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Thread: Out of Character Behaviours, What Can Be the Cause? HELP!

  1. #1
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    Question Out of Character Behaviours, What Can Be the Cause? HELP!

    I have two dogs. Molly is a 13yr old jack russell who's suffered epilepsy, is going blind and near deaf. She's nearing the end of her life. Nowadays, if she has a seizure, she finds it difficult to walk for 2-3days requiring anti inflammatory's. We know if she stops eating and barking we'll soon have to put her down if she doesn't pass away in her sleep (a decision we dread but won't have her living in pain).
    The second dog is Charlie, a 4 year old labradore/bullmastiff/huntaway/blue healer cross (looks like a skinny brindle lab). Charlie has a natural beautiful nature with people. Responds excellent to command, learns quick and very obediant with minimal training (which suprized me as molly's and many dogs I've met love to be cheeky and test boundaries with their owners). She loves playing with other dogs when I take her for walks or intorduce her to friends dogs.
    When Charlie was introduced to Molly, Molly didn't like her and didn't want to know her. She often snapped and growled at Charlie.. they soon enough sorted themselves out. Charlie simply learnt she couldn't play with Molly and Molly soon learnt Charlie is a lot bigger and stopped snapping at Charlie.
    Over the years Molly's health has faded and they seem mates, occassionally we'd catch them giving each other a lick.
    Charlie does get her fangs out if another dog comes near her food (never ever has she growled at a human, you can take a bone out of her mouth and she just looks sad but never growls or snaps at a human).... so Molly and Charlie are seperated by a fence at dinner time only.
    TODAY... my Dad heard Molly yelping like never before, upon investigation Charlie had Molly's head in her jaw which upon Dad's voice/arrival Charlie released... they were seperated into different yards and Molly remained ?stunned lost for some time. Dad states Charlie's grip seemed tight, he feared if he hadn't have come.... Charlie would have killed molly. Needless to say.... they are seperated for the rest of Molly's days.

    MY QUESTION:
    There was no food around... why would Charlie turn and attack an old selfless dog??
    Could molly have been seizing and this is Charlies reaction???
    Can anyone help give an explanation regarding this act of voilence from my normally beautiful, calm, loving Charlie?

  2. #2

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    Is he desexed?

    Maybe he has not taken her dominance of him for all this time as lightly as you have thought. Perhaps he has now seen an opportunity to move up in the heirachy. I'm no behaviourist but it seems similar to an instinctive, basic pack sort of behaviour.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nattylou View Post
    Is he desexed?

    Maybe he has not taken her dominance of him for all this time as lightly as you have thought. Perhaps he has now seen an opportunity to move up in the heirachy. I'm no behaviourist but it seems similar to an instinctive, basic pack sort of behaviour.
    I agree with Natty here ( what a surprise )

    It does sound though as Charlie has not accepted things as well as you think.In fact there may have little scraps already going on that you have missed.
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  4. #4

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    Snap Choppa!

    On a serious note though - maybe your older dog is only now weak enough for Charlie to really asserte himself, and his pent up feelings are coming out...

  5. #5
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    Where i've seen this kind of thing, usually the dog with its head inside the other dog's mouth - started it. I saw our (dearly departed) Australian Terror with her head inside a boxer's mouth for this reason. Sometimes it's a dominance thing on the part of the big dog, but sometimes it's the extreme end of the big dog defending itself from a dog with little person syndrome.

    As Molly falls to bits she may get more easily frustrated or frightened and she may have lashed out at Charlie and Charlie may have defended herself.

    No matter who started it - I think the answer is the one you have already - keeping them separate. You may need to keep Molly in a crate for her own safety when you're not home to look out for her - given her increasing special needs and potential for getting herself into trouble as a result of those.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hyacinth View Post

    No matter who started it - I think the answer is the one you have already - keeping them separate. You may need to keep Molly in a crate for her own safety when you're not home to look out for her - given her increasing special needs and potential for getting herself into trouble as a result of those.
    I think this is wise. I also have two females that have a big difference in age. Mimi (youngest) is terrified of Pepsi. She will not eat in front of her or in the same room. It takes only one look from Pepsi for Mimi to "dissolve" into thin air. Yet, she will never attack Pepsi because that is Pepsi's job to snap at Mimi. Pepsi is still in good health and agile for her age and size. I wonder if the tables will turn if Pepsi was sick? There is the probability that it was a reaction to Molly's epileptic fit. It is so hard to try and understand what goes in their heads. I guess keeping them apart for now when you are not around would be one of the answers.

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