Basset and Chihuahua fight around once a year unexpectedly. How can I prevent this?

My basset hound is a pretty passive dog. Nonetheless, approximately, once a year, she gets into a fight with my sister's chihuahua.Generally it is over food but the latest fight appeared to be over territory: the basset attacked the chihuahua when she came to close to her favorite couch (the two have been on the couch since with no problem since then).Often the fights start when the chihuauaha gets nippy with the basset.Neither bite each other but there are teeth and growls and the basset always ends up puncturing the chihuauha with her nails.After the fights, the chihuaha's owner, my sister, baby's the chihuaha. She sits between the dogs and scoops up the chihuaha when the basset gets near.Since there are no clear triggers for their fights, how can we get them relating better. Their fights would not be as problematic if the basset wasn't so much bigger than the chiuahaha?should we use time outs when one exibits bad behavior?suggestions?

Asked by Member 1110619 on May 13th 2012 Tagged irregularaggressionbetweenabigdogandlittledog in Aggression
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