Female dog suddenly attacking male

Posted by lstewart3718
Sep 6, 2009
This is the first time I've posted to this forum. I'll appreciate anyone's advice!

We have two dogs: a two-year-old neutered Bichon male, who is quite mellow with other dogs and gentle with other animals in general. We have a 11-month old Maltese/Yorkshire female who is in heat for the first time (we are getting her spayed after her heat is over). She's been in heat for about two weeks now, and the two dogs have been getting along just as well as ever, if not better. They have been living together well for 7 months now.

Today, our female suddenly attacked our male (who is twice her size) while they were eating. We didn't see what happened until it had already started, but he was yelping in pain and when we picked him up, she came up in the air with him, hanging on to his rump with her teeth! We put her in time out for a while, and everything seemed to be okay for a few minutes (they greeted each other) and then suddenly she attacked him again when my daughter was petting him. Again we put her in time-out, but switched her to her crate, thinking that maybe she wasn't feeling well and might feel better in the crate. After about 45 minutes, I took her out to pet her and see how she was doing, and she tried to make a bee-line to where our male is hiding under the couch. As I stopped her, she snarled; I realized she was heading toward him to attack him again.

Now we've got a male dog who won't let us see if he's got any wounds because he's hiding under the couch, and a pint-size in-heat female who seems intent on attacking him unless she's confined:confused:

Just wanted to reiterate that she has been in heat for two weeks now and there has been no trouble between them--in fact, they've been more affectionate with each other than usual.

Any insights or advice about how to diffuse this situation?
Posted by KOPsarah
Sep 8, 2009
hi lstewart371 and thanks for your post,
I was just wondering whether I could get a little extra information before we consider solutions. First of all which of the dogs is normally the more dominant (even when two dogs get on really well one is almost always more dominant and one more submissive like in a normal pack). Secondly is there any chance that your male dog may be ill? Dogs can turn on pack members or other dogs when they sense they are ill (this is thought to be a method of keeping the pack strong).

In the mean time time out is an excellent plan. Keep time outs short (5 minutes is fine) and when you bring her out again put her on a long leash so you can keep an eye on her if she shows any signs of aggression to the other dog put her back in time out again. However if she is calm praise her and treat her. It may be that things will settle down a lot once she is spayed as the behavior may be hormone moderated however it is best to keep showing her that her behavior is unacceptable so that bad patterns don't develop.