Help! He's driving me nuts!!

Avatar for mcmitchell58
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Help! He's driving me nuts!!
Fri, 04-04-2003 - 2:50pm
Hi. I am new to this board. I mostly hang out at the Pets Bereavement board. Here is why one of my dogs is driving me crazy, long story short: I had 2 dogs (Lucky & Toby). They were littermates, brothers, not quite 4 years old (go to ). Anyway, Toby died in December and Lucky was very very lonely. They used to run around like crazy playing together. So, Lucky was so depressed after losing Toby, that I went to the SPCA and got another little doggie, Casey. Casey and Lucky are about the same size. Casey is 2 years old but was never socialized (apparently) to any other animals or to people. He doesn't know how to play with either Lucky or me. No chase, no tug of war, no fetch, nothing. He may be slowly taking over Lucky's Alpha-male status. The Problem is that Casey needs to be an only dog. He jumps into my lap as soon as I sit down on the sofa. He won't leave me alone in his quest for my full attention. Poor Lucky needs attention too, and I try to give both of them attention but I can't help but play favorites either. Everyday I think, what if I made a mistake in getting Casey before we were ready for another dog. I don't feel like I'm being fair to Casey, but I can't help loving Lucky more. He's so sad still. What can I do to get Casey to calm down? I guess I'm just venting a little. Thanks for listening.


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-20-2003
Sat, 04-05-2003 - 8:40am
Hi Melissa and Welcome to the Dogs Board. Your story is not that unusual...when I got my lab, Valentine, it took a few months before I actually "bonded" with her...and she was a puppy at the time. I had lost my beloved Maxwell, and still had my dal, Samantha. I found myself giving more attention to Samantha and would feel guilty. It wasn't until I brought Valentine to be spayed, and saw how helpless she was when she came home, that I realized how much I loved her.

Right now Valentine is 4YO and Samantha is 7YO. Valentine "must" have all the attention and often pushes Samantha out of the way to get it, or she "attacks" poor Samantha to get her out of the way. I get annoyed, but I know that is just her way.

You have to remember that Casey is a rescue dog and probably has "issues" that you need to deal with. Do you know if Casey was abused? If he wasn't socialized at all, perhaps he was attention deprived. It will take a while to let him know that he is loved and cherished as he should be. I know that you want to treat both dogs equally but, for a while, you may have to focus a bit more energy on Casey. Here's an article that may be of some help:


If you've adopted a formerly abused dog, you've also adopted a challenge. Behavioral problems can run the gamut depending on the kind of ill treatment your dog experienced. If your dog exhibits severe or violent behavioral problems, remove the pet from your home and place him in the hands of a behavioral specialist. Ask your veterinarian for recommendations. However, most often formerly abused dogs can be trained to diminish behavioral problems.

If your dog came from an abusive situation she could have problems relating to you, members of your family or other animals. Puppies learn through play. If your dog came from a puppy mill, it's likely she suffers from a social disadvantage due to a limited amount of socialization (playing and interaction with other dogs) in critical stages of early development. Signs of abuse include:

Low confidence

Submissive urination (when petted or disciplined)

Excessive displays of submission

Shyness and cowering around adults or strangers

Excessive licking

If you suspect abuse and your dog's health seems to be suffering, take your dog to the veterinarian with a list of the symptoms you suspect to be related to her former treatment.

Start by evaluating your dog. What is he afraid of? Monitor your dog's behavior for a week and note situations he avoids or that cause him stress. He might be afraid of a ceiling fan, dislike shiny objects or cringe when you pet him. Go over this list with everyone in your family so they're aware of the dog's difficulties. Once you've established what he doesn't like, find out what he does like. You can use these things as rewards during training.

There are several things you can do to increase your success rate when training a dog with this kind of history.

Find a place he likes to be to train. This could be a local park or your backyard. If he's in a place he can relax, you'll have an easier time holding his attention and making training a positive experience.

Start off slow with no distractions. That means no other people, dogs or treats within plain view or an earshot. This will help her concentrate.

Consistency is key. Set up a training schedule that occurs at the same time and place, and with the same exercises (for a period of time until he masters each one) and rewards.

Maintaining a schedule can help an especially nervous dog relax.

Use lots of praise. Once a task is completed successfully, reward your dog with verbal and physical praise. Pet her on the head, rub her tummy or give her a good scratch behind the ears.

Set up your dog for success. Don't give her a command when she's obviously not paying attention or is too frightened to respond.

Work on only one command at a time. Work on a command until she's successful. This will build confidence.

Use encouragement to help her finish a task. Encourage her with positive phrases like "good dog" and "That's my girl!"

Get involved. Join a dog playgroup if he's not afraid or overly aggressive. Some great doggie activities are group obedience classes and agility tournaments.

You can follow a normal training program with a formerly abused dog - just remember these tips, give her a lot of love and remember you'll need a lot of patience. Start with beginner-level training program and watch your dog grow into a healthy and happy pooch!

Good luck and please be sure to keep us updated...



iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 04-08-2003 - 10:17am
i'm sure you know this, but ... just as a reminder ... every dog is different. it was nice of you to try to get Lucky a new playmate and friend, but no dog will ever replace toby either in your home or in your heart. casey has a different personality, and right now it may be driving you nuts, but in time you'll see all the beauty in casey just as you did in Toby and do in Lucky. building relationships takes time.

don't worry about questions like "did i get a new dog too soon?" whether you did or didn't doesn't really matter. the fact is that you *do* have a new dog and perhaps he isn't well socialized, but he is eager to get your attention, so he's probably eager to get to know you, so give yourself and Casey and Lucky *TIME.*

if Casey's lack of social skills bothers you, enroll him in obedience classes -- they're not just for puppies -- classes would be excellent exercises in socialization for him, and they might bring the two of you together and help you bond. in class, you'll be with just him, no Lucky around to compete for your attention, and that will help Casey feel more secure in his relationship with you and in his new home.

also, don't worry too much about Lucky losing his alpha-dog status. everytime the dog-pack changes, status within the pack is going to change, and sometimes alpha-dog's relinquish that role. dog's have their own ways of working things out -- you do not get to choose who the alpha-dog will be. check out the discussions under the message "Becoming a multi dog household" (March 28) in the Questions and Advice Section of this message board -- the posters there have some really good insight into the whole "alpha-dog" issue.

everything's going to be alright ... for all of you.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-08-2003
Tue, 04-08-2003 - 6:35pm
Hang in there w/ your new furkid.

I've got 2 (brothers) 5 months apart, different as night and day. My 1st (TJ)we went to puppy schooling for 4 mos. His only want is to be rubbed(He's more like a cat).

Both are toy yorkies, males 4 and 5 lbs.

Scooter, my 2nd (not educated)is the best. he loves playing ball (he even kicks it to u),

on command will go and find his ball or anything close!!!! But, I have come to realize, they are their own. TJ likes being rubbed, Scooter's in my lap as soon as I'm sitting still. I thought I was partial also (favored TJ), but then one day I dropped Scooted and realized he could have been hurt or killed. And I've loved him since. Something, we aren't sure for one reason or another. Have patience with your furkids, and enjoy them

as indivduals. Because they are different. You never know what they have been through, and why they end up at the SPCA! Love and understanding will make a difference.