Having a serious problem...need serious suggestions
Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 28

Thread: Having a serious problem...need serious suggestions

  1. #1
    AngusFangus is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    12,586

    DefaultHaving a serious problem...need serious suggestions

    OK. We are having a little problem here. I have tried to solve it on my own, and with the help of a behaviorist, and it doesn't seem like it's working.

    I need training advice, so I'm in the training section I think (hope) it is an issue that can be solved by training. I just need help on how to structure the lesson plan, so to speak. Long back-story, but please bear with me. I will try to be as concise as possible. I would really appreciate you reading and helping me by giving suggestions.

    Angus and Simon have been getting into fights with each other. We just had number three in the last four months.

    They are both three. This started in earnest around Simon's third birthday.

    It usually seems to be sparked by a resource. A ball, most often. So, per the behaviorist, we picked up all toys and only have them out under supervision.

    The last fight was about a ball. Simon was holding a ball in his mouth, Angus "mounted" him from the front , and it was on. I pulled Angus off by grabbing his back legs and pulling him up into the air.

    Today, it was a squirrel who was running along the fence. They both went to chase it, the squirrel ran down the other side of the fence, and they turned on each other. Kevin pulled Angus up by the rear and I called Simon inside.

    A few months ago, they were playing dual fetch (we have also cut this out). We threw water on them that time, and that stopped it.

    All fights have resulted in minor injuries, but nothing that required a vet visit. Angus always seems to come away with the short end of the stick.

    According to our behaviorist (and I concur), Simon is the Alpha male. Angus, however, *seems* to be the one who is picking these fights. The behaviorist suggested acknowledging Simon's alpha status, but ramp up NILIF for him and don't give in to his constant demands for attention.

    What I am thinking is, perhaps I need to stop all training for obedience, rally, etc. and focus solely on working this out for a while.

    I am wondering if an intense behavior modification program is the answer. But I'm having trouble coming up with a plan/program. I'm thinking I start by having a low-value resource in between them, and reward for good behavior. Then maybe a higher-value resource. Then maybe a higher-value resource that is moving. ??? Do I need to enforce taking turns chasing things? Do I need to reward whoever DOESN'T come back with the ball? Do I focus on both of them, or just Angus? Or just Simon? I guess I don't have a good grasp of what it is I need to be encouraging or discouraging. :-[

    Does anyone have any advice for putting together this kind of program? I know this is probably very difficult to get a feel for through a post. Just anything, any experiences or advice, would be helpful to me.

    Also, bonus question for those with multiple same-gender dogs: How much of this can be considered "normal?" According to Jean Donaldson, a certain number of disputes is to be expected in multi-dog households. My husband's opinion is that Jean Donaldson is full of it. :


    Connie and "The Boys":
    Angus, Yellow Lab, CGC, RE, CD
    Simon, d.b.a. Flat Coated Retriever, CGC, RE, CD

    Gone ahead, but forever in my heart:
    Crash, Pit Bull x Rottweiler x Golden Retriever

  2. Remove Advertisements
    JustLabradors.com
    Advertisements
     

  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    289

    DefaultRe: Having a serious problem...need serious suggestions

    Well, my advice to you is if this is only occurring outside do not let them outside together (hard to tell from your post but I'm assuming the squirrel was outside ) EVER again. They will never be 100% trustworthy no matter what you try. I speak from experience.

    We have two rescued Am Staffs/Pit Bulls -- they are both neutered. One is 11 1/2 years old, the other is 3. Last fall they started having similar brawls over a jolly ball (the kind with holes in it and another ball inside of it). So I got 2 more so there were 3 balls for the two of them. Doesn't matter -- 3 yr. old always wants whatever ball 11 1/2 yr. old has. 11 1/2 year old never picks a fight, the other one just won't back off and leave him alone, soon there is a growl and then they are grabbing at each other's faces. If I picked up all the toys then it would be over a log, stick or a leaf. It is a case of Marley being a "wannabe" to Turbo's alpha and it isn't going to change.

    Last fall they had a fight where there was blood, we worked hard with them and had them going out separate doors, etc. I thought we had it worked out and they started going back outside together again and then about a month ago Marley suddenly grabbed Turbo after he growled at him over one of those darn balls outside. This last time Turbo (oldest one) ended up with a nasty infection from a bite on his face. So they are NEVER going outside together again. In the house they curl up together and co-exist fine except for one time of day -- first time going out of the bedroom to go outside in the a.m. So we separate them, one goes into our "dog room" and the other outside then we switch. It is far better than the alternatives (a fight, having to give one up or euthanize one) and the rest of the time they are fine, always harmonious with my other dogs and cat.

    I have Marley doing lots of sit stays at the doors while other dogs come and go including Turbo but I will NEVER let my guard down again about them being outside together. Just not happening......
    Now if you are also having this problem inside as well, I know this is not advice you want but I would seriously consider placing one of them elsewhere. Do you want to have to live having to keep them separated for the rest of their lives? You migiht have to live with that problem for another 10 to 12 years otherwise and sometime someone is going to let down their guard and there is going to be a serious fight. RE what Jean Donaldson thinks (and I have heard her speak but don't agree with all she says) -- we have had a multi dog household since 1979. We now have 12 dogs including up to 7 intact females (now 6 -- just spayed one) and have not had issues. They are all together many times both inside and out with out issues except for the above problem.
    Deb H.
    www.dunnsmarshlabs.com

  4. #3
    AngusFangus is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    12,586

    DefaultRe: Having a serious problem...need serious suggestions

    These issues have mostly occurred inside. Today was the first time it has happened outside. :-\


    Connie and "The Boys":
    Angus, Yellow Lab, CGC, RE, CD
    Simon, d.b.a. Flat Coated Retriever, CGC, RE, CD

    Gone ahead, but forever in my heart:
    Crash, Pit Bull x Rottweiler x Golden Retriever

  5. Remove Advertisements
    JustLabradors.com
    Advertisements
     

  6. #4
    ObedienceLabs4Me is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Akron, Ohio
    Posts
    3,794

    DefaultRe: Having a serious problem...need serious suggestions

    Man, spent time on the phone with a client today with a similar issue. Told her I would never trust her boys together again.

    I personally believe the more you do the control exercises--sit/stay, down/stay the better off. No one moves until you give the release to them. The stays also teach deferment of pleasure. Reward with food if you want when they settle down and the grumping is over. Personally I would work with both. Grumping is unacceptable behavior period. Reward correct behavior. But, you might just have to keep them separated.
    Susan
    UCDX GRCH Dunn's Marsh Caleb of Waltona UDX3, OM3, RAE Canadian UD, RE
    FallRiver's Micah of Waltona GN RAE, Canadian CD, RN

    www.labmed.org


  7. #5
    patm's Avatar
    patm is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    SE Ohio
    Posts
    8,657

    DefaultRe: Having a serious problem...need serious suggestions

    Oh Connie! You just never know what these dogs will come up with next. I can't believe your boys are starting to fight. I really don't know the best (or any for that matter) ways to overcome this, but I would keep doing their obedience training too. You don't want to get totally wrapped up in the "behavior stuff" Keep them on a somewhat normal schedule of training too. But it doesn't sound like training them together would be the thing to do. The dominence thing is wierd, but I know that Skippy is the dominent dog around here, and with many other dogs too, and he never starts a fight. It's Emilu, who is more submissive (but not real submissive) who tends to start brawls too.

  8. #6
    AngusFangus is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    12,586

    DefaultRe: Having a serious problem...need serious suggestions

    I just emailed our behaviorist. I hope she can help shed some light.

    :-\

    I just don't know what to do. Tonight it's like it never happened. Everyone is in a great mood, very playful, no grudges. ???

    I guess I would feel more sure about what to do if it was constant, you know? But 99% of the time they're fine. Or they seem fine. Do I just *think* they're fine, but really it's festering all the time without me being aware?

    ???


    Connie and "The Boys":
    Angus, Yellow Lab, CGC, RE, CD
    Simon, d.b.a. Flat Coated Retriever, CGC, RE, CD

    Gone ahead, but forever in my heart:
    Crash, Pit Bull x Rottweiler x Golden Retriever

  9. #7
    brody's Avatar
    brody is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    ontario canada
    Posts
    3,895

    DefaultRe: Having a serious problem...need serious suggestions

    I think 99% of the time it is fine ... but the 1% is pretty serious and apparently escalating ....

    I have known too many people who have dogs that cannot live together

    This sounds like resource guarding but the resources keep changing which makes it pretty hard to limit (if it were only Kongs the boys could have Kongs only in their crate)

    You obviously feel somebody would be seriously hurt if they worked it out? My multiple dog house has squabbles sometimes and sometimes quite fierce arguments but its mostly show and bravado ... Brody gets grumpy at everybody but me sometimes and walks around cursing under his breath - whoever crosses him gets a belligerant shove out of the way... (seeing as how Sally is 20 pounds heavier and Hank is 60 pounds heavier its pretty entertaining to watch)

    I feel for you but would keep both dogs in as serious training with time alone with you as possible .. working on NILIF and the suggestions from the behaviourist are important too but I agree that the basic routine should be added too not removed - structure is so important to dogs!
    http://andrea-agilityaddict.blogspot.com/

    “I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.” H. Keller

  10. #8
    Dakkerdog is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    So. California
    Posts
    2,962

    DefaultRe: Having a serious problem...need serious suggestions

    I wish I had a suggestion for you. Just wanted to let you know that I sure hope you can work thru this. It does sound like it will be finding the right mix to manage the dogs mostly. Are they crated or left together when you are gone? Any reason to think there would be an issue then?
    Sharon, loved by Moose & Sky

  11. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    289

    DefaultRe: Having a serious problem...need serious suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by patm
    I know that Skippy is the dominent dog around here, and with many other dogs too, and he never starts a fight. It's Emilu, who is more submissive (but not real submissive) who tends to start brawls too.
    It is usually the ones who are NOT the alpha who start the fights -- the submissisve ones are "wannabees". The alpha is secure in their position and doesn't feel a need to fight. In my experience it has never been an alpha who starts it but they will respond if threatened (as in my Turbo's case).

    You might want to read some of Patricia McConnell's books -- she is a world reknowned animal behaviorialist.
    http://www.patriciamcconnell.com/books-retail.php
    Maybe this one:
    How to Manage and Enjoy Your Multi-Dog Household

    Looking for some tips to create a little order out of the canine chaos in your home? Concerned that there might be some tension between two of the dogs in your pack? Not sure if all that growling during play means trouble or not? This booklet has the answers to those questions and many more. Written to help you maximize the joy of living in a multi-dog household, it emphasizes the use of Ethology and Positive Reinforcement to teach your dogs to be polite and patient instead of demanding and pushy. Filled with practical ideas about keeping life fun in houses that have two dogs or many more than that, Feeling Outnumbered is a great resource for all multiple dog owners, whether novice or professional.

    "This booklet is a life saver for anyone living with more than one dog!"

    I know Trish and have been to 3 of her seminars. I haven't read this particular book (probably should) but have heard her discuss some of the concepts in the book.
    Deb H.
    www.dunnsmarshlabs.com


  12. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    289

    DefaultRe: Having a serious problem...need serious suggestions

    I also just remembered that you moved recently -- perhaps something has changed with that, even a stress level for you (I remember the neighborhood issue you had) and that could affect how the dogs are acting.
    Deb H.
    www.dunnsmarshlabs.com

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
 

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25