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Moving into a house where one dog already lives

May 7th, 2005, 12:50 PM
I'm not sure how to deal with this situation so any suggestions would be appreciated.

At the end of the month we will be moving to a basement apartment in a house where upstairs they own a Shih Tzu (female). We have a pitbull (also female) who is extremely friendly with people but has gotten into spats with a few dogs. We're trying to figure out how to keep them seperate and/or what we can do, obviously it would not turn out well for the Shih Tzu if a fight broke out considering the size differences.

We do have a seperate entrance and they keep their dog inside most of the time. We considered putting up some kind of fence which would be the best option because it would prevent their dog ever getting near ours, but getting something inexpensive and temporary is not easy. We also considered putting a line out for her to tie her on but obviously this wouldn't keep the other dog from approaching her. I was wondering if it would be better to keep them from any contact at all, or to put a muzzle on our dog and let them meet. She'll obviously be able to smell that she's upstairs. Our dog doesn't go nuts trying to attack or anything like that, but when she's gotten upset (usually posessive over something) play fights have escalated into real fights with other dogs, and a couple weeks ago a dog came up to the fence and she went nuts at it chasing it away (that dog might have provoked her in some way - I didn't see it). Then later that week I was walking her and the same dog (running loose) came up and either she snarled at it or it snarled at her, I'm not sure which, but it happened really fast and the other dog backed off while I held my dog back from chasing it. So needless to say I don't trust her with other dogs, especially someone else's small dog. Any suggestions would be great!

Lucky Rescue
May 7th, 2005, 02:26 PM
I know of many pit bulls who live with very small dogs, even Chis, and are very tolerant of them. My pit bull is only intolerant of dogs her own size or bigger and who are ill-mannered.

I suggest you and the other dog's owner take both to a neutral area, like a park and try introducing them on leash.
You say your dog has been in a few fights, but I gather she wasn't serious, if you were able to break it up easily. Where is she getting into these fights? Try not to let this happen anymore. The more fights she's in, the more willing she will be to fight.

If the other dogs' owner is willing to work with you, perhaps you could arrange a schedule concerning which dog is outside? Make a sign that can be turned over, with each dogs' name on it so you will know.

And of course, even if they get along, no toys or food outside if both dogs are there.

May 7th, 2005, 03:26 PM
The first fight happened quite a while back (she was probably only 6 months old or so). A visitor was here for a few weeks who had a female Jack Russell. Outside the dogs would play and usually there wasn't a problem, mine would sometimes get posessive and the other dog would get scared off if she meant business. But one day I'm not sure what happened, she was going through this phase where she would chew her foot pads off when she was left alone (we figured out later, it was allergies to the other dog's food that she was getting at unbeknownst to us causing itching) and she seemed really irritable when we got home this day. We let her outside, the other dog was out, I didn't see what happened but she chased the other dog upstairs viciously, my brother in law who owns the Jack Russell grabbed her and threw her outside to break up the fight.

The second time was when she was a year old and in heat. A really really dumb idea to bring another dog in at that time but it was not my decision. My nephew's black lab of about the same age came over and they played well for a while, but all of a sudden something happened and they were into a fight. My husband was able to seperate them pretty easily. Then a month or two later we introduced them again (on the other dog's property) but the first thing the other dog did was jump square on top of her and knock her down (now an 80lb grossly overweight unruly lab) and of course they started into it again right away but we got them apart without too much ado. She's spayed now by the way.

The third time was the other day when another dog came up to the fence and my dog was out there. This is a dog that lives down the road. Again I don't know what triggered it but my dog went nuts snarling and barking viciously all of a sudden. My husband heard the racket and went out, and the other dog was half way down the road by that time. You could see the dirt moved around where she was "attacking". Then it was with this same dog that the snarling incident during a walk occurred.

It should be mentioned that she doesn't react agressively at the mere sight of a dog. There is a dog on our walks that is tied on and always reacts agressively when we walk by. She usually either looks at it and ignores it or tries to walk away faster. Any other dogs she wants to go up to and sniff but doesn't appear to have agressive motives at that moment. But of course I haven't let her get in contact with another dog lately either. A loose dog was following us on our walk the other day and she was desperate to get to it but I wouldn't let her because after the incident with the other dog I was afraid. But maybe I should just to see what she would do at that point - I can likely get her away quickly if she tries to bite or attack it (I use a harness to walk her). Her overall demeanor towards other dogs is intense curiosity, the same as humans, only she acts submissive toward humans, but never to dogs.

May 7th, 2005, 07:10 PM
I agree with what LuckyRescue said. If you are to introduce your dog with the little dog, I would do it in a neutral area first with both on a leash so that if one becomes aggressive you will be able to control them both more easily. If they are friendly while in neutral territory and all is going well start walking them together back home. Never leave them alone unsupervised though as the little one would lose if something were to happen.

Is your dog aggressive towards other dogs only when on her own property? If so and if she doesn't initiate fights on neutral territory like the park, then I believe she may be territorial.

Lucky Rescue
May 7th, 2005, 07:21 PM
only she acts submissive toward humans, but never to dogs.

That is normal pit bull temperament. I hope she is spayed now?

May 8th, 2005, 06:25 AM
Yes, she's spayed. She acted agressively (but I'm not sure who started it) towards the dog who came out on the street and also to my nephew's dog on their property, but in both cases the scuffles originated on our property first. With two of the cases, the dogs were on our property and they were playing for quite some time before the fight ensued. I believe that in at least one case it was becasuse of posessiveness over a stick or something. But not too long ago there was another dog running next to the fence outside it and she was desperate to get out and play, not fight. So I don't think it's strictly territorial but that might play some part in it. But, come to think of it, when she got upset with that dog outside the fence no one was there. When the other dog came over and she wanted to play, we were outside with her. She is definitely more protective of the property when no one is outside. For instance a delivery man came and we could hear her barking her head off, but as soon as I went outside and talked to him her fur went back down and she was wagging her tail and wanted attention from him. So she definitely takes cues from us if we are there. So it might help if we were to show her that we accept the other dog first. At the same time I don't want to make her jealous or feel like she has to establish rank over the dog. Would it be wise to muzzle her if we introduce them? I'm also worried about whether she would trample her if she tries to play, which is what I'm thinking is the most likely response initially. She's never played with a dog a lot smaller than her before and she can be pretty rough.

May 8th, 2005, 01:12 PM
Something I found out today, the other dog is not spayed. Would this affect my dog's agression towards her, or would it just affect the other dog's agression towards mine when she is in heat?

May 8th, 2005, 07:20 PM
if the other dog is not spayed it would affect your dog's agggression towards the little one and the other dog's aggression towards your dog.

I can't remember where I heard that before but what you can do is you can try (of course if the owners of the Shi Tzu will agree) is to take a towel and rub the other dog, until her smell stays, then take this towel and put it like a rug where your dog's food bowl is, so whenever you feed her, the smell of the other dog will be associated with something good (food in this case) ( and repeating that every few days, so the smell is strong) and trying to do the same with the other dog, so they will get used to each other's smell

and then maybe trying to introduce them on neutral area on the leash

i'm not sure if the muzzle is such a good idea, as your dog might act more aggresive in the muzzle ( and leashes should be a little loose when you introduce them to each other) as a dog on a pulled leash WILL ACT AGGRESSIVELY)

May 9th, 2005, 07:42 AM
Unspayed females can be aggressive towards other females, even spayed ones.

I agree about the muzzle. It can make your dog more aggressive.

May 9th, 2005, 01:14 PM
Ok, you've listed the fights, but what about positive interactions with other dogs? Does she fight with every dog eventually or a few dogs in her lifetime? Jemma has gotten into fights often at the dog park, but only with certain dogs. 99% of the dogs she is fine with. So does your dog have a problem with all dogs or just a few?

If it's just a few, I wouldn't worry until they are introduced. Some dogs rub even the nicest dogs the wrong way.

May 10th, 2005, 08:15 AM
She has had few interactions with other dogs, that's why I'm not sure what to think. As I mentioned, two of the dogs she eventually got into fights with she was playing with for days before that ever happened. There is a dog that lives behind us and she sniffs it through the fence, but never acts vicious towards it. Besides that, she's just never had contact with other dogs since she was taken from her litter at 3 1/2 months old. All the dogs she's been in contact with have also been females. She's only 16 months old so she hasn't had a lifetime of contacts with other dogs yet to judge by.

May 10th, 2005, 11:05 AM
It is a tough call. I have a 21 lb. Eskimo pup - a year old. He thinks all dogs want to play with him. He goes to socialization once a week where I leave him for the day. The owner has 2 boxers who brace themselves for his Eskie hug when they see him coming - one actually covers her eyes. There are "regulars" there as well - some with thick hair, so not so much of a problem - and other large breed dogs with short hair who also know him. But on the street it is a different matter. On Saturday, we went for a walk. Two blocks down we saw a very large Pit Bull - NOT on a leash - going for a walk with his owner. The Pit saw my dog and my dog saw him and I could see he was ready to play. The Pit started across the street, ignoring his owner's command to stay. My dog got nervous as he is usually the one to do the approach and no doubt sensed my concern - particularly when the Pit would not listen to his owner. The owner kept telling me not to worry that his dog was friendly. Well so is mine, but his dog might not have appreciated the very strong toenails of my dog - and they are super strong - hanging from his neck - and reacted. I am sure the dog was nice, but it is the damage he could have done to my dog if provoked or even just to free himself from the Eskie grip. Later I was at the groomer's picking up a couple of things and I met a very nice, much smaller pit who was in being fitted for a very pretty pink muzzle. She was a little doll who absolutely had to kiss me - but my dog was not with me - and she was on a leash. There is absolutely no excuse for this man not having his Pit Bull - or any dog for that matter - off leash on the streets of East York in Toronto. We also ran into a couple of other big dogs running loose - I picked my guy up and headed home. He is never off-leash. Once you move I guess you will have to come to an arrangement with the people living upstairs. If it is their house and you are renting the basement from them I expect your options regarding a fence will be limited. If they are renting you would need permission from your landlord. But better safe than sorry. I would never, ever leave the 2 dogs alone - either one could cause a fight - even a 5 lb. Chi could get things going. If the people upstairs own the house and they are letting you move in with a Pit Bull, that will be good news as far as making arrangements for exercising your dog.

May 10th, 2005, 02:32 PM
The owners of the house (who do live upstairs) are quite open as to options for fencing, as long as there's a gate big enough for them to get their 4-wheeler through. But the problem is that fencing options are so limited - you either have to build a wooden fence from scratch or install a chain link fence, both of which are very permanent and quite expensive, and although they are open to options I don't think they want permanent fence posts running through the center of their back yard. I had an idea of buying 8' lengths of wooden lattice as it is quite cheap as opposed to building a fence with lumber, but I'm not sure how to secure it without digging fence posts. One thing in my favor, our dog has never attempted to dig under a fence or chew it up, and she only jumps up on it when a person is coming, not to try to get out. So I can get away with something not really heavy duty. I know down where I used to live you could get t-posts that you drive into the ground but they're not even available here. I guess maybe I could get hollow steel pipe and try to drive that into the ground.

There are so many dogs that run around here off leash, it's really annoying. I have to carry a water bottle now to spray them to keep them away. If my dog who is on leash bites a dog that is running loose is it my fault legally?