- Pet forum for dogs cats and humans 


A few issues and questions re: 2 dog household and dominance

November 9th, 2005, 09:57 AM
My neighbour has 2 dogs and the younger, (unknown heritage, but we guess mastiff/pit/boxerX or who knows what? just over one yr. old).

She is generally very friendly, especially with people, but is now showing strong domination tendancies toward the 8 yr. old female pit/chowX. They do a lot of growling and recently had a knock down, drag 'em out row, leaving the pitbull/chow with some good cuts and scrapes. She is fine now, as I treated her and cleaned and dressed the one main wound as needed. (I worked for a veterinarian for several years and have a fair bit of know-how when it comes to medical care for pets).

The owner was hesitant to take the pit to the vet, as I strongly suggested, as she is afraid the vet would have to report the incident, because one is a pit bull. Notice that we live in London Ontario. We are looking into the legalities of this issue for other dogs/owners who may be in this situation down the road: 2 dogs owned by same person get into fight....pit bull heritage and injuries suffered and need medical attention. Interesting situation, indeed!

The other dog had a few wounds in the neck, which I also treated as best I could. Both dogs seem no worse for wear as I have been monitoring their progress daily. You would never know there was ever a scrap! Not out of the woods yet....watching for secondary problems....

The owner is now reading the literature I have been trying to get her to look at forever! on training dogs. You can't really force things on people, as you know, but I have always tried to get the owners to at least look at the wonderful sources I have on hand. The husband is a tougher nut. He believes in total submission training including pinning the dog to the floor and, this is my all time favourite: lifting the dog over his head and holding it there as punishment!! :eek:

Needless to say, the wife gets it, but talking to the husband is like talking to a falls on deaf ears. They fight all the time about how to train the dog, and therefore, you now have a confused, untrained, aggressive dog:mad: who is gonna end up euthanized, which has been discussed:sad:

My hubby says to stay out of it...but how can a dog lover and good friend ignore the issues?? HA!

This is one question I to get a 3 person household to agree on how to train a dog using the same loving methods, not those that instill fear and aggression and cause constant battles between the owners?

My second question, which totally has the owner baffled is: Why does the younger dog continually lick the older one from head to toe for great lengths of time? Unless the owner intervenes, the dog will keep licking the other and this starts the growling etc.

My theory is dominance and the younger is trying to claim ownership of the other dog....

Lucky Rescue
November 9th, 2005, 10:16 AM
Yes, these fights are dominance and with two spayed bitches, it could get lethal.

Training *may* stop the dogs from fighting in the owner's presence, but they MUST keep them separated when no one is home, or suffer the consequences of a fatally injured or dead dog on return.

Mr.Macho is making things worse with his cave-man tactics. He is clueless and you're so right - one or both dogs will end up dead, either from fighting or being killed at the shelter after this man gets bitten and injured. How sad.:(

November 9th, 2005, 10:35 AM
I forgot to mention that the younger is NOT YET SPAYED!! which is gonna happen come hell or high water, and I have offered over and over to drive the dog to the vet myself, and I don't even drive!:p I'd do it, though!! That dog will be spayed...count on it!:thumbs up

I just got an email from the owner and she said that she has been reading the book to the husband who has been listening! She actually thinks he may be hearing the contents! She said that he sat there and looked astonished at what she was reading....maybe there is hope.

I don't think he realizes just how serious this can be....what if the dog does bite a human? Deb'sLR, the owners are keeping the dogs separated throughout the day, but the woman has read in the literature that I handed her, "I don't know if that's a good idea, in the book you gave me, I read that separating them for short is OK, however, not for long periods of time."

I don't see any other way to prevent a fight/death, however.....

I have done a lot to educate the owners about the pit bull bylaws in London and the legislation in Ontario. They are complying to a degree, but really feel the need to buck the system. I worry about these people and their dogs.....

Lucky Rescue
November 9th, 2005, 03:05 PM
what if the dog does bite a human?

Since these dogs are pit mixes, there is a concern about being bitten while breaking up a fight, something that is seldom a worry with purebred pit bulls, especially since they are mixed with breeds that have little inhibition about biting people.

The new dog is just a puppy, but when she matures the fighting could escalate to a serious degree. If both survive, there is a chance they may have to be separated 24/7.

Of course these people will do as they please, no matter the consequences. This is why the shelters are overloaded.:(

November 9th, 2005, 03:40 PM
Deb'sLR, the owners are keeping the dogs separated throughout the day, but the woman has read in the literature that I handed her, "I don't know if that's a good idea, in the book you gave me, I read that separating them for short is OK, however, not for long periods of time."

I don't see any other way to prevent a fight/death, however.....

Did the book give a reason as to why it's ok to seperate them for short periods but not long periods of time???:confused: And really, how long of a time frame are they talking about - hours, days??? Nevertheless, 2 Pit bull/crosses should never be left alone together unattended. Ever.

The only reason to keep them separated indefinitely is if every single time the dogs are near each other they try to rip each other's throats out. Basically both dogs would have zero tolerance of each other and be dog aggressive.

When the owners are home with the dogs, constant supervision is a must. If the younger dog insists on licking the other dog head to toe, the owner must stop it immediately(even though it may be cute for a bit) and revert the young dog's attention to some other activity. The young dog must be taught that it isn't allowed to lick the other dog, just as you would teach a young dog it's not allowed to chew the furniture - same concept.:)

When the dogs are interacting with each other and they start growling(if it's not play growling) they should be separated immediately and given 5-10 minutes apart or whatever it takes to take their minds off of what they were going to do. Always supervise their play and when it looks to be escalating(too much excitement), give them something else to do.

Seeing as thought the one dog is still very young, she needs plenty of exercise and activities to release her energy on other things besides the older dog.

This young girl should have been spayed by now as she was born way before the ban came into effect!:eek:

The owners must realize that having 2 Pit Bull mixes is not like having 2 dogs of any other breed because of they are prone to be dog aggressive. You must constantly supervise! It's like having the terrible 2's toddler for 10+ years!!! Having 2 Pit Bulls is not for the faint of heart or lazy people! Just ask me, I know!!!!;)

what if the dog does bite a human?
Are you talking about when breaking up a fight or just biting a human in general???
I agree with what LR said about pure breds and mixed breeds bitiing, but many people get bit when breaking up dog fights because they stick their arms/hands in the middle and basically get in the way of snapping jaws!

November 10th, 2005, 01:24 PM
Copper'sMom, the book she is reading from is very basic, (small paragraphs that just touch the surface of the issues, but don't get very indepth), and I don't have it in front of me, but I don't think it really goes into why 2 dogs should not be left unattended for great lengths of least that's the impression I got when I scanned it briefly before I lent it to her. Didn't focus on that specific part, to be honest.

She keeps the dogs apart only when they are not home or at work, which would be for about 5-6 hours a day max. as, between the 3 folks living there, the dogs are not alone for more than that, and usually much less. I have gone over during these longer periods when no one home, and let them out to pee, but I don't know that I feel confident enough to do so any more, as the aggression is certainly escalating. Don't want to try to end a fight!

When the owners are home, the wife is all over the dogs constantly and stops the licking as soon as it starts. Not sure if this is every time, but it will be from here on in....

She has been supervising the dogs amply, but maybe not using the right methods, and having neanderthal man exercising his goofy rules and regulations on the dogs is just not helping at all.

I will forward your reply to her and see how that goes. I have also picked up a few good books here at the library, and will drop them off for her. One is "So your dog's not Lassie: Tips for training difficult dogs and independent breeds" by Betty Fisher and Suzanne Delzio.

The second is "GRRR! The complete guide to understanding and preventing aggressive behaviour in Dogs" by Mordecai Siegal and Uncle Matty. The only problem I found when glancing at this book is the "Rollover Test", where you put your dog on it's back flat with you straddling it and kneeling. You "gently but firmly grasp the dog's skin with your right hand just beneath the collar. Remain neutral and do not respond to your dog's reactions to the test. Do not hold the dog's skin for more than 15 to 30 seconds."

This reminds me of what the hubby likes to do.....