Female Boxers fighting--never fought b4
I am a 19 year old college student in Southern California. Up until about a week ago, I was living with my father in our rental home with our two dogs, who live outside. I recently moved in with my aunt and uncle due to some problems with my dad's health. The dogs belong to my father, and he is their sole caregiver. They are two female boxers. Korri is 8 years old, and Jada is approx. 3 years old (her age is an estimate).
Four years ago, my dad obtained Korri at age 5 while living on his own from a breeder in a nearby town. This breeder has a huge ranch and had been using Korri as a breeding bitch. When my dad met her, she had already had three litters of puppies and was retiring. My dad was allowed to pick her, assuming he got her fixed soon after. She lived on a ranch with many other boxers and had a huge amount of space to run and play in. My dad picked her because she was and is extremely passive, mellow, and laid back. She has extremely good manners. She gets along great with every dog I've ever seen her interact with; she loves to play and make friends, and I've never seen her react aggressively to any dog or human in any situation.
Two months ago, a friend of mine whose family breeds, raises, and shows boxers called me. (My dad had been interested in getting another boxer, as Korri is getting quite old). Her father had received a call from our local homeless shelter saying that a boxer was roaming around outside and needed a rescue. Al (her dad) went and picked her up, and she was extremely skinny and dirty, about eleven pounds underweight. They had five boxers already, and couldn't keep her, so they called us to see if we could take her. They brought her over to our house and introduced her, and we fell in love. (Korri was kept outside during our first meeting.) Jada was a little timid at first but did approach us warily. She was very sweet and mellow, and upon entering the living room, crawled onto the couch next to us and promptly fell asleep.
When we first introduced the two dogs, Jada growled low and was tense, hiding behind my dad. Korri happily sniffed her rear and then ignored her, choosing instead to pay more attention to us. We left them in the yard a little while together, off leash, while we supervised, and they mostly just awkwardly tried to sniff each other. We limited these exposure sessions to when my dad and/or I could supervise, and we otherwise kept Jada inside the house, crated.
Soon the two became fast friends, and there was never a problem. They shared one bed (even though there were two), played together, ate together, and got along great. We had no problems. Up until two days ago.
Bear in mind that I have moved, so I haven't been around to personally observe any changes.
My dad called me Sunday morning (3/9/2014) to tell me that the dogs had gotten into a fight, and that I needed to go check on them, as he was about to leave town. He said that he was feeding them, just like he does every morning. (He puts a scoop of food in one bowl, which they both immediately sniff, and a scoop in the other bowl, which they both immediately sniff. They each pick a bowl and start eating.) He put a scoop in the first bowl, and they both sniffed, then a scoop in the second. When they both went to sniff the second, just like they usually do, Jada pounced on Korri. Now, the two dogs are about the same size, but Korri has more bulk. Jada latched on to her neck and tried to shake her, and wouldn't let go. My dad started hitting her over the top of her head, and it took all the strength he had to pull the dogs a part. He wasn't injured. (I know now this is all very bad technique, and one should never use these tactics to break up a fight as it can lead to injury and/or make the fight worse.) He put Jada inside. The dogs didn't seem to have any injuries, but both dogs were pretty shaken up. He had to leave immediately, so he put Jada outside with Korri and tied her to a leash, and the dogs didn't fight or have any problems.
I arrived shortly after he left, and as soon as I unclipped Jada from the leash, it happened all over again. I employed the same tactics as my father to separate them, and it was just as stressful and difficult. This time, Korri ended up with two or three small puncture wounds on her shoulders and muzzle, and bloody gash on the inside of her ear, towards the top. Jada seemed to be uninjured. I promptly cleaned Korri's wounds inside, but was too afraid to go outside to tend to Jada.
Jada has never shown aggression to people as long as we have had her, but has always been scared/wary of other dogs. Only a low growl, accompanied by a tail wag. When she attacked Korri, she didn't show any signs of being upset or stressed.
While I do work at a pet store, I am generally not a dog person, and I don't pretend to have a real understand of how dogs behavior works. (I am really much more versed in cats.) My dad and I both love Jada but my dad's loyalty lies solely with protecting Korri. I know that when you take in a pet, they are not disposable and you have a responsibility for their well being, but my dad is ready to rehome Jada. As an on-call safe technician, his job has him working almost all hours and he says he doesn't have the time to spend working with them. (This morning, 3/11/2014, he tried letting Jada out of the crate for a bit on a leash, and when she immediately started to growl, he put her right back in.
This whole thing makes me absolutely sick. Shes a lovable dog and she very sweet with people, but she just doesn't mix well with other dogs. Is it wrong for us to rehome her (not take her to a shelter!)? Can anyone shed some light on why this might have happened? Thanks!