Author Topic: What to do when your dogs stop getting along?  (Read 8862 times)

Offline E!!

  • Posts Too Much!
  • *****
  • Posts: 1735
What to do when your dogs stop getting along?
« on: March 27, 2012, 10:28:22 AM »
We have 3 dogs. A 6.5 year old pug/poodle mix, a 11 year old ACD and a 4ish year old CHI mix. I have had the pug/poodle dog since she was a puppy. We took in the ACD when we bough this house almost 5 years ago and the Chi came from a neighbor 3.5 years ago.

For some reason the two older dogs just aren't getting along anymore. Their relationship has always been somewhat tenuous, but nothing more than the occasional growl. They would also sleep together (by choice), but the past year or so they have really started to not like each other. Just in the past two months I have had to break up two rip, roaring, blood drawing fights. I am not really sure what to do. I try to keep them apart, but that is hard to do since we live in a <900sf house with two small children. I am afraid they are going to end up hurting each other or one of the kids.

I can't figure out what the trigger is that sets them off either. Sometimes it seems to come out of nowhere. One minute they are sitting next to each other and the next they are going for blood. I have noticed that I can't scold one dog without the other starting aggressive posturing, luckily they are typically well behaved dogs so scolding isn't really an issue.

Any ideas? What is the best way to approach this? Keeping them apart all the time isn't realistic right now, though it might be when we move into a bigger house. We have also though of re-homing the ACD since she would fit in great on a farm type setting (we are in the subburbs) but I really really don't like the idea of re-homing an 11 year old dog. It just seems mean. But something has to give.

Offline E!!

  • Posts Too Much!
  • *****
  • Posts: 1735
Re: What to do when your dogs stop getting along?
« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2012, 03:43:07 PM »
Anybody?

Also, after a fight when Izzy (the pug/poodle) sees Josie (ACD) she runs in circles and kicks up grass and dirt with her hind legs over and over, so I can tell she is agitated.

Offline forkyfork

  • Posts Too Much!
  • *****
  • Posts: 9665
    • DANANI
Re: What to do when your dogs stop getting along?
« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2012, 06:51:33 PM »
I know there are others here that can shed more detailed info on this. I will point this out so you can research in the right direction until someone chimes in.

It sounds like a problem in alpha dog status. Are all the dogs fixed? Is there a new dog nearby? The kicking up grass is a marking status display.  The alpha dog isnt necessarily the biggest dog or the oldest. Some dogs will always try to challenge the status. It sounds like something is changing with the alpha dog making the other dog try to take the status. Are both dogs in good health in particular the ACD? It sounds like possibly the ACD was alpha and the poodle is trying to take alpha.

We had a dog that had alpha issues and she was the only dog. She would try to hump my kids and any other dog that was near her. She was never interested in playing with other dogs just wanted to dominate them by humping. We had to make sure we kept the alpha role over her at home or she would be aggressive and destroy property.

I dont know how you would help dogs resolve alpha roles. Im sure there are books out there, I know others have mentioned books for similar situations.

Offline E!!

  • Posts Too Much!
  • *****
  • Posts: 1735
Re: What to do when your dogs stop getting along?
« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2012, 11:11:33 AM »
Thanks forky. Alpha roles makes sense since Josie (ACD) has been the alfa since she got here, but Izzy (poodle) has never really been submissive to her, more of as long as you don't push it too much I don't care. I bet with Josie getting older and crankier, Izzy is bucking her role.

Offline forkyfork

  • Posts Too Much!
  • *****
  • Posts: 9665
    • DANANI
Re: What to do when your dogs stop getting along?
« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2012, 11:19:36 AM »
There have been books mentioned in other threads in the dog care corner maybe you could see if you can find them Im surprised no one has chimed in yet.

Im pretty sure there are interactions you do with the dogs to adjust their roles (feeding order etc) or possibly you being the alpha. We used NILIF (nothing in life is free) with our dog without it she ran the house. Since I was the alpha I couldnt even give her any of my food or she thought she moved up in the pack.

Offline applecavy

  • Posts Too Much!
  • *****
  • Posts: 5150
  • Think adoption first! :3
Re: What to do when your dogs stop getting along?
« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2012, 11:29:46 AM »
I wish I had advice for you! Our dogs are not nearly as bad as that (I've only had to breakup serious fights between them 2 times in 3 years) but the younger one, Pomeranian ~4years, always goes after the older one, dachshund ~9years, when they come in from a walk.

Even if we only take one of them, when Lucie comes in, Pattie will bark/growl and nip at her legs.

I'm going to keep an eye on this thread for possible advice...

Offline Kati33

  • Posts Too Much!
  • *****
  • Posts: 2975
  • Howdy!
Re: What to do when your dogs stop getting along?
« Reply #6 on: March 28, 2012, 12:40:04 PM »
Sorry this isn't about interdog aggression- but there is lots of "dominance" and "alpha" talk in the thread and wanted to post this:

American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior Position Statement on Dominance Theory
Kati33
Watusi, Charolais, Orca, Puffin, Sloth and Sifaka the Rats
Some dogs, reptiles and a husband...
Past Rats: Jag, Otter, Wolf, Frog, Bear, Moose, Emu as in Komodo Dragon, Squirrel, Turtle, Elephant, Ox, Opossum, Octopus, Okapi, Cassowary, Goose, Squid, Coati, Flamingo, Zebu, Bo(vine)

Offline SSTFLFPS

  • Posts Too Much!
  • *****
  • Posts: 986
  • The more people I meet, the more I love my dogs...
Re: What to do when your dogs stop getting along?
« Reply #7 on: March 28, 2012, 11:23:27 PM »
Sorry this isn't about interdog aggression- but there is lots of "dominance" and "alpha" talk in the thread and wanted to post this:

American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior Position Statement on Dominance Theory

Thank you, thank you, thank you.  Dominance theory is completely unnecessary.  It makes me cringe.  Without employing dominance, my dog can sit on my lap as I eat and not once attempt to take my food, and this is true of all of my dogs.  Every pack needs an alpha, but it is much more complicated than dominance.  The alpha does much more in the pack than "discipline." As to the OP's problem, first things first: everyone should go to the vet.  There's a large chance that this is health related.  I've had it happen in my own household and a trip to the vet uncovered kidney failure in the victim.  Once everyone has a clean bill of health, I'd start a journal and document each incident in detail.  It is very rare for there to be true aggression in dogs.  Most of the time there is a reason.  Keeping a detailed record of what is happening will help you to find the pattern that is leading to these fights.  It will also help you and us in order to help you to figure out who the "aggressor" truly is, you'd be amazed how many times the problem is not stemming from the obvious dog.

Offline tsk_n_such

  • Posts Too Much!
  • *****
  • Posts: 913
Re: What to do when your dogs stop getting along?
« Reply #8 on: April 02, 2012, 01:39:06 AM »
Are they the same sex?  Same sex dog aggression isn't uncommon. With training, you may be able to manage it, but it's always, likely, going to be a crate and rotate and highly supervised situation.
The wee rat girls: Dysentery, Tularemia and Listeria

Offline slynx

  • Posts Too Much!
  • *****
  • Posts: 918
    • Maya's blog
Re: What to do when your dogs stop getting along?
« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2012, 04:16:50 PM »
Sudden behavioral changes always warrant a vet visit.  If one dog is experiencing pain, stiffness, discomfort, disorientation, or a whole host of other issues, then it often manifests as increased irritability and friction.  I'd get at least the older dog (but ideally both) in for a full check-up.  Even if it is a matter of social roles shifting as one dog gets older, that kind of shift is usually triggered by real physical changes for the old dog...while we can't prevent our dogs from aging, we can at least treat the aches & pains that come with it!

If the vet turns up nothing treatable, then I'd consult with a behaviorist.  Someone who can come to your house and do an in-home evaluation.  Professionals can see a lot of things that we might miss, and SSTFLFPS's idea about documenting is a good idea in advance.  A professional can also give you a more realistic idea of how manageable/modifiable the behavior might be. 

Offline littlewolf

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 114
  • Animals heal a soul faster than anything else
Re: What to do when your dogs stop getting along?
« Reply #10 on: February 27, 2014, 01:48:53 PM »

Also, after a fight when Izzy (the pug/poodle) sees Josie (ACD) she runs in circles and kicks up grass and dirt with her hind legs over and over, so I can tell she is agitated.
if she is kicking up grass like that,they are dominance fighting.possible acd was dominant and now hes getting old and izzy is trying to move up the chain.the best thing to do is feed them separatly and give them and equal amount of attention.eventually they will settle it and there will be no more problems.