I have a one-year-old female golden/lab mix (Scout) and a 10-month-old female chocolate lab. We have done well together up until just recently when they had a change in environment for a few weeks. They have always wrestled and played rough, using their mouths a lot. But during this time, Scout bit Java's ear so that she needed stitches. Then a week later, I found the bandage off with another wound to her ear. I witnessed the first "scuffle" and could tell exactly when it went from "play" to "fight". This has happened only a few times during the past year. Now it seems like they are on the verge of this aggression toward each other more often. They do NOT listen to me when I verbally attempt to separate them. I am very worried they may hurt each other again. I don't know if this is normal at this time in their development (both being around 1 year old females) perhaps trying to establish their dominance. Just supervising their time together doesn't help because the incidents happened in a split second. I love them both dearly. Please let me know how concerned I should be....thank you
Sorry cannot help with how concerned you should be, but I was told at training classes if dogs fight or get too aggressive with each other, throw something over them and plunge them into Darkness it makes them stop playing or fighting. Hope things get better for you.
Personally I would be quite concerned. They are both still puppies. This behavior could be much worse when they are adults (2-3 years old). You need to get a trainer involved pronto. Some dogs just cannot live with another dog.Originally Posted by Cris
just to clarify...Scout and Java have been the best of buddies since they were very young up until just several weeks ago...they are both great with other dogs too and quite submissive.
I'm sorry you're having trouble. I would be quite concerned. Are they both spayed? If they are coming into season, they can become reactive. So if they're intact, spay them now. If they're already spayed, then you need at the least to develop a set of rules for the household. You also need to evaluate the extent to which these two bitches can live together. I agree that a *qualified* trainer/behaviorist would be your best bet. You also should look at the pamphlet "Feeling Outnumbered", by Patricia McConnell, which is about managing a multidog household.
Yes, they are maturing and that is usually when these kinds of problems pop up. They may be "submissive" with other dogs, but it does not seem like one of them is willing to be submissive to the other at this point.Originally Posted by Cris
Like Nathan says, you have to figure out if these 2 similarly aged females can really live with each other. I have a bitch who I would never house with another female. She is fine with the much younger male dog we have. Don't wait until you have a bad injury on your hands. Left to their own devices this could get really ugly. Get a qualified trainer involved - at least to evaluate the situation.
First during a fight never try to break it up reaching in with your hands, this is the way most people get accidentally bitten. Distract the dogs by dropping something heavy on the floor or bang a couple of pots together. Once the fight is over, if you can figure out which one is the alpha of the two support that dog. Pet it give it praise and unless the other dog is injured ignore it completely. I know this goes completely against what your instincts tell you to do, which is support the underdog. If you do support the underdog you are giving her the wrong impression that you support her displacing the alpha and your telling your other dog that she is being displaced and the fights will probably become more frequent and violent. Plus you need to do more obedience work with both of them so they know that your the one that is in charge.
Good news to report: I believe the aggression was due to a temporary change in environment, and now things are back to normal. There has been no aggression for over a week. I read a great book called "The Loved Dog: The non-aggressive way to teach thru play-training" and the methods are working better than what I've tried in the past! Thanks for all of the advice. I will continue to keep a close eye on them to make sure they are working the dominance thing out between them. They really are good buddies and enjoy playing together. I am exercising them a lot to work off their energy. Another good book is the one by the Dog Whisperer, describing their needs in this order of importance: exercise, discipline, affection. I've noticed how this does tend to flow in the right direction to establish me as the Alpha.
Again, are they spayed?
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