Trouble in the Dog House

Ever since D and I became involved in rescue, we’ve been fortunate to have a great group of dogs. There is usually a core group of three or four, and they have always been tolerant and accepting of any foster pets or new arrivals. Even when we took in crazy Ben, our core group kept the peace by giving him a wide berth. Except Dillon, who always had to be in the middle of everything, and who tolerated no nonsense from anybody…including me!

PICT0402None of them have ever had obedience training, although I’ve felt like certain of them should have.

We’re having some behavior problems with Waldo that we are completely to blame for, though I point the finger at D, who lets him get away with everything, and won’t discipline him, nor will she let me discipline him. D does a lot of complaining about the dogs’ bad behaviors, or rather, she complains about the girls, which she refers to as my dogs. Only, my girls are good. They mostly follow me around and sit quietly when we are watching TV. It’s her boys that make all the racket; constantly barking for attention or treats…Waldo has even taken to kicking the trash bucket in a demand for food. We call that “beating his drum”. Just to shut them up, or make him stop misbehaving, she reinforces the bad behavior by giving in. I can’t make her understand that she is just making things worse.

It’s a good thing we never had human children together, they’d be delinquents.

At least our dogs don’t fight with each other. They do a fair amount of complaining to us about one another,  but there are seldom, if any, skirmishes. Once in awhile, Waldo will make a gesture at one of the girls,  just to mess with them, but it’s very much a big-brother-pretending-to-be-a-monster thing. “Rahr! I could eat you up if I wanted to, but I won’t because you probably taste like caca! ”

Our most recent core group is made up of five quirky individuals, each with their own unique traits, personality, and, for lack of a better word, weirdness. Dogs have come and gone, and they’ve remained steady…until now.

Suddenly, we have trouble in the dog house. By “dog house”, I don’t mean an actual dog house. Our dogs do not live outside, nor do I believe that any dog should. By dog house,  I mean the three room log cabin we share with our dogs, which is essentially theirs, we just happen to live here too.

Last summer, we took in a new dog. About a month after that, we began having a behavior problem with Maria (of the core group). She is normally a very sweet girl, kind of paranoid, but affectionate and obedient. However, she started being a bully, not to the new dog, but to Taco  (also of the core group.) Maria is 8 years old, Taco is 15. Maria bullies by posturing at close range, cutting Taco off as she is walking, and growling and jumping on her pushing her down. They are the same size, but Taco has a bum knee, and she is also the most passive,  goodnatured dog in our group, which makes her easy to bully.

I won’t stand for bullying. Maria’s behavior is unacceptable.

Our dogs get a lot of one-on-one attention. They get cuddled and kissed, petted and fussed over. They sit in our laps, beside us in our chairs, and sleep in our beds. They are talked to and played with. They are loved, and they know it.

Speed Star 1.1537321  00

But lately, Ri doesn’t want us to give Taco any attention or show her any affection at all. Last week,  when Taco followed me into the bathroom, I picked her up to give her a cuddle. Ri came down the hall to the bathroom, and when she stepped inside and saw Taco on my lap, she had an expression of such fury on her face that I had to laugh. Her eyes absolutely blazed. If she could speak, she’d have shouted “just what in hell is going on in here?!”

I finally consulted with a trainer about how to give Ri an attitude adjustment. I’ve been instructed to give her a ‘time out’ when she picks on Taco. Additionally, I’ve been told to make sure she is fed last, and that she does not pass through any doorways ahead of Taco.

The behavior hasn’t stopped completely, yet, but it’s become less frequent.

Do you have similar troubles in your dog house? If so, how did you deal with it?



We are always looking for coupons for certain items we purchase for the dogs on a regular basis. If you have Rachael Ray Nutrish coupons, Busy Bone coupons, or Cesar coupons that  you will not be using, please save them for us. Contact me if you have some to send.

There are also items that we just can’t afford, but that would make life a whole lot easier.

Things we need Up on the Woof

About yelodoggie

Ariel C. Wulff is an author, artist and animal advocate. They have been involved in pet rescue for over twenty-five years. They have written two books about their true-life adventures living with an ever-changing house full of pets: Born Without a Tail, and Circling the Waggins, and a guide to animal advocacy using the Internet as a tool: How to Change the World in 30 Seconds". Wulff also wrote a pet column and book review column for the Examiner, and was a contributing editor for They attribute their love of animals to having been raised by Wulffs.
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4 Responses to Trouble in the Dog House

  1. ouacstowohio says:

    Edith is fed last because she makes Opie uncomfortable with aggressive stance. She often Barks At Opie when outside in a rapid fire bark. She wants to be the alpha dog female. We walk between them. We let Opie in and she goes potty alone, if giving Opie a hard time. At my house the time outs are always in the bathroom. The dogs that had an issue the one that starts goes in. The rest are distracted with going outside or other things so that when the dog behaving badly is out of time out, it doesn’t start all over, as I have already distracted everyone. Since Pancake has been ill dogs cannot really have hard treats ( at least n front of Pan). So, now when they expect them I do not hand them out. They get gratitude for coming when called and petted instead. If Banana barks and yells at me I walk away. If she continues she is told to get a toy. She does and chews hard toys and is quiet. Also, move all treat containers from the usual places.
    With all of this said, eventually a dimension changes when another adult dog comes in. ALWAYS. Like people joining new groups everyone needs settled in. Because of the stress and age of the pets I would recommend giving them natural melotonin. This helps dogs with anxiety, those afraid in storms and fighting. Dosages can be googled. This will make training easier as the dogs will be more mellow and responsive.


  2. kathyg92256 says:

    I had an issue when I introduced 2 elderly dogs to my pack a year ago. The one dog DesiMae was small & fit in right away with my pack but the other one Julie who is 85 lbs did not get along with any of my dogs. Since Julie & DesiMae came from a home where the owner passed away & family didn’t want the dogs, they spent 5 months in a shelter. It was a struggle; the trainer had me walk Julie with my pack one at a time, then a few together, then all of them at once. (I had 7 other dogs at the time). The one thing I absolutely will not be without is the pet convincer. Julie likes calm and most of my other dogs are terriers. Sometimes the house is organized confusion. When this happens, Julie’s hackles go up and a little blast from the pet convincer settles her down. It is a difficult transition for any dogs so patience and love wins out in the end, I believe….. I’m sure yours will settle down given time……. Love your books & your blogs!


  3. When we first got Mia, Leo was only 1 year old and not very cuddly. Whenever we fawned over Mia (a senior), he’d stand and bark at us… but then he let us cuddle him, so it was a win-win. Now they get along pretty well, but I worry about introducing another dog. I think Mia would be very jealous.


  4. Champion of My Heart (award-winning dog blog) says:

    I’ve always wondered about the challenges of many dogs + fostering. The most we’ve ever had (for just 4 months last year) was 3 dogs. I really do feel like 2 is my limit for a number of reasons (including financial ones). My (late) Lilly resource guarded me and my husband (and any other person she liked) from our old boy, Ginko, when they lived together. He was so tolerant and did not push it when she rumbled at him. I do think timeouts can work. Good luck with that!


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