Hi everyone, this thread's a god send to me, so I hope you don't mind me piggy-backing with some more questions about a similar situation. I've got a slightly 'special needs' (highly strung - very playful - very boisterous) BSD bitch who will be 2 in December. 3 weeks ago we got a 6 months old smooth collie bitch as a companion. We picked her very carefully for her calm temperament and orientation towards people (didn't want two hooligans!). Neither is speyed, and I don't intend to have them speyed unless there are medical indications.
I've had such contradictory advice on how to handle their relationship. Some people said to let them sort themselves out, but I'm with LisaBC and LeviBevi on that one. Others say to promote the older bitch to 'top dog' and give her certain privileges, including humping and dominating the younger one. Now, the older one isn't really what you'd call leadership material. She's very immature and doesn't know when to stop. So her 'playing' can easily turn into mobbing. So I'm not too happy with that approach, either.
Generally speaking, little one is quite happy to follow the older one's guidance, as long as the older one is calm. When she becomes all wound up, little one doesn't really want to be with her (understandable!).
I've been dealing with them as follows: While they're running around playing,I've left them to it. When the young one comes to me, I stop the older one from bugging her (so little one knows I sort things out for her). I don't let the older one hump her (I wouldn't have interfered if it had happened once or twice, but as I said she doesn't know when to stop). The younger bitch likes to block the older one from getting to me, but I don't allow that, either. Does that sound reasonable?
The little one is very food-orientated and nicks the older dog's bone even if she's got her own - the older one doesn't defend her bone, so there's no argument. At the moment, I return the bone to the older one, and the little one loses hers, but is that the right thing to do? I'm also doing a lot of impulse control around leaving food and waiting to be fed. And I'm starting to let one dog wait while I do a little bit of work with the other one. It's still very hard for the new dog, because she's not done that before. But she's understanding and is doing well.
I'll be very grateful for your feedback and advice - it's all new to me!