't.
 

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Hmmm I'm not a fan of alpha rolling, it's often a good way to get bitten and in many instances does very little in terms of managing the problem. I don't need to physically overpower my dog by pinning them to the ground to get them to respect me, although I guess it is each to their own


If my dogs were serial fighters I wouldn't leave them alone together unsupervised unless I was 100% confident they would not fight again. Sometimes dog/dog and bitch/bitch combination will fight to serious injury or worse. Not saying that is what is happening in the case of the OP - but occasionally you can get a pair of dogs who just hate each other and will fight at any given opportunity.

In this instance I think it sounds like Murphy is an in your face puppy and Abby, being an older dog, has little tolerance for his dominance or in your face behaviour. IMO I would not be reprimanding Abby because she's not the instigator - it's Murphy who needs to learn how to behave appropriately. Abby should not have to be the one telling him off all the time, that's your responsibility as the pack leader. If he is getting over zealous and annoying you need to preempt him before his behaviour gets to a point that Abby feels like she needs to tell him to back off.

I definitely think this is a situation where you can turn it around, Murphy sounds like he just needs to learn some manners. I would be putting him on a long leash when you let him and Abby interact and reeling him back in when he gets too over zealous. At 7 months he's not so much a puppy as he is a teenager who is testing the boundaries, and he needs to learn what behaviour is or isn't ok. I would be inclined to keep them separated for now, until Murphy has learnt some manners, and making sure Abby has space that she can have as her own to be away from him if she wants to - sometimes hanging out with young puppies/adolescents can be tiring for older dogs and some have very little tolerance for their over zealousness.


ETA: Sometimes it's easy to see the dog who is defending themselves or snapping back as the serious aggressor. Sometimes, we misinterpret what we think is just over zealous 'puppy' behaviour with what is actually dominant, pushy dog behaviour. I can't comment much further on this particular case without seeing the dogs myself, but I have a feeling that Murphy may be the instigator and you are seeing aggression from Abby because he keeps pushing her and pushing her. You said that Abby only attacks Murphy when he annoys her, she's fine with other dogs that aren't in her face, and they get along most of the time. To me, that is saying more about Murphy's behaviour than Abby's and it would be Murphy's behaviour I would be looking at changing as it really does sound like he could be the one instigating the problem.

Daisy hates dogs that hump her, and will snap at them to back off. If the dog kept coming back to hump her she would amp up her aggression until they got the message. It could very well be a similar case with your dogs, only Murphy is being more 'subtle' with his dominating body language. If he's not taking Abby's warnings to back off, it's actually quite normal for her responses to get stronger in an attempt to get him to back off.
 

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I have no advice to offer as I only have one beagle but just wanted to say I am sorry you are having this problem.
 
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