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how do keep dog play from escalating into fights

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  • #41
    You pointed out that you were aware that your suggestion would be unpopular. That's probably because there is A LOT wrong with allowing two dogs to fight it out. Sure, maybe it works sometimes. But other times, it turns out really, really, really badly for all involved. Even accidental fights end in injuries for animals and people.

    It's illegal to break up dog fights in a lot of states because it's dangerous for people to get in the middle of two dogs attacking one another. The risk of getting bitten (or worse) is extremely high. Those laws don't exist to protect animals, they exist to protect people. That doesn't mean it's legal to knowingly allow your dogs to (possibly) injure one another in a fight you did nothing to prevent.

    I am not sure I would return to a vet or dog trainer that told me to let my dogs go at each other. If I ever considered this solution, I would ask the vet if they would be willing to put that suggestion in writing in case animal control or a nosy neighbor ever came across me just watching my dogs fight each other. Considering that "prescription" would likely get said vet or trainer in a decent amount of trouble with such organizations (HSUS, Board of Vet. Med., etc.), I am willing to bet that he or she wouldn't be.

    ETA- Now that I think of it, I'm not sure it's illegal anywhere to break up a dog fight...

    I'm really not trying to flame you, sid, so I'm sorry if this came off as snarky.
    Last edited by FrenchFrytheEqHorse; May. 18, 2011, 01:20 AM.
    Here today, gone tomorrow...


    • #42
      Originally posted by sid View Post
      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.
      1. I have never heard that it is illegal to break up a fight.

      2. Just because a person makes their living as a doctor of animals does not equal them being a person of knowledge about behavior. Medicine and behavior are very different.

      3. there are people who call themselves behaviorists and there are those that have the certifications to BE one. The ones with the actual training don't recommend letting them fight it out.


      • #43
        Originally posted by threedogpack View Post
        2. Just because a person makes their living as a doctor of animals does not equal them being a person of knowledge about behavior. Medicine and behavior are very different.

        I wouldn't ask a surgeon for therapy advice, so why would I expect that from my vet?


        • #44
          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.


          • #45
            Originally posted by sallyliao View Post
            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.
            Dog club gets those regularly and we refer them to trainers that specialize in those cases.
            Those are not for your regular trainer.
            We have had some of our best trainers that ended up with two puppies to raise, some times their own, others just happen like that.
            Even with their best, most careful raising, some still have trouble as the dogs become mature.
            It is the nature of dogs to some have dominance issues if raised in a way the dogs feel part of the same pack dynamics.

            A few years ago a local family got two ADCs, which is a breed known for dominant adults anyway.
            The puppies were raised together in their yard and in the evenings in their house, not really trained or given individual learning time with their humans, let to "just grow up together".

            As they were older, male and female, the female was gone one day, I asked and someone told me they got in a fight, taken to the vet to put back together and she died.
            Two years later he died from the injuries, that shortened his life.
            That is a sad yard now, with no dogs.

            I think as a good rule of thumb, why chance nature and raise two together?
            Each puppy deserves to grow up in it's own home, with it's own humans and if there adult dogs.
            Nice as it is to have another young one to play with, the nature of dogs makes it questionable if raised together will mean later, as adults, they will fit in the same pack.
            For many puppies, that may go against their nature, so why fight that and try, once we see they are not getting along, if we can do better than nature and make them live with sworn enemies for the rest of their lives?
            Now THAT is cruel and abusive, I think.

            I have a neighbor I warned, when he got two male puppies from a local rescue, that should have known better.
            Knowing him, he may have insisted to taking them, no matter what they were telling him.
            That friend tried very hard to follow the instructions, once I explained the situation to him and provided him with panels to make individual kennel runs.
            He would take one puppy with him to work every day, a different one, so they did grow up as independent dogs, not part of their own pack of two and maybe he was also lucky they were far apart in the dominance scale and now, a few years old, they are lovely dogs that get along great together, never again had to be separated once grown, they are living in the same household and yard without a problem and mind humans very well, he did a great job.
            So, it can be done, but once it is clear they have serious issues, well, we humans are supposed to be the smart ones and should find sensible solutions.
            I don't think letting them fight is one.

            Sad, they just broke up a dog fighting ring here yesterday, is all over our local news.


            • #46
              There is letting them "fight" and letting them FIGHT

              One or two little scraps, with lots of sturm and drang and spit with no punctures can sometimes settle the "top dog" situation. I had one "knocking the coffee table" episode with my two GSDs. Lots of wet fur, but not a drop of blood, and never any further encounters. At that point, my male just said "you win, honey" -- and that was that. That is not "out to kill" -- that is just settling hierarchy.

              Currently I have two little rescues -- both female. Their mutual antipathy has escalated to the point that they loathe one another more than life itself (my nickname for them -- for old movie fans -- is "Joan" and "Bette.") I read dogs very, very well and used to be able to intercede, but it has developed to the point that their triggers are instantaneous and they are literally out for blood. At this point, they will remain in their current "crate and rotate" situation for the rest of their time with me. They will never, ever be trustworthy with one another -- and if I let them duke it out to the bitter end, at least one would be dead.
              Last edited by libgrrl; May. 18, 2011, 11:24 AM. Reason: typos