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  • Family dog fights

    Didn't know where to post this but since it pertains to my family pets and me I figured I'd post here. Ok so a lil background of my situation before I give the play by play. I have had a pit bull mix for a lil over 6 years now rescued her from the side of a busy highway down in Charlotte when she was anywhere from 6-9 weeks old. She is the sweetest dog and is really an angel. She grew up with cats in the house and was socialized with other dogs early and often. When I moved from NC back home to PA I obviously brought her with me. She at first never showed any signs of aggression with my sisters St. Bernard when she visited. However my parents dog who is a meanie to begin with started getting into it. Since I moved back in with my parents I took this as my parents dog laying claim to her domain and she didn't approve of the young pup. That was my first sign of aggression for both dogs. And quite scary. After I attended the police academy in 2010 and moving out on my own with my pup. We were on our own again so all was well. I since bought a house and have my gf slowly moving in with me. She has a pit/boxer mix that we got as an 8 week old and everything has been relatively good other than my dog nipping at her bc of food or toys. So to eliminate that we put the toys away and feed them separately to avoid all that. Other than that these two are inseparable they cuddle together play (albeit a lil rough but still noticeably play). They have done well together for about 2 years now. Now all of a sudden my dog has been the aggressor and out of nowhere jumped on the younger ones back and the fight was on. My immediate reaction was to jump in and separate. Well long story short I got the brunt of the attack and got my arm and hand chewed on by the younger one (gf dog). Both got minor injuries while I had a trip to the ER. I mean my entire living room floor looked like a murder scene I was covered in my own blood and it was spraying everywhere. Luckily I had a coworker nearby while my gf was at work that could take me. The doctor advised that I didn't have any broken bones or severe damage and thankfully didn't lose a finger given my profession. In hindsight he was right but like I said I just reacted without thinking of the consequences. Fast forward a bit both dogs are separated my dog here and my gfs dog back with her at her apt. My biggest question would be is there anyway these two can ever coexist together again. My biggest fear is that this happens but I'm not there and my gf is. She's not strong enough to separate them and god forbid she gets hurt. If anyone has any advice or possible solutions or similar experiences I'd be open to hearing any and all suggestions.

    Thanks in advance for any and all comments.

  • #2
    Also I'm aware I may have left out some pertinent info so if you have questions feel free to ask. It's really hard to type and I tried to make it as short as possible without lulling you to sleep but still get my point across.


    • #3
      Are they fixed?

      All of a sudden becoming agressive like that--------------------never heard of such behavior .............I wouldn't trust them together myself.
      Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

      My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS


      • #4
        I don't have any dogs myself, but I asked my cousin who has three now but has as many as five at one time, all of different breeds.

        He said some of his dogs have engaged in what looked like very aggressive fighting when they were really mostly just playing and/or establishing dominance over one another. He recalled that the first time he ever saw it happen he tried to break it up and one of the dogs went after him, like yours did. In his case though, he had a rolled up magazine or a stick or something so a good whack followed by a firm kick was enough to put the dog in its place. It was just enough to let the dog know that regardless of what those two were fighting over he was still the alpha.

        After that incident he decided he wouldn't break up a fight unless there was blood from one of the dogs, but that hasn't happened in a decade. He said it helps that the older dog respects him as the alpha so when one of the other dogs gets out of line by human standards, the older beta dog lets them know as such.

        My cousin's theory is that the dogs in question may have some misunderstanding on the pack structure.

        Take that for what you will.
        “You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life.” ― Winston Churchill


        • #5
          By the way----------------------you break up dog fights with a bucket of COLD WATER.
          Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

          My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS


          • #6
            Iowa -- yes they are both fixed ... Both females too which I have heard isn't always good. Heard that mixing the sex if you have two is ideal. I've only had female dogs and have never had this issue before. The GF and I are gonna have to have a talk and figure out what we are gonna have to do about this I know getting rid of one is not even a discussion so some kind of alternative will have to be thought of. But your right now their trust has gone to zero and start back from the bottom. I don't think they will ever be fully trusted again though.

            Gradient shift -- you know after reading that and looking at the pack structure scenario I think you may be on to something. Both dogs know that I'm the alpha but I can see where they may be confused by their standing in the pack. My GF whether she wants to admit it or not likes to baby her dog and give her treats. I have some knowledge of the pack mentality by watching the dog whisperer. So I've always treated mine as the number two and hers as the number 3. I like to let mine have her food first she goes outside to go potty first. The thing I think we as officers don't like to do that I think I was doing was being complacent and letting the younger one get first dibs on sleeping spots which is usually my bed with me up near my face and the older one isn't getting that spot she's down by my feet. I never thought that this was something that was a big deal bc the older one was content on sleeping there. But the more I think about it the more it's starting to make sense. Thanks for the insight maybe there's still a little bit of hope to salvage this I just need to make it clear to both of them. The GF on the other hand is going to be the tricky part. Oh and I think having a bat or stick or something other than my arm would be a good idea if it were to happen again.

            Thanks for the replies it's greatly appreciated


            • #7
              Iowa --- didn't have time to fill up a bucket of water but if it was outside the hose is nearby

              Now the real pain in my *** is cleaning all my blood out of the carpet ... Peroxide isn't doing the trick. I may need to rent a carpet cleaner this **** is a pain in my *** lol


              • #8
                One thing I have noticed with dogs is that the more you try to pull dogs back, the worse they want to attack. Granted I have always had smaller dogs in my family, but I have seen them have tons of interaction with bringing new pets into the family and it's always the same; the second you try to hold the more aggressive dog back, the more aggressive he/she becomes. Unless otherwise trained, I don't think dogs know the idea of someone trying to hold them back because they are doing something wrong. I always figured maybe dogs think you are protecting them when you try to push/hold them back, and that only reinforces the idea that what they are barking at is a threat which makes them more scared/aggressive.

                With our smaller dogs, we were almost always able to just let them go at it, and one would normally roll over/be submissive and the other would stop before any harm was done, but my experiences have all been with introducing puppies into the house, so it seems way more likely a puppy WOULD be submissive. Regardless, it was always scary...we had a t cup Chihuahua puppy and a fully size dachshund that bit through my work boot once when accidentally stepping on his foot in the dark. He would kill all sorts of small animals in the yard and I knew he could do some damage fast to such a small puppy. After slowly getting them acquainted, the most he would do was make a lot of noise while the other one rolled over. It would LOOK scary, but the little one never got hurt. The few times I tried to break them up though, you could see he really started biting.

                Not really sure what to do about the situation though, but try searching the web as I am sure there are plenty of good resources for helping get adult pets acquainted with each other safely. I just wanted to bring up the point that if it isn't the kind of dog you can swoop up and pull away, trying to break them up may only make them more aggressive.
                Last edited by Kris396; 11-08-2014, 12:15 PM.


                • #9
                  I'm not sure I can help much, always extremely difficult to "diagnose" or "treat" such matters via a text forum remotely on the internet, it's almost like learning how to drive a tractor-trailer by watching a 5 minute youtube video.

                  I've always had at least 3-5 dogs at a time for the last 30+ years, both genders and none of them "fixed," I rarely ever have fights even between intact adult males. The single item that is the worst for provoking a fight between dogs centers around food, yes there are a number of others that will do it too, but the one which is a sure-fire way to cause friction and fights involves food.

                  First thing I would suggest is, if you are free-feeding- stop, set up a twice a day feeding schedule and don't leave food out 24/7. If you don't free-feed and do have a feeding schedule, that's excellent, next thing you need to do is feed them separately in two different rooms so one doesn't gulb the food while watching the other eat and then trying to rush over to grab the other dogs' food.
                  After feeing is over, the food bowls get put away.

                  Treats: make sure both dogs get one at the same time.

                  As you said both dogs are altered then the heat cycles and the like are of no need to discuss here, but heat cycles can definitely cause fights and that's one reason why intact dogs are kept separated at that time.

                  Breed type definitely will play a role in aggression, some breeds and some dogs within a breed are just more aggressive than others, as you mention a pit bull, they will tend towards being very territorial, challenging to other dogs, and tend towards aggression much easier and faster than most other breeds.

                  Attention given to one dog i.e. petting, grooming, bathing etc in the presense of the other dog will cause friction between the two dogs with what we term "jealousy" but it's more than just "jealousy" it's their "pack" dynamics and heirarchy that involves dominance and submission issues. You see this much firmer in wolves, in domestic dogs it's much less and much more tempered but it's still present just under the surface.
                  Be sure both dogs get the same attention together, because giving attention to one in the presense of the other will usually cause a reaction- you'll see the other dog move in and try nose butting the dog getting the attention- away, it may develop into more than just "butting" and can escalate into a bite, up to an attack.

                  I have a 9 year old dog and a 9 mo old puppy (St Bernards), the puppy is larger than the other now, both females, and they get along well, play, no food aggression etc., but the puppy does do the nose butting and trying to get the older dog off my lap, but it's not an aggressive move, the puppy is starting to change to becoming the dominant dog and making the older dog submissive, which due to her nature she has no aggression of any kind and is happy with either role, so there is no fight or aggression between them.
                  Right now, when I'm at work the puppy stays in the largest airline kennel in the kitchen and the older dog stays in the kitchen and they can see each other and have some interaction, and neither is "banished" away to a back room out of sight which can cause issues.
                  I do this still, and for a little while longer only because the puppy plays HARD and she will grab and hang onto the tail of the other dog and start yanking on it and wanting to play, but her teeth are sharp and she hasn't learned when enough is enough. So it's more for the older dogs' protection since she will not bite or fight back and puppy will just keep grabbing that tail or hair. She should outgrow that before long.

                  This illustrates how the right combination of dogs goes a long way towards avoiding these kinds of problems, unfortunately, you seem to have two dogs who are vying for the dominant position and neither wants to back down.
                  Every dog is different, but try the above ideas and keep in mind that it may be possible you will have to keep the two dogs separated at any time you are not physically there.


                  • #10
                    Have you tried peanut Butter ?


                    • #11
                      Caesar Milan has a video up on youtube that shows two big dogs suddenly going into a fight and he he dealt with it, but in his case there were other people around who could hold the other dog, if you are by yourself or the only other person is a 75 year old lady you can't expect that method to work well at all.

                      You can see what happens, what he does, with an explanation, but keeping in mind this may not be the the best or only method or answer, also, some people love Caesar and some hate the guy and his methods, I have not yet formed an opinion:


                      • #12
                        Here is another video, one of "Holly" the labrador whose owners had a problem with aggression during meal time, the back story to this clip is the couple were expecting a child and they were afraid Holly could attack if the child got near the food bowl, Caesar Milan evaluated, and trained Holly at his place over two months and got her aggression over the food bowl mostly reduced, but still not 100% reliable, so Hollys' owners decided to give her up after Caesar suggested Holly would never be 100% perfectly reliable around the food. Some dogs like Holly simply cannot be trusted or trained 100%, but in the right home she would be fine- an owner with no kids who puts the food bowl in a dog crate to feed her, or in a spare room, and takes it up after Holly leaves it.

                        It is amazing how fast this dog reacts, and Caesar gets his hand bit very hard but he handles it like a boss. A little while later he did go to the urgent care clinic to get his hand taken care of:

                        Last edited by Sculptor; 11-08-2014, 11:13 PM.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Kris396 View Post
                          After slowly getting them acquainted, the most he would do was make a lot of noise while the other one rolled over. It would LOOK scary, but the little one never got hurt.

                          Most of the noise in a fight is just that- a lot of noise, scary, but usually no real damage if the dogs are the same size and have heavy coats, however, it can become severe damage very fast. A relative of mine when I was a teen had an old male German Shepherd and her boyfriend also had a German Shepherd, a young male, I remember at least one of the dogs had to go to the vets for surgery after they got into a fight, the surgery was to close up a pretty large tear in the skin of the dogs' throat where the collar would rest usually.
                          As they both lived in apartments in NYC I think they left the dogs together alone while they went out and that would be extremely dangerous as they found out when they returned to find two bloody dogs needing veterinary care.


                          • #14
                            taze the stuffin' out of them!

                            Honestly - I have had great success with dog shock collars. They have made my dogs best friends.


                            • #15
                              People who live together will get into fights and dogs who live together will get into fights. My dogs get along extremely well but on rare occasions something will set them off. Mostly it's just noise and after its over they forget about it. The longer they live together the more they get used to eachother but if it becomes a serious problem you're better off seeking professional help.

                              One solution might be to make sure both get plenty of exercise. Having a lot of energy and no way to release it can be frustrating.
                              Last edited by zaedmi; 04-24-2015, 12:36 AM.


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