So the wife and I have been thinking for a long time that we should get a second dog to keep Dora, our almost-2-year-old Sheltie mix, company. And today we finally found a good match for her--we think.
Cricket's an Australian Cattle Dog/Jack Russell mix, also a rescue, also a female. We're thinking she's about the same age as Dora too.
First there was a scuffle in the car on the way home while the two settled a little dispute about who would sit where. That wasn't too bad.
When we got home, though, the sparks started to fly. After a pretty peaceful half hour of Cricket sniffing around the apartment and Dora chasing/playing with her, I decided to try giving them each a treat. This did NOT go over too well. After giving Dora a treat, I tell Cricket to sit and reach to give her a treat. In that moment, I learned that Dora REALLY doesn't like to share treats. There was a scuffle, and it was pretty damn aggressive. I mean, there's the usual establish dominance-type behavior, and then there's full-on fighting. This was fighting.
After things settle down for a bit, Cricket comes over to me and I tell her to sit. I reward her with a good scratch behind the ears. I think Dora must have thought I still had a treat or something, because she comes charging at cricket again and another fight starts. I'm kinda trapped in the middle already, so I grab Dora to pull her away, and Dora bites me on the hand. Great. There's only one little break in my skin, but a dog bite is a dog bite and I'm off to the ER to get it washed out and get a prescription for some antibiotics.
Since the big fight things have been pretty peaceful, but the wife and I are clearly worried. The relationship between these two, while generally OK, seems to have the potential for some serious conflict. Maybe it's the two-female thing and they're both trying to be the alpha...
My question is this--How much of this is normal, and at what point do we throw our hands up and take cricket back to the rescue agency? I know it'll take some time to adjust, but are there any red flag kind of things to look out for? I'm concerned about the level of aggression that was there earlier--I mean, it's one thing to fight over treats or toys like that, but it makes me worry that they'd end up fighting over our nephew, for instance.
Any ideas? Thoughts?