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Discussion Starter #1
I have a question, and I thought maybe those of you with multiple dogs and/or more dog experience than me could answer or give some opinions:

OK. So, previously when the boys have fought, we have broken things up. This time we were not there, and it went until the end, when Angus laid down and Simon walked away. Or that's the story I got anyway.

Now: When they have fought, Angus has always been the one that's hard to dial down. He has never shown any signs of retreat or slowing or looking like he's thinking about stopping at all. I have the sense that it would be possible to get Simon to quit on verbal...he has looked like he's trying to stop when we've been there and issued commands, but it's Angus who keeps advancing and eventually has to be pulled off, at which time Simon is happy to walk away.

My question is: Now that they have had a big blow-out and it has been allowed to play itself out to completion without any intervention from us, what do you think the chances are that rank has once and for all been established? There's that pesky optimist in me again...but I would love to be able to think that maybe this has been settled between them.

I have posed this question to our behaviorist too, and am waiting to hear her thoughts. Wanted to see if you all had any experience with or thoughts about this.
 

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It could have been but who really knows for sure. I've never had to deal with the issue, thankfully. My dogs are all below me, so there is no other rank besides mine. Any looks between anyone is dealt with immediately. Any growling over a toy is dealt with by me, immediately. Of course, I've had my dogs since birth so they know I'm alpha.

Personally, I don't think I'd trust the two of them alone again. One or both would be crated when I wasn't there to watch them closely.
 

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I haven't had that problem either. But I have to agree with Laura. I don't think I would ever feel 100% comfortable leaving them alone together again. Just crate one or the other, or both.

I know this happened when they were being supervised by other people. That is a tough call. I still don't think I would let both of them be out together even if they were supervised by other people. I'd leave instructions that one must be crated at all times. They can take turns being out of the crate and getting 100% of the attention.

Maybe after a certain period of time (I have no idea...couple of years?) with no incidents, maybe I would trust them again. I don't think anyone really could have a definitive answer for you.

This must be really tough for you. I can't imagine how I would feel....probably a basket case.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Separated when not supervised is my feeling about it too, until I feel differently or someone (perhaps the behaviorist) gives me very compelling reasons not to feel that way.

For example, I can imagine that she might say that we know that the triggers are resources such as toys and food. They have not ever fought when it was not over a resource. So, if all toys and food are out of play when we're not here, they might be fine. Theoretically.

Even if she does say this, we would probably maintain heightened security measures, for a while anyway.

My dogs are below me too, but apparently one was not below the other. The question I have is, is one below the other now?
 

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That SEEMS to have happened to us. The last fight we had, Jackson the older and smaller of the two ended up on the bottom and although he didn't walk away, that's where we were able to separate them. Since that time Jackson has clearly been the subordinate dog (and seems very happy about it). He instigates the play and seems to acknowledge Ben's ownership of a toy they had both been playing with when Ben gives the "look". I'm not saying I think it's necessarily over but it seems much happier here since then. There isn't any more of that stiff walking around and stiff tails. I'll wish you luck if you wish me luck with this!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
That SEEMS to have happened to us. The last fight we had, Jackson the older and smaller of the two ended up on the bottom and although he didn't walk away, that's where we were able to separate them. Since that time Jackson has clearly been the subordinate dog (and seems very happy about it). He instigates the play and seems to acknowledge Ben's ownership of a toy they had both been playing with when Ben gives the "look". I'm not saying I think it's necessarily over but it seems much happier here since then. There isn't any more of that stiff walking around and stiff tails. I'll wish you luck if you wish me luck with this!
Thank you for answering!!

I wish us both luck, I do.
 

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It could have been but who really knows for sure. I've never had to deal with the issue, thankfully. My dogs are all below me, so there is no other rank besides mine. Any looks between anyone is dealt with immediately. Any growling over a toy is dealt with by me, immediately. Of course, I've had my dogs since birth so they know I'm alpha.

Personally, I don't think I'd trust the two of them alone again. One or both would be crated when I wasn't there to watch them closely.
I definitely agree with Laura on this. I would be so paranoid that something was going to happen when I wasn't there to control/witness/defuse the situation! I feel for you Connie, and rayluckgoo, and hope that things work you well for all of you!

My boys have never shown any thoughts of fighting, thank God, or even of having a serious argument. Buddy is the alpha, clearly, and Champ does not question that. Champ is always the one trying to instigate play, but if he has something and Buddy even goes near him, he gives it up immediately. If they are playing bitey face and someone gets a hard nip in and the other one yelps, they both immediately back off with concerned looks.
 

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Actually, dogs are more likely to fight when someone is there with them vs. you leaving them alone.
It may or may not have established dominance, Connie. I know that Dutch is a lot like Angus. Dutch is not really a fighter; he doesn't seem to know how, but he will provoke one.
As I put in your other thread; when I am on my best behavior keeping everything in control; things run smoothly. It's when I mess up that we have a problem.
I would not let your dad or anyone else they are not used to take care of them without you there. Like you said before, you know the drills; they know your drills...anything that can set that off when there is a spark between them is not good.
They can and might go at it again. Usually two dogs that have had words will have words off and on; females being worse than males. You might see Angus back off more quickly than before. I know Jax has moved up the ladder here and Dutch will not jump up on the bed if Jax is giving him the eye. I have to take control and say knock if off both of you, Dutch get your butt up here.
Okay, I'm rambling....sorry! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #10
No, that's a good ramble. :)

I am in a way inclined to think there's less chance of them getting into it when I'm not here as well. Mom thinks this too. They tend to go to separate parts of the house and stay there. Angus goes upstairs, Simon stays downstairs. Every time I come home, unless I have dawdled getting in the door, I see Angus come down the stairs, and Simon come from the living room. That is exactly how Angus is: He doesn't have a clue how to fight, but he sure knows how to provoke one. You don't know Dutch's early socialization history, do you? I have always cracked Angus' up to being separated from his litter so soon.

Jackie, Angus was TERRIBLE at reading signals like a yelp when play-fighting when he was younger. As he gotten older, under Simon's tutelage, he has become much more adept at breaking things off when Simon says he's getting too rough.

I think we just had a perfect storm, with the inexperienced person, the beef, the variance from routine. I really hope so. Do I know that the same thing wouldn't have happened if I were here? I don't think it would...but I would have never set them up for failure that way. :(
 

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I don't know if it will have established a heirarchy, but I certainly hope it did. I would still keep them separated when I wasn't there - but that's only because I obsess over things and would be running home 5x a day to check on them. It sounds like they already separate themselves anyway, so it's not like you'll be suddenly tearing them apart into separate bedrooms at least?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I don't know if it will have established a heirarchy, but I certainly hope it did. I would still keep them separated when I wasn't there - but that's only because I obsess over things and would be running home 5x a day to check on them. It sounds like they already separate themselves anyway, so it's not like you'll be suddenly tearing them apart into separate bedrooms at least?
Me, last week. :D

You're right, it's not like it would be traumatic for them to be separated. They've been separated all week. Very fortunately, we have an ultra-convenient set-up for this. There is the Florida room, where one can stay, and the other could either have free run or be in a crate.

We don't even have to take them out to the backyard by the same door. There's one in the FL room, and one in the garage. The way this house is set up has been a blessing this week, for sure.
 

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Hierarchy among dogs is fluid, not static. Most people would say that Kaylie is the dominant/alpha here, but given a chance, Sophie can steal her kibble (but not a more valued chewie bone or kong). There is no "first out the door" or "first to eat" (I actually feed kaylie last, for simplicity sake - she needs to be protected from "bowl stealers").

When you've got two dogs approximately the same age and size, there are still going to be squabbles over resources - this wasn't a "status challenge", from what you've written, it was a fight over valued treats.

Check out discovery channel or animal planet - a wolf pack at a fresh kill is not an orderly ranking, it's a free for all.
 

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Not sure this is applicable or appropriate.

Son's Lab, Newman, is food possessive and aggressive. We had a bad incident when HK first came home. The two of us watched for any indicator of repeats. We intentionally fed them within sight of each other. Newman would growl and make a motion towards HK and my son would grab him, down him, and roll him over into the true human over dog dominance position. Once waqs enough for each feeding, but he did have to do it a half dozen or more times. We can now feed the two of them side by side with no hint of a problem. Neither of us is 100% comfortable even after 3 years. We still stay close and are prepared to act. Deep down, I think Newman knows he can't do it again. But since we can't talk with them about it, they will never be trusted together with food without us watching closely.
 

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Hierarchy among dogs is fluid, not static. Most people would say that Kaylie is the dominant/alpha here, but given a chance, Sophie can steal her kibble (but not a more valued chewie bone or kong). There is no "first out the door" or "first to eat" (I actually feed kaylie last, for simplicity sake - she needs to be protected from "bowl stealers").

When you've got two dogs approximately the same age and size, there are still going to be squabbles over resources - this wasn't a "status challenge", from what you've written, it was a fight over valued treats.

Check out discovery channel or animal planet - a wolf pack at a fresh kill is not an orderly ranking, it's a free for all.
Ditto. Personally, I really hate the "dominance" or "alpha" school of thought, as its based on sorely outdated (and flawed, at that) research.

I am my dogs' "leader" or whatever you want to call it. Why? Because I control all of their resources, food, play, social interaction, even when they get to go to the bathroom. I don't need to assert my "dominance", dogs aren't stupid, I think they have it figured out. ;) I've never had fights between my two, but I also have a labrador with an angelic, pretty well flawless temperament that has never, EVER so much as looked at another dog or human with anything even remotely resembling aggression. I call that my good luck. Peanut can be snarky and rude and pushy at times with other dogs, if I had a second dog who took issue with that I have no doubt that fight prevention would be something I would have to keep on the radar. Thanks to Baloo I don't have to, but to me thats predominantly luck, not a reflection of my training or "leadership". Dogs will be dogs, and resources in multi-dog households are often an issue.

Anyways, thats my rant. I agree with Nancy in that this is completely a resource issue, and management is key (as you know already). I realize you're upset Connie, but I completely agree with the "perfect storm" analogy, this was a one-off, nothing more, but nothing less either. :)
 

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I wouldn't bet the farm on Angus always backing down. In the wild, when someone challenges the leader of the pack, that animal is either killed or banished from the pack. Obviously, you aren't going to let that happen. So I would always be on alert.
Teddy is food aggressive. I have worked for quite a while to be able to feed them in the same room. On opposite sides. But I never turn my back on them while they are eating. I know that given a chance, Teddy would more than likely give in to the temptation to attack Jefferson for his food.
 

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, thats my rant. I agree with Nancy in that this is completely a resource issue, and management is key (as you know already). I realize you're upset Connie, but I completely agree with the "perfect storm" analogy, this was a one-off, nothing more, but nothing less either. :)


i would have to agree that this was a resource issue. i would crate both dogs and strickly control the interactions from now on.


Personally, I really hate the "dominance" or "alpha" school of thought, as its based on sorely outdated (and flawed, at that) research

ok what do you base this on. YOU have to become alpha. YOU control everything, if your dog can figure this out without any outside help. ( crate social isolation. dominate collars, dog whisperer etc) than good if your not that lucky than your going to have issues.
 

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Connie likely already knows this, but for everyone else lurking/reading, alpha rolling/dominance down is a really really bad idea. If I had Simon and Angus, their entire lives would be structured .. using the training they already have. Treat time? One is in a sit stay in one corner of the room, the other the far end in a downstay. Each is rewarded for staying. Playing fetch - same thing. One is in a downstay while the other fetches, then switch. Cuddle time - again, one is sent away, then the other gets some affection, then both are rewarded. (If they don't have a "go to mat/bed and lay down and stay" cue, that's your spring project!
 

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i would have to agree that this was a resource issue. i would crate both dogs and strickly control the interactions from now on.


Personally, I really hate the "dominance" or "alpha" school of thought, as its based on sorely outdated (and flawed, at that) research

ok what do you base this on. YOU have to become alpha. YOU control everything, if your dog can figure this out without any outside help. ( crate social isolation. dominate collars, dog whisperer etc) than good if your not that lucky than your going to have issues.
I don't understand the question. You establish yourself as the vessel to all things your dogs want, vis a vis, you control them. Simple. Social isolation, dominant* collars, dog whisperer are all completely unnecessary when you understand the basics of behaviour psychology. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Hierarchy among dogs is fluid, not static. Most people would say that Kaylie is the dominant/alpha here, but given a chance, Sophie can steal her kibble (but not a more valued chewie bone or kong). There is no "first out the door" or "first to eat" (I actually feed kaylie last, for simplicity sake - she needs to be protected from "bowl stealers").

When you've got two dogs approximately the same age and size, there are still going to be squabbles over resources - this wasn't a "status challenge", from what you've written, it was a fight over valued treats.

Check out discovery channel or animal planet - a wolf pack at a fresh kill is not an orderly ranking, it's a free for all.
I think this makes sense. Kevin and I were talking about it the other day, and we both think that on some things, Simon seems to take the lead. On others, it's Angus.
 
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