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  1. #21

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    I know you say they are fighting to the death but maybe this is something they have to work out? That sounds awful as I say it in my mind because if they truly are fighting to kill then this isn't an option. I just wonder if maybe it sounds a lot worse than it is because you would surely have puncture wounds if they were fighting to kill. Maybe one needs to win and set things in order. However, there is just no way to do this without being assured no one will get hurt or killed. I feel for you, I really do. Can you call the Dog Whisperer? lol
    -Brian
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  2. #22
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    I wouldn't worry about the sound. I'd be concerned if one gets the other by the throat and starts shaking. That's killing. You have a pack hierarchy issue that is really only going to be settled by the dogs. When I say gets the other by the throat, I mean one dog is down on the ground on it's back and the other closes it's mouth over the windpipe and starts to crush. What you're describing is actually quite normal behavior between two dogs battling for dominance. A little fur may fly, but they really aren't hurting each other. If they did, one would quit the fight.
    Those who never succeed themselves are always the first to tell you how.

  3. #23

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    Amy -- I'm so sorry you're having to deal with this. I can't imagine how awful it must be to worry about what is going to happen. I hope they settle into a new hierarchy, and quickly.

  4. #24
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    You can fix this if it is a heirarchy issue. Pick whichever one you think should be the alpha. Always feed it first. Make the other one wait. Only speak kindly and pet the ahpha one. Be harsh and a bit mean with the other one. Give the alpha toys and treats, and none to the other one.

    After a few weeks of this, the dogs will accept their assigned positions and you can stop being mean-ish to the #2.

    A good link that more clearly explains what you need to do.
    Last edited by rjblue; 03-04-2011 at 01:14 AM.
    ‎"You emerge victorious from the maze you've been travelling in." Oct 21,2012- Best Fortune Cookie Ever!

  5. #25
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    You should also teach the dogs down-stay and put them in the position when they show unwanted behaviors.
    Those who never succeed themselves are always the first to tell you how.

  6. #26

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    Soooo... I thought the 4th fight ended quickly enough, but then later I saw blood on the doggy bed in Teddy's (the boy's) pen. I discovered a rather gnarly gash, about an inch and a half long, between the back of his neck and shoulder blades. It was only a few minutes from vet clinic closing time, but they were kind enough to wait for me to bring Teddy in. He's staying there overnight since he needs some stitches.

    To tally everything up, in the past 24 hours there have been four fights, three vet visits, four stitches, and about $400 in vet bills. I also have hardly slept or eaten during this time.

    I don't think I could stomach just letting them fight it out. I would need a thousand-percent guarantee that no one would die, and I'm afraid if I let it go on more than a few seconds they'd get too into it and I'd never be able to pull them apart. Ugh, I had so much hope when they walked so well together today. But as soon as they get into the house, it turns into a gladiator ring.
    Last edited by Amy L; 03-04-2011 at 02:24 AM.

  7. #27
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    Amy, I know your getting lots of advice on this issue and not all of it is the same so I know your situation is difficult.

    Have you ever watched Cesar Millan, The Dog Whisperer? His show is on the National Geographic Channel. He's wonderful and completely understands dog psychology. Being honest, its not a good idea to separate your dogs. This will only go to make the problem worse. I know you have good intentions by doing this and you don't want a fight to break out but watching The Dog Whisperer regarding similar issues Cesar has always said the worse thing you can do is to separate them like you are doing.

    Its interesting that you said on the walk together they were fine. I would encourage you to do more of that if possible. The more the dogs walk together the more they will bond.

    Try emailing Cesar Millan with your issue at his website. I believe it is:

    cesarmillaninc.com

    If that's not it just google his name: Cesar Millan and you are sure to come up with it.

    Continued good luck with your problem.

  8. #28

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    Cesar's website says it takes three questions per month, my problems are quite a bit more immediate than that. And for the moment I can't do anything about their separation since the aforementioned overnight vet stay.

    Since I'm usually such an annoyingly proud dogmommy:

    happier times (taken 2 years ago)

    The dominant female is the muttier looking one on the right. Other than being adorable... until the deathmatches... just giving you an idea on the issues I'm having trying to pull two big dogs apart.


    ignore the uglyass floors, that was taken in the middle of renovations

  9. #29

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    They're beautiful. I'm hoping the only drama in your life tonight relates to the ladies' SP at Junior Worlds, and that all doggies chill.

  10. #30

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    They are gorgeous, Amy! I really do think you should email Cesar Millan. I bet he gets tons of emails and may never respond but mention how there are no trainers anywhere near and how much you love these dogs and need to make them be able to live together. He just may be able to help. Best of luck!
    -Brian
    "Michelle would never be caught with sausage grease staining her Vera Wang." - rfisher

  11. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by Amy L View Post

    I don't think I could stomach just letting them fight it out. I would need a thousand-percent guarantee that no one would die, and I'm afraid if I let it go on more than a few seconds they'd get too into it and I'd never be able to pull them apart.
    Amy I completely agree with you - I was just going to post the same thing and I found you did it already. I could NEVER just let my babies fight it out - it would kill me. [And in general I think this is very dangerous unless you have a trained professional with you, who will know exactly how far to let things go]. Separation might not be the best way for Cesar, but I kind of think it is the best way for you in the short term. [And a gash in the neck that requires stitches certainly sounds very serious to me.]

    If they are fine together away from the house, then by all means take them for walks as much as possible. If there is some area - a park, the woods, by the beach - where you can let them play together - and they are okay with each other - then do it. It certainly will help them bond together.

    But what I dont understand is why this suddenly started now. Didnt you say you had these dogs for 3 years with no problem, and now suddenly they are fighting? Something must have happened to trigger this situation. Has anything at all changed in their lives? Maybe a child went off to college? Did your job hours change? Re-painting? No matter how unconnected it sounds, try to look at your daily life from your dog's perspective and try to imagine if anything changed recently. Walk times? Food times?

    Did your vet have any suggestions? What kind of tests did he give them? Did he do a full blood count or just test for the usual suspects? My vet cannot do a full blood count in his clinic. He needs to send the blood to a lab - it takes a few days for the result to come back. Did he x-ray and test the joints - test for hip dysplasia - check the eyes and teeth?

    Can he recommend a dog pyschologist you could consult - or a GOOD trainer. My experience with trainers has been some are good, some are not, and some use methods I would never permit with my dogs, so I would try to get some recommendations before I hire someone. Do you live near a university with either a school of Vet Medicine or an animal behavior dept? If you do, call them.

    Cesar Milan has an Animal Behavior Center [or something - unfortunately I forget the name]. Try to call them - you'll get a quicker answer than posting on the website and they might be able to give you some advice or recommend someone in your area to call.

    I have never had to deal with such a serious problem in any of my dogs, but they have certainly had their share of unwanted behavior issues. My trainer told me the TIMING of the correction I give is vital. Watch the dog - before she attacks [in your case] there will be something you can pick up on - it might be staring, rigid tail/body, ear position, even just coming too close to the other dog - something. The second you see that - ACT! Dont wait for the fight to start - correct when you see any behavior clue you dont like - BEFORE the behavior starts.

    I know this is easier said than done - it was a little easier for me because she pointed out what she meant and intervened for me - so I could model on her. But she was right. When I could correct just before the behavior starts - it was very effective. When I was too late, it was very difficult to stop. So timing is key.

    How to correction depends on what your dogs are used to. You could tell them DOWN!! STAY!! in a really loud voice, or just NO!!, or Watch Me or whatever you use to get their focus on you and off each other.

    But most important I would talk to your vet again when you pick up your dog - see if he can test further or, if he really thinks this is not a health issue - give you some advice for what to do or recommend someone who can.

    I really sympathize with you and wish I could suggest something more concrete. Your dogs are gorgeous - I love them too! I'm hoping your vet can come up with something that will help.

  12. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by Amy L View Post

    Since I'm usually such an annoyingly proud dogmommy:

    happier times (taken 2 years ago)
    Gorgeous dogs Amy. I have a golden myself and am partial to the breed. They and the German Shepherds are my favourite. IMO the Golden is the most beautiful of dogs, the German the most noble.

  13. #33
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    My two female dogs started fighting about 4 years ago. It was triggered by me taking care of my sister's very annoying and dominant puppy. One of the dogs hated the puppy and the other one was fine with it. The fights were about territory and dominance. I took them to a couple of trainers and refresher obedience classes, banished them from my bedroom (they got territorial about it) and made sure that the knew I was boss. It stopped. Granted, they're smaller dogs than yours so I had more control over them, but there were some nasty gashes and I got bit a couple of times.

    They've only been in a fight once again in the four years since then- and it was triggered by my male dog behaving badly. He got really rowdy and both my girls went at it. But it was easier to separate them and it hasn't happened since.

    I got really good at anticipating when things got testy. A look, body language... That tells you when something's going to happen. All it takes is a firm "Hey!", and their attitudes change completely.

    So keep the faith. It can be fixed.

  14. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by rfisher View Post
    I wouldn't worry about the sound. I'd be concerned if one gets the other by the throat and starts shaking. That's killing. You have a pack hierarchy issue that is really only going to be settled by the dogs. When I say gets the other by the throat, I mean one dog is down on the ground on it's back and the other closes it's mouth over the windpipe and starts to crush. What you're describing is actually quite normal behavior between two dogs battling for dominance. A little fur may fly, but they really aren't hurting each other. If they did, one would quit the fight.

    This. It doesn't SOUND (hard to say without seeing) like they are actually trying to KILL, it sounds like pack structure fighting. Especially since the mounting behavior is dominance-establishing behavior. I completely agree with sorting out "pack order"--in my house, I am not 'alpha dog', as far as they're concerned I am GOD. They do NOT ever get to challenge me. And the older male is second in line--he goes through doors first, he gets fed first, I do not allow the corgi to run him off his food.

    I would try and find someone who is used to dealing with dominance issues--I don't kid myself they're family or children or have any sort of emotions humans do, but I understand not wanting to deal with letting them fight and definitely get not wanting hundreds in vet bills. Though I would make ABSOLUTELY sure, going to bloodwork if possible, there's nothing wrong with either dog.

  15. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amy L View Post
    She came in, tried to hump him (she does that a lot),

    But there's no way I'm putting them together again any time soon. I never want to hear those sounds again.
    Humping is definitely a dominance thing.

    The fighting noises are scary! I hope it gets better soon.

  16. #36

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    The problem with relying on the vet for advice is that not all vets even own dogs, let alone know how to train or make them obedient. It is certainly worth asking but he may have his knowledge limited to the medical side when it comes to dogs.
    -Brian
    "Michelle would never be caught with sausage grease staining her Vera Wang." - rfisher

  17. #37

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    Here's the damage. Teddy got two stitches and a drain put in since it's still oozy. I just brought him home, and he's high as a kite off the pain meds. So... yeah, I can't try to put the dogs back together any time soon. Ted is sleeping it off in his kennel (which he got into gladly) and I put Sadie Jo in my bedroom with me. Maybe that will help her feel more dominant, I dunno.

    When I bring him back to the vet to get the drain out next week, I think I will request a hip x-ray. Since he's a big golden, he may have hip dysplasia. If he's in pain when SJ mounts him, that could explain why he's rejecting her dominance all of a sudden.

    I'm loopy from not sleeping for 48 hours, I think I'm gonna need some of Teddy's meds soon!

  18. #38
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    My mother-in-law had two Australian Sheepdogs. One she raised from a puppy, and was very dominant and secure. The other was a rescue dog which was poorly socialised and very timid. She felt so sorry for the poor dog that she always petted it more, gave it more treats, and spoke more kindly to it. She punished the other dog whenever she was agressive with the rescue dog. Those two dogs got in fights continuously, until the day one of them died. Her kindness to the rescue dog resulted in years of confusion for the poor dogs, because she was treating one dog like the alpha dog, and the other one was clearly the ALPHA and was not going to be submissive.
    ‎"You emerge victorious from the maze you've been travelling in." Oct 21,2012- Best Fortune Cookie Ever!

  19. #39

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    (((( Amy L))) There is nothing more painful that to see your dogs, which you love dearly, hurt each other and fight.

    He (dog) is trying to be more assertive. She (dog) is fighting for her Alpha status. He-dog may have a hormonal issue, even if neutered, and that is what’s causing his sudden assertiveness.

    Both dogs recognize you (the owner) as Alpha, but are now renegotiating the status between them. You as Alpha may need to help them, and that is (fair or unfair) will mean preserving the old hierarchy, She-the Alpha, He-the Omega….

    Evaluate all activities you and your dogs are involved in jointly, and select the ones where you can establish an order: one dogs goes first, other dog goes second. Feeding, walking, petting, brushing, giving treats….. Treat/handle/brush/feed/through a toy to She-dog first, and He-dog second.

    If I did not miss something in your description of your vet visit, I want to suggest to do blood work for the He-dog and see if anything maybe affecting his hormones… perhaps a different food (with less this or that) may make him calmer.

  20. #40

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    I sure hope your dogs work it out, or you and your vet figure out what's up with them. Let us know how it turns out, ok?

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