I’m absolutely positive that Jethro is the dominant dog. We haven’t done anything to encourage this, it’s just the way it worked out. I’ve always subscribed to the hierarchy of the pack theory and it’s been working fine (well until these recent incidents). I feel like changing my approach now would confuse the dogs and could possibly make the situation worse.
I certainly don’t mind Kenzie playing, but the other dogs need to be receptive to it. If they want to be left alone she needs to learn to respect that, which is why I think a correction is warranted.
Keira & Phoenix –
I broke up the fight when it was safe (for the dogs anyway) to do so, neither of them was latched on to the other. The fight consisted of a series of quick bites, no latching on at all. I realize that I was putting my hands/arms at risk and that I could have gotten bitten, but it was worth the risk to me, I didn’t want the dogs to get hurt. Hopefully there won’t be a next time, but if there is I will try your suggestion of lifting up the dog’s back legs and pulling her away.
Thanks for your responses everyone!