Big dogs & small dogs playing in peaceful harmony...
...that's what I want. In addition to my Golden, who is now well over 60# and a bundle of energy, we also have a "lap dog" in the house. She is a rat terrier mix that my mother-in-law gave my wife last year for a birthday present (another good reason never to give a live animal as a gift, but that's another story). So the rat dog weighs in about 11 pounds right after dinner. When the golden was just a small pup, he couldn't keep up with the rat as she tops out about 30mph with amazing agility. She will retrieve tennis balls better than the retriever and she keeps the squirrels outside of the fence. But now the Golden's coordination and power are catching up rapidly.
So here's the issue that's developing. While they play together very well 95% of the time, it will occasionally get out of hand and I'm afraid that his size/power is going to inadvertently injure the little dog. A couple days ago they were playing and he got a hold of her collar and was pulling her off the ground with it. I broke it up right away, but not before she had a pretty good abrasion on the front of her neck and was choking and hacking for several minutes thereafter. I removed the collar to prevent a recurrence.
Additionally, I've had to break up these wrestling matches more often as he is big enough that he can pin her down pretty hard. Most of the time, they play chase and wrestle around in normal "dog fashion" and I don't want to completely stop that (unless it's the only cure), but I need to get it into the Golden's head that he has to play more gently. Just in the last week they've pushed the play to the point where the little dog cries out, which is a new development. I can get him to back down right away when I see it getting too rough, but I want him to realize what the "line" is and he isn't getting it yet.
A secondary issue is a toy jealousy between the two. He can be happily playing with a particular toy, but when she picks up another toy he will immediately drop what he has, run over and try to steal it from her. If I'm in the room, he will now stop short and just stand a couple feet away watching her. If she drops the toy, he grabs it and takes off. If I'm not in the room, he will go in and grab any toy she has picked up and forcefully take it away, which usually starts a wrestling match. So he's starting to show some hard-headed defiance when he's out of range of immediate correction.
Any ideas/tips/suggestions on getting these 2 to play in harmony without worry about accidental injury to our little rat catcher?
Last edited by JOAT; 08-27-2009 at 09:21.
Sounded like you were talking about my kids growing up. They out grew it, hopefully the pup will before damage occurs to the terrier.
Sorry no other advise.
First of all, they are never too far out of reach for a correction if you have a leash or rope on them. Take it from me, we have 135lbs, 120lbs and a rat dog 10lbs. They are all wonderful together. Our griff is the boss of the house and that was instilled upon those two big guys from day one.
We started by training them to "greet" smaller dogs on the ground, at the smaller dogs level, with a down command. They are always to lay down to play. Once they stand up they know they will get a quick correction from "mom", unless they were told to get up.
One other thing, you might want to wear your bigger guy out first. Take him out, do your own roughing him up, playing ball etc while the little one isnt around. Never leave the two unattended, it sounds like your bigger guy has some growing up to do, its all puppy! But you'll have to get a hand on it now before it gets ugly.
I also do not allow my dogs to play with collars on, Collars are can be a huge hazard. Some folks may not agree but I saw a neighbors dog, hanging off our side of a chain link fence when I was younger. He was dead!~
PS. They don't call them tenacious terriers for nothing! Dont ever think for a moment your little one will give up easily! Beautiful Golden!!!!!!