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The rescue dogs are fighting with the old dogs. Help!

Dear Fisher,

I live with my mom and another dog named Andy. Like me, Andy is a wire-haired fox terrier, but I run the household. My problem is that my mom insists on bringing in other dogs, which she considers "rescues." I have nothing against dogs or cats who find themselves in a rescue situation. Andy and I are both rescues. I do not, however, want to spend my later years sharing my home with these dogs. As soon as they arrive, I make it clear to them that they are not welcome. This upsets my mom. She has been very good to me, but I just cannot continue to share my home. I want my mom and Andy in my house, and that is all. She is very aware of my feelings. Any suggestions?


Dear Olivia,

I'm not sure if your problems are due to other dogs stopping in and staying with your family every now and then, or if it's because you're in your later years. We do get a little more opinionated and a tad bit more irritable as we get older. And, let's face it — we start to think we need a lot more attention.

Your mom is surely a wonderful person to rescue Andy and you. Two little terriers in the house would be enough for most people, and yet, she continues to help others in need. She could easily enjoy helping others because helping you brought so much joy. That is a big compliment to you.

Here are several ideas that could make life easier for you:

• Your mom can count on your ability to establish "top dog" position by not trying to force you to be "polite" to the visiting rescue.

• Introductions should be made slowly and calmly.

• As homesteaded dog, your need to eat first is a matter of propriety, not rudeness, and should be allowed.

• You should keep the same privileges you enjoy when there are no visitors.

• A little extra attention should convince you that you're not headed for the revolving door.

• Even though you are the "boss," dominance problems may not be the issue. If bad behavior persists, a checkup at the vet may reveal an underlying cause.

A good site for more tips is

— Fisher lives in Tampa Bay with her humans and loves to give advice. Send questions and a photo to or visit

The rescue dogs are fighting with the old dogs. Help! 07/16/09 [Last modified: Friday, October 28, 2011 1:19pm]
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