Italian Greyhounds/2 yr. old IG littermates ...newly adopted, squabbles
I just took in a pair of 2 yr. old IG littermates and I have noticed intermittent growling and squabbles and I want to make sure it doesn't progress into a problem or real fight as I have read can happen.
Their history: kept by well known breeder for til 14 months old, 1 for show potential and the other for breeding potential if brother had shown well. Both males were sold Intact to a family with two young boys (7 & 9). They did have dogs neutered but had ongoing problems with marking and the dogs were very skittish around high energy younger boy even after 10 months. They did consult a trainer but were not consistent with any training, did not do regular walks etc. Dogs were mostly crated it just left on porch with doggie door to fenced yard where they ran and rough-housed with each. The couple is also separating and so it was not a good fit for these dogs.
Our history: We have a 13 yr/old IG who came to us a decade ago, also from divorcing couple who kennels him for extended time. He came with similar issues as well as cancer which was successfully tresses with surgery. At last years dental he had complications with anesthesia and a couple months later suffered a neuro crisis but is doing very well on low dose Prednesone. He took lots of consistent training nd is now a great dog! Last spring,just after his dental, we also lost our 12 yr/old female Iggy who had been a puppy mill mom and at Thanksgiving, our 16 yr/old cat...(hard year). We have done many fosters and watch dogs in our home sometimes as well and so we're good at integrating dogs into a variable "pack".
We visited the puppies with our old dog 3 times before adopting them to make sure they would blend well. They came Thursday evening (long walk before coming into house and introduced on leash to home. Friday, they had walk and playtime running in our back yard with our dog and neighbors dog (who can run longer than our Guy), they also had to get all their shots and started worming treatment which lasted thru Sunday. They get regular walks and playtime just our guys, with neighbors dog and another IG female we watch. And they got to go for first beachwalk yesterday.
I want them to be socialized with different settings r people etc. So far they seem to be responding very well except .....
Problem: I've noted periodic grumbling from each of them, sometimes just out of the blue...everyone is sleeping, nobody moves or anything ...then some grumbly growl. It is always corrected by a finger snap and and an "Ceaser shh" noise with a light touch if it happens again. This morning they did progress to a 1 second physical squabble which stopped with a finger snap...so they are giving it up pretty quickly so to me it seems they are accepting us as leaders. I know there's an adjustment period and I have no problem with that. I did read about littermates beginning to fight between 1 and 2 yrs/old and that it could progress to full on fights. We've never had to deal with fights before and I want to arm myself with information and tools so we won't have to.
What methods have you successfully used to prevent squabbles? Are there signals I am missing? This may be TMI, but could my having my period be adding an hormonal component? Should I redirect them to a toy or will squeeky noise and excitement just make them escalate? I've been walking all 3 together as a pack to encourage bonding. Should I also add individual walks? Enough questions? Okay I'll leave it there for now. Thanks.
I apologize for the slow response, I was out of the country for a few days..
Concerning your IGs, first- thank you for being willing to help these little guys out. You sound as though you are extremely familiar with this breed. The issue you are probably having is the boys trying to figure out who will be alpha in a household of boys. Also they have been together since birth and have played pretty rough since thier eyes opened so this also may be some of that. You sound like you are doing everything right and you may have to let them get a little rough with each other to figure out who is going to be boss, what you don't want is two dominant males because then the fighting will get really ferocious.
I would advise to keep doing what you are doing, figure out where they like to rest or where a good sunbeam comes in and create a safe spot that they can go and not be bothered, either singly or together. Also get them toys that they like but rather than getting them each one, get one and see if you can get them to learn to play together, for instance one squeaky to and one chirping bird toy, you can throw and they both chase it. Throw a ball and let them chase it, praising them both no matter who brings it back(assuming that one does bring it back). My IGs growl at each other occasionally to tell the others to leave them alone, it took a while for the youngsters to get the message but eventually they did. Keep correcting if they growl at each other for no reason. I would probably suggest crating them seperately if you are away, just to be sure they don't get into a fight, and for your own piece of mind. Have the crates side by side but have special blankets or something in each so they make it thier own.
Good luck, it sounds like you are doing everything I would do, you are obviously a great IG "mom" and these little guys are very lucky to have found you!!!