Bella and Cricket still are not getting along. It was better for a while (though not much) but it's back to being pretty difficult. The big problem is that Cricket must ALWAYS be on guard. Bella will try to take any toy that Cricket is playing with even if Bella is playing with something else. If Cricket has a toy (or a treat) she sits on it or by it and growls (lips fully pulled back, gums completely exposed) and snaps at Bella whenever Bella comes by. Otherwise Bella lunges for the toy or tries to sneak off with it. If Cricket gets up to get a drink (even if it has been an hour since Bella's last attempt), Bella speeds in and 'steals' the toy. The only way for me to play with Cricket is for Bella to be locked up elsewhere. If she is anywhere in the area, Bella will charge after the toy and since she is so much bigger than Cricket she always gets to it first.
I know I've been told before that dogs don't see it as "stealing" but this is causing major problems. Is there ANY way for me to teach Bella that when Cricket has a toy she is to leave it alone. Right now, if I catch Bella moving toward Cricket and the toy I'll say, "leave it" and Bella will back off, but only for about 5-10 minutes.
Now, Bella will occassionally try to play with Cricket (or so I assume) by coming up to Cricket with a toy in her mouth and tapping Cricket with the toy. It appears as if she is saying, "Hey let's play tug of war, or keep away." But Cricket rarely responds.
Bella is now 5 months old and I keep hoping that things will improve when Bella ages and begins to calm some, but I'm starting to get worried.
Your story sounded much like my own situation at home with my yorkie (4 months) and my roommates cocakapoo (just under 4 months). They are constantly at each other, stealing toys when they have tons of choices to play with, sometimes even when there are 2 of the same toy! They are fighting most of the time we're hoem but in another room - they are penned off into the kitchen until housebroken. Sometimes it gets very rough and scary even as they growl and bit each other (ears, neck, collar, etc)
We try separating them and they whine. If we break the fight up they get right back into it even with us saying NO and sitting right there. Then an hour later they are snuggling and playing together. It's more than just playful fighting though when they are at it. I heard they are fighting for dominance but they've lived together for 2 weeks now - figure it out already!
Basically Cricket tries to pretend that Bella does not exist whether there are toys around or not. If she must acknowledge Bella, then she draws back her lips or goes for a full on growl, snap. If we are taking a nap/sleeping late and I let Bella on the bed, Cricket might growl if Bella gets too close to her but then the two will sleep somewhat near each other (if Bella touches Cricket, Cricket growls and snaps - and when I say snap as of yet no contact has been made).
They never have a time when they play together. In fact, one friend said Cricket remindered her of a cat who just barely tolerates the dog that has been brought into the house. Unfortunately, unlike most cats, Cricket does want to play and you can tell she is upset that Bella keeps 'butting' in.