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Old 09-14-2009, 02:44 PM
 
Location: Texas or Cascais, Portugal
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I have three dogs, one of whom has never been well socialized with other dogs. He gets along fine with dogs that visit my house but, out in public he is very aggressive toward any other dog he encounters. Problem, my brother-in-law recently moved in with us due to being very ill. He brought his two dogs with him (which he needs for support right now). One is a large lab mix, the other a pit bull mix. The lab mix has attacked my "socially enept dog" 4 times in less than two weeks. When the pit is around she jumps in as well and they both pin my dog on his back and chew the hell out of him. Both visiting dogs get along fine with my other two dogs. My dog has been attacked by other dogs in the past, and badly injured. Although he has not initiated any of the attacks with our "guest dogs" I'm wondering if he is communicating something I am unaware of to provoke the lab. My dog (who is the attackee) is a neutered male, the two guest dogs are spayed females. The female lab mix who initiates the attack is a dominant dog. I don't know what to do to resolve this. It seems to be a dominance issue but my dog is older and not as big and I fear he will get seriously hurt. I cannot ask my brother-in-law to get rid of his dogs--he is facing stage IV cancer and cannot handle any more losses. Any advice about how to get everyone to "get along" is appreciated.
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Old 09-14-2009, 03:50 PM
 
Location: Lemon Grove, CA USA
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Have you tried taking control of the entire group? Sounds like they are fighting for dominance in their little circles when instead you should be in charge of ALL of them. Not always that simple but worth a shot.
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Old 09-14-2009, 04:29 PM
 
Location: Mostly in my head
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Keep them as seperate as possible. When you aren't right there, someone needs to be crated or in your brother's room.

Your dog may be fearful and attacking the outside dogs to get in his licks first, so to speak. I don't know about in the house what is trigerring it. Sorry!
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Old 09-14-2009, 04:44 PM
 
1,688 posts, read 6,614,115 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nurider2002 View Post
He gets along fine with dogs that visit my house but, out in public he is very aggressive toward any other dog he encounters.
When this happens, would I be correct in assuming he'd be on a lead?

Gosh, you do have your hands full. I'm very sorry about your brother-in-law.

It sounds as if there are a few issues that, now with the new dogs in the house, have come to a head.

I'm going to apologise before I ask this because it may come across as unkind and I truly do not mean it to be. Are your brother-in-law's dogs there for a finite period of time or are you planning to keep them permanently? I ask because one requires a plan for "coping" with the here and now while the other is going to involve a lot more intensive work and retraining.

Initially and immediately, regardless of the answer, you do need to separate yours from his. I suspect if you do not you will see the attacks increasing in intensity and frequency and there will be bloodshed. The lab-mix is on a mission and she may not rest until she accomplishes what she's setting out to do (which is to "get rid" of your chappie).

The whys and wherefores of this may or may not matter - that's going to depend on what you need the endgame to be (temporary or permanent). But the crucial issue that you need to understand asap is that the basis for all your poorly socialised dog's behaviour is fear. To keep being attacked is going to make it that much harder to fix, so it needs to stop this instant. It's no way for you or him to live and these are not the best of times to begin with.

Are you dogs used to being crated? Are your brother-in-law's?
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Old 09-14-2009, 05:36 PM
 
Location: Visitation between Wal-Mart & Home Depot
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Has there been any blood or other injury that could not be considered accidental/incidental?

Does this happen in your presence or only when the dogs are unsupervised/minimally supervised?

You may not want to hear this, but it sounds a lot like your dog (and possibly with your help) is creating the problem.

To me, limited pecking order scuffles are fairly routine when unfamiliar dogs are thrown together under the same roof. That stuff usually abates on its own. I would be more concerned if this seems to be getting worse, more frequent over time, if there is blood or injury from fighting or if a dog is being punished beyond submission (sounds like that's what is happening). I don't like that two dogs are ganging up on one, either.

If it were my house, I would separate the dogs for a trial period and go through some reasonably firm obedience routines for a few days with each dog to drive home that I am someone to be heeded. When I felt comfortable that the dogs were listening to me I would start having supervised time with no more than two of the dogs at once, probably starting with your dog and the pittie from your post above. Make it gradual and be patient. No crash courses with dogs.

You may want to keep some noisemaking apparatus about *EDIT- and a hose or a bucket of water*; a couple of short sections of 2X4 can be slapped together to make a very sharp, very loud noise. If you see something you don't like, smack those blocks together and give a good "NO!" with some physical presence. Pointing, leaning in with a quick step or two and opening your eyes wide while you say it kind of forces your mindset and body language to synchronize, which is what you need. If they don't listen, play time is over and everyone goes back to solitary confinement. If they do listen, lots of praise is in order. Remember, you're trying to get your point across to some very athletic and unruly kindergarteners who speak less than 20 words of English. Heavily accentuate the good (you should be out of breath from dancing like a fool and squealing in a happy voice after they do what you want), quickly and sharply address the bad.

If you feel like you're getting in over your head at any point, you may want to pony up for a consultation with a pro. Reading about dogs is one thing, having someone who knows what they're doing show you is entirely another.

Good luck.
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Old 09-15-2009, 06:21 AM
 
Location: Texas or Cascais, Portugal
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Thanks for the responses. When I observe the behavior before a fight ensues, I take an aggressive mode toward the lab mix and she does respond. However, usually the fight begins in the blink of an eye, before I even observe any tension. Once it begins, buckets of water, loud noises don't work. This is not superfical "I'm the boss" fighting, they are serious and my dog's neck has the puncture wounds to prove it. I do keep the dogs separated for the most part now; my brother-in-laws dogs stay with him on his side of the house, my dogs on my side but, with 5 dogs, it's difficult to prevent all contact. Fights happen outside. I have consulted a professional to come to the house next week so I am hoping that we might get some pointers. Although I would consider keeping the pit bull in the long run (she is really rather passive and only joins in when the lab mix has already started the fight) the lab mix will definitely be going at some point in the future. In the meantime I'm just trying to keep my boy from getting hurt anymore. I have started doing some basic obedience, training individually with my dog and then individually with the lab mix. My dog is not the brightest and is not responding well thus far but, I'm taking him to an obedience class this weekend, hoping that interaction with other strange dogs in a structured environment might help him. The lab mix, though very high strung/hyper, responds better to one on one obedience training. She is a bright dog, very dominant so, I "think" having her on a short leash and letting her know I am in control will help. She enjoys the one-on-one interaction with me without the other dogs but, then she triess to seek me out in the house, when I want her to be with her owner, away from my dogs. So, I think there is some confusion going on. My brother-in-laws dogs don't know who is in control since he is bedridden and I have my own dogs. I've never owned a true Alpha dog before so this is new for me. My dogs have always been more laid back, passive types so this lab mix is definitely testing my patience, not to mention my dogs!
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Old 09-15-2009, 06:54 AM
 
Location: SW Kansas
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I think you are on the right track. Just keep them seperated (as you are doing) until you can gain control of the pack.
Quote:
He gets along fine with dogs that visit my house but, out in public he is very aggressive toward any other dog he encounters.
I'm wondering if your socially inept dog could be fear aggressive. My Callie was a socially inept fear aggressive dog. I had to manage her very carefully around people and other dogs. Your trainer can assess and give you tips for managing all your dogs, but particularly the dominant lab mix and your submissive male.


Quote:
I'm wondering if he is communicating something I am unaware of to provoke the lab.
Yes, your submissive dog can be "talking smack" to the dominant dog that could be initiating the attacks. It's not always easy to read the signs. It's possible he is not showing proper submission and she feels she should teach it to him. He may not be showing proper submission because he does not understand her body language.
The trainer you are going to work with can help you read the pack. Number one rule is that you must be leader of the entire pack, including the lab mix. She is used to being alpha, gain control of her and you'll rule the entire pack; she can not be alpha in your home. Before she came your pack was settled, now she has rocked the pecking order, you need to re-establish order.
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Old 09-15-2009, 07:01 AM
 
Location: Texas or Cascais, Portugal
3,064 posts, read 2,895,287 times
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Thanks and I believe you are right. My boy is "fear aggressive". When I adopted him back in 2004 he had been badly attacked my two dogs. He doesn't know how to play with other dogs at all. When friends or family visit with dogs, he is okay with them but doesn't ever play like other dogs. On walks when he sees another dog from a distance he becomes aggressive on the leash so it does seem to be fear based. Unfortunately, my brother-in-law has always let his dogs have total control so, its a new experience for the lab when I take control, but she does respond positively so, maybe my focus needs to be on her. I'm looking forward to having the professional consult next week. Bottom line, they cannot all be separated all the time so, there is going to have to be some order in the house.
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Old 09-15-2009, 07:13 AM
 
Location: SW Kansas
1,787 posts, read 3,349,478 times
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Best of luck to you! You'll be OK, it will just take a little work. It's really not that hard to establish dominance. Your trainer can really give you a lot of tips on reading dog body language and using your own body language to "talk" to dogs. I've lived with two dominant females for 8 years. There were very few squabbles because I made it quite obvious I was alpha! Callie has passed and I now have a very friendly but very submissive dog living with the remaining 10 y/o dominant female and I'm STILL alpha! (but facing entirely different issues! *LOL* dogs!)
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Old 09-15-2009, 09:01 AM
 
1,688 posts, read 6,614,115 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nurider2002 View Post
My dog is not the brightest and is not responding well thus far but, I'm taking him to an obedience class this weekend, hoping that interaction with other strange dogs in a structured environment might help him.
Depending on all sorts of details that aren't in your posts.... this really may not be the best idea just now.

Think of the situation in terms of building blocks - each incident, every time there's fear and tension, every fight, it's another building block which reaffirms his belief that strange dogs are something to be afraid of &/or something to which he must react to aggressively. All what's been going on has affected him, of that you can be sure.

He's what you would call "leash reactive" and fear aggressive - a bit like the mind set of the best defense being a good offense. Pretty much regardless of numbers you'd be asking him to cope with the situation around him AND learn something?! Ummm, no. I think it has far, far less to do with his mental faculties than the fact that he is too worried, too on edge, too tense and watchful, too all of those types of things for him to do much more than politely pretend to listen, or maybe not even that.

(You're taken hostage. While being held against your will, you're asked to.... oh, learn to conjugate French verbs. How much do you think would sink in? )

Then on top of everything else that's going on, you're asking him to cope with what is probably one of his worst night-mares: i.e. being in a confined space with many other strange dogs. That's a big ask and in a training program would be at the end of the agenda, not the beginning. At the beginning you'd be, effectively, you're setting him up for a fall. Far, far better to work with him with a trainer at home and then in short "bursts" out walking or in some sort of more prepared/controllable situation - i.e. a more " we see other dog coming and then we do ABC, and this works and Doggie gets big loves and treats and we go home with a 1 in the "Win" column".

Just my two pennies' worth.
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