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Advice about our dogs

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#1 AIR

Posted 09 August 2019 - 09:25 AM

Not sure where to start sorry it’s going to be long

1. First dog  male de- sexed about 7yrs old

(in laws dog) is a rescue dog has lots of issues separation anxiety obviously hasn’t been treated well by previous owners they’ve had him for 5years( they also live with us on the property in a granny flat)

2. Second dog is my partners dog kelpie cross not de-sexed 2yrs old (we’ve had him here for a week)

he had been living with a friend of my partners until a week ago but their  accommodation fell through so we are looking after him not sure if he’ll be staying here full time at this stage.

Both dogs get on well except we can’t have the in-laws dog around when playing fetch with the kelpie as he barks , growls  and tries to bite him.

We are able to put him inside when playing fetch with the kelpie(not ideal but at least it keeps everyone safe)

Just now I’ve called the kelpie back we have 5 acres (he has great recall) the in-laws dog came outside to see what was happening the kelpie came bounding down the drive way super excited and jumping all over the place and the in-laws dog for the 1st time growled and tried to bit him.

Now when I said bit he’s not full on aggressive and attacks more growls and tries to bit the kelpie on his back/neck

But I’m not being dismissive about it because obviously it has the potential to become a huge issue

I’m just at a loss as how to deal with it as I’ve never owned dogs before.

I’ve left a message for a dog trainer to call me back , but any advice in the mean time would greatly be appreciated

Thank you

Edited by AIR, 09 August 2019 - 10:49 AM.

#2 Oriental lily

Posted 09 August 2019 - 09:47 AM

What’s the sex of the dogs ?

#3 AIR

Posted 09 August 2019 - 10:50 AM

Sorry have edited post

In-laws male 7yrs de-sexed

Kelpie make 2yrs old not de-sexed(though I’m saving up to get that done ASAP)

#4 Trevor Trove

Posted 09 August 2019 - 10:59 AM

Train the kelpie to heal to you. Also train out the jumping on people.

The anxious dog is your inlaws, so unless they want to work on that, then there is not much you can do. They have had the dog for years now, so they are probably reinforcing the behaviours. Why am I assuming it's a terrier?

What you can do is train your kelpie and keep them apart for now.

eta - and you are onto the trainer... so that's good! Hope it goes well for you guys and the kelpie. I have owned kelpies since childhood so I have a soft spot for them!

#5 hills mum bec

Posted 09 August 2019 - 11:10 AM

Is the growling and biting maybe the older dog's way of playing?  My dogs growl and bite each other on the neck when they are playing but there is nothing aggressive in it, they are just having fun.

#6 AIR

Posted 09 August 2019 - 11:41 AM

Hills mum Bec

You might be right, the older dog has no idea how to Fetch or play and really hasn’t had a lot of interaction with dogs especially a kelpie that’s full of beans.

I guess I could be reading the situation between them wrong

#7 AIR

Posted 09 August 2019 - 11:45 AM


The  older dog is a mixed breed, I believe he has cattle, English pointer plus a few others that I’m not sure of.

#8 hills mum bec

Posted 09 August 2019 - 12:12 PM

View PostAIR, on 09 August 2019 - 11:41 AM, said:

Hills mum Bec

You might be right, the older dog has no idea how to Fetch or play and really hasn’t had a lot of interaction with dogs especially a kelpie that’s full of beans.

I guess I could be reading the situation between them wrong

Growling doesn't necessarily mean aggression.  This is a good article about how dogs growl during play:


Our dogs also have a large age gap, older one is 8yo Shepherd x Kelpie and we have a 6mo puppy Shepherd who is now a lot bigger than the older dog.  Our older dog we got from a shelter when she was 6mo and she has never been a playful type of dog.  She has a lovely temperament but has never been interested in playing games like fetch or tug of war.  Since we have introduced the puppy she has found her youth and will now happily play tug of war and wrestling games with the puppy.  Games always involve growling and wrestling always involves biting each other on the neck and face but without any strength behind it.  Older dog still doesn't get the concept of "fetch" and when we play with the younger dog will try to interrupt to play something more fun like wrestling.

It's hard to gauge from a written description if there is anything aggressive in the growling and biting from your inlaw's dog but be reassured that growling and biting doesn't always lead to aggression.

#9 JoanJett

Posted 09 August 2019 - 12:50 PM

That's a good article about play and the other posture cues with growling.

Does the older dog have much previous experience playing/socialising with other dogs?

I would also wonder about either play you just haven't seen before, or perhaps the older dog "schooling" the younger dog when he thinks it's too rambunctious.

We are at the dog park daily and I often see the older "working" type dogs like to keep the younger dogs in check.  There's also a lot of wrestling/growling/non-aggressive biting or mouthing that happens with the male dogs in particular.  

It's hard without seeing it in action - a dog trainer at home is a good idea, particularly if it's going to be a long term situation.

#10 Inda

Posted 09 August 2019 - 12:57 PM

My first thought was also maybe the older dog's growl could be in play rather then aggression. But you are right in being cautious, you don't want it to become something aggressive or a bigger issue.
It could be a defensive warning also, a bit of a back off/calm down to the kelpie.

I would observe the dogs body language together and when things like that happen. Watch for stiff tail, raised hackles (hair on the back of neck and down spine) teeth showing, stance etc. This is probably one of the first things your trainer will ask/want to observe also.
A trainer is definitely a good place to start and it sounds like you may benefit from some direction with the Kelpie (dogs in general) and getting some training also.
Good Luck.

#11 jayskette

Posted 09 August 2019 - 01:07 PM

kelpie needs to be desexed asap.

#12 AIR

Posted 09 August 2019 - 02:52 PM

Thanks again for all the replies I do appreciate it.

Pp as I said earlier getting him desexed is my top priority he’s only been with me a week .

all my other animals have all be desexed as soon as they were old enough (cats)

Definitely will be getting the kelpie trained in appropriate behaviour also🙂

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