Dog-on-dog aggression... HELP!

Posted by Carmin331
Feb 25, 2008
I read the book about dog-on-dog aggression, which states it is a direct result of insufficient socialization. I have a lab/golden retriever mix, Cassie, that obeys all my commands and gets along great with almost all other dogs... the exception being my boyfriend's female husky, Sasha.

The past couple of months, they have been getting in fights and since Cassie nearly doubles Sasha's size, Sasha gets beat up pretty badly. The fights always begin when I'm not around (like when I let them outside to go potty and I wait in the house), but as soon as I run outside and pull Cassie off of Sasha, Cassie calms down immediately and Sasha just hides behind me, terrified. Cassie does not do this with my other lab or my boyfriend's male husky... actually, Sasha is the only other dog I have ever seen Cassie fight with. And Cassie only jumps on Sasha when I am not around or paying attention. I'm scared that they will get into a fight while I'm at work and Cassie will end up killing Sasha.

I have a large fenced-in back yard, which is where they normally spend their day. I have thought about leaving my two labs inside during the day and leaving the two huskies outside, but that would leave two large dogs restricted in the house with no where to get exercise or use the bathroom for 10+ hours a day (my boyfriend also has to work). I can't do that to them indefinitely!

I don't think they're fighting over dominance because, due to sheer size and fighting ability, Sasha is immediately down for the count as soon as a fight breaks out - she doesn't even try to fight back. She is scared to even go off the back porch unless I am out in the yard with her (it's like she wants to make sure I am right beside her or within ear-shot to protect her).

When we are home, we try keep them around us constantly to make sure they do not fight and we have taken away all toys and treats when we are not around (hoping to remove anything that they may be fighting over), but the situation is not getting better... it seems to be getting worse. We have to work and they have got to learn to co-exist without constantly fighting. What can I do? Any ideas? I'm willing to try almost anything at this point!!!
Posted by Blue
Feb 26, 2008
My experience with dog fights is limited, but these are links to similarly aggressive dog problems that other people have had answered on this forum.
Dog on Dog aggression:
Outside/Inside house

Household Dog aggression:

These situations may be different from yours, but there's a lot of good information that you can apply to your dogs - alpha training for one - is vital. So be sure to use the alpha training techniques to try to obtain more control over your dogs.

When they are outside, have you thought of making two separate runs for the dogs? Labs in one, huskies in the other? (or make one run in which one breed of dog goes into while the other has the run of the backyard?).

Your dogs sound very attached to you - especially of course the ones that look to you for protection. I think that by you allowing and making a fuss over the the non dominant dogs, the alpha dogs feel they constantly need to assert their position. In a pack environment there is a pecking order. Alphas get to greet higher ranks first. So when a visitor comes to your house, all the dogs should be behind you. When you greet your dogs, the higher ranking dogs should be greeting you first. But if you're nervous dogs are running to you for protection and get greeted first, the alpha dogs don't know what their rank is anymore, and so assert it throughout the day.

It's a very difficult situation you are in because you will need to spend time with your dogs to sort this issue out - but if you work 10+ hrs a day, that doesn't leave a lot of time for alpha training. It may be worth taking a week off (both you and your bf) to start working on alpha training and get some headway with the dogs.

Pack stability and rank are very important to dogs, and a pack will not be at peace until rank is defined and maintained.

Are all the dogs neutered/spayed? Hormones can have a huge effect on how well dogs get along together - especially dogs of the same sex.

I hope this helps, as I said, my experience is not too much in dog aggression but if you read the links I've posted, the situations may not be the same, but many times, the reasons for the aggression are very similar.