Dear Cathy: I have a 13-year-old male Shiba Inu and a 1-year-old female Shiba Inu. We brought the female home when she was 8 weeks old. Needless to say, my older guy isn’t happy about her being here. Before her arrival, my male dog was calm, mellow, easy-going, loveable and didn’t bark. My female is a barker, is hyper, wants to be the boss and has gotten my male dog so nervous he won’t eat if she’s near him. He doesn’t even want to come inside if she’s in the house. I’m at my wit’s end. Any ideas will be helpful. — Susan, Huntington, New York
Dear Susan: When introducing a new pet to an established older pet in the home, it can take time for them to adjust. But a year is plenty of time for them to have gotten used to each other. Your female dog has come in and become the dominant dog in the home and that has stressed your older, male dog. Because their dynamics are established, it can take longer to settle everyone down. First, I suggest getting plug-in canine pheromones for several rooms in the home and pheromone collars for each dog. These have been scientifically proven to calm dogs.
Second, get an Anxiety Wrap or Thundershirt for your male dog. While they are used for thunderstorms or fireworks, these wraps also can help stressed pets feel less anxious. Your male dog can wear it all the time if it helps.
Next is training. Your female needs basic obedience training. Start training her to sit, stay, heel, down and come. While the commands are important for her to learn, it’s the training itself that can help redirect her energy. Training forces her to look to you for instruction and leadership, which can make her less dominant overall with the other animals in the home.