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Milton's first dog fight

This is a place to gain some understanding of dog behavior and to assist people in training their dogs and dealing with common behavior problems, regardless of the method(s) used. This can cover the spectrum from non-aversive to traditional methods of dog training. There are many ways to train a dog. Please avoid aggressive responses, and counter ideas and opinions with which you don't agree with friendly and helpful advice. Please refrain from submitting posts that promote off-topic discussions. Keep in mind that you may be receiving advice from other dog owners and lovers... not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a trainer or behaviorist!

  
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Milton

Im just a little- guy
 
 
Barked: Sat Sep 22, '12 6:07pm PST 
Milton has been with me for almost 4 years. He has never been in a fight with another dog since he has been mine. He is around other dogs often and encounters them off-leash. We encounter an off-leash dog almost everyday.

Yesterday I had him off-leash in a safe area. It was quiet and late in the evening. We both encountered an elderly lady with 2 dogs. Both were off-leash and one was sitting next to the older women. She had that one by the collar.

The other dog was a puggle like dog close to Milton's size. They were interacting normally and nothing seemed to be wrong. Then suddenly the puggle started attacking Milton.

Milton has been aggressively charged a before and reacted calmly with out a dog fight occurring. Those dogs were bigger. This time he fought back and it was a quick fight lasting a few seconds. There was growling and yelping. It was a quick scuffle. I think the puggle yelped. The older women called her dog and the dog retreated. I walked off and Milton stayed close by. Milton has no bites that I know of.

It was scary. My dog never has fought since I have had him. I guess he thought he needed to defend himself. This dog did not charge or give any kind of warning that I noticed.

If he was on a leash the puggle would still get him. The fight occurred right by my feet.

It was weird. I did not say anything to the women and continued on with my business. Milton did not seem to be phased by it. Since the puggle yelped, Milton may of bit her, but no numbers were exchanged. It was a minor fight. Glad the dog was small.
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Stella- "Blue"

Puttin' my freak- on!
 
 
Barked: Sat Sep 22, '12 7:09pm PST 
Happens around here to Blue all the time, poor thing. We have to plan out walks very carefully as over the years I've learned which streets and alleys might lead to an attack. We still encounter off leash dogs, but at least the ones I encounter now have proven to be friendly, so I don't mind. Help counteract all the times she got attacked on the other routes. Doesn't help much having your dog on a leash when other seem to refuse to manage their dogs. Weird how this turned into a spat after such a friendly greeting. Must have been some message passed between them no one saw.
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Rusty

Champion PPH
 
 
Barked: Sat Sep 22, '12 7:33pm PST 
Chances are there was some body language going on that you missed. It sounds like the other dog may be doing resource guarding of it's human.

Most scuffles like that aren't a true fight if you can call the dogs off. It's a lot of noise & posturing; sort of like a screaming match, lol. Rusty had that happen once, was very amped up, but teeth never touched skin by either dog.
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Kodiak

The cheese ninja
 
 
Barked: Sat Sep 22, '12 7:59pm PST 
I agree, that's a snarf, not a fight. I can't blame him for responding! If the puggle didn't give him a warning before charging, he was probably confused by the the disregard of the rules of engagement. I think all dogs have a point where they would react, and it doesn't mean anything bad about Milton's temperament. The puggle may have been very undersocialized.
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Sanka- I'll Miss- You

The ground is my- newspaper.
 
 
Barked: Sat Sep 22, '12 8:04pm PST 
I've noticed that if Kato is playing with another dog and the play gets a little rough, each dog steps it up a notch until it crosses that line between play and just being mean. It's quick and no dog gets seriously hurt, but it does look/sound nasty.

The dogs get over it quick and soon learn how to work with each other better.

Sanka, on the other hand, has gotten snapped at for what would look like no reason. But it's actually the dog picking up on a very subtle thing. Sanka will air hump. It usually doesn't bother other dogs. I can see it coming. He just gets this look in his eyes. The dogs that don't like it pick up on it faster than I can and will tell him off right quick. It's amazing how good they can read each other.

So, like mentioned above, there may have been something you just didn't pick up on. The first time Sanka got bit for the air humping thing, I hadn't the slightest clue what happened. Now I can look back on it and realize it.

Kato also usually just gets out the way or corrections or fights, but every now and then, he's just on his high horse. And any dog getting snarky with him will be met with equal snark.shrug Don't know why exactly, but it happens.

I like to think we all have those moments. I can remember saying things during a basketball game I'd normally never say. Just got caught up in the moment I guess.
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Milton

Im just a little- guy
 
 
Barked: Sun Sep 23, '12 2:27pm PST 
Chances are there was some body language going on that you missed. It sounds like the other dog may be doing resource guarding of it's human.

Most scuffles like that aren't a true fight if you can call the dogs off. It's a lot of noise & posturing; sort of like a screaming match, lol. Rusty had that happen once, was very amped up, but teeth never touched skin by either dog.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>

I think you are right about this. The dog did not start attacking until the older women talked to me. Then like a second later the dogs were fighting. Dog behavior can be very subtle and easily missed by a human. I probably missed a curled lip or something like that when I was talking to the lady.

Pretty sure Milton cares less about this and was over it a second after the scuffle finished. He seemed to be enjoying himself on the rest of the walk. We were exploring a western ghost town and he was all over it. It was so strange to see my little angel fight little angel This is like the friendliest dog I have ever had.
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Czarka, CGC- UJJ

Why walk when- you can run?
 
 
Barked: Mon Sep 24, '12 12:41pm PST 
Charks has been involved in three heated discussions... In our case, it was obvious what set it off. Charks does not take well to getting herded (she likes to run and attracts fun-police), especially if it involves a nip to her flank. The 'discussions' were loud with lots of flashing teeth, but well choreographed... If they'd really wanted to go ballistic, it would have started before anyone could get there. Honor was served and no grudges were held. And, like your experience, there was neither immediate nor lasting effect... OK, Charks did complain vocally about how THAT HERDER had abused her while I checked for holes in her leg.

Edited by author Mon Sep 24, '12 12:42pm PST

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Miyu CGC

Bow down to the- Princess Brat!
 
 
Barked: Mon Sep 24, '12 7:19pm PST 
Fascinating. Like Milton I'd have thought that would be a fight, but it makes sense. A true blue fight would involve more than just a minimal level of intervention.

Quick question for those of you who are more experienced- if teeth did break skin on one of the dogs, but it was called off just as quickly, was that just a snarf too? Or does it cross that line into something more?
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Jackson Tan

Lad about town
 
 
Barked: Mon Sep 24, '12 7:32pm PST 
I believe that crosses the line into something more. When dogs snark, they use a great level of control and bite inhibition. It's all about the flash of fangs and the noise level. If it's just a little mark, then maybe one dog moved into the other's way and copped an accidental nick. But if there are tooth marks/holes, the other dog meant them to be there.

My dog snarks quite regularly but has never bitten ANYONE during one of these arguments. It's all showmanship.

The times he has been truly attacked, there was very little show - the dog just gunned for him and sunk his teeth into his face/neck/whatever it could grab. And held. These were a very committed bite - none of these dogs wasted time posturing, and gave no credence to his defensive display.

I find the noisier the confrontation, the less risk there is to either party. It sounds AWFUL, but you can separate the dogs with a minimum of fuss.
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Lupi

I\\\'ll do- anything for a- treat!
 
 
Barked: Tue Sep 25, '12 9:39am PST 
Agree with the idea of noise level being disproportionate to the seriousness of the "fight"
Lupi is very vocal and an excellent communicator. If a puppy gets up in her face (humping, etc.) she will tell them off in a vicious manner. She shows teeth, growls, snarks-but never makes any contact. In fact, when she plays with her buddies it's quiet similar. A lot of noise and ruckus, but all good fun.
The times I've witnessed dogs actually biting one another, it's been quick and silent. Dogs are SO fast. If they want to nip/bite/attack another dog, they will. The snarling and barking are warning signals that are usually following up more subtle ones which were ignored.
Milton may have felt the need to put the puggle in his place. Lupi would never do that to older, larger dogs, but young pups get told off regularly.
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