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  1. #1
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    Default Can two dogs who just don't like each other... Update: Home found!

    We've had dogs for 30+ years, and have never had this situation. We have a seven year old German shorthair pointer mix, and a three year old rat terrier mix, and they just do not like each other. It would be fine if they just left each other alone and went their separate ways, but the rat terrier mix would rather start a fight. The two dogs have separate sleeping spaces, we maintain the same order when feeding. Same place on the floor for the food dishes. Several water dishes in various parts of the house. Same order when feeding treats. They have a dog door and a large outdoor space. The terrier has toys; the pointer mix doesn't play with toys. We don't play favorites when they are together around us. We try to stay neutral. We can't figure out why they are fighting.

    The vet has both of them on amitryptaline (sp?) and they are both wearing those scented collars that are supposed to induce calmness. Usually, they just look at each other and growl, but after a major fight on Friday (terrier sank his teeth into pointer's back leg and held on), they are both wearing muzzles right now.

    Would a professional dog behavior expert be able to help? Any other suggestions? Thanks!
    Last edited by pony4me; Sep. 15, 2012 at 12:37 PM. Reason: Little dog needs new home.
    It's 2014. Do you know where your old horse is?



  2. #2
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    I'd rehome one dog. Unless you are very, very experienced, this is a disaster waiting to happen. With one big dog and one small dog, the small dog could end up dead.

    Life is too short to live with one eye and one ear always on the dogs.



  3. #3
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    I had friends that not only had a half dozen of their own little dogs (a toy breed), but fostered rescues from the same breed also. During the day they separated everyone with doggie gates in the house so opposing groups had no contact (two of their own dogs hated each other). Their conclusion was that dogs that truly have a problem will never get along, and separation is the only solution. I don't think long term enemies will ever change, and become reliable friends. I agree with 3dog, either rehome one or prepare for fights and vet bills.
    You can't fix stupid-Ron White



  4. #4
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    I had two male terriers who would go at it on occasion. 95% of the time, they would cock their tails and growl with no further action, but on occasion they would get into it.

    I think if you really want to keep them both, you need some SERIOUS recall training on the terrier. (He sounds like the instigator). Never leave them home alone together outside of kennels, and when they are together the terrier needs to know he is NOT top dog. I dont think its possible to prevent the occasional tiff, but ensuring terrier is not the dominant one will hopefully help.

    The two terriers took a while to figure out who was the dominant one, and who needed to back down. After this was established they did get a long much better, to the point where they could be left together (supervised) in close quarters.

    I think it depends on a bunch of factors though, including how the less dominant one will react. Two dominant dogs of the same sex are never easy. Theres nothing wrong with seeking professional training help in situations like these.



  5. #5
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    I'm curious as to the sexes. Both girls? Both boys?

    I'm sorry but I'd start look to rehoming one. Either can end up dead after a fight - the rat terrier could have hit an artery on Friday.

    What a terrible situation. I had 2 GSDs who didn't get along and it was horrible and stressful, though they were mostly ok with each other. I vowed never again. At least they were the same size.
    When someone shows you who they are, BELIEVE THEM.



  6. #6
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    My situation isn't exactly like yours because my girls actually get along fairly well most of the time, they will sleep together and play together. But they would get a little crazy while play fighting and on a few occasions I started to get a little nervous. We did professional remote collar training and they now wear the collars any time they are out of their crates. The second their playing gets rough we either use the leave-it command or the come command and follow up with the collar. They stop every time. The collar reinforces the command and it gets their attention off of each other. They are crated separately when we are not home. I am also lucky because my house is ultimately one huge room, so I always have an eye on them. If I have to leave even for five min I crate them or take one with me to be safe. I am probably overly cautious, but I figure better safe than sorry.



  7. #7
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    Terriers can be incredibly hard headed and stubborn. My guess is that, if you have to ask the question, the answer is no; you are not going to able to get the dogs to live in peace. You might be able to ensure survival of both dogs with crates, baby gates, and a lot of care. However, it won't be a whole lot of fun living like a prison guard trying to keep members of the Crips and the Bloods separated.

    You should also honestly assess whether ALL members of your household are up for 24x7 prison guard duty. Scenario- Someone leaves the baby gate open for "just a minute" to get a drink from the fridge or hit the bathroom, terrier sneaks into the living room to snarf some chips, dog fight breaks out when the other dog defends the chips. End result, dogs get torn up and someone gets a mangled hand breaking up the fight.



  8. #8
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    In my previous posting the dogs were Papillons. They can have bad teeth, and it wasn't uncommon for the two females to attack the baby gate during the day, and my friends would come home to find the miscellaneous tooth on the floor occasionally. The two females never stopped fighting.

    I think the problem here is both animals are dominant animals, and in the future if you can contain them 24/7 so they don't fight, then when they get older the fight for leader will never quit. It's just a Carp said, do you want to be a prison warden until one of the dogs dies? Because that's the only solution I see. Rehoming for one or the other would be kinder and safer, but probably only with a submissive dogs in the household, or even better to an only dog household.
    You can't fix stupid-Ron White



  9. #9
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    We've had a JRT that is like that with two of our other small dogs. We've had years of separating them, never leaving them alone with each other and putting them in their cages at night so we can sleep. When we travel we always take the offender so that housesitters don't have to deal. It's a real pain. We have a system though and it works but since the JRT is 16 now we probably don't have long now. The sad part is that the JRT is the sweetest dog when she is alone.



  10. #10
    pony4me is offline Grand Prix Premium Member
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    Thanks, everyone. They are both neutered males. I was reading the Dog Attack thread, and the information about bite inhibition and warning signs was interesting. The larger dog has bite inhibition, but the terrier does not. They both stare and growl at each other, so both give warning signs. Most of the time a stern NO causes them to go their separate ways, but not always. The pointer can be distracted, but the terrier will frequently come back and make trouble. I kind of wish the pointer had fought back when the terrier first started bothering him. If the terrier had his butt kicked he might have changed his mind about fighting. But since we love both dogs, we are committed to preventing fights, and we feel encouraging or even allowing fights is irresponsible. And yes, it's hard being the warden.
    It's 2014. Do you know where your old horse is?



  11. #11
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    I've been told that the answer is "NO"!!! I had a GSD and a Great Pyrennes that grew to dislike each other - not a "small" issue when both dogs weighed 100+ pounds. An expert dog trainer told me that one day they would fight and one would die. I spent the next 3 years keeping them in separate parts of the house and never alone together. I was prepared to do that forever. but we lost the GSD to spinal disease and my problem was solved. As suggested...rehome one. You'd hate to find them dead one day when your safety precautions failed.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by pony4me View Post
    But since we love both dogs, we are committed to preventing fights, and we feel encouraging or even allowing fights is irresponsible. And yes, it's hard being the warden.
    Do not allow them to fight it out. What will happen is injured/crippled/dead dog(s), massive vet bills and at least one dog who will still want to finish it.

    Remember that more practice makes for better fighters, not necessarily smarter dogs.



  13. #13
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    Default Crate/rotate/separate or Rehome

    Quote Originally Posted by pony4me View Post
    The pointer can be distracted, but the terrier will frequently come back and make trouble. I kind of wish the pointer had fought back when the terrier first started bothering him. If the terrier had his butt kicked he might have changed his mind about fighting. But since we love both dogs, we are committed to preventing fights, and we feel encouraging or even allowing fights is irresponsible. And yes, it's hard being the warden.
    The bold part: completely erase that from your mind. Stick with the underlined part.

    Once this starts, it is very difficult to stop and usually requires expert intervention and extreme commitment. You must crate, separate, and rotate 24/7 during holidays, travel, vet emergency, etc. It is now fun. You'll feel guilty when one dog is out and the other isn't. You must find a vet, kennel, sitter that will follow this regime, too and never think 'they seem fine now' 'just for a minute' 'they won't fight away from home.'

    Imagine the stress, energy, and anxiety on the dogs living in this civil war? Rehoming will relieve pressure all around. Stack the odds for success in a new place by rehoming whichever pup is easier to live with.



  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bicoastal View Post
    Imagine the stress, energy, and anxiety on the dogs living in this civil war? Rehoming will relieve pressure all around. Stack the odds for success in a new place by rehoming whichever pup is easier to live with.
    THIS. Excellent point, and really the most important one.
    When someone shows you who they are, BELIEVE THEM.



  15. #15
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    Default

    I kind of wish the pointer had fought back when the terrier first started bothering him. If the terrier had his butt kicked he might have changed his mind about fighting. But since we love both dogs, we are committed to preventing fights, and we feel encouraging or even allowing fights is irresponsible. And yes, it's hard being the warden.
    terriers generally don't quit, so you'd probably have had a horrible death-battle already if the pointer had fought back.
    You shouldn't let dogs "work it out" by fighting any more than you should let toddlers get into fights with each other- anytime anyone seems a bit cranky, or gets over-excited, it's time to have a little cool-down period.

    you simply can't make two dogs like each other. An expert might give you tips on how to manage the dogs in your household, but if you keep them both it will be a lifelong management situation.



  16. #16
    pony4me is offline Grand Prix Premium Member
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    Thanks for the input, everyone. We have decided to try to re-home the terrier and are looking for a situation where he will be the only dog. He's in Tennessee if you know anyone.
    It's 2014. Do you know where your old horse is?



  17. #17
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    Sorry that you have to rehome your pup. I just asked this same question on my breed forum and the answer pretty much is always NO unless you are a very experienced trainer/behaviorist.

    In my case, luckily it is my sister's dog and not mine who takes serious offense to my male, so they won't see each other that often and we'll just keep them separate when we visit. But don't you really just wish they understood English and would just leave each other the heck alone?
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  18. #18
    pony4me is offline Grand Prix Premium Member
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    Update 9/15: We found an older lady who lives by herself and wanted a dog. She has two teenager grandkids who visit frequently. They came over on Wednesday night and spent some time with the little dog. They picked him up today.

    We have high hopes that this situation will work out for all concerned. If not, we will take him back and try again.

    I miss the little guy, and hubby has shed a few tears, but it's alright.
    It's 2014. Do you know where your old horse is?



  19. #19
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    A new home means a new beginning, for the dog and for you. And your willingness to rehome this pup, with a return to you if it doesn't work out is wonderful.
    You can't fix stupid-Ron White



  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by pony4me View Post
    Update 9/15: We found an older lady who lives by herself and wanted a dog. She has two teenager grandkids who visit frequently. They came over on Wednesday night and spent some time with the little dog. They picked him up today.

    We have high hopes that this situation will work out for all concerned. If not, we will take him back and try again.

    I miss the little guy, and hubby has shed a few tears, but it's alright.
    good for you! I'm sure they will love him and will be forever grateful you did your part to make his life better.



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