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Multi-dog homes and aggression between dogs?

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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It ain't over- till the fat- kitty sings
Barked: Tue Jan 22, '13 6:46pm PST 
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out if an owner plays favorites something negative is going to happen to some degree or another. From the first day together I've encouraged my dogs to be a team. I will walk them at different times or take one for one set of errands and the other out alone later in the day. Treats are always evenly divided and everybody be in the bed...hey works for us...
It also helps that they have their roles worked out, Sophie is more the Mom and Callie is more of a puppy, they get along beautifully really.

It ain't over- till the fat- kitty sings
Barked: Tue Jan 22, '13 7:00pm PST 
As an after thought-just from observing houses where the dogs don't get along so well, the top reasons seem to be
1 Playing favorites-dogs are way intuitive, they know if you really enjoy one and are just kind of putting up with another.
2 The age and gender-I think a range of ages and genders works better sometimes.
3 Play style-Sophie has had problems playing with other dogs in the past only because she would make an excellent linebacker. My best buds ridgeback even limps after playing with her. But Callie as a young staffie can match her tackle for tackle.
4 People preference-If all the dogs are totally centered on one member of the family there's going to be canine rivalry. If they willingly divide their time between different humans in the house this is a good thing.
Augusta,- CGC, RN

Such a Good Dog!
Barked: Tue Jan 22, '13 8:34pm PST 
Thanks for the responses . . . . that article just made me crazy with the inanity! And on top of that the mod defending her "experience" . .. .

Besides the early stuff . ... the chaining for the remainder of vacation because the dog got surprised and presumably barked its head off at people while on lead? "They lost all trust" ? It sounds like they were embarrassed, but had no clue how to continue to walk the dog on lead, work on his issues and keep him under threshold and reward him for focus on them and walking away from people.

I guess if their HA pom had reacted like that to strangers on lead, that would have been no big deal and ignored because he would be easy to pull away . ..shrug

But the other biggie for me was "three attacks in one day" and "Osca was badly wounded"? What the hell kind of dog savvy is that?!! The first attack was a surprise, a fluke? The second was . . .. another fluke? But there was opportunity for a THIRD attack?!!! seriously? naughty

I realize there are people who won't obsess, try or bother to educate themselves or be very involved in training . . .. it's all supposed to just work out . . . . and those are the same people I guess who can blithely just keep getting dogs, just because they feel like it . . . .

It does seem like fairly dog savvy people seem from what you guys have said, nip these issues in the bud, so they don't get that out of control.

Is that why CM can have a huge pack with no dog aggression issues?

Trixie Bean!

none so blind as- those that will- not see
Barked: Wed Jan 23, '13 9:24am PST 
My girls hated each other.. Fine for 6 months, then suddenly one day- WAR.

In hindsight, I did a lot wrong. We left toys out all the time, we allowed them on the couch and the bed even with signs of problems.. So yeah, when they did eventually fight things they were bad. However, unlike the person in the article I didn't drop my girl off to be euth'd because of something that wasnt her fault! We seperated them and managed the situation. It wasnt ideal, but I believe in standing behind a dog. Next time around I wont be surprised with a puppy one day when I go home laugh out loud.. My next dog will be carefully chosen and I hope to NOT have dog-dog related issues ever again.

I think dog-savvy people don't tend to have these issues so much because they are better at managing their dogs.. I treally does seem avoidable unless its SSA and the dog is genetically programmed to dislike other dogs!
Toto, CD, RN, CGC

We don't do- doodles!!!
Barked: Wed Jan 23, '13 9:58am PST 
In many cases I think the biggest issue that starts stuff is when people take one dog somewhere and leave the other(s) home. Even though they think it's okay cuz they also will take the left home one somewhere by itself, there is no way you can make a dog understand that it's not their turn, their turn is later, and eventually they start grabbing the one that went either as it's coming back into the house OR as it's leaving.
Trixie... way, way too many people won't believe in SSA and, since the one dog usually comes in as a youngster and isn't mature yet everything is fine at first, they are then shocked when something happens down the road. No matter how much you warn them and caution them, they can't believe their babies would EVER fight.
What ends up happening is what happened with Trixie and Roxy... by the time it happens it is way, way too late to go back and undo the wrongs so it becomes crate and rotate.
As a former breeder and lifelong multiple dog person, my guys never get the opportunity to start with those nasties because they are never allowed in a position for them to develop. The major thing with my dogs is they are never all together UNLESS I am there... not necessarily right with them but at least within earshot so if something starts, I can end it immediately.
Of course, now I must confess that a couple of months ago, Ali came inside with her neck torn open. I had been right in the house (with windows open), and never heard a thing. Out of fairness to the dogs, I don't know what happened, she could have gotten stuck thru the fencing or even gotten nailed by one of my chickens, I suppose, and it might not even have been another dog that got her. No way to tell, but she wasn't afraid of anyone nor was anyone giving her the evil eye.
When mine get fresh RMB's, they start out in their crates. After the newness wears off, they can then have them all together, but again, I am right there supervising if someone gets possessive of theirs. Harvey collects them, lies on as many as he can and then chews REALLY LOUDLY on his!!! I usually intervene before trouble starts, though.

Couch Potato
Barked: Wed Jan 23, '13 10:27am PST 
I have had a problem with my bitch and one neutered male, oddly enough. Both dogs started as DA outside the house -- they had poor upbringings before I took them up and belong in part to DA breeds (Cattle Dog/Pit Mix and Pit Mix). With lots of socialization and other techniques they are now much better, especially the Cattle Dog mix bitch, and have dog friends. Both dogs began to show this DA behavior at maturity.

As for the behavior inside the house, the bitch will start by snarking and giving the eye to the dog, then attacking him. He will fight back, and he will not let go. They have had to have stitches. For a while, we crated and rotated. We have found that what works is any overexcitement requires crating the Cattle Dog. When some visitor comes to the door, she must be crated until she calms down -- about 15 minutes. When one of us comes home, the dogs must sit calmly before we enter the house from the mudroom. That has dispelled much of the energy. It seems that she is both "jealous" and redirects her excitement into aggression upon another dog.

She has never attacked a dog in public, despite being attacked.

We also verbally reprimand her with a "No eye!" when she gives us or the other dogs "the hard eye." Then she is timed out briefly in a covered crate. Oddly enough, she is calm much of the time, unless chasing something, such as sheep, is involved. So far we have had many fewer incidents in the house. That said, I would never, ever, bring another bitch in the house, even though she has bitch friends. Oddly enough, she abhors submissive dogs and prefers friends with some "spunk."

She is actually not really the "top dog" in the house, but the older Golden Retriever who raised her from 5 months is. (She was taken from her litter at 5 weeks and had awful owners before I got her.) She is second in command basically. I love this dog deeply, but really I would have rehomed her if my OH had allowed me to. Just the cause of too many problems, and it caused too much anxiety for me and for the other dog. Not fair to anyone or any dog.

When I brought a 4th dog, as a foster into the house, I had him dog tested by the shelter first. He passed with both aggressive and submissive dogs. I introduced him to each of my dogs off leash in the morning in my fenced backyard. I was sure he would fail with one of my somewhat DA dogs. Amazingly, the Pit mix male ignored him, basically, after a few sniffs. And my bitch likes him, playing a little with him, and sniffing and allowing sniffs in return. They didn't mind him sticking close to me -- he was quite timid having never been in a house and fearing men-- as long as they got their usual affection.

Sorry to ramble on, but this is my experience working with DA within a household. I wouldn't do it again, but I cope. And it actually worked out all right bringing another dog in, amazingly enough. But with dogs who tend to SSA, I would not bring a dog of the same gender in. I would especially avoid bitches of breeds who tend to SSA.
Toto, CD, RN, CGC

We don't do- doodles!!!
Barked: Wed Jan 23, '13 10:41am PST 
And, the problem with testing is that MOST of these issues only pop up after the dogs have lived together for a while, (months, even) and will never show up in a meet and greet, especially off the home turf. Kado is a classic example, she doesn't fight away from home!!!
My own two poodles (intact females), who absolutely HATED each other and would attack each other instantly at home were fine when away at shows... one person could hold each of them and they didn't even look at each other. Once I had one in the kitchen heading outside, the other was in the next room, separated by a baby gate. I walked by the baby gate, the living room one growled, (I was close to her, she assumed I would protect her, no doubt), and the one in the kitchen immediately raced the baby gate and BIT ME!!!! It was an accident, she wasn't aiming for me but it didn't make it hurt any less! Those two are the ones who were placed immediately after breeding/showing was done. Interestingly enough, they BOTH live with other dogs, neutered males, and both are active dog park/beach dogs with NO problems with any other dogs there. It would be interesting to me to see if they still hate each other after all these years and being spayed.

When the night- closes in I will- be there
Barked: Wed Jan 23, '13 10:46am PST 
Kado, the reason I foster primarily bitches is because Sabi hates boyslaugh out loudIf she raised them thats ok but she is really aweful with strange guys in her house. And GSD bitches are infamous for SSA shrug Maybe she thinks shes a boylaugh out loud
Savannah Blue Belle

A Heart of Gold!
Barked: Wed Jan 23, '13 11:31am PST 
I've been there and worked through it with lots of advice from Dogster Experts. My two "little" dogs do not like each other. Two females, both about 3. Both fixed.

The already resident dog was extremely jealous and for no good reason. I was very careful to pay no more attention to the new dog, but any attention seemed to cause an issue. We have had spats over food, toys, proximity (stuck in the doorway) or access to me.

Things are better now, but I have to watch dog number 3 who seems to be clingy and needy and still has jealousy issues...not just of dog number 4 but of the whole pack to an extent.

It can be dealt with, but you have to want to do it. And keep on doing it, probably for the duration. I do and will. But I am going to be careful not to get into that situation again. It does cause unneeded stress.
Augusta,- CGC, RN

Such a Good Dog!
Barked: Wed Jan 23, '13 11:38am PST 
So is a dog like the puppy in the Marley article coming into a maturity a huge game changer in pack dynamics? Is it something you can't know until the dog gets a little older, whether he's going to decide to challenge an older resident dog or would clearer structure in the home have been the key?

I guess what I'm asking, of course better structure and training would have gone miles for that puppy, but could he still have been inclined to go after the older dog because he was feeling his oats? Is there something the notion that he was possibly a naturally "dominant" type or wanting to take out the older dog? shrug
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