Hershey is the name of our 6 month old Chocolate Lab whom we have had for about 5 months. We have also owned a min-pin mutt, Oscar, for about 6 years (he is 7). When first introduced, they got along OKAY, and would play and fight from time to time, but nothing too serious. BUT this is where I need the help!
1 week ago we had Hershey neutered, brought him home and kept him separated from Oscar to prevent roughhousing as the doctor directed. Well, being a week since the surgery, we decided to start integrating their lifestyles back together, but this is where it went bad. I was upstairs trying to sleep when I heard yelps of a different kind, aggressive barks, and high pitch screams of my name from my girlfriend downstairs... I, of course ran as fast as I could down the stairs, nearly breaking my neck in the process, to find Hershey holding Oscar in the air by his neck and my girlfriend bleeding from the hand by foolishly trying to break up the fight by prying the dogs' jaws apart.
Now, I am in my 20's, 5'10, 200lbs, and work out a couple times a week---I'm in shape. Hershey is 55lbs and Oscar is less than 20lbs. I had to literally body slam Hershey and hit his rib cage for him to finally release(a technique that I had previously been made privy too, but have since learned that it is not preferred nor particularly effective as compared to the "wheel barrow technique", air horn, or water)... This took all of about 25 seconds, which is amazing that he would not release through the constant trauma for that long. I checked Oscar for any wounds, focusing on the neck, and found nothing. Not even a scratch, or a puncture wound from Hershey's teeth... This, to me, seems as though Hershey was not trying to harm Oscar, but rather protect himself as Oscar is usually the aggressor in more serious fights.
I am wondering if this is a phase that will go away on its own as it may stem from: Hershey being a puppy and playing too much for Oscar?/Hershey just being recently neutered and this has caused a dramatic change in their relationship?(note: there has seemed to be an obvious rift between them ever since we brought Hershey home from his surgery)/ or any other possible cause?
Is this something that can be remedied or will this mean that we will have to give Hershey up for adoption? We truly want to avoid this option as over the past couple of months, he has become apart of our family... but in the same respect, I do not want to risk anyone, especially my girlfriend, getting hurt even more by acting on a fight in the future.
I have combed through multiple websites and have noted the responses, but I want to know if anyone else has encountered this type of issue personally and how was it resolved.... we love both of our dogs and certainly don't want them to hurt each other or us.
Please help... no piece of advice is too little or unwarranted.
get a professional trainer/behaviorist now. no one online can evaluate your dog appropriately enough when it comes to stuff like this, especially not when it comes to questions of rehoming a dog or not. obviously much more training and supervision is required.
can they live in controlled harmony? sure. but you guys need professional help to evaluate the situation and get a plan in place asap.
Charlie (foster) and Rocky
Where is the best place to look for a qualified trainer for this type of behavior modification? Is there a specific type of trainer or something of that sort?
I apologize if the answer is obvious, the only trainer I have used in the past was group training sessions for puppy training commands with a prior pet.
Sharon, Blaise and Diesel.
This is very much not the behavior of a well bred Lab. Have you discussed this with the breeder?
Is the puppy's incision healing or is it inflamed? Could he be in pain? Was the adult dog pestering him or could he have stepped on the incision area? There are a lot of unknowns here. If this is an escalation of prior problems, that's one kind of concern. If it's a totally new out of character act by the Lab, it is another altogether.
Sharon, Blaise and Diesel.
I wouldn't say it is a one of kind incident... but thier fights, serious or playing, have never escalated to this level. He is not a full blooded lab, the vet thinks he may have some bull mastiff in him. I got him from a friend of mine whom owned a full blooded Chocolate female lab whom bred with a stray. There were pictures of the stray, and to the best anyone could tell, he was a full blooded chocolate lab. Me and her keep in contact as well as she does with all the other owners of the litter and this is the only case of aggressive behavior. But, as was previously stated, we do not believe Hershey(the puppy) was the aggressor as Oscar(the adult) has been aggressive in the past with new dogs. Oscar use to live with two other dogs whom have passed over the past 2 years and was alone for about 6 months until we got Hershey.
The incision area is a bit red, not inflamed, but has steadily been decreasing in redness since the surgery date. I do plan on calling the vet tomorrow to explain the fight that happened and possibly bringing him in to check the incision.
One of my guesses, since no one witnessed the instigator to the fight is: Oscar was barking at the door as he saw someone coming to it, Hershey, which has been chewing on a bone, comes up to see why Oscar is barking still with the bone in his mouth; Hershey drops the bone to bark, Oscar goes for it... fight ensues.... This seems like a likely cause in my eyes as the only previous "serious" fights they have had is over bones... even still there have been times where Oscar will snip at him and his overall demeanor is aggressive/defensive whenever Hershey is around. It is a shame, because it seems as though Hershey truly cares for Oscar and has accepted Oscars place as the Alpha dog of the household even though he has the obvious size advantage.
I believe Oscar just truly has an antipathy towards Hershey for some reason, possibly because he is invading his "turf". This is something we were prepared for, but assumed it would subside over time.
One point to reiterate though, this issue seems to have escalated 10 fold since Hershey's return from surgery... he is not showing any obvious signs of pain; ie whimpering, licking, lethargic, or limping.
Also, as a note, we are very careful to keep them separated whenever eating food or treats, but Oscar will always pounce at the chance to grab an unguarded treat.
Last edited by Hershey1234; 04-23-2013 at 10:50 PM.
In a situation like this where there is food/treat competition they just can't have bones unless they are physically separated - like in crates. You are asking for trouble otherwise. My dogs are very well behaved and I would not leave them unsupervised ever with a really high value item like a marrow bone. As a matter of fact, unless you are actively supervising them - one should be crated.
If your older dog has a history of not getting along with other dogs, he may never change that. I don't subscribe so much to the "alpha dog" concepts, but it really would not apply here anyway - one of these dogs is not mature. Puppies are nearly universally tolerated by adult dogs and get a great deal of latitude in their behavior. The older one may need to be an only dog.
Sharon, Blaise and Diesel.
Would trying a trainer even be worth it then? The older one did used to live with other dogs with us for nearly his entire life till recently without fighting with them(they were large breed dogs as well-black lab and german shepeard). Is it possible for them to become "civil" living with eachother