Dog Fighting

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Hound dog, Feb 8, 2009.

  1. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    I know this behavior is somewhat normal within a pack setting. Dominence and all that they most likely grate on each others nerves as much as we get on each others nerves from time to time.

    Inside is Molly the 8 yr old female, and Betsy the soon to be 3 yr old female who adores Molly and has since birth. One of the primary reasons we kept her.

    It has taken 3 yrs. But tonight Molly and Betsy had their first fight. Molly has never in her 8 yrs started a fight. Started off....they'd been out playing most of the day due to the warm weather. Betsy came in to find a bone and started chewing on it. (my bad as I usually have them put up) I was bogged down with homework...and Nichole didn't see the urgency in getting the bone put up because it was Betsy with the bone and Molly was nudging her way toward it. Well......things happened and Molly got the bone. Then of course Betsy wanted it. But Betsy goes submissive, exposes her belly to Molly while all but lying on Molly's nose. I get nervous simply because Aubrey is running around wanting to play with the dogs. I didn't want her hurt by accident. (neither dog would intentionally hurt her) I can't move to get the bone fast enough because I've got a lap full of homework and books and such. So I tell Nichole to get the bone.

    Nichole put the bone up. But then started to play with Betsy. Betsy was running around the livingroom like crazy excited. Bad idea. Molly won't tolerate crazy playing with a toddler in the room. Molly went to dicipline her in her usual bark growl thingy she does. Betsy growled back......

    Then wham, the fight is on. Nichole can't pull them apart because she has stitches and these are big dogs. I toss homework thataway and go after Molly who is closest to me. I get them seperated. Nichole goes to put Betsy into her crate while I'm putting Molly into the bedroom. Betsy gets away from her and goes for Molly again!

    Ok. So we get them seperated. Betsy in her crate. Molly in the bedroom. They had to stay put for 15 mins. Sounds weird but I give my dogs time out. Then I checked for battle wounds. Evidently this time it was mostly bluff and no one was hurt.

    At the moment they are seperated by a baby gate. Betsy in the kitchen with me, Molly in the livingroom.

    While I know arguments are bound to makes me nervous. And frankly I hate it. Back when we had Precious.......her and Molly used to wind up bloody and hurt. (which is why Precious found another home) But with was Precious determined to be dominant, Molly just as determined that a pup she raised wasn't going to dominate her.

    Molly doesn't have alot of teeth left. She's older. I doubt she could hurt Betsy seriously. But Betsy is another matter altogether. Betsy has been content to be submissive to Molly. But that last minute lunge at Molly has me worried. Now that Betsy has found the courage to fight this gonna be an all the time thing?? Is Betsy going to want to be top dog now that she figures Molly won't really hurt her?

    For those who are skeptical on the Time out for dogs..........Well, that's how I trained Molly to do all the cool stuff she does and to prevent unwanted behavior. Same for Betsy. And no, it doesn't make them wary of their least it never has my dogs.

    So. Guess my question is.......anything you can actually do about them fighting, or is it just something I'm going to have to deal with?? (meanwhile I'm hoping this is a one time deal)

    Cuz no way am I giving up either dog. BUT it has made me decide I'll probably never own more than one dog at a time in the future.:(

    PS I know I've asked about this in the past...........but thanks to a rather holey memory.........yeah, well, you get the idea.:ashamed:
  2. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I don't have any idea, not much experience with dogs. But it must have been a hair-raising few minutes, esp with Aubrey around. Would it be a good idea to have a word you could say to Aubrey that means "go to X place and stay there until we come for you"? Just for her safety, I am thinking.

    So that if the dogs do fight again, or some other situation comes up, you can say "Hot Potato" and she knows to go around whatever is going on and go to her room, or to sit on Nana's bed or whatever? We had to do this with Jess and thank you when Wiz was having violent meltdowns. We were very strict with them following it. We even did trial runs when nothing was going on to train them to do it as 2nd nature. Jess was AWESOME at getting thank you and locking both of them in my bedroom where the phone is. After EVERY incident, real or just training, we praised them lavishly and gave them a small treat.

    I hope this is a one time thing. Someone will come along soon with more informed advice about the dogs. You might also PM GoneNorth. She has a LOT of experience and info with dogs.

    Hugs and some Tension Tamer tea to calm your nerves!
  3. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Aubrey was an angel!! She hopped right up into a recliner out of the way. But it did scare her alot. I'm afraid she may not quite look at either Molly or Betsy in the same way. :(

    We did explain to her that both Molly and Betsy had to go to Time Out for fighting, cuz fighting isn't nice. And that she was such a big girl for running into the recliner where it was safe.
  4. Star*

    Star* call 911


    The time outs are good as long as BOTH dogs are going IN a kennel cab. It's very hard to understand dog language, becuause what WE perceive as aggression and murder between dogs is them working things out on their own level.

    Was there any food/bone/treat/person between them that caused a reason for them to get their hackles up? Also the MORE energy you and Nicole put into pulling them apart? The more it will feed the negative behavior. Best case scenario? NO ONE fights - but beyond that? ALWAYS pull the non-dominant dog first and just put her in her crate WITHOUT a word. In my experience with ours it's actually best to just let them work it out. To stop them? A distraction is best. Slam a book on the coffee table or slam it shut, shake a coke can taped shut with rocks in it then throw it. Do it without yelling, NO should be said in a firm and deep tone, and try to keep a frame of mind that is mellow. Pretty hard to do since we don't have a lot of experience pulling apart biting and fighting dogs.

    If you do see them going to lip raising and posturing and the body language says "look kid -I'm gonna bite you' then certainly distract or in a loud tone use your NO word - then add a snap, use YOUR body language, and take the aggressor out of the equation.

    I'm betting it's cabin
  5. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    In Molly's eye she was "protecting" the baby from Betsy's wild running around playing with Nichole. She's done this sort of protection of young children since she was a pup. And I've seen it alot. Normally it results in Betsy tummy crawling to Molly full of apology.

    Maybe tonight Betsy was just irked because Molly got the bone taken from both of them. lol do I deal with the bone issue?? Thanks to lovely Precious, Molly will no longer share food or bones with another dog. Nothing I've tried works. She doesn't attack, but like you said.....there is alot of posturing going on. Posturing stops as long as there is 2 bowls of food. But bones it makes no difference because Betsy always wants the one Molly has. (sounds like kids lol) So they have to be gated apart to chew on bones. I don't know how else to do it.

    Before Precious and her wanting to dominate, Molly shared food and bones all the time with any animal. But Precious was brutal. Which of course is why she has a new family that do not own another dog.

    Oh, both were put into time out. Both are now upset with me. Molly apologizing and wary. (she's not used to being scolded, she doesn't usually need it) Betsy just seems sort of sad.

    I haven't let them in the same room with each other yet. Although they've made up at the baby gate. Molly may be sore from being outside all day.
  6. DazedandConfused

    DazedandConfused Active Member

    I would send a strong message to BOTH dogs that the fighting simply will not be tolerated. Neither one of them should dominant and disiplining. YOU need to be dominant one .

    If you decide a particular dog should have a bone, that is not the other dog's business.

    I know when I got Goldie, I was informed by her previous owner that there was fighting between her and her other female and that I shouldn't have another dog because Goldie can be dog aggressive.

    Well, I wanted another dog and decided I would address any aggressiveness immediately. When I got Candi, who is very submissive, Goldie decided to growl and bite at her. Oh, no you don't! Immediately I take my finger and tap her on the side of her mouth with a firm, "NO!". I wait until Goldie submits and then I walk away.

    I discipline her even if she starts to give "the look" towards Candi.

    The last behavior I'm having to deal with is face biting when I let them outside. I always had to let Candi out first. If I let Goldie out first, she waits for Candi to come out (which now, Candi won't go out if Goldie is waiting to pounce) so she can bite her on the face. I've done a lot of disciplining for that one and I'm finally starting to see the difference with that issue.

    Here's part of the problem:

    I LOVE my dogs, but they are not human.

    Molly is apologizing?

    Be their leader, that is what is in their genes.
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2009
  7. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    When you have more time and space, let them work it out between themselves. Put them in the yard (gated) with-no kids around and just let them bark, growl, dominate, whatever,
    Inside the house, the dynamics could be very different. Tighter space, more people, little kids. Sounds like at this age, an adult should always be around.
    fighting over food or special treats is very common, so you have to design it in a way that is not combative. Equal bowls of food, about 8 ft apart, insted of right next to one another, for exmaple. A chew toy for each of them, not just for one.
    Best of luck.
  8. Star*

    Star* call 911

    I think the best thing to do would be to not give EITHER dog a bone - really. I KNOW you want to spoil them're inviting the devil between them when you give each a bone. Especially if they have shown aggression. It could be that one hides her bone for later and feels the other has found or is close to the hiding spot??

    Instead when you realize that NEITHER dog is asking for a treat or begging for a treat keep a tin available with biscuits (small, quickly chewed) and give one to each. ALWAYS rotate which one gets a treat first. This stops the DOMINANT behavior of "I'm more important I got fed first" in a pack mentality the hierarchy feeds top to bottom. In a dogs mind - the first one to always get a snack? - Top dog. You may not even realize you're doing that. Or you may not be doing it. Dogs do not think like humans and as MUCH as we would like to think that they are going things like Lassie did - most times they are not.

    I do know that you have got to figure out WHICH human in your house is the leader and in charge or they will continue to display these aggressive behaviors. The younger dog may be thinking she's a shoe in for top dog since the other dog is older, and in the wild even daughters will challenge and kill the mother to gain top rights to mating. As far as who is in charge? They may consider your husband as such or Nicole - or you. It's not always the one that feeds or walks, or disciplines. IN a dog heierarchy - each member has a specific job - but ONLY ONE of the pack is the Alpha. It's really primitive when you think about the nuts and bolts of a dogs life.

    My biggest concern is that if the older dog is posturing around your baby to the younger dog? This is trouble. In her mind Aubrey may be a possession - not a human. We feel she's protecting our granddaughter and in essence - she's protecting a possession LIKE A BONE. When others come to close to her and the baby? WHAM - Kinda like a nun in school with a ruler. My biggest concern at this point would be that the baby gets in the middle and belive me - if you think the older one could discern between the baby and another dog while fur is flying? Not. Someone is going to get hurt.

    I know you said your ASPCA is lame - but call them and ask around about who is a good trainer/behaviorilist. It could be that your younger dog is lacking in discipline, exercise and needs both. If she's tired from walks and playing and being trained - she'll have little reason to pick on your older dog. Like I said - cabin fever - everyone is used to going outside and running around and playing and now everyone is stuck in the house and on top of each other and tempers are bound to flare.

    As far as feeding the older dog? My suggestion would be for now to feed her TOTALLY ALONE. Lock her in a bedroom if you have to where she knows that no one is going to come up behind her. Let her nerves recover from Precious. Hard to eat a hamburger if a carload of gangbangers sit behind you in McDonalds....Know what I mean?? At that point Id rather take my chances eating my McNuggets in the ladies room. After a while? Introduce the other dog back into the picture but for now I think your older dog is doing a Rosana Rosana Dana - I'm achey, I'm tired, I have corns, My teeth hurt, I get no rest, I have gas, I'm constipated, I don't want to be around puppies,.......but in dog language she can whine so it comes out "I'm warning you, I'm tired, I'm achey, I have corns, My teeth feel my teeth, see my teeth? FEEL MY TEETH....Now shut up and go lay down." When they do start to posture....I would give a loud NO then have a plan that you grab the older dog and put her in a room, and then grab the younger dog and put her in a room. Time out's work well in our house - but only for about 10 minutes WITH a distraction like a ball or a kong filled with pnut butter or if you have neither a blob of pnut butter on a paw? LOTS of distraction there. lol

    Hugs and Woof.....Grrrrrr woof woof pant pant pant......sniff......sniff.....sigh.
  9. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Thanks for the advice. Ok.......both dogs to their corners and avoid possible situations. Got it. :)

    I can sooooo see Molly doing Rosanna Danna routine. :rofl: That probably played a big part of it. And with the bad weather.....cabin fever for sure, at least with poor Betsy who just wants someone to play with.

    And I'll pay attention to how I give them treats so as to make it random. I don't think I've ever paid attention to how I doled them out.

    I'll try once again for a dog trainer........but I've tried in the past with absolutely no luck unless I could go all the way to cincy, which I couldn't.

    Cuz both my girls are gonna have to get along. I'm not parting with either of them. hmph It just makes me nervous because brother in law had 2 males, one older and one much younger, and as the older one grew more frail the fighting grew more frequent. Didn't make me feel reassured that brother in law used to train dogs for the military, yet he couldn't get them to quit.
  10. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Well, separation was necessary this morning again. Betsy was all lovies and wanting to greet Molly happily this morning when she got out of her crate......Molly started posturing and some fancy razzle dazzle on my part nipped it in the bud.

    I know Molly is old, and arthritis is an issue. But I wonder if she is feeling well. She's eating fine, just touchy, not wanting to play. I have to take her in for her rabies shot so I'll have the vet do a good once over on her. I'm wondering if some of this may be coming from her not feeling well. Because she'd just started teaching Betsy how to play tug o war (her fav game) with the doggie toys.

    Meanwhile, I'll keep them separated while we're at school today. I don't want them together when we can't keep an eye on them.