Help! Food Aggression & 'Happy Tail' (kennel tail)
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Thread: Help! Food Aggression & 'Happy Tail' (kennel tail)

  1. #1
    leogirl152 is offline Junior Member
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    DefaultHelp! Food Aggression & 'Happy Tail' (kennel tail)

    Our labs have long backgrounds which is why I have included them at the bottom. Both are very friendly, love people, get along with other animals, & are generally perfect family members.
    **Food Aggression Issue:
    Marley has major food aggression (food, treats, toys) that he will growl, snap, bite at, & chase but only toward other dogs; I can reach in or take it away even taking out of his mouth. Sachi doesn't have food aggression other than with treats & only toward my son or other dogs. She is very good about food & toys with other dogs & people. What can I do to help stop the major food aggression? I've never had a dog with food aggression isues, all my families have always had a community food/water bowl & toys.
    **Happy Tail (kennel tail) Issue:
    I rarely kennel both dogs, only when we are gone from the house for an extended time or if they want to be in them. Recently I started kenneling at meal times just for peace due to the food aggression issue mentioned above. However, Marley has developed 'happy tail' (kennel tail) I believe from the kennel. Sachi never has the problem as she is more gentle & not so aggressive with her tail whipping. The very tip of his tail has a cut/split/crack that just won't seem to heal. Everytime he gets excited his tail goes wild & it re-opens. Then I have to hold a towel over it chasing him so it doesn't look like a murder scene as he runs through the house to go outside; we can't even let him out in the house because of it causing blood to go everywhere. It's amazing how much blood can come from such a small spot; you'd think his whole tail was riped open. What can I do to fix it? Should I maybe talk to the vet about just removing just the tip of it so its more rounded to prevent excessive damage? I don't want to crop the whole tail, even though it hurts like a whip when he hits with it, because he uses when swimming & a lab without a tail just doesn't look right. Besides he's mad enough about getting "fixed" & his boys gone, he'll never forgive me if I take his tail too. LoL.

    We have 2 labs, 1 black (female, Sachi) & 1 yellow (male, Marley). Here are their stories...
    Marley, we rescued him at 9 weeks. He was left in a tiny outside kennel, left in his own feces, never cleaned, flea ridden, had worms... you name it. We didn't steal him or anything, Marley's mom's owner was the one who we got him from because her sister was neglecting all her animals. We got him back up to health & he was a wonderful loving dog. He was very protective of our son... If you yelled at him Marley would get between you & him as if to say I'm watching you & will bite if you harm him. We adopted him out when my son started hitting Marley, we thought he didn't like the dog anymore, but later found out that it was due to a speech communication issue. Our son was devasted, he cried for Marley all the time, even would wake up crying for Marley. We tried to get him back but had no luck. Just recently though the adopter contacted us about taking Marley back if we wanted since his new work hours didn't allow enough time for Marley. So we now have him back. Yay!
    Sachi, we adopted at 8 weeks from a guy who had 2 different pregnant dogs dumped off in his yard a week apart. He didn't want animal control to put them down so he fostered them until all the puppies were adopted out then adopted out the moms too. She helped heal the void of missing Marley & my son fell in love with her. She was a bit of a handfull in the beginning with whining when left alone & potty training. But she has turned into a sweet wonderful addition to our family. I always say that if we hadn't adopted Marley out we wouldn't have her & thats what was meant to happen.
    Sachi & Marley have become fast buddies who do everything togther, even laying in the kid pool. Although Marley knows the way to get away from her is to go in the lake. Sachi isn't big on water. So we have one water loving lab & one that doesn't.

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  3. #2
    leogirl152 is offline Junior Member
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    Had a friend who just sent me a link about helping prevent/stop dog-to-dog food aggression... pretty interesting. Thought I'd share the method:
    You put the aggressor in a kennel with a set of food bowls to eat, then put another set just outside the kennel next to the set of food bowls in the kennel for the non-aggressor. You have to sit with them (making you Alpha) so they don't try to dominate & they understand its safe. After they can eat continually in front of each other without issue & you not sitting right there, then you can move to no barriers. The barries were for the safety of everyone including the dogs even if no blood has been drawn, better safe than sorry. When adjusting to no barrier start with space between the bowls & slowly move closer as long as no aggression issues happen, you may also need to sit near them so they know its still safe & alpha is there.

  4. #3
    BigBrownDog is offline Senior Member
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    My dogs eat in their own bowls across the room from each other out of each other's sight lines. When the foster was added into the mix I fed him in his crate. I don't see any reason to create stress in the dogs by having them eat next to each other.

    As far as treats are concerned, we dole them out in a structured manner in which the people control the distribution. I don't give pig ears or rawhides or bully sticks - mostly because I don't want my dogs to have them - but that also eliminates a source of competition. When they get raw beef bones, they naturally segregate from each other - they take them to separate areas in the house. They are respectful of each other's space.

    OP - if your dog has a legitimate reason to be protective of his food (like the other dog crowds him or tries to take his stuff) I would feed one of them in the crate to reduce the tension present. I don't like the idea of a community food bowl for any dog pack - how do you have any idea how much each is eating?
    Sharon, Blaise and Diesel.

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    amazongold is offline Senior Member
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    I feed my boys out of sight of each other, also - mainly because Buddy gets less and eats faster, and I don't want him tempted to try to eat Champ's food.

    You need to be able to control how much each dog gets, so they must always have their own bowl. They should each have their own spot to eat in where the other dog is not allowed to bother them until they have finished and walk away. Then they can check each other's for 'leftovers.'

    ETA - as for having your boy's tail docked - NO!!!! Get some 'vet wrap' and bandage it until it heals.
    Jackie, Champ, and Buddy

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    tammyhuffman is offline Senior Member
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    Please do not even think of docking your Labs tail. Any vet that would entertain the thought of this procedure should send you running in the other direction. Has he been to the vet to find out what is causing the injury to not heal? When a sore does not heal something is not right.
    As others have suggested, it is very important go feed your dogs sepetately in their own bowls. If you have to, use a baby gate to seperate them.
    Tammy
    Maxx & Emma Jean
    Ozzy - 10/16/02 - 06/28/11 - Always in my heart.

    Sometimes the hardest part isn't letting go - but learning to start over.

  8. #6
    leogirl152 is offline Junior Member
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    I have moved them to eating in their crates as it keeps my son from pestering them. All is peaceful on that but I really want to get him to where he's ok around other dogs at food bowls as when we visit family their dogs have community bowls & don't want any issues then.
    As for the "happy/kennel tail"... I've tried everything. I got the bandage to stay on but he is a lab who loves water, & is almost impossible to keep out of our lake. Wondering if I take him to the beach if the salt water might help it heal faster. Its been a week since it first happened & I hate having to keep him kenneled, which just adds to the injury. I'm going to try the pill bottle over the tip & taped to the tail so it protects while still allowing air to heal it. I was also told to try a finger splint as its padded & has a firm frame to protect while letting air in on the sides; does anyone know if that works?
    My main concern is once it heals how do I keep it from reoccuring? I've never had this issue with any of my dogs & my other lab is trained to relax in the kennel & not freak out thus causing major tail wagging that can cause it to get injured. The one that has the tail issue was the same way but he has been in a different environment for a year so its hard to break him of that habit. Any tips on getting him to remain calm until out of his kennel?
    I don't want to dock his tail as thats weird for a lab plus he uses it as his rudder in the water. My vet also said that they would not do that to a Labrador. However they might consider just snipping the very tip of the tail off where the injury is occurring if it becomes a persistent problem, which is only about a half inch cone shape which would then make it more rounded so it doesn't have that problem anymore.
    Last edited by leogirl152; 06-21-2013 at 02:42 PM.

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    Tanya is offline Senior Member
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    I don't think you will EVER get him tot he point he can be "just fine" with a community bowl. Or even if he is fine with it, I know my dog(s) would jsut eat the community bowl. Any training for THAT envirionment needs to take place there, with baby steps and lots of practice (and this probably isn't worth it). No matter what you do at home you will never "fix" a different problem in a different envrionment. I would see if they could nto have a community bowl there, or have it somewhere your dog cannot get to, or keep him on leash in the house when you go there so you have total control.

    I'm no vet but I dobut salt water would help heel anything, if it's a wound I would imagine that would hurt.

    And to keep him out of the water - leash him! You are the human - you have ressources.

    While you never WANT to cut part of the tail off - sometimes for their health you need to. You gotta do what you gotta do. But in the meantime there are things you can do, to take control. Like NOT letting him get into water (even if it means leashing him or using a long line so you can PHYSICALLY prevent him from swimming if that is what the vet said to do). Just like a dog that needs completely rest you would keep them in an x-pen or crate and then go outside with a leash only to ensure they stay calm.

    You can train a dog to accept their kennel. make it a happy place where good things happen and give him fun things in tehre like a stuffed kong (or if you are around to supervise, a bone).
    Charlie (foster) and Rocky

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