Severly aggressive reaction by puppy

Posted by jnr
Feb 19, 2010
In addition to two older, large dogs who do not spend much time inside, I have two small dogs in the house. One is a Shi Tzu mix male (Riley) who is 3 years old; the other is a 5 month old mixed breed female puppy (Pepper) that someone dumped near my property on the coldest day of the year a month and a half ago. Most of the time the two small dogs get along great. They play together, sleep next to each other, and eat near each other with no problems at all. Until Pepper came into the picture Riley was the dominant dog of the three I had.

The real problem I have is with Pepper's severe aggresive reaction to Riley's behavior at times. Riley sometimes gets very excited and acts as though he's going to attack one of the larger dogs or one of the cats. He makes a lot of noise that sounds as though he's going to kill someone, but he never actually attacks. Unfortunately, when Riley acts this way it triggers Pepper to attack him. So far she has never even broken his skin, but she grabs onto his hair and collar or the skin, around his neck area and will not let go. Riley is screaming and struggling and Pepper absolutely will not let go.

I can usually get to her to eventually let go by lifting her hind quarters in the air, but this sometimes does not work for quite awhile. Once she does let go I've been forcing her on her side until she relaxes. This is not an easy thing to do. Even though Pepper weighs less than 20 pounds she is very strong, especially when she's in this super excited state. I then put her in a crate to keep the dogs apart until they've completely calmed down. If Riley is acting very excited and wanting to attack Pepper I also force him on his side until he calms down. It doesn't take very long for him to calm down, but it takes Pepper a lot longer to do so.

The last time this happened I could not get Pepper to let go of Riley for what seemed like a very long time, probably at least five minutes but it seemed much longer. This it the worst incident so far and I'm afraid the next could be even worse. In the process of trying to get them apart I was bitten on my thumb, I think by Riley as he tried to bite Pepper.

What can I do to first prevent Pepper from attacking Riley and also how can I make her let go of Riley if she does attack?
Posted by crazycrayonmom
Feb 19, 2010
If she does go after Riley again lift her hind legs and start pulling her backwards. She'll have to let go because you're making her walk only on her front legs and she won't be able to hang on at the same time. I don't have any advice regarding stopping the fighting other than to work on your pack leader skills. Maybe someone else on the forum has better advice.