Help with having "doggie friends" visit

  • We've had Harley for just a week now. My parents have a Bichon & we have visited their place with Harley once and the dogs got along just fine & even played together. We spend a lot of time with my parents at their place & ours and we often watch Scooter for them.

    They are going out of town this weekend & we were supposed to have Scooter stay with us. My mom brought him over today just to see how they would do on "Harley's turf" before she decided to leave him for sure.

    Well, they were just fine until Scooter started to go into the kitchen. As soon as he walked in there I thought I maybe should've moved Harley's food bowl (& maybe water bowl too?). Scooter started to sniff Harley's bowl & Harley got his hackles all up & then started growling & lunged & was NOT happy at all.

    My mom grabbed Scooter. No harm done, but it got everyone's heart pounding a little fast, for sure!! Anyway, my question is, do we just need to move Harley's bowl(s) when Scooter is here next time or are there other things we should do when we have another dog visit? Also, could this just be because this home is still pretty new for Harley & he is really staking his claim? Do you think it would get better after he's been here longer and settled in more?

    I know that's a lot of questions. Any help would be terrific! This is the first behavior we've seen that is anything less than angelic…I just want to make sure we deal with it well in the future & ensure that we can continue to spend time with my parents & Scooter.

  • Well, I have 2 dogs. I do not free feed them, but always have a bowl of water for them to share. Perhaps when Scooter is visiting you should remove Harley's food bowl. Then when it is time to eat, offer a bowl for Scooter and another for Harley. When you put down each food bowl, put Harley's where it usually is and Scooter's in another place opposite from Harley's (another room or around a wall) I watch both so neither move in on the other's food. Personally, I cannot imagine both of my food hounds being free fed. :eek: Much luck to you - Harley is garding his food - and removing it will make it easier for you.

  • When you say "free feed" does that mean feeding them out in the room? I'm assuming so….so do you feed your dogs in their crate? I think I've seen that mentioned other places, just wondering how that works.

  • I think that "free feed" means there is always food left out for him to eat…
    I too disagree with free feeding... I think they should be on a schedule and have a certain amount of time to eat... and taken away if they are not done after that time.

    I would think that you would have much better luck by removing the food sourse totally... and feeding them separate.

    Don't forget, you new boy is going to "test" the limits of he new home.. and since he was already displaced... he may be more apt to "resourse" guard things like food and toys...

    Best option is that they (and even him by himself ) is feed in crates... I have always fed mine in crates... (and for those with crate issues.. at least in different places with distance between)...

    If not leaving food down (free feeding).. then you should remove the food bowl after each meal... then it is not an item to guard...

  • He eats all his food in the morning & at night- the food bowl was empty, just sitting on the floor next to the water bowl. So if that is what "free feed" means then we are not doing that.

    He got feisty over a totally empty food bowl.

    Would he be proprietary about his water bowl too?

  • I would put down 2 or 3 water bowls when your visitor is there, and pick up food bowls when not in use. Harley has just been displaced and is settling in with you, so guarding all this new stuff that is "his" is fairly normal. When introducing new dogs to visit or to stay, pick up all 'high value' toys and favorite things, so there is nothing to guard. Dogs may be best buddies on neutral territory, but don't want that dog to share their stuff at home. BE observant, correct negative behavior and be prepared to distract them and keep them tired. Harley may relax after a couple of days. Try and feel relaxed and let him know that it is normal to have visitors. Be sure he isn't set up for failure in his new home !

  • @kikker:

    He eats all his food in the morning & at night- the food bowl was empty, just sitting on the floor next to the water bowl. So if that is what "free feed" means then we are not doing that.

    He got feisty over a totally empty food bowl.

    Would he be proprietary about his water bowl too?

    Could be… but at least by picking up the empty bowl that might easy the situation.... or you might just set up a different place for water for the both of them when visiting....

    Again.. he is "testing" the water... and IMO, since he has already been re-homed (which I am sure he doesn't understand)... he may may be just deciding that "I" better guard this... if this dog takes over my food place... will he take over my place in the house.... best course of action it to eliminate all things that could be seen as a threat to him..... again... IMO

  • Feed them separately and then remove all food. Food aggression is quite normal in dogs.

    My GF has an Old English Sheepdog and she is very food aggressive and eats like a pig. She'll eat Tuckers food if he's not guarding it constantly. I have a gate on my kitchen and I feed Tucker in the kitchen, gated, and feed Maggie (the OES dog) on the balcony. After they eat, we recombine them.

    There are still a few 'toy issues', but Tucker just gets up high and eats his rawhide where Maggie can't reach him.

    Proper management typically can resolve most problems. Her dog is allergic to pretty much everything. The meds makes her dog constatly thirsty and Maggie will drink until the bowl is empty (if allowed to do so) and then puke everywhere. (It's actually kinda funny…) We keep the water gated in the kitchen and only allow her short visits to the water. Either that, or we put her on the balcony with all the water she wants and let her drink and puke to her hearts content. 😉

    Yes, it's kinda weird, but what can you do?

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