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Thread: Pack mates sometimes attack each other

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
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    Pakenham, Victoria
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    Default Pack mates sometimes attack each other

    Hi all,

    Ok, first off I know I should get professional help and I want to do so but I have just moved house, my job went from full time to only 19 hours a week and my partner's work is practically non-existent at the moment. So, we are going to probably end up asking a friend for some help to get professional help for our dogs but wanted to put the situation out there here to see if anyone had this problem before and what you did.

    The situation is this, we have two rescue dogs. Have had one for nearly 5 years and the other for 4 1/2. We got Sway first, she's a Pointer X, we think. We've also been told she may be Hungarian Viszla cross. About six months after we got her we got Tilly, a Bull Arab cross. They got along great, never fought, would play rough but never viciously and never hurt each other.

    Since we've moved they have attacked each other 4 times and this last time I got bitten because I was trying to break it up. Thankfully the bite wasn't too bad and didn't break the skin much and after I got bit they stopped fighting immediately. I was stupid to try and step in between them but wasn't really thinking straight and wanted to stop them from hurting each other. Now in these four times they have done this in the last 3 weeks they haven't actually hurt each other that I have ever discovered. Though Sway does have a scratch above her left eye that I have no idea how it got there so maybe it was from Tilly in one of their fights. But there has been no serious injury thankfully.

    Anyway, I have no idea why they are doing this. To me it seems to be random but I know there must be a reason in their minds. Last night I think it happened because my partner was yelling out to me to come to where she was and Tilly was barking (she doesn't like yelling) and my partner was telling her to stop barking but she wouldn't and when I walked in the room I saw Sway go up to Tilly and was walking in front of her trying to push Tilly away from my partner - that's when Tilly attacked her and Sway attacked back. However in other instances we haven't been yelling. One time they were just in the living room with us, walked by each other and started attacking. I have no idea why this is happening with them. It happened twice before in the old place we lived at, but it hasn't happened in quite some time so I thought whatever the issue was had sorted itself out but now it seems to be back worse than ever.

    After the fights they will still sometimes look at each other warily and stay away from each other but after 15 min or so they are back to being friendly. They will lay next to each other, or play with each other. Last night they slept with each other like always. Not cuddled up but in the same bed.

    One last thing, they never seem to fight when we are not here. They are left together in the house for sometimes up to 8 hours at a time and I have never come back to any problems and I would think if they are fighting and we are not here that they would end up fighting each other until real injury was caused as the fights are quite vicious. At least they look it.

    My only thought is that there is a dog in the house at the back of us and they bark and carrying on it and jump up on the fence (they can't jump over) and the other dog barks and carries on at them so I wondered if this could be redirected aggression but they have attacked each other, like last night, when they hadn't seen or heard the other dog for half the day or more. So not sure it could be anything like that.

    Anyway, any advice would be appreciated. Especially about how I can stop an attack before it starts if I see one coming and also how to stop the fight if it does happen again in a safe way for myself and the dogs. Thanks for reading this long post!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    Default

    I cant offer an explanation why they do it sorry but my 2 boys playfight every chance they get and every now and them it will escalate into a fight...however i'm usually there ASAP to break it up. The best way to break up a dog fight (in my opinion) .....is to grab the dog thats winning by the back leg and give a short sharp yank on it......my guys are pretty big and believe me they go flying when i do it....not in a bad way that'll hurt them but it grabs thier attention and the fight always stops. Of course you'll still need to be wary the dog dosnt turn and try to bite you.

    I never leave mine at home alone together...i'm afraid if i'm not there to break it up they'll really hurt each other. They have seperate pens they are put in if i need to keep them seperated while i'm out. I also never feed them together wether its thier evening meal, a bone each or pigs ears/treats etc...Better to be safe then sorry i reckon.

    Food and toys are the main cause of my boys blue's. They are best mates again a few minutes later......frustrating hey. Good luck with it and hopefully someone can give you some better advice on why and how to stop them fighting.


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  3. #3
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    Jan 2012
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    Geelong, Vic
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    You're tempting fate with two bitches anyway but you need a lot of firm structure with fighting dogs and watch them like a hawk. Dogs fight because of breed, gender and usually because they're evenly matched. So two bitches of feisty breeding, roughly the same age find themselves on a thin like when it comes to who is the one to back down from a situation. One antagonises, the other finishes it. I had two of my dogs do the same thing, but the sake of 50kg vs 60kg I kept them separated with a baracade and they never had a grump with each other again.

    I think you should get someone around or at least read up about firm structure and boundaries. Leerburg.com is a good site as it's tailored to both pet and beyond, and it can really help with 'above average' dogs with a bit of zing to them

  4. #4
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    Thanks to you both for your replies. Since the original post I have contacted a dog trainer/behaviourist recommended by my vet and she sounds really good so we are going to try to find a way to afford to get her here. She also offered me some advice over the phone which was good. She did mention that two females together vs a male and female or two males are more prone to having aggression issues, wish I had known that before! But really for the most part they are ok with each other. And they are both spayed so I would think that should help with those type of issues as well. Left them alone today for just on 8 hours and came home to no problems, it really does only seem to happen when we are home thankfully.

    Oh and Sean thanks for the advice on how to stop them if it happens again. I will keep it in mind and just hope it doesn't happen and if it does they don't turn on me.

  5. #5
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    Actually both being speyed can be a bigger problem. THis is not a hormonal issue this is an even matching in pack structure issue. Dogs even on the ranking will fight if it is in their nature, that is a fact. If one was entire and the other not you would probably find less problems. Thats why I have an unevenly matched pack, the eldest is entire, the breeding bitch is entire and the rescue is not. I have 4 bitches in my house and no fights, but I do not leave them alone all together and I make the ranking uneven. I also do not allow them to 'possess' anything at all, if they decide to have a snark over anything one word and they go their separate ways.

    Someone else to try is ProK9.com.au, I don't know if Judi makes it down that far but I think she would.

  6. #6
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    Hi Nekhbet, I tried to check out her website but it doesn't seem to be working right at the moment. Coming up with errors on the pages I try to look at. I have spoken with a dog trainer in Pakenham, a woman named Sue from Messy Pawz dog training and she sounds very knowledgeable over the phone so I am in the process of getting the funds together to have her come to the house to help out. Reasonably priced too I think at $275 for four, one hour visits.

    I didn't realize having two females could be such a problem. For the first 3 years we had them together we didn't really have any issues like this at all. And I have friends who have two female dogs together and don't have issues either and never have. Maybe those females aren't evenly matched.

  7. #7
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    it comes down to a balance of probabilities, just like anything in life. I go against the grain with 4 bitches living together and an entire dog BUT I keep in the back of my mind something might happen. I'm pushing the wheelbarrow uphill and I know it in canine terms lol some dogs will get along with any other dog no matter, others wont get along with any other dog no matter how you try. Like I said, gender, breed and temperament play a lot in how dogs get along you just have to recognise the sticking points between your dogs that causes the problems, or potentially choose dogs that will compliment each other in personality so there is no problems.

    Remember too stress from change in owners, territory, routine etc can rock a dogs world so they can cause each other havoc until they sort each other out. It's why I rabbit on to people how important it is to set rules from the minute you get to the new environment and stick to them. Dogs should never be allowed to 'sort' life out, this is what happens when they do. The fact you have doubt about what they will be doing when you are not watching means you are not in control of the dogs - they are deciding right/wrong behavior. You should be able to go out and think 'they're dozing in the sun/playing chasey/gnawing on a bone' not 'well have they picked a fight with each other today' Do you get where I'm going lol sorry I'm a bit scattered today I have something going around, I think it's the flu ...

    Leerburg Dog Training | Articles

    try this one, Ed's over complicated the website recently so it's a bit slow.

  8. #8
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    I do get what you're saying and agree. Up until recently I never worried about what they were doing when we were gone, except maybe getting into the trash I forgot to put up high before I left the house, but it has changed since we've moved. And I'm sure the moving has upset the balance of things as well as you suggest. Also I don't think myself or my partner have enough control over the dogs and we never have. They don't always come when we tell them to and and they walk terribly on the lead. They both have aggression issues with other dogs as well. So we want to bring someone in to train us to be the proper alphas and then to train the dogs to follow us and listen.

  9. #9

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    Sorry about your problem- its heartbreaking when this happens.
    I have had a similar issue- I have two females together one fixed and one not. I was told about two females together and its always worried me but they got on so well I never thought it would happen.

    I had them for over two years when they had their first fight when I was not home. They have had two very serious fights in the five years we have had them together and both times our neighbors have been having large gatherings over the fence with screaming children and other dogs present. One of my dogs runs up and down the fence and barks and gets very agitated at the noise and the other...steps in to stop the behavior and that's when the fights started. Normally we are there to pull anxiety dog into line so the other dog does not feel the need to step in and Ive been working on keeping anxiety dog calm when there is a lot of stimulation going on over the fence... normally I go out and do some gardening and wait for her to start whine-barking and then stop her immediately.

    I am absolutely no expert but it sounds as if something similar is going on at your house except the situation is not being controlled when you are there (i.e. your dog is allowed to continue to bark and become agitated and your other dog feels it needs to step in because the direction given by you & OH isn't working). Also sometimes a fight can become worse by any yelling and creating more noise- I know its hard not to...that would be my first reaction too.

    So far its been a year and a half and we haven't had any more issues fingers crossed!
    Hopefully it can be sorted and I hope this helped a little !

  10. #10
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    Personally I think find yourself someone else for a consult, I strongly suggest Judi from ProK9. Reeeeeeeeeeeally recommend you call her before calling the other person out.

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