dog in the middle

Posted by Annie
Apr 3, 2008
Hi there,
I have a general question.
My dog can be a little tough, and has had a few mild fights. She can now leave the fight and come to me ( which is great), but my problem is my friend. She has a quite well trained dog, but when my dog and another dog get in a scuffle, this 'join-in' dog also comes in. He will jump around a bit, bark loudly a lot, push into the other dogs etc. When this happens, my dog gets stronger and starts fighting seriously...I think she feels like she has a team and support, or is jealous...and the fight is much more intense.

OK, my problem, The owner of the 'join -in' dog insists that her dog is trying to seperate the 2 fighting dogs...he is getting in the middle, and disrupting the is very hard to tell her that it seems to me that it only increases the tension
What is this 'getting-in-the-middle' technique. I know some trainers dogs do this, but I always imagined that it would be calm, with no eye contact and no barking? or am I wrong? Could somebody give me an idea of this technique, and then I can see if this other dog is doing this...or just the owner boasting....What should the outcome be?

I have asked her to keep her dog out of the scuffle ( we all walk together often) as these fights end quickly on their own, but she insists it's important to have her dog break the fight up ( or rev it up! )
Anybody know what I'm talking about?
Thanks guys
Posted by Todd
Apr 6, 2008
Hi there annie and thanks for the question.

I myself have no experience with the technique you mentioned (unfortunately) but can imagine what some trainers are trying to achieve with it.

To me it seems a little bit of a stretch to believe that a third dog would help break up a fight and it seems to me (and you) they would make the situation worse.

I think the problem is not which dog does what, but instead that these fights are happening. Although they are minor we need to get on top of them before they become more of a major situation

So when you are walking your dog and you think a tussle is going to occur eg one dog starts jumping on the other, barking etc etc you need to get your dog away. The easiest way to deal with these situation is to prevent them from happening.

Get your dog away and make her sit until she is quiet and calmed down. When she has sat quietly for around 30 secs then she can start the walk again. This will help reduce her over excitement and hopefully from a fight occuring.

If you notice a fight happening you need to get your girl away from the other dog. If she is on a lead give her a sharp yank on the lead as well as a GRRRRR or AHHHHHH. This will let her know that what she is doing is wrong.
After you get her away once again make her sit and wait till she has calmed down before trying again

I also think that obedience and alpha issues are great in these situations so make sure that her obedience is good and she knows you are the head of the pack

Good luck with her and let me know how things go

And to anyone else out there that knows a little more about the ideas in your post please fill us in

Posted by hmcatee
Apr 25, 2008
Hi, yes it is actually natural for a dog to break up activity that seems to be getting too rowdy. This is called splitting and it normally will separate the two dogs in play to keep things under control.
take care and good luck with it
Posted by Annie
Apr 26, 2008
thanks for your reply,
my problem is still that the 'splitting' dog owned by my friend, seems to make it worse and the play fight turns into a serious one. Should this be happening? should I wait to see what happens next? I always call my dog off and she comes to me which I am happy with. When the 'split' dog is not present, the other two dogs do a mild scuffle and then leave it at is also with a lot of barking from the split dog.
Any more information would be helpful. I am not happy with the situation, but I donĀ“t really want to ask my friend to keep her dog out of it either. She is convinced it helps....
Posted by taniajennifer
May 15, 2008
my dog is a 'join-in' type dog as described by annie. both my sister and myself do not believe that she is splitting up a fight. yes, i think she is trying to control and manage the excitment but it really does seem to make the situation worse and is completely adding to the tension. however, my dog does have a history of aggression and dominance which has been mostly extinguished through strict training. i feel the minor scuffles and rowdy play stir up her her dominant tendancies and i do my best to remove her from any over-excitement and aggressive 'play' as i find it counter-productive to all our hard work and training. this may not be the case for your friends dog, but in order to not lose a friend and a dog walking buddy, like todd says, use this as an opportunity to further your dog's training and not allow any aggressive displays at all. no more minor skirmishes = you more in control. and then your friends dog cant stir the pot and your alpha status cant be under-mined.
good luck