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how do keep dog play from escalating into fights

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  • #21
    My neutered pointer was 5 and very spoiled when I brought him home a very unasked for 10 week old female pitty sister. My pointer was resource guarding and a bit nasty to the pup at times. She was intimidated but as other pit bull owners know she reacted by agressing rather than submitting.40 lbs of angry red head!

    I had a trainer come consult and they were both put on the 'nothing in life is free' program and with lots of supervision and some maturing on my pit's part they are now the best of friends. If they ate confident in their leader (hopefully you!) they are much less likely to duke it out with each other.

    That being said I have been told that bitch on bitch agression like what your describing is the most difficult to deal with, and even with work you may need to accept these girls cannot be unsupervised together.

    Get thee to a CPDT ASAP! I also really like the books written by Patricia McConnell, they are cheap, easy to understand and have their basis is applied behavior analysis and not dominance theory based on faulty research.

    Comment


    • #22
      I always thought that when the dog licked you (owner) in the face/hand that the dog was telling you that he/she recognized the human has leader.
      um no. Besides, your relationship human to each dog has nothing to do with dog-dog relationships.
      Some people who buy into the whole "pack" thing will tell you that if you are just a strong enough "leader" your dogs will stop fighting. But when you look at say wolf packs the fights don't occur between the "alpha" and underlings- it's the middle management level that fight amongst each other (the "betas") and often the "betas" will seriously pick on some poor "omega". The alpha isn't involved and completely ignores these fights. So you can be a very strong human "alpha" and it won't stop this kind of bitch fighting. So please don't listen to whomever told you to "alpha roll" your dogs (it won't help, it will just make them both scared of you).

      There is actually very little evidence that dogs form packs when left on their own. When feral dogs are studied they form mating pairs and loose friendships, not structured packs. When we try to force dogs to live together sometimes they don't want to. Bitches of the same age often don't get along because their instincts are telling them to disperse and find a mating partner, or if the living is good to drive off the other bitch so as to keep the good living for her pups. Spaying bitches doesn't help with aggression- often spaying makes them MORE aggressive.

      "Dominance" and "packs" aren't the same concept. The idea of "dominance" is that it reduces fighting. Dogs who meet each other usually rapidly establish "dominance"- all it means is that if there is a resource available, and the dominant dog wants it, the submissive dog says Ok and a fight is not necessary. A pair of dogs can have different dominance levels depending on the resource- one dog can be dominant about food, but not about toys or choice of resting spot. Depends on who wants it more, and the dogs rapidly learn which one does so they don't have to fight all the time.
      Puppies usually have "puppy license", namely they can be rude, up to around 4 months of age; after that, often the older dogs are quite mean to the pups, teaching them manners (not hurting them, just going after them for minor violations with loud noises). Around age 1 to 2 years the pups become adults and establish their "dominance" level with the other dogs, and this age you may see squabbling and the beginning of serious bitch-bitch fighting. Which tends to escalate.

      Comment


      • #23
        Originally posted by Lmabernathy View Post
        How do I stop this and keep it from happening with the new puppy too?
        1. do not allow the two older dogs out together again

        2. begin training a recall that will hold. Use food. Good food.

        3. do not allow either of the adult dogs to choose the puppy as an object to guard. Allow the puppy to interact with both adults separately...WITH SUPERVISION.

        4. Begin training self control behaviors in both adult dogs. IE: Relaxation Protocol and Levels Training by Sue Ailsby.

        5. seriously consider re-homing one of the older dogs. This can be no fun for any involved.

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        • #24
          Originally posted by Bluey View Post
          Two puppies growing together, if siblings or not, is known for the worst dog fights when they are adults, to the point that one has to be rehomed.

          If you are there, remember, we don't even ask humans to live with other adult humans they don't like at all.
          We should not ask our pets do either.

          Any dog needs to learn to get along with other dogs when they interact with them, in walks, parks, dog class and shows.
          No dog should be asked to live 24/7 knowing there is an enemy living with them.

          Get professional help, but the prognosis is bad, generally, even if you try to keep them separated in your home for the rest of their lives, sometime, someone may make a mistake, leave a door open and they will fight and maybe injure someone seriously.

          That is the way dogs are.
          We sadly keep getting those to try to train, when the fault is in someone that didn't know any better raising two dogs together that happen to be close to the same level of dominance and set the stage for serious problems once they become adults.

          Some get by and all works out, if not, the problems will only escalate as they get older, ask any vet that gets to sew them back together.
          Here is more, google and you will find tons of examples and very few solutions when they are where you are now with them.
          That is sadly the nature of dogs:

          http://carpek9.com/A_TwoNotFun.html
          I agree. Females will also fight to kill. Most males will just fight for dominance, and back off when one surrenders. Females won't.

          Comment


          • #25
            I haven't read all the replies, but I've dealt with this, as has my sister, who has also had sibling dogs (from puppies).

            Yes, keep them separated while you are not there, but stop breaking up the fight.

            If you keep breaking it up, it will never get resolved. While it's hard to watch, if you have to, go hide in a closet....

            This advice was give to both me and my sister, independently, from dog behaviorists and vets -- and we live miles apart.

            It worked. They can never establish dominance (someone has to win that role), if you keep breaking up the fights. My sister was heartbroken that she'd have to get rid of one of the siblings.

            But she found out, the longer you keep breaking up what started as "spats" escalates...and the worse it will get. A few tattered ears later, the dogs found their niche and lived happily together to the ripe old age of 14.

            Hope that it's not too late to just let them work it out.
            www.littlebullrun@aol.com See Little Bull Run's stallions at:
            "Argosy" - YouTube and "Boleem" - YouTube
            Boleem @ 1993 National Dressage Symposium - YouTube

            Comment


            • #26
              Originally posted by sid View Post
              I haven't read all the replies, but I've dealt with this, as has my sister, who has also had sibling dogs (from puppies).

              Yes, keep them separated while you are not there, but stop breaking up the fight.

              If you keep breaking it up, it will never get resolved. While it's hard to watch, if you have to, go hide in a closet....

              This advice was give to both me and my sister, independently, from dog behaviorists and vets -- and we live miles apart.

              It worked. They can never establish dominance (someone has to win that role), if you keep breaking up the fights. My sister was heartbroken that she'd have to get rid of one of the siblings.

              But she found out, the longer you keep breaking up what started as "spats" escalates...and the worse it will get. A few tattered ears later, the dogs found their niche and lived happily together to the ripe old age of 14.

              Hope that it's not too late to just let them work it out.
              I know several situations like this one where "letting them work it out" ended up with a dead dog and the other severely injured.

              Use some common sense, some dogs do learn to get along, others just never do, since their fights in the wild would mean one runs off with it's tail between it's legs and goes to find it's own territory, in a household, no one can run off anywhere without being chased by the winner and killed.

              Now, here is another kind of situational problems, but very different and with different considerations, but you can get some concepts from this that may help you determine which kind of fights you have on your hands:

              http://mysmartpuppy.com/services/php...php?f=8&t=4244

              Comment


              • #27
                Originally posted by Bluey View Post
                I know several situations like this one where "letting them work it out" ended up with a dead dog and the other severely injured
                this. If they were going to work it out, it would not have escalated to injury. This is not a puppy being disciplined by an older dog, it is two adult dogs.

                Do not allow them to continue to practice this behavior.

                My first thought was that your household would be far more peaceful if you rehomed the dog who did not have the saliva on her back and neck. You have one frightened dog and one who is out to take the other down. Why not let both of them live happy, stress free lives by re-homing one?
                Last edited by threedogpack; May. 16, 2011, 07:05 PM.

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                • #28
                  I knew I may be criticized for posting what I did, but, absolutely...every situation is different.

                  In the case of my two sibling dogs and my sister's sibling dogs, the instructions from the behaviorists and the veteranians we consulted (none of whom knew eachother -- I live in VA, she in TX), was the same. An fortunately for both of us, their advice worked.

                  Was just passing this on. Of course, the end goal is to have no serious harm done to any animal that we love as we face certain challenges.
                  www.littlebullrun@aol.com See Little Bull Run's stallions at:
                  "Argosy" - YouTube and "Boleem" - YouTube
                  Boleem @ 1993 National Dressage Symposium - YouTube

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                  • #29
                    I think that they are too close in age and size. Some people do successfully keep two dogs separated in the same home. Breeders frequently use baby gates, crates, etc. It could be possible to keep them separated. If I didn't want to do that, I would start looking for a really good home for one of them. I am sure you feel a bit piled on, but dogs do best in male/female pairs. Two males are often better than two females. Some people do make it work, though. I know people who live with several bitches successfully. Involve a trainer immediately if that is your intention.

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                    • #30
                      I'm sorry but allowing two dogs to "work it out" and not interfere in a fight is just not feasible to me. When do you step in? Blood? guts? needing stitches?

                      This type of thing can lead to extremely serious injuries. I have seen two dogs go at it, same breed size and sex. Once it was over the loser had to have surgery to reattach the skin and muscle in his neck. $4800 vet bill. This is what can happen from standing back and letting two dogs work it out. A dog can easily lose an eye, or teeth (especially if both are wearing collars). This is just not good dog management.

                      Anyone who let's their dogs fight it out doesn't deserve to own dogs. It's just cruel, dangerous and stupid. I don't care what some so called behaviorist says. This is not acceptable ever. Especially with bitches, they will and can fight to the death if there is a serious pack mentality in place with them both vying for the alpha bitch spot.

                      Please please don't ever let your girls "work it out" by fighting it out. They will both lose in the long run and so will you $$$$$$$.
                      Lions and Tigers and Bears, oh my!!

                      Comment


                      • #31
                        I also received the advise to let them work it out, BUT TOLD TO PUT BASKET MUZZLES ON BOTH DOGS. With the muzzles, they weren't able to seriously injure each other and it might have worked with less intelligent dogs. (Becky figured out how to rip skin by grabbing with her incisors pressed against the end of the muzzle).

                        The last fight they had was not intentional. (Becky opened Leah's crate and let her out). It took three of us to break it up. Husband and father picked up the back legs of each dog to remove the base of support from each dog and I carefully pried their jaws apart. Leah had a broken leg and Becky nearly lost an eye. Neither dog was giving up.

                        Comment


                        • #32
                          jherold, that is a perfect example of what can happen when two get together. Painful for both dogs and freakin expensive for you to fix.

                          Even with basket muzzles I don't agree to let this happen. Too much can go wrong as you demonstrated in your post.

                          Letting dogs fight is in my opinion just plain old 'dog fighting'. This has been outlawed for a reason. There are numerous options available to anyone who has two dogs that don't get along. Try working with trainers, isolating them from each other, etc. Seriously would anyone let two stallions work it out???? Didn't think so.

                          As breeders we often have 'issues' within the group. We work very hard to keep those individuals apart at all times, especially when we have bitches in season. Then all hell can break loose!! It only takes one case of stink eye and bam they are on each other.

                          Years back I had a bitch that would go after any younger bitch in season. We had to keep her away from the younger ladies whenever that happened. It was threatening to her position as alpha bitch. Once the younger bitches were clear they were pals again. Ain't nature grand?! This is why we spend large sums of money on baby gates and crates! It is for their own safety.
                          Lions and Tigers and Bears, oh my!!

                          Comment


                          • #33
                            After reading this, I wonder if the fact that our dogs were male and female siblings (both neutered). In both my and my sister's cases, the females wound up on top -- then peace prevailed.
                            www.littlebullrun@aol.com See Little Bull Run's stallions at:
                            "Argosy" - YouTube and "Boleem" - YouTube
                            Boleem @ 1993 National Dressage Symposium - YouTube

                            Comment


                            • #34
                              Sid, girls rule boys drool, even in the dog world.
                              Lions and Tigers and Bears, oh my!!

                              Comment


                              • #35
                                . So true.
                                www.littlebullrun@aol.com See Little Bull Run's stallions at:
                                "Argosy" - YouTube and "Boleem" - YouTube
                                Boleem @ 1993 National Dressage Symposium - YouTube

                                Comment


                                • #36
                                  Originally posted by sid View Post
                                  After reading this, I wonder if the fact that our dogs were male and female siblings (both neutered). In both my and my sister's cases, the females wound up on top -- then peace prevailed.
                                  No, you were just lucky. I've had girls vs girls, boys vs boys and girls vs boys.

                                  it is simply the most common for it to be bitch vs bitch.

                                  Comment


                                  • #37
                                    People have asked why I'm so knowledgeable about wound care... I have Jack Russells, at one point almost 30 of them. There was not much about wound care I didn't know

                                    However, bitch on bitch fights almost always ended with a costly trip to the vet. Or when two dogs took on each other and any other dog in the area jumped in (I swear you could see them saying, "FIGHT! FIGHT!"). NOT PRETTY and I can tell you I felt pretty darn helpless; one woman against 5 jacks. I learned techniques to break up fights. But management is much, much easier (although difficult in itself) and less costly than letting them 'duke it out' amongst themselves.
                                    ~Kryswyn~ Always look on the bright side of life, de doo, de doo de doo de doo
                                    Check out my Kryswyn JRTs on Facebook

                                    "Life is merrier with a terrier!"

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                                    • #38
                                      I think in a lot of jurisdictions, allowing your dogs to fight, and purposely making no effort to intervene is against animal welfare laws. I can only imagine what an animal control officer would have to say when told "well, they needed to sort it out because they don't really get along, so I am letting them attack each other". Dog fighting exists as a "sport" because aggressive dogs tend to fight to death/incapacitation. One should never count on dogs to sort it out amongst themselves.

                                      At best, this method is a temporary solution that is likely to result in a dog that thinks it's okay to "take matters into their own hands" when a conflict arises. Perhaps this is how "wild dogs" handle things, but wild dogs aren't confined to houses where they are expected to interact with one another on a daily basis. Pack members that don't "fit in" in the wild are driven out and told to seek refuge elsewhere. If they don't, they risk losing their lives. Forcing two dogs that have a history of escalating aggression to live together is just asking for trouble at some point.

                                      I think the OP should consider a new home for one of the bitches before they or the pup (or, heaven forbid, she) get hurt. If she doesn't want to consider that, then it's time to invest a LOT of time and money into high quality obedience classes, and yesterday was time to set up the household so the dogs can be safely separated when not being directly supervised by assertive, knowledgeable handlers.
                                      Here today, gone tomorrow...

                                      Comment


                                      • #39
                                        You've gotten some good advice, and I think it boils down to this: find a good professional behaviorist and see what they think. Rehoming might be necessary. I know a lot of people are reluctant to rehome a dog because they consider it a failure on their part, but if you disregard your guilt and put yourself in your dog's place, that can make it easier.

                                        If a pro feels they would be happiest not living together, it's very very likely you can find one of them a happy home that is at least as good as yours. It may take some work, but many dogs adjust extremely well to new homes even after living with one family for most of their lives.

                                        I would keep them separated for now until you can work with a GOOD pro (look for lots of references and a resume that has some evidence of formal training.) Then you can decide what to do after that. Maybe with a little training and maintenance, they can live together peacefully.

                                        Some dogs/cats/etc just never learn to like their housemates and are very unhappy and stressed being forced to live and interact with them. I'm considering another dog as a bud for my greyhound, but I won't bring one home until I can find one that SHE approves of. It's hard enough working pets into our human lives without having to manage that kind of conflict.

                                        Comment


                                        • #40
                                          If in some states it's illegal to break up fights, I wonder why some vets and behaviorists will say to let them "work it out". They are supposed to be the professionals to consult.

                                          This has been an eye-opening thread.
                                          www.littlebullrun@aol.com See Little Bull Run's stallions at:
                                          "Argosy" - YouTube and "Boleem" - YouTube
                                          Boleem @ 1993 National Dressage Symposium - YouTube

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