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Old 05-16-2013, 08:31 AM
 
Location: Chicago, IL
31 posts, read 61,636 times
Reputation: 19

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My boyfriend and I are having some problems with our dogs getting along and I'm hoping someone here can help. Sorry this is so long. About 6 months ago I moved into his townhouse with my dog and two cats. He also has a dog and a cat. Both of the dogs are females around the same age and both show some dominant traits but some fear in certain situations too. Neither is dominant or submissive all the time. They go back and forth.

My dog is much larger than his and they get into fights where mine will pick his up by the neck and shake her around and we have to break them up. I know this is not going to go away on its own and in fact this week we had a pretty bad incident.

His Dog
- Lhasa Apso, female, 6 years old, 21lbs
- Tries to bully the cats and was dominant over his other dog that has since passed away.
- Aggressive/protective with toys. She will collect them and then stand over them and not let anyone (human or animal) take them away. She will take them right out of my dogs mouth and mine let's her 90% of the time.
- She will nip, lick, or be all up in my dog's business and usually mine will just try get away but not retaliate. She likes to play rough which mine takes the wrong way sometimes.
- She seems to be afraid of a lot of things, like the vacuum cleaner for instance.
- She is apprehensive of people on walks and will usually bark at them if they get too close. In our house she is fine with those she knows. She shows a bit of fear in the house with strangers.

My Dog
- Shepherd Mix (I think with Boxer), female 6 years old, 55lbs
- Is afraid of my oldest male cat. She is fine with the other cats.
- Is not aggressive with toys or dog food. Let's his dog take toys from her usually. After they are done eating his dog will go to her bowl and mine never reacts.
- She can be a bit aggressive when there is people food around.
- Is not aggressive with us at all. I can pretty much do anything to her, hold her, and touch her anywhere and she is fine with it.
- She humps us and visitors occasionally, usually when people are hugging.
- She is very attached to me. Even despite her size she always wants to be next to me or on my lap. She always wants to sleep next to me in bed but I make her go to the floor. When I wake up she is next to me usually.
- On leash she shows aggression to other dogs when they approach. She will go into stalk mode where she crouches down. Usually if I let her go up to them she is fine. It seems like she is more upset when I won't let her. She also gets upset when some strangers walk by. She is fine with anyone in the house though and loves everyone who comes to visit.
- She seems ok off leash. She does fine at the dog beach. I'm afraid to take her now though.

They usually can play nice and get along fine but we have had about 1-2 incidents a month where something will tick my dog off and she will grab his by the neck and start shaking her. Sometimes the same situation can occur without incident. Other times all hell breaks loose. His fights back but because of the positioning and size difference can't really get free. We have to break them up. This is almost always over a toy or his dog playing too rough with mine but it also seems like sometimes it's protective in nature. Also sometimes his is just standing there doing nothing. They are left alone all day together in the kitchen and they are fine. The inconsistency makes it hard to find the trigger.

2 days ago we were playing ball in the back yard and his got a hold of the ball that mine was playing with and was very protective over it. Mine was ok at first but then got a little too close and his snapped at her. Mine grabbed her by the neck and did the usual shake. My boyfriend stepped in and ended up getting bit by his dog in the arm 5 times. Lhasas are strong! My boyfriend was home with them the next day and says his was acting weird all day. That night his was on the bed with us asleep and mine had fallen asleep on the floor. We were watching TV and I started screaming in reaction to something I saw. Mine immediately jumped on the bed and grabbed his sleeping dog. We got them apart but I sat on the bed and mine immediately threw herself on top of me so it was obviously a protective move.

I think the issue is that mine is very protective of me and also because they are both trying to be dominant, even over us. However their contradictory traits makes is tough to figure out. Can anyone give tips on how to establish a pecking order in the house? We are now not leaving them alone together during the day. I plan to look into a trainer for some help but Im not sure how quickly we can do that. Any advice you can give will be helpful. Thanks.
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Old 05-16-2013, 09:07 AM
 
7,962 posts, read 9,710,285 times
Reputation: 14014
Without anyone observing the actual behaviors of your dogs and you and your boyfriend, it's very difficult to give good advice. I recommend getting a animal behaviorist in to see you immediately. A trainer will not help for this.

When boy dogs fight, it's ugly, but usually completely over when it's done. When girl dogs fight, they both remember forever. Kinda like humans.....

I have two girls that have been separated for three years.
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Old 05-16-2013, 09:15 AM
 
Location: Chicago, IL
31 posts, read 61,636 times
Reputation: 19
This may be a stupid question but how do you know they difference between animal behaviorist and trainer. Should I just google animal behaviorist?
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Old 05-16-2013, 09:16 AM
 
Location: zone 5
7,330 posts, read 13,237,851 times
Reputation: 9611
Until you can get a pro to work with you, I would google NILIF, nothing in life is free. It teaches boundaries, respect and self-control, by making dogs work for what they get (food, toys, walks) with obedience. If it escalates at all you may have to keep them separate even when you are home, for the time being. Please keep us posted on how they're doing!
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Old 05-16-2013, 09:19 AM
 
Location: zone 5
7,330 posts, read 13,237,851 times
Reputation: 9611
A trainer gives some advice on behavioral issues, but focuses mainly on teaching sit, stay etc.- important, but not enough here. Being in Chicago you have plenty of options for behaviorists. Try looking online, and asking around among dog owners, possibly your vet, for recommendations.
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Old 05-16-2013, 11:56 AM
 
Location: Chicago, IL
31 posts, read 61,636 times
Reputation: 19
Wow I can only find 2 animal behaviorists in all of Chicagoland.
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Old 05-16-2013, 12:18 PM
 
1,257 posts, read 4,062,579 times
Reputation: 1018
Keep these two separated until you can have them trained. Put the one who started fight at a down stay position to show that you don't approve their behavior. For example, when your dog jumped up the bed to attack the small one, you would say a loud "No" and push her off bed and insist on a down stay position. Let her stay for a minute or two depend on how much training they had before. If the small one stole the big one food or toy, you should do the same to the small one. They need to learn what is allowed and what is not allowed. After two or three times, they will learn not to do it or stop immediately when you said "No".

Make sure you use a loud stern voice so they learn and know you mean business.
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Old 05-16-2013, 12:21 PM
 
Location: Chicago
6,021 posts, read 13,544,981 times
Reputation: 8045
I would ask your vet for some recommendations. Until then, I found a few spots that may work for you:

Behavior Consultations | AnimalSense

Group and Private Sessions — Animal Behavior Training Concepts

We coach you to train your dog!

You could also call some dog training places and see if they have a behaviorist who could help you with this issue.

It sounds like your BF's dog is the main problem here. She sounds like she's got a lot of fear aggression in her and is obviously aggressive over "her" belongings. Until you can get a trainer or behaviorist involved, I would google tips on working with fear aggressive dogs and work on using the NILIF technique since it sounds like the Lhasa feels a bit entitled since she's eating the other dog's food.
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Old 05-16-2013, 12:47 PM
 
Location: Chicago, IL
31 posts, read 61,636 times
Reputation: 19
I am very attached to my dog so I probably downplay her part in this. She is my princess after all and I'm sure I'm part of the problem. I need training too. I tend to give her her way. She often does this to the other dog with no provking. They obviously both have issues that need to be addressed. Thanks everyone for the help.
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Old 05-16-2013, 12:57 PM
 
Location: Chicago, IL
31 posts, read 61,636 times
Reputation: 19
eevee the links you gave me appear to just be for trainers. Don't I want a behavior specialist such as a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC) or a Certified Vet Behaviorist?
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