I have a friend who recently adopted a boxer from a rescue (they've had the dog full-time for about a month now on a semi-trial basis). There is little information on his history as he was just found wandering on the side of the highway without a collar or identification. They estimate he is about 18-months old (in human years), and other than a few minor scars, he seems to be in fairly good shape so we don't think his situation was very traumatic.
The concern is the existing dogs in the house. They have 2 others. There is a 5 year old Chesapeake Bay Retriever (and in my opinion he is slightly crazy) and a 8 year old Pug. All 3 dogs are males and all 3 are fixed. The Chessie is a pure-bred bought from a breeder as a puppy and my friends have been his only owner. The Pug was adopted from a shelter when he was about 6-months old.
Prior to the arrival of the Boxer, the Pug and the Chessie were relatively indifferent to each other. The Pug let the Chessie have his way and never really bothered him much. The Chessie also happens to be very possessive of toys (or anything that he has near him) so after getting growled at a few times when they were younger, the Pug seems to have decided that avoidance is the best measure.
When the Boxer arrived, he and the Pug became fast friends to the point that when the wrestle and play, the boxer actually the Pug "win".
The interaction between the Chessie and the Boxer is the concern.
- When all 3 dogs are together, the Boxer always seems to make a point to keep himself between the Chessie and the Pug, and seems to be watching the Chessie with unusual interest (almost like he is keeping an eye on the Chessie and protecting the Pug).
- When just the Chessie and the Boxer are together one of 2 things happens
- The Boxer mirrors the pugs indifference and just let's the Chessie go
- The Boxer follows the Chessie around. This is the one that concerns everyone most. The posture of the Boxer appears to be somewhat aggressive. His head is lowered but stating right at the Chessie and he is always 2-3 steps right behind him. This will go on for several minutes and then the Boxer will go off and do something else
This 2nd situation is what worries myself and my friend, but his wife doesn't seem to think much of it. It appears to us that the Boxer is stalking the Chessie. We're just not sure why and how much we should be concerned. My friend's wife thinks that the Boxer is just following the lead dog around and thinks it is actually cute when it happens.
- Is this stalking normal in that the boxer is just trying to test his limits with the biggest dog in the house? The Chessie outweighs the boxer by about 35lbs (which is about 16kg for my metric friends). The Chessie is close to 100lb and the boxer is almost 65lb, and the Chessie is almost as lean and muscular as the Boxer.
- Or is my friend's wife right and there is nothing to be worried about?
- Or is the Boxer sizing up the Chessie to challenge him? This is why we are concerned as neither of us wants to try to separate 165lb of dog going at each other.
If it is the latter, is there anything we can do to help keep the piece? Or is this something that will likely boil over at some point and it is just a matter of when?