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Could Really use some help.

November 17th, 2005, 07:51 AM
I have two male (neutered) dogs one is 2.5 yrs 85lbs the other is 7 yrs 15lbs. Over the last few months there have been several fights between them, usually over a bone. I have since removed all bones from the house. A few weeks ago we had a scuffle over one of the food bowls. This past weekend we had two in 24 hours.

Now, these are not really fights, the puppy will kind of droop his head and look at the other dog kinda from the side and them lunge. There have been no injuries yet. It appears the puppy is being protective or trying to be dominant. (sp.)
There are no longer any toys in the house.
If anyone has any suggestions I would greatly appreciate it. We do not want to lose our puppy but at the moment we are terrified when the two of them are near.

Lucky Rescue
November 17th, 2005, 10:31 AM
It's pretty clear what's happening. You have two adult males (2.5 years is not a puppy) and the younger is asserting dominance.

Since the size difference is so great that the small dog could be easily killed or severely injured, you need to separate them at feeding time and keep them apart when no one is home to watch them.

You can also train the younger dog the "Leave it" command so if your home and the big dog looks as though he's thinking of attacking the little one, he will learn he's not allowed to do that when you're there.

November 17th, 2005, 10:38 AM
Some of the advice I have heard with respect to these issues is that the puppy needs to learn that as the newest member of the family they are lowest in the pecking order.

JMO, if the fights seem to occur during meal times I would ensure that each dog is fed separately in their own space.

Also, again JMO but it doesnt' seem fair to deprive your older (and presumabley well behaved) dog becasue your puppy is still learning and adjusting to his new surroundings.

November 17th, 2005, 11:36 AM
They are fed separatly and food is never left out.
They are also separated while we are out.
We have also banned their play time.
The puppy (he'll always be a puppy to me) knows 'never mind' which is our version of 'leave it'. When these attacks happen we are always within 2 feet of both dogs. I have actually grabbed the puppy when I knew he was going to strike and he doesn't seem to notice me, he doesn't notice anything until he is pulled off the smaller dog.

Do you think this is something we will be able to get under control? I don't think the puppy would intentionaly hurt the other dog but there is a huge size difference and the little one has protruding eyes :eek: (Boston Terrier).

November 17th, 2005, 11:48 AM
I have since removed all bones from the house. There are no longer any toys in the house. We have also banned their play time.

I think I'd be a bit pissy too. No bones, no toys, no playtime? I'm sure you had good reason to take these things away, but the dogs don't understand why. They're probably bored. Have you considered sending the large one (the young one) to daycare? a play group? agility? training? basically some type of activity that will tire him out - so he won't be fighting w/ your smaller, older dog.

November 17th, 2005, 12:01 PM
I think I'd be a bit pissy too. No bones, no toys, no playtime? I'm sure you had good reason to take these things away, but the dogs don't understand why.

This is what the larger dog is protecting, this is what he is attacking the smaller dog over. The smaller dog does not play with toys - never has.

November 17th, 2005, 01:07 PM
Okay, so here's how it is in the dogs world. The bigger dog is establishing control over the little one. This is natural and just because the little one was there first doesn't change nature's rules. The more you interfere with nature the harder nature will fight for balance. Having lots of toys and bones around will allow the dominant dog to horde his share and leave a few for the little one. We always say twice as many bones as there are dogs. Taking things away doesn't teach - teaching them manners makes the difference.
So as the parent of these dogs you need to teach the bigger one manners and let him know that anything less won't be tolerated. This guy needs to be put on the leash in the house a lot. You are going to sharpen his obedience skills as you establish YOUR leadership. If he puts one hair out of place in the direction of the terrier you are going to let him know that was a bad choice. Have him do a down stay for a minute and then go right back to the situation and guide him into better behavior. The leash gives you control while you teach. The leash also keeps the little one safe because you can back the big guy off. Create your problems and teach correct manners.
The other rule is nothing belongs to him all things belong to you. So when he gets pissy about HIS bone, you let him know right away that it is YOUR bone and he only gets it if he has good manners.
The 'leave it', 'drop it' and 'take it' commands are all going to help in this situation.

November 17th, 2005, 01:39 PM
Thanks Tenderfoot, that makes sense.