Author Topic: Help! My dogs have recently started fighting each other!  (Read 9705 times)

Offline krismark

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Help! My dogs have recently started fighting each other!
« on: July 29, 2006, 07:30:29 pm »
I need help. I don't know what to do. I'll give a little background on these two first.

Watson:
He is a severely hyper GSP/Weim mix. He is very very sweet and affetionate. He seems to get hurt a lot doing stupid stuff and he has always let us clean his wounds without complaining. However, one time all three of our dogs got out of the yard for a while, and later in the day Watson was sleeping on my legs. I moved my legs and Watson growled. I was confused because he had never done that before. We both got off the couch and I noticed that he had a bunch of bite wounds all over his chest. As I was touching the wounds, out of nowhere, he bit my face (I don't think he even growled) and I ended up in the emergency room. After he bit me he was very submissive. Since then he has never bitten anyone, but he has since been very viscious toward strange/new dogs if they sniff him. He had notdone that before the day he bit me. He has growled at me a few times when I try to move him when he is sleeping, but I grab his muzzle and scold him, which puts him back in line. He is still very sweet and lets me do basically anything I want to him with no grumbling. For example he has a cyst on his eyelid which he lets me squeeze the junk out of it when it gets bigger. He also lets me bathe him, clip his nails, pick at his teeth, anything else I might feel like doing.

Zero:
He has always been very quiet and not very affectionate (but he likes to get affection). My family and friends make fun of us and call Zero abused because he doesn't get the same level of affection as our other dogs, but that is mainly because he is not a slobbery, kissy, playful dog. He will not pick up a ball or play games with people. He absolutely refuses to give kisses, but when it's dinner time he will get all crazy and sometimes he'll lick my hand, which cracks me up. He has never bitten any humans, but he does have hip problems, so if anyone or anything touches he back end while he is laying down he will snap at them, which is understandable .

Zero and Watson together:
Zero and Watson have been wrestling buddies ever since they have been together and until somewhat recently it has always just been playing. For the last year or so...their playing seems to go a little too far sometimes. I can't really tell who is taking it too far though. They just start snapping at each other instead of playing. It has never resulted in any biting.

The problem now
A few days ago one of the dogs (most likely my hunter, Gabriel) killed a rabbit in the yard. Zero ate most of the rabbit. He tried to come inside with it but I managed to push him back out. When he did come in later, his muzzle was all coated in dirt like maybe he buried it. I let all three dogs out a little later and out of nowhere Zero and Watson are fighting. I don't know exactly what made me think Zero started it, but it just seemed that way. I had to turn on the hose and spray them to get them apart. Watson ran in the house and kind of stayed there and Zero tried to follow him. I had to keep hosing him down to keep him away. He wasn't growling or anything at this point, but he still had a "determined" look. I went inside and Watson was bleeding. His ear had several lacerations and he seemed pretty scared. He let me clean them. I kept them seperated for the rest of the day, and when we put them together later they seemed fine. I don't know what happened to cause the fight, but I think maybe Watson might have found some of the rabbit and gotten near it, makeing Zero mad.

There haven't been any problems for a few days, then today I let them out and I hear a snarl. It sounded like Zero and Watson was running away from him when I turned around. When I got home later today I noticed blood on my bed. Watson has a pretty deep puncture on the base of his neck. He seemed very clingy and not quite his hyper/happy self. I don't know if theis hapeened earlier with the snarl, or sometime when I wasn't home. The puncture was very wet (this is about 7 hours after the snarl incident this afternoon) and it is not in a spot where he can lick it.

My Dillema
I don't know what to do about this. I have been worried about Watson biting again since he bit me, and his agression toward strange dogs, but he has really given me no other reason to worry. He is about the most submissive dog you could ask for. I have no real way to know how these fights are starting and who is to blame, but my gut reaction is that Zero was the aggressor. Also, he is not getting hurt. I am really afraid that Zero will hurt Watson again, and the possibility that it might happen while I'm gone is very scary. However, I'm araid if I do something drastic with Zero, I will find out that Watson was really the problem. Although, like I said, Watson is the one getting hurt here so I have a strong feeling that Zero is the aggressor.

Right now they are both peacefully sleeping next to each other. What do I do? I can't handle not knowing if one of my dogs might get seriously hurt by another one. It is really unnerving.

Offline navarre1316

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Re: Help! My dogs have recently started fighting each other!
« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2006, 03:48:45 am »
I'm bumping this.  Search other threads on the board.  There have been a couple that have talked about dominance issues, who's alpha, and that sounds like what this is.  You didn't say how old they are, that is important.  The other threads have a lot of good ideas and points made.  Sorry but I'm walking out the door or I would have found what I'm talking about.  Good luck
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DakotaMom

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Re: Help! My dogs have recently started fighting each other!
« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2006, 03:57:36 am »
I wish I could give you some advise but I have never had a situation like this. The only thing I could suggest is to keep them seperated when you leave the house. At least then you won't have to worry about coming home to a seriously injured dog.

I'm sure someone else will come along with more advise for you and good luck. I hope you can get this worked out.

Offline krismark

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Re: Help! My dogs have recently started fighting each other!
« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2006, 04:30:38 am »
I'm bumping this.  Search other threads on the board.  There have been a couple that have talked about dominance issues, who's alpha, and that sounds like what this is.  You didn't say how old they are, that is important.  The other threads have a lot of good ideas and points made.  Sorry but I'm walking out the door or I would have found what I'm talking about.  Good luck

I did a search, and didn't find a whole lot. I'll keep trying though. I just realized that there is a behavior forum, which is where I should have posted this. Whoops! :-\

Zero is 7 years old and Watson is about 4 or 5. They have been together for about 3 years.

Offline Bella's mom

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Re: Help! My dogs have recently started fighting each other!
« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2006, 04:45:59 am »
I'm sure that there is someone here who can give you some advice.  I wish that I could, but I will say that the first thing that I thought when you were talking about Watson biting was that he was showing fear aggression.  Not aggressive in the way that we think about it, but he is just become so frightened in certain instances that he lashes out.
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doggylover

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Re: Help! My dogs have recently started fighting each other!
« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2006, 10:18:20 am »
Bump

SA_horses

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Re: Help! My dogs have recently started fighting each other!
« Reply #6 on: July 30, 2006, 12:57:08 pm »
bump

Sofia

Offline Saint and Mal mom

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Re: Help! My dogs have recently started fighting each other!
« Reply #7 on: July 30, 2006, 03:55:24 pm »
I don't have a whole lot of advice to give you, but I'll try some. My two girls are only 2 months apart in age and sometimes their rough playing sounds like it gets a little out of hand. They've never hurt each other, as in made the other bleed or anything, but sometimes it sounds pretty fierce. I just know the difference in listening to them. If I feel I need to, I get on to them and break them up just by going out there and telling them both "No." Make sure both your dogs get disciplined when this happens. There may be one aggressor, but it takes to have a squabble. By disciplined, I mean telling them "NO!" Let then know that it is not okay with you that they are fighting. They may choose to simply avoid each other a bit more if they know that fighting means making their master unhappy. I don't know how much this will help you, but my main point is that you are their master and it is not okay with you that they are fighting. So show them that. If this doesn't help, I don't really know what other steps you should take. But I sincerely hope you have no more problems. Sorry this is happening!  :-\
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Offline krismark

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Re: Help! My dogs have recently started fighting each other!
« Reply #8 on: July 30, 2006, 05:49:26 pm »
When they play fight and it starts to get a little too fierce, I always stop it. These fights are not starting with any kind of playing. They seem pretty much unprovoked, which is scary. The only thing I can think of that might have made this happen is that we have been giving Zero more attention that usual lately (which still is less than the other dogs get because he does not have a cuddly personality). Maybe the attention is making him think he's Alpha. I plan on doing some obedience with him, but i just have a feeling that it won't help...just based on his personality.

I am afraid I am going to come home to a bloody mess or something even worse if this continues.

Offline MagicM3

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Re: Help! My dogs have recently started fighting each other!
« Reply #9 on: July 30, 2006, 08:03:49 pm »
I feel for you in this situtation,
1st I would keep them seperate when you are not home,just for your own peice of mind.

2nt for the time being I would not let them play fight at all.

Make them understand that is not allowed.You are the alpha leader,YOU make the rules.

Once that is established things should clam down.and it should always be up to you what theyare allowed and not allowed to do.

Both or all should be treated the same.UNDER you.

That's all I can think of at the moment.


Yaz

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Re: Help! My dogs have recently started fighting each other!
« Reply #10 on: July 31, 2006, 01:23:42 am »
Check out the forum link below entitled "raising multiple dogs in the same house" - it will give you find the answers you need:
http://www.leerburg.com/ubbthreads/postlist.php/Cat/0/Board/94

Offline DixieSugarBear

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Re: Help! My dogs have recently started fighting each other!
« Reply #11 on: July 31, 2006, 02:29:07 am »
Yaz, great link.
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Yaz

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Re: Help! My dogs have recently started fighting each other!
« Reply #12 on: July 31, 2006, 03:38:35 am »
Thanks - it is a wonderful site for dealing with any dog behavior issues - it may not be everyone's cup of tea, but I find the advice I have received over the years very helpful when training my dogs.

Offline Gevaudan_Jo

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Re: Help! My dogs have recently started fighting each other!
« Reply #13 on: July 31, 2006, 03:56:47 am »
For a year and a half my boys Memphis (great dane) and Zero (bull Terrier) got along... Come winter 05 Zero seemed to play a bit more rough, and would bite at memphis neck skin, trying to get memphis to play (Memphis NEVER plays). but more zero did this the more angry memphis would get, and it would start fights... and we have had zero injured in the face, ears, nose and neck. memphis only gets it in the Legs (as thats only where zero can get him). There was ONE major fight, when we still had Tribute, zero wanted outside, but memphis was laying infront of the door, so Zero grabbed memphis by the ankle and wouldnt let go... tribute jumped into this as well, tearing Memphis ear... i got tribute off easily. after bout 5 minutes of trying to pull zero off memphis, memphis ended up with a nasty leg injury, very swollen ankle, and what looked to be a broken toe... luckily, it wasnt broken :) but it was a really bad fight none the less... We can NOT keep them lose in the house together. we have baby gate seperating them.... the only time they are able to be together is on a leash going for walks... if zero approaches Memphis, memphis will growl and snap, then zero attacks...
I think the best for you is to seperate them as well, before its too late and you end up with a nasty fight on your hands....
Jodi & Darcy
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Offline krismark

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Re: Help! My dogs have recently started fighting each other!
« Reply #14 on: July 31, 2006, 07:07:06 am »

Zero is your old boy? He may be tired of the younger dogs acting goofy around him. I'd work on NILF with him to begin with and your pup who has all the bites and make it part of their daily routine. Mom is in charge :) 


Zero is about 7, but the reason I mentioned that he is getting more attention lately is becaue he has actually been more playful. I'm nt sure exactly why. As far as the dogs playing together, I haven't seen them playfighting since the first incident. Something must have changed between them.

My dogs are not on NILF, but they do have to sit and stay for thier food until I say "release." I don't always make them sit for affection though. I'm going to work on that part. I also used to give scraps or let them lick plates....but I stopped that about 3 or 4 months ago.