Dog Fights

Posted by TheGuidingHand
Jul 30, 2009
Hi There,
I have some serious issues with my two males and agression. I was hoping that you could direct me to the most profitable information in this area that would help me figure this thing out. Generally, they do well on our walks and they do well in the kennel, but when one of the kids or I go out to the kennel to pet any dog, the males start a fight. I hate how agressive they are and am at the point of having to find a new home for one of them. I really, really don't want to do that. Do you have any info that would help me? Thanks
Posted by KOPsarah
Aug 3, 2009
hi and thanks for your post,
I have a few questions I would like to ask to help me find a solution for your problems and give you some useful information. First of all how many dogs do you have, what ages and breed are they and are they neutered? Finally are they dominant or aggressive towards people at any time? Sorry for all the questions but I just need to get a better idea of the situation.
All the best,
Posted by TheGuidingHand
Aug 3, 2009
I have three Newfoundlands. Marvelous dogs! Bonnie my female is first. She is 5. She is very good natured and only has a eye to chase cats when she sees one. Next I got Ranger. He is 2- hormones just kicked in and he wants to be boss of everyone. Finally Spencer arrived in 07. He is 6. He is the most passive of all, yet stands his ground with Ranger.
Generally Spencer and Bonnie never argue. Spencer always lets Bonnie eat first, never growls he is so kind. Bonnie will be bossy with her food on occasion, but generally she waits her turn like everyone else. All was well till Rangers hormones kicked in. He started standing over Spencer to remain dominate, which usually led to a fight. Ranger always started it regardless if Spencer did anything or not. Ranger will also stand his ground with food when it comes to Bonnie as well. I don't care much for that and can't quite figure out my err in working with the group. Their dog food is a constant source, however, when I go out to them, I am eating in front of them and give food to Bonnie first, Spencer second and Ranger last. I breed dogs so none of them are altered. Ranger is the only one with agression issues. To note. . . . When we go on our runs on the mountain unleashed, all the dogs get along perfectly! Never a fight!This only started this spring. They were all best buddies before that. My desire is to have Ranger submissive as the youngest dog. I am not sure how to achieve that.
Posted by Fris71
Aug 3, 2009
I have a Pug who is 4 and a Porky her daughter who is half Yorky. The Porky is 2 years old and neither dog has been altered. The Porky, Angel, attacks the Pug, Lucy, in situations where she's jealous of attention. She often stands on Lucy's head and when she's really jealous, she clamps down on her ear and nearly rips it off. What do I do to change the behavior? Do I get Angel the devil dog fixed? Will that help? Lucy continues to get her ears hurt. Please help.:confused:
Posted by KOPsarah
Aug 4, 2009
Hi theguidinghand and fris71,
I will include some general notes on working with problems in your dog pack, some of them may not apply to both of you such as the desexing for you theguidinghand seen as you are breeding. I hope they help answer some of your questions and if you have any more please don't hesitate to ask.

Organizing a dog pack in chaos:
Just as it is important for your dog to know where it stands in the pack order in relation to humans it is also important that each dog in a multi-dog household knows where it stands in the pack in relation to others. You can use the basic principles of alpha dog training to sort this out too.

In a wild dog pack the dominant pack member controls :
-access to food
-access to favoured or important areas
-any interactions with lower pack members
-access to favoured items such as toys

You want the order of your pack to be; you, other people, (other pets such as cats), and then your dogs in order of calmness, age and/or size. The exact order of the dogs shouldn’t matter too much as long as you pick one and stick to it. In general however calmer, older dogs are better as dominant. Aggressive dogs should be placed lowest in the pack. (I understand this is what you are currently trying to do theguidinghand)
In order to show each dog its position in the pack you and your whole family can take advantage of the keys points of dominance in the following ways.

1) All dogs must eat after all people at every meal and should never get treats from the table. When it is time to feed the dogs ask them all to sit and give the dominant dog its bowl first and then a little while after give the next most dominant dog it’s bowl and so on.

2) They should never walk through doors before you. A good way to practice this is to walk around the house and make them sit at each doorway and wait. Similarly [B]the most dominant dog should always be taken in or out of the car or house first and then the next most dominant etc[/B].

3) If you intend to allow access to areas such as beds or couches first access should go to the most dominant dog. If you have an aggressive dog (which will therefore be lowest in the pack) do not allow it access to such places.

4) When you arrive home (or to the kennel) completely ignore the dogs for 10 minutes. Don't look at them, talk to them or pat them. After this go to them one at a time in order of dominance and give them some quiet attention only as long as they are relaxed and calm.

5) Give first access to prized items such as toys to the more dominant dog and then later to the others in dominance order.
This may seem unfair or like favouritism but remember the dog pack is not the same as the human family and non-pack leaders are familiar with such controlled access by their dominant pack mates.

Other things that may help reduce inter-dog problems
If your dogs are not de-sexed you should consider de-sexing them. De-sexed dogs have reduced sex hormones which reduces their interest in dominant and aggressive behaviors. On top of this de-sexing your pet greatly reduces their chance of getting a number of common cancers. If you are considering de-sexing discuss the pros and cons with your local vet.

You can use a DAP dispenser in your house (or a spray in your kennel) to help reduce the stress of all dogs. DAP is a dog appeasing pheromone which mimics the one that mother dogs give off to calm puppies. By calming the dogs DAP will help reduce the incidence of aggressive behaviors.

Remember also that dogs reach sexual maturity around 18 months (give or take a few months depending on breed) and this is often the time when rivalry between dogs begins. Guidinghand you will also probably notice that the rivalry is worse when your female is in heat even if she is very far away from the males as they will still be able to scent her. At these times you will need to be very weary not to get caught in the middle of competitive behavior.

Along with the methods above lots of exercise should help reduce problems and energy levels.

I know this seems like a lot of random tips but I hope you and others will find some of them useful in your particular situation. Again if you have any further queries don't hesitate to ask.
Posted by Fris71
Aug 5, 2009
I appreciate the tips. I'll give them a try.