Dog Displaying Aggression Towards Packmates When Outside?

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Barked: Sun Feb 10, '13 10:25pm PST 
Alright, so I'm loathe to label what my dog is doing as "aggression", but honestly I can't think of any other word to describe it? I think he might be trying to play but is a bit insane... Anyways, let me explain the home situation! I have four dogs!

Bosco- 13.5 y.o male neutered APBT. (had his whole life)
Ruff- 6 y.o. male neutered Chihuahua. (rescued, only had about 6 months)
Geisel- 1 y.o. male neutered shelter special. (rescued, but fostered since 5 weeks old)
Baby Girl- 3 y.o. female spayed Yorkie mix. (rescued, only had about 3 months)

Now all of these dogs usually get along just fine, they have a few minor disputes but I tend to let them work it out on their own, and they have their own little hierarchy which seems to suit them just fine. Geisel is obviously the youngest and still quite "crazy" and often has to be corrected by the other dogs when he's getting to be a bit too much. Now this works all fine and dandy when they're indoors, it's when it's time to go outside to the bathroom that the troubles start...

I live on a large farm, my driveway is 1/3 mile away from the road, and we have no neighbors. Our yard isn't fenced, it's just backed up to fields and all the dogs know the perimeter of the yard. They're also never let outside unsupervised to ensure that no one gets an interesting whiff and starts wandering off.

Three of the dogs do perfectly well outside, but toss Geisel in the mix and all heck breaks loose...

He suddenly becomes an entirely different dog, growling, barking and all but attacking poor Bosco and Baby Girl, who do everything in their power to get away from him. Bosco has even resorted to physically holding Geisel down with his chest to get him to stop! Now I don't think he's being aggressive, but he's VERY vocal, and acts in a manner that he never does when he's indoors, lunging and biting. I'm afraid that his actions will start a fight between him and Bosco, and poor Baby Girl is only about 10lbs, so she just hides under the car! The only dog he will not act like that towards is Ruff, and because of that he's now the only one who can have potty breaks with Geisel.

We've tried leashing him when out with the other dogs, but he barks at the other dogs hysterically and refuses to go to the bathroom, not to mention that Bosco uses it as an opportunity for revenge and will actually mow him down. Geisel is a dog that is terrified of his own shadow, who leapt into my arms at the dog park to get away from a friendly Springer, and yet suddenly becomes Cujo when out in the yard with his own family members.

We're simply baffled as to the cause of this behavior and if there is any way to solve it? I mean, we don't mind letting the dogs out in shifts, but it'd be nicer if they could all play together without Geisel suddenly trying to kill the other dogs...

I don't know if it helps, but Geisel was DNA tested and came back as mostly Cairn Terrier, Siberian Husky and Border Collie (16,43% Dogo Argentino, 12.60% Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, 12.59% Sussex Spaniel, 7.70% Harrier, and 6.78% Clumber Spaniel). He also has a plethora of toys, a kitty best friend (he's more gentle with the cat than the other dogs!), and allowed to run around to his heart's content.
Shiver Me- Timbers- "Charlie"

My Little Dog, a- heartbeat at my- feet.<3
Barked: Mon Feb 11, '13 12:34pm PST 
Quite honestly - letting them 'work it out' themselves is only going to bite you in the butt later on. Especially with behavior like this. This is behavior that you need to step in and turn around. It sounds like he's getting overly excited at being let outside with the other dogs and is in turn, bullying them. Especially with poor Baby Girl HIDING from him!

Many of the owners here NEVER leave it up to their dogs to work it out on their own because that can lead to all sorts of dangerous prospects - sometimes even deadly fights, and especially because many here are foster parents to boot.

If either of my dogs show ANY signs of discomfort, I step in immediately to calm the storm before it tramples the good behavior and turns it into something worse. If Charlie starts trying to get away with Ria and she's harassing him, I step in before he has to and get her to leave him alone. I'm correcting without using punishment, actually. I stop and redirect the behavior and if I can't do that, the dog goes on a time out.

Just the other day, Ria took it upon herself to start BULLYING a friends dog who is around the same age, and who had laid upon the ground and showed her belly in a clear appeasement and Ria STILL got over top of her and started to snarl, so I stepped in and ended that quick. That behavior is unacceptable in my home.

What I would start doing, is instead of putting him on a tie out, I'd try taking him out on a leash with me. I would body block Bosco from plowing down Geisel, and would walk around to try to encourage Geisel to go to the bathroom. Do you usually tell them "go pee" or something when you let them out? If so, use those words when walking him around. DO NOT let him get away with the behavior. If he starts acting up, I'd take him back into the house for a few minutes, then bring him back out to try again. Calm behavior ALWAYS gets rewarded. If he ignores the other dogs, or doesn't start being a jerk the way he previously has been, reward him with goodies or affection. This would take a while of working on it multiple times a day before you could start letting him back off leash. Actually, do you have a long line or know what a long line is? If you don't have one, get one. Sooo useful in this situation because you can grab the line before he can get to another dog, haul him back to you and keep the bullying from happening. How solid is your 'leave it' command with each of your dogs? You can use it to keep Bosco from plowing down Geisel and even try to use it to keep Geisel from going after the other dogs.

Others may have better input. If all else fails, a behaviorist or letting them out in shifts(if he doesn't behave like this with Ruff, he could go out with Ruff if it will encourage him to go to the bathroom and whatnot) will have to do.

For now, I'd try a leash, yourself and rewarding and interrupting techniques to try to stop the behavior.

Barked: Mon Feb 11, '13 3:48pm PST 
Oh wow! Here I thought I was doing right by them by letting them solve issues on their own... So you're saying it's better to intervene BEFORE someone has to snap? That's really interesting... the dog training world is full of so many different opinions and methods it's hard to know what to follow sometimes... Geisel is the only one that gets snapped at: Bosco (my old man) and Baby Girl both try to let him know when they're done playing and Geisel never takes the hint, I always thought that I should let them tell him, but I'll do what I can about intercepting before it gets to that point. The only dog he seems to respect is little Ruff if you can believe it! I don't know if it's just because he knows he won't take his crap? But he never tries to pull stuff on him that he does to the other two dogs...

I knew that aggression was the wrong word... you can definitely see the Border Collie when in him once he's outside; the dog NEVER stops! He's by far the most energetic and most "stubborn" dog I've ever had... took FOREVER to housebreak (still has accidents) and I swear everything goes in one ear and out the other. He's not so good on the "leave it", but the other 3 are, I think I need to go back to basics with him to get him to focus on me and not become so fixated on the other dogs. Because he definitely becomes fixated, completely ignores me and the world around him and gets that thousand yard stare going...

I also wondered if just running him tired before letting the other dogs out would help? I know he's young and with his breeds he's just a solid block of energy, so I want to do everything possible to help him. The other dogs like him and want to play with him, but you're right, he's a bully and I honestly don't know where that comes from! He's seriously the wimpiest dog, and yet take him out in the yard and he thinks he's all tough.

I'll look into the long line as well, I hate having to leash any of them, but until he can act like a gentleman it'll have to work.

Thank you so much for your reply! I've never had a dog with "split personalities" before now, so his behavior completely baffled me! Especially considering he is SO gentle with my special needs cat... like, it's his best friend... carries him around and such, so I know he's not aggressive... just a brat~


When the night- closes in I will- be there
Barked: Mon Feb 11, '13 4:03pm PST 
What you are describing sounds like just plain bad manners. Shadow is fond of leaping on other dogs or barking in their faces. I would suggest that you actively run him to wear him out before letting them play. I still have to do 30 minutes of fetch with Shadow before our 6 mile walk/run just to keep her manageable. And do seperate the dogs if the others are getting frustrated. I agree with Charlie, your other dogs will eventually deal with it themselves which probably isn't going to help anything. Don't stop them correcting him, just don't let it drag on.
Good Luck!
Shiver Me- Timbers- "Charlie"

My Little Dog, a- heartbeat at my- feet.<3
Barked: Mon Feb 11, '13 4:36pm PST 
Haha, sorry, I didn't mean that they shouldn't give a snap or tell him it's rude. A warning growl or snap is definitely okay! There's no better language to a dog than another dog.

That said, I wouldn't let it carry on past that. For example, if he ignores their warning, I'd intervene before they feel the need to carry it further.

I didn't quite realize he had Border Collie in him - is it possibly him trying to herd the other dogs and keep them together? Border Collies without outlets can really start to take it out on their people, or other household pets.

Barked: Mon Feb 11, '13 5:26pm PST 
I guess Geisel and I are going to have to start a running regimen to help him burn off some of that excess energy! I should have realized that, we had dogs at the shelter that had to be run in the play yards before volunteers even tried to get them to walk on a leash! So I'll try running him tired before even attempting to integrate the other dogs into the mix, and snapping is okay, but intervene before they get too irritated with him! Got it!

Sorry for the confusion on the intervention matter~

Charlie if he really is trying to herd, well then I would pity any sheep he was put in charge of!~ He just runs right up to the dogs and I swear it sounds like a full blown dog fight with all the vocalizing he does, only he's not being aggressive, he just SOUNDS like it. He's always been a really vocal player (his barking is enough to drive you insaaaane, thankfully we have no neighbors), but it's magnified x1000 when he's outside. It really does seem like he's just SO excited about being in the yard with the other dogs that he simply can't contain it and just BURSTS!

And the other dogs are just like, what in the heck is wrong with you!?