How do we help our other dog adjust to our new dog?

We have a 10 month old German/Australian Shepherd mix that we’ve had since he was 8 weeks old. He’s wonderfully socialized, adores all other dogs and plays great with dogs of all sizes and gender. He gets lonely being the only dog, so we thought for awhile about getting a second dog even though he’s still pretty young. Two nights ago we found a 10 month old neutered male Beagle, and brought our shepherd to his house and they played in the back yard wonderfully.
The moment we got them both in the house, the shepherd has been extremely possessive of his kennel, toys, and water bowl. He’s not being aggressive, but he’s never been dominating before but now with the beagle he is being extremely dominating.
Now our shepherd has lots of friends, he’s even had other dogs stay the night and hang out in his kennel with him without a problem (both male and female) and he’s been fairly submissive before. One dog we had over was a male 16 lb mix who was un-neutered, and he just came straight into the house, first time of them meeting, and our shepherd rolls onto his back and lets this guy just climb on top of him and hump him!
The beagle is the most submissive dog I’ve ever seen, he’s just happy-go-lucky and even when our shepherd grabs a toy or bone out of his mouth, he just walks away wagging his tail.
We were definitely expecting some behavior changes, we are just not sure how to react to this. Do we let him do his thing and it will work out in time, or do we assert specific discipline towards him when he tries to be dominating?
The thing we are most curious about however, is that these two dogs won’t stop playing. I mean they really won’t stop! The first night we tried to get them to sleep, they wouldn’t stop and we finally had to go sleep in separate bedrooms, each of us with a dog to get them to stop. They we’re exhausted and could barely breathe at this point. From observing the play, it looks more like the shepherd is trying to dominate; he normally will roll over when he plays but with the beagle he refuses to be knocked down, and just constantly bites at the beagles neck. The main thing we noticed, is that his tail wasn’t wagging like normal. The beagle was wagging the whole time and was the submissive one.

I expect that this is just how our dog is reacting to having a new dog in the house, and it probably adds more competition that they are the same age as well. It’s mainly strange because he’s never been territorial with other dogs visiting the house, so we’re just wondering, "why this dog?"

Just wanted to see what other people thought of this, and if anyone has had similar experiences with bringing a second dog into their house. Thanks!
Thanks for the help everyone! Over the last two days there has been drastic improvement! They’ve slept in the same room the last two nights, and while it took some effort to calm them down, once they chilled out they both slept through the night. The have also napped together on the couch; the insane amount of playing has decreased to a more healthy amount; last night the shepherd actually rolled on his back once during play; the beagle came up and took a couple bites out of the shepherd’s dinner bowl WHILE he was eating and nothing happened; and the shepherd let the beagle come sit in his kennel with him!
I figured it would only be a matter of time, and it’s pretty awesome to see how quickly it’s changing.

Thanks for the advice! Sometimes it just helps to hear what others have to say.

Here’s a photo of them in the shepherd’s kennel together:


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2 Responses to “How do we help our other dog adjust to our new dog?”

  1. PLivingston says:

    The interaction at the Beagle’s house would have been different, as it was the Beagle’s house. This dynamic can completely change when back in his own home. You should not allow your dog to be guarding anything. This is actually a sign of insecurity. He’s protecting what’s his from this new dog. But you should be the alpha, regardless. Let your shepherd see the beagle drink from the water bowl and correct him if he shows any, and I mean any, indication that he doesn’t like it. Let the beagle play with the toys in front of him. You must teach him that you are the alpha, what you say, goes. The neck biting thing is another means of dominance. Body posture is a great way to know what your dog is showing. A wagging tail is not always a sign of a happy dog. You have to look at the position of the wagging tail and other indicators. If the tail is in line with the back or slightly lower, then this is content. If it goes between the legs, it’s fear. If it’s straight up it’s dominance. When a dog is being dominant, it will face another dog full frontal, tight muscles, ears pricked straight up. I’m sure you’ve seen this. Sometimes, it will also lean it’s entire body into the other dog and push hard, like shoving him. You never want what is called "freezing." This is full body frozen and tight. This is a dog telling you to "beware." It could be from fear or dominance. The more your shepherd relaxes with this beagle you will see his muscle relaxing, his tail lowering, etc. The playing right now is two things. It’s playing, but your dog is also feeling insecure so he’s probably exhibiting dominant behaviors into the play as well. I suspect that the difference with this beagle and the visiting dogs was that the beagle didn’t visit and leave. He stayed. Try a mild distraction when teaching your dog that the beagle can play with his toys and drink from the water. You want him to see what the beagle is doing, but you don’t want him to focus intensely on it. Associate the beagle interacting with the toys with something good like a lovely belly scratch, a special treat, a new toy that doesn’t have any scent on it yet. Maybe buy new toys or wash the scent off of them. Let the beagle slobber on it before giving it to the shepherd. You have common sense, believe me, that’s not a common thing! You will do fine. Best of luck!

  2. Juelann says:

    Excellent information to work with –have they slowed down in their excessive playing yet?

    What caught my eye is that you mention your shepherd not wagging the tail– and I believe you might be correct that he’s trying to establish dominance–the beagle all the while also trying to convince the shepherd that he’s friendly with the tail wagging.

    I’d hesitate to get in between them unless there’s definite aggression, something tells me that they need to work this out on their own, but I’d certainly keep an eye out on them in the mean time.

    Have you tried taking them out together, for a hike– or, at least something off leash where you’re moving and they need to keep up? I found when I introduced my 1st german shepherd pup (@ 15 weeks) to my older retriever, all was fine, but when I brought in the 2nd pup, (at 8 weeks) (when the 1st was 26 weeks) there was some adjustment going on. It was actually the second one who was more aggressive and I let them sort it out. Over the four+ years they’ve been with me– ( the retriever, at 14, has since passed on)– there’s been a small handful of incidents where they truly fought eachother, and always about some stupid toy or bone– and I mean fighting– drawing blood and it scared me to where I had to take a plastic rake to put between them and then discipline them both– how? By taking the alpha role myself, and literally, biting them (not hard, but enough so they felt it) on the side of the mouth; interestingly, that put a stop to it– now, if they even growl at eachother, I just need to growl at them and show my teeth and they stop LOL.

    I don’t know what to recommend other than play-it-by-ear/sight– if it escalates to true aggression, I’d step in– but also making a point of praising the shepherd when he’s displaying good behaviour and making a big deal about it.. I believe he’s afraid he’s going to loose your affection to the oh-so-friendly beagle– most shepherd breeds are known for their jealously/possessive characteristics.

    It’s good that he’s still young, I hope young enough to adjust; he’s smart enough to some how have picked up that this dog is here to stay, and not visit! 🙂 I gather that you didn’t have someone else with beagle when he came into the house, so shepherd can’t equate beagle as belonging to someone else and then leaving? Smart dog, for sure! Do you engage in anything special with the shepherd, or plan to, like agility games/training? I wonder if doing something with him specific would help ease his energy.

    Not having had a beagle myself, but knowing someone who did, I know they can hunt for hours, but their energy levels, on a sustained basis is not the same as the shepherd— hmm,, I just had an idea– re–the non-stop playing- does the shepherd seem like he’s trying to herd the beagle??– that kind of continued activity can’t be good for the systems,-can it? -have you Googled to see if it could be harmful?

    I’ll be following this thread to see what others think– and/or anything else you might add– all the best, either way~

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