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Still asking about fighting dogs

July 2nd, 2008, 02:59 PM
Yesterday I asked about what we could do with our 2 Brittanys that have gotten in a fight. Thank you for the responses from pitgrrl and growler. I appreciate anyone helping us. In answer to some of the questions...both are spayed and they were at the vet's last month for shots and whole works. So, as far as we know it is nothing physical. We have noticed a trigger in some of the fights in that it is over some kind of treat, which we have taken away all together, but the last fight was when someone came into the house. Which I can't figure out why that would matter because we have people coming in and out a lot. My quesiton is could we put them back together at least in the yard? We are doing the crate and rotate in the house and it works well. They walk by the one in the crate and just sniff them but it doensn't go any further. No growling or aggression. Should we reintroduce them or just keep them apart? We are willing to try anything just so we can have peace in the house. Thanks.

July 2nd, 2008, 03:13 PM
Have you considered consulting a behaviorist? If there's one in your area, that may be your next best step.

Meanwhile, if you do put them together, make sure you have something to distract them with if they start again. A 50-50 mix of vinegar and water in a plant mister usually gets the attention of our dogs if they're mixing it up--it stings the eyes and the nose, but causes no permanent damage.

Without seeing exactly what's going on, though, I'd hate to give you any advice yes-or-no on putting them back together/reintroduction...

July 2nd, 2008, 03:15 PM
Well maybe the common theme of treats and people coming in the house is excitement. I think in some dogs the divide between arousal (or excitement) and aggression can be thin, so what starts as a good thing can sort of flip into a negative one, does that make any sense?

In any case, perhaps you could try re-introducing them on neutral ground, on leash, walking beside each other, rather than full on uncontrolled interaction in the yard at least at first so you can see how it goes?

July 2nd, 2008, 03:15 PM
just out of curiosity, how old are the pupsters, almost sounds like a dominance fight. As in one wants to be the leader but so does the other. Was there a toy around them when the person walked in and you just didn't happen to notice.

July 2nd, 2008, 04:06 PM
I second Hazel's suggestion about a dog behavourist - your dogs are obviously taking a cue from something but it would take some work to figure out just what. A good behavourist would be able to figure it out pretty quick!

July 2nd, 2008, 04:51 PM
Thank you to all who have posted a response. I would like nothing more than to ask a behaviorist about his but we are in a town that is small and I am afraid we don't have one here. I really wish we could get someone here to do that for us. make perfect sense about the fine line between excitement and aggression. I think they work themselves into a "frenzy". Aslan.....the dogs are 9 and 4 and lived semi-peacefully since we got the younger one. I feel bad because they are both used to running free in our back yard and it is their mission to run and rabbits, squirrels, or birds out of the yard. Right now the older dog is in the house with me and having a fit because the younger dog is out in the yard and apparently there is something in a tree that is making her crazy. The older dog wants to get out there desperatly but I don't want to chance it. If I let her out will they fight again even though they have a common mission in getting the "Critter" out of the yard?

July 2nd, 2008, 04:54 PM
i think pitgrrls suggestion is a good one, re- introduce them. Limit play together and if things start to build up end play time for a little bit and try again. Ours sometimes get a little crazy too when playing.

July 2nd, 2008, 04:59 PM
When the people come into the house are they interacting with the dogs? Even something as small as a pet on the head in passing?

When there is a dominance challenge between the dogs, being greeted first is taken as a sign that dog is dominant over the other.

July 2nd, 2008, 06:37 PM
These kind of situations are always hard to understand over the internet as it's filtered through the owners perception of what is going on, then through how the post is read, etc. etc. So obviously it would be far better to find someone experienced to actually see the situation for themselves. Do you know anyone who is perhaps a knowledgeable, long time dog owner or trainer who could help you out? make perfect sense about the fine line between excitement and aggression. I think they work themselves into a "frenzy".

So just in theory, lets say this is what is happening: the dogs get excited over something, one of them re-directs onto the other (do you see this happen?) and a fight starts.

Maybe while you still have them separated you could work on getting each of them to deal with really arousing situations differently. For example, someone coming to the door is really exciting at my house, so we taught the dogs to go get specific items. This helps to channel their crack head like frenzy into a task and eliminates the flailing mass of dog going totally bonkers at the door.

With treats, maybe you could teach them to go to a specific place, like dog beds far away from each other, to earn the treat so that again, they are engaged in a task rather than just getting all in eachother's faces while excited.

July 2nd, 2008, 06:40 PM
I tried to PM you, Cherlyn, but couldn't so I'll post a website of a dog behaviourist that I have worked with:

I don't know if they do "distance" work but it doesn't hurt to ask!

This past weekend I attended a 2-day clinic on dog body language they hosted - awesome!

Whether you contact them or not, I wish you luck with your dog's behaviour. It's always a worry when aggression is involved.

July 2nd, 2008, 08:04 PM
There is always the possibility that a medical condition in one of the dogs is the cause of this. Is one of them in particular the aggressor? Thryoid problems can cause sudden aggression, and this seems to have been sudden after a number of years of peaceful coexistence.

July 2nd, 2008, 09:30 PM
I am so thankful that you are willing to offer help for us in these dogs who can't get along. JanM the webite looks great. I e mailed them and hopefully they will offer some tips or direct me as to where I can go. I am also going to call our vet tomorrow and see if they know of someone who is a dog "expert" in our area and hopefully they can put us in touch with someone. Just be ready because I may need all of your help again. I felt like we were the only ones that had this problem with our dogs but you have helped us so much and you also have let me "vent" a little about this. It upsets the whole household when these 2 can't get along. Our youngest son is so afraid we will have to get rid of one of them. He adores these dogs. So, thanks again for all you help and I will probably be back to seek more advice. I always knew "dog" people were good people!