Sudden Aggressiveness towards the other.

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Klurejr
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Sudden Aggressiveness towards the other.

Postby Klurejr » Thu Apr 18, 2013 11:42 am

Last night my female started displaying major aggressiveness towards my male.

Female, Abi is 4.5 years old, fixed and has been in our house for 3 years now.

The Male, Jake is just over a year old, fixed and has been in our house for almost a year now.

When we brought the male home about 10-11 months ago he and the female bonded right away and have been great buddies ever since.

I have only had two incidents with them prior to last night, both involved food. Once when I first got him they fought over a bone that I used to buy that had scraps of fat n grizzle on them. He was very young and she was mostly just exerting dominance over the bone. I threw it out and never bought one again. The second time was a few months ago and the boy had been having some stomach issues and did not want to eat his food, and then when the girl finished hers she went for his plate and he became defensive. I tossed them both in the pool, and learned a lesson from that.

So what happened last night came as a total shocker. The two of them like to play with a toy bone (nylabone), normally it is keep away or tug a war. Never has the play ever resembled anything aggressive. Well I had company over and took the bone away from them because I wanted them to calm down and relax. The second I took the bone from Jake, Abi lunged for him and attacked him. He did not back down and I had a small brawl in the living room. I tossed a glass of water on them and broke them up. We separated the two, Jake was locked in the Kennel, and Abi was taken upstairs for the rest of the evening.

After a few hours abi came downstairs and seemed to be okay. I opened the kennel, they sniffed, briefly licked each-others wounds and then Jake went out to pee. Abi went into the Kennel. (it is a very large kennel and they normally share it at night) Jake came back in and was wandering around smelling stuff but did not seem to want to go into the kennel with abi. I was sitting on a chair petting jake and abi was just watching us. I called her out to see if she wanted to be nice now and as soon as she got close she lunged for jake again. I was able to grab both collars and hold them apart until my wife could help me, but they did face bite a little. We cleaned them up and put jake in the kennel for the night and locked Abi in a room with her own bed.

I decided to take the day off to help my wife deal with this issue today. This morning I left Abi out of the room, took her outside to use the rest room and brought her back in. She was all wags like normal in the morning before feeding time. she smelled jake through the kennel and there was no growling, no raised hair or anything, so I let him out and took them outside to eat. They both ate like normal with my wife and I standing there watching, and then once again abi's hair raised and before my wife could grab her she lunged at Jake again, so they immediately went for a dip in the pool.

Luckily our yard can be separated with a locking rot iron fence. So they are drying off outside separated from each-other.

I am at a loss right now as to what to do. Do they need more time apart before they can be re-introduced? It seems like Abi is trying to exert some sort of dominance on Jake, and he is not willing to back down, and there is no way I am letting them finish the fight to see who gets the alpha spot. I can keep them separated for now, but I do not want to have two dogs if I have to keep them this way the rest of their lives.

Sorry for the long post but I wanted to present as much info as I could.

Neither dog has been dog aggressive on the trails, and we take them hiking at least 3 times a week and they both meet hundreds of dogs.

The only thing I can think of is that Abi was attacked by a larger dog at a dog park a month ago(never going back there) and maybe that has affected her deeper than I thought it would?

Thanks for any help you can provide.

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jamielvsaustin
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Re: Sudden Aggressiveness towards the other.

Postby jamielvsaustin » Thu Apr 18, 2013 1:09 pm

Klurejr wrote:I am at a loss right now as to what to do. Do they need more time apart before they can be re-introduced? It seems like Abi is trying to exert some sort of dominance on Jake, and he is not willing to back down, and there is no way I am letting them finish the fight to see who gets the alpha spot. I can keep them separated for now, but I do not want to have two dogs if I have to keep them this way the rest of their lives.


I just had a long post typed out and the computer ate it!

You absolutely need to keep these guys separated right now. Have you ever been in a fist fight? How do you feel afterwards? Ready to hug the other person? Or still pissed? Dogs have that "pissed" feeling for much longer than humans (most things I've read say two weeks-but it can be longer). You may never be able to reintroduce them-it's part of owning multiple pit bull type dogs.

The other two things I'd like to touch on are 1) dominance and alpha-you need to throw that train of thought out the window. It's not doing you, or your dogs any good. It has been debunked and is an old method of dog training/thinking.
Here are some links that might help:
http://4pawsu.com/pmdominance.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
http://www.whole-dog-journal.com/issues ... 415-1.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Also, Sophia Yin's website has a lot of good info.

And 2) the other thing is-what lesson exactly do you think your dogs are learning when you throw them in the pool. I can promise you it's not what you think. What you're likely doing is teaching them that you (the owner) are unpredictable and can't be trusted-please stop doing it!

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Klurejr
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Re: Sudden Aggressiveness towards the other.

Postby Klurejr » Thu Apr 18, 2013 1:23 pm

jamielvsaustin wrote:I just had a long post typed out and the computer ate it!

You absolutely need to keep these guys separated right now. Have you ever been in a fist fight? How do you feel afterwards? Ready to hug the other person? Or still pissed? Dogs have that "pissed" feeling for much longer than humans (most things I've read say two weeks-but it can be longer). You may never be able to reintroduce them-it's part of owning multiple pit bull type dogs.

The other two things I'd like to touch on are 1) dominance and alpha-you need to throw that train of thought out the window. It's not doing you, or your dogs any good. It has been debunked and is an old method of dog training/thinking.
Here are some links that might help:
http://4pawsu.com/pmdominance.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
http://www.whole-dog-journal.com/issues ... 415-1.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Also, Sophia Yin's website has a lot of good info.

And 2) the other thing is-what lesson exactly do you think your dogs are learning when you throw them in the pool. I can promise you it's not what you think. What you're likely doing is teaching them that you (the owner) are unpredictable and can't be trusted-please stop doing it!


I read both those links and I agree that this is not a dominance issue when it comes to me, but rather something between the dogs, it could be dominance, it could be something else entirely, since I cannot read my dogs minds, and they cannot tell me I don't know what it is. That said, nothing in those articles is going to help me in my current situation.

I plan to keep them separated for now, but I would like some advice from anyone who has dealt with a sudden change in behavior like this before. 2 weeks seems excessive, but I can do that if needed.

Throwing them in the pool was just the quickest and most effective method to break up the fight. I was not doing it to try and tell my dogs anything, it just seemed like the safest was to get them apart. What do you think it is telling my dogs? If anything it is telling them aggressive behavior will be disciplined with a cold splash.

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Re: Sudden Aggressiveness towards the other.

Postby BrokenAquarian » Thu Apr 18, 2013 2:06 pm

I have dealt with this situation. It turns out that my female doesn't like other dogs in her face/personal space. Like you, it started out as a couple of scuffles over food on the floor. My dogs are five months apart in age and have been together since the older one was 7 months old. They didn't start fighting until around 3 to 5 years old. Sorry it's been a long time - can't remember exactly when it started. :)

It is very natural for dogs to fight over resources like food. It should be expected(and prevented). It doesn't matter if you punish them or not. You can't make them not do it in the future. If they are uncomfortable around the other dog, it causes stress. The stress builds to a breaking point and a fight happens.

When they have a fight, they have elevated stress levels. It takes 2 weeks for those levels to come down - even if they seem normal before then.

Every time you put them together and they fight - it's causing more damage to their relationship. The truth is that they will never be like they were before the first fight. They will fight again.

The fight at the dog park may have triggered your female, but it's likely that this has been building and came to a breaking point. Most puppies and young dogs start out as best friends - as they grow up and mature, many grow apart.

Your male was a baby when he came to your home. Most dogs love puppies, so it will seem that they are friends. He is now past the puppy stage and moving into adulthood. Dogs lose their puppy license at 6 months of age and are treated like adults by the other adult dogs - no more slack. That's when the aggression starts between dogs. The puppy has grown into a dog and is now a rival for food, space and attention.

Calling one dog over while you're with the other one is not a good idea. It's a crowded, often jealous situation.
Your dogs definitely need their space for two weeks and when you start to give them supervised reintroductions, watch body language VERY carefully and intervene before anything happens. Make sure there's no food(bones count), toys or exciting things around that will cause them to be excited or riled up(company, loud noises, ect).

My dogs are permenantly seperated. They can be around each other and not fight, but I have to make sure that my male doesn't get too close to my female and invade her personal space(he has no concept of personal space and doesn't always pay attention to other dogs' body language). So, one is always leashed when they are around each other. I rotate them in and out of the bedroom(where I keep one) every 3 hours.

It was sad at first, but then I realized that they were actually happier and felt safer away from each other. They don't hate each other, but things happen way too quickly for them to ever be safely loose together. I love them both more than I love them being able to be together, so their safety and my piece of mind comes first. :)

Good luck!

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Klurejr
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Re: Sudden Aggressiveness towards the other.

Postby Klurejr » Thu Apr 18, 2013 2:41 pm

BrokenAquarian wrote:I have dealt with this situation. It turns out that my female doesn't like other dogs in her face/personal space. Like you, it started out as a couple of scuffles over food on the floor. My dogs are five months apart in age and have been together since the older one was 7 months old. They didn't start fighting until around 3 to 5 years old. Sorry it's been a long time - can't remember exactly when it started. :)

It is very natural for dogs to fight over resources like food. It should be expected(and prevented). It doesn't matter if you punish them or not. You can't make them not do it in the future. If they are uncomfortable around the other dog, it causes stress. The stress builds to a breaking point and a fight happens.

When they have a fight, they have elevated stress levels. It takes 2 weeks for those levels to come down - even if they seem normal before then.

Every time you put them together and they fight - it's causing more damage to their relationship. The truth is that they will never be like they were before the first fight. They will fight again.

The fight at the dog park may have triggered your female, but it's likely that this has been building and came to a breaking point. Most puppies and young dogs start out as best friends - as they grow up and mature, many grow apart.

Your male was a baby when he came to your home. Most dogs love puppies, so it will seem that they are friends. He is now past the puppy stage and moving into adulthood. Dogs lose their puppy license at 6 months of age and are treated like adults by the other adult dogs - no more slack. That's when the aggression starts between dogs. The puppy has grown into a dog and is now a rival for food, space and attention.

Calling one dog over while you're with the other one is not a good idea. It's a crowded, often jealous situation.
Your dogs definitely need their space for two weeks and when you start to give them supervised reintroductions, watch body language VERY carefully and intervene before anything happens. Make sure there's no food(bones count), toys or exciting things around that will cause them to be excited or riled up(company, loud noises, ect).

My dogs are permenantly seperated. They can be around each other and not fight, but I have to make sure that my male doesn't get too close to my female and invade her personal space(he has no concept of personal space and doesn't always pay attention to other dogs' body language). So, one is always leashed when they are around each other. I rotate them in and out of the bedroom(where I keep one) every 3 hours.

It was sad at first, but then I realized that they were actually happier and felt safer away from each other. They don't hate each other, but things happen way too quickly for them to ever be safely loose together. I love them both more than I love them being able to be together, so their safety and my piece of mind comes first. :)

Good luck!



Wow, awesome post. Thank you for taking the time to writ that up. That info and your personal experience helps a bunch. I am glad we live in a big enough place to be able to keep them separate without any real hardships.

I am deeply sadden that they might not be able to be the best Friends we thought they had become, but we will have to just move on. My male sounds like yours, no regard for personal space at all.

My wife and I spoke and we will keep them apart for the next 2 weeks min. How do you arrange the sleeping arrangements for them? We currently only have the one Kennel, and I need to keep Jake in it at night because he cannot be trusted to not chew up things. I can leave Abi loose in the house. I am guessing if this is a personal space issue she will leave him alone in the Kennel at night if she is loose, I don't want to have to lock one of them alone in a room.

Also when locked outside, is a Rot Iron Fence between them going to be enough. So far this morning they have not bothered each other at the fence, I would assume in part because Abi is not going to stand at the fence, but rather she will go off on her own and curl up somewhere.

When we first got abi 3 years ago, she was a year n a half and came from a house where she shared a yard with another pit and a lab, then she lived with us for 2 years as an only dog. Could this be an instance where she is tired of sharing space with him now that he is no longer a cute puppy and she wants her space? This line of reasoning makes a lot of sense to me.

Thanks again. :cheers:

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Re: Sudden Aggressiveness towards the other.

Postby BrokenAquarian » Thu Apr 18, 2013 3:54 pm

Sleeping arrangements here are that one dog sleeps with me and the other is outside of the room. The next night is the other ones turn.

If you've never had a problem with your male breaking out of the crate and it is a strong, secure crate, it should be ok to have her loose in the room.

Although, I'm not sure about the two week separation. I don't know if them being in the same room is ok right now. Does your female ignore him and stay away when he is in the crate? Does he seem relaxed or weary/nervous when she gets around him in his crate?

Ears back, wide eyes, turning their face away, licking their chops, yawning and swallowing are all quiet visual signals that dogs do when they're uncomfortable with the situation. At least some of those signals happen before or during the stiff, hair raised stage. You see my avatar? It's a funny picture, but my female is yawning in distress. She was very uncomfortable with him bumping into the chair and being so close.

If your dog locks their eyes on the other dog in a hard, too interested stare, you need to get its attention onto something else. It's not a "oh, what is that guy doing?" Look. It's a "I'm pretty sure I'm going to get him in a second" look. :)

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Re: Sudden Aggressiveness towards the other.

Postby Klurejr » Thu Apr 18, 2013 4:27 pm

When the pool guy came at noon I moved Abi into the house and she went into the crate and I locked her there, She is afraid of our pool guy and usually runs inside to hide and bark at him. I left Jake outside and gave him full run of the yard, and they have been that way since. Like I said this only started last night, and for the last almost year they slept together all the time, snuggled up in little balls and never showed any aggression at all. I may put Jake in the kennel tonight and move abi into our upstairs office and just close the door. I may try to avoid any contact at all for the next 2 weeks.

I "think" if she was loose in the house and Jake was in the kennel she would avoid him and just sleep on the couch, but I do not want to take a chance on a "might".

It is so different from how they have behaved in the past I just don't know what to think about it. He used to lick her ears non-stop so they were always soggy and if we told him to stop she would glare at us, as if saying "don't tell my personal assistant to stop cleaning me, I luuuuuuve this".

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Re: Sudden Aggressiveness towards the other.

Postby chinchi_&_chupa » Thu Apr 18, 2013 5:09 pm

:goodpost: Broken!!
You can also try covering the crate with a sheet while he is in it at night, just so there is no eye contact.

Mine are like BA's...they can be together, but ALWAYS supervised with my and my husbands full attention and never with anything of high value out. We go to bed with Chloé in her crate and Thor in bed with us. Between 2 or 3 am I get up and put Thor in his room and then Chloé comes to bed with us until I leave for work. I think you'll be surprised how quickly "crate & rotate" becomes normal, for you and them. There are also a lot of things you can do with them "together" once everything settles down, like going for walks - you walk one, your wife the other, even TV time, one on one side of the couch and the other on the other side, with you two in the middle.

Thanks for being open to the whole crate & rotate thing...
I can keep them separated for now, but I do not want to have two dogs if I have to keep them this way the rest of their lives.
it really is easier than you think and just becomes their way of life relatively quickly.

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Klurejr
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Re: Sudden Aggressiveness towards the other.

Postby Klurejr » Sun Apr 21, 2013 5:21 pm

Update:

We took them on a nice long hike today and they did great on the trail, walked side by side like normal. We kept them separated on the truck ride to and from the trail, and they are still separated at home. So far so good. They even met a few dogs like normal and acted like they always do.

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Re: Sudden Aggressiveness towards the other.

Postby Diamondlil » Mon Apr 22, 2013 2:33 am

Are they leashed on their hikes? Walking side-by-side on leashes is a good way for them to have supervised socialisation, with each other and with other dogs. Just be aware that off-lead could lead to snarking. My male dog tends to form what you could almost call temporary alliances with other dogs to try to intimidate my bitch. Due to him bolting off both are on leash-only walks and their behaviour towards each other has definately improved.

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Re: Sudden Aggressiveness towards the other.

Postby Klurejr » Wed Apr 24, 2013 12:13 am

Diamondlil wrote:Are they leashed on their hikes? Walking side-by-side on leashes is a good way for them to have supervised socialisation, with each other and with other dogs. Just be aware that off-lead could lead to snarking. My male dog tends to form what you could almost call temporary alliances with other dogs to try to intimidate my bitch. Due to him bolting off both are on leash-only walks and their behaviour towards each other has definately improved.


I always walk my dogs on leash, always have. Besides being the law here on the trails we hike on, There are dangers such as Cacti (Learned this the hard way once), Rattle Snakes and Coyotes.

Took them for 2.5 miles today and they did well. My boy even once kissed my girl on the face and she ignored him. They met a few dogs on the hike like normal with no issues.

They are still separated at home. As much as I want to force them to be friends I have promised myself to wait the two weeks, and my wife is helping me keep that promise.

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Re: Sudden Aggressiveness towards the other.

Postby Klurejr » Sun May 05, 2013 11:26 am

so things have not progressed well, after two weeks we introduced them together after a long hike since they would be a little bit more tired and perhaps more mellow. Things went well for two days, and then while being supervised in the same room with my wife, while she was working (she works from home). They had been in separate beds all morning and then got into it again.

My wife had already contacted a local behavior specialist who is coming out on Tuesday, but this last attack solidified that we need something else. I will post up again after Tuesday and see what the specialist has to say about the situation after she see's our home etc.

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Re: Sudden Aggressiveness towards the other.

Postby Klurejr » Mon Jun 17, 2013 6:39 pm

Update:
We had been keeping them separate since my last post. Only letting them be together in the back of the truck when going to and from our hikes. When they know it is hiking time they seem to be one track mind focused on the hike, not each-other. I always keep them tied up in the back of the truck for safety sake, but this also makes it to where the boy cannot annoy the girl as his lead does not give him enough room to get to her.

A few days ago I Started implementing the Muzzle's that the behaviors specialist suggested. At first it was just for a few min. Today I put them on when I got home from work and they both mess with the muzzles for about 15 min or so, but eventually get used to them and stop trying to get them off.

I will take the muzzles off soon to give them dinner, and then we are going for a hike this evening.

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Re: Sudden Aggressiveness towards the other.

Postby jamielvsaustin » Tue Jun 18, 2013 8:58 am

If they haven't been desensitized to the muzzles you're only going to make matters worse. Did you go from no muzzles on your dogs-to muzzles? Or did you slow work up to them wearing them?

Also, what's the point of muzzling them and having them around each other? To stop the fighting? Forcing them to be around one another will not encourage them to like one another-it'll likely make things worse between them. They'll be even more frustrated once they realize the muzzle prevents them.

This is a disaster waiting to happen. Just keep them separated!

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Klurejr
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Re: Sudden Aggressiveness towards the other.

Postby Klurejr » Thu Jun 20, 2013 6:48 pm

jamielvsaustin wrote:If they haven't been desensitized to the muzzles you're only going to make matters worse. Did you go from no muzzles on your dogs-to muzzles? Or did you slow work up to them wearing them?

Also, what's the point of muzzling them and having them around each other? To stop the fighting? Forcing them to be around one another will not encourage them to like one another-it'll likely make things worse between them. They'll be even more frustrated once they realize the muzzle prevents them.

This is a disaster waiting to happen. Just keep them separated!



I respect your opinion but I have to wholeheartedly disagree.

We slowly introduced them to the muzzles in short time frames and associated treats and positive reinforcement with each use.

So far they have been able to act like they used to, play together and enjoy each-others company without any raised hair or aggressive growling or movements. This will allow us to have them in a shared environment while being supervised, and if one decides to get aggressive they will not be able to harm each-other and we can separate them and discipline as needed.

I do not believe there is only one solution to this problem. I am not ready to give up on them being able to be friends again.


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