My two dogs (both spayed females - 8 and 5 yrs. old) are the best of friends and get along very well 99% of the time. Earlier today I was playing with them in the yard (along with my parents' dog) and all of a sudden they started going at it (fighting). I got in the middle and broke it up. This has happened a few times over the years. I always break it up, scold them both (verbally), seperate them, and then later they are buds again.
My Dad says I should let them go at it for a few minutes and re-establish the heirarchy. He says that's how dogs settle it, and that one will back down and retreat. I'm scared one of them will get hurt if I let them do that. I would love to hose them down with water to break it up, but I never have one handy when I need one! ;)
I think there is no clear cut answer to this problem, there is a lot of gray area. But I am positive that if you interject becasue "what if something happens" your training is now driven by fear and not thought. You have to remember that we cannot realistically expect 2 dogs whom live together not to have spats. Just like people they will get annoyed with one another. We have language to express are discontent with another, all they have is teeth, snarls and spit. So interrupting them is like putting a gag order on 2 people whom are having a tiff. Healthy argument, and it can be healthy, should result in a resolution or understanding. How can we expect them to come to a resolution if we are always in the middle telling them to stop. To the dogs that has to be incredibly fustrating. I hear people talk about how they are establishing dominace and getting in the middle but yet the fights are escalating this is why. The dogs are getting fustrated, they never have a chance to let the other dog know that they are annoyed. So instead of just having a snarl spit match where teeth never even touch fur. They are going to thier point accross be for you have a chance to step in. Now, this where having a keen eye comes into play. I can tell the differnece between a real fight and one that is just a lot of huff and puff. It looks horrible to us but most fights are just shouting matches. most of the time the dogs mouths are more than 6 inches from the other dogs body. And people still freak. So recognizing the difference of a real fight and a argument of spit snarl would determine my course of action.
The next thing on the hierarchy thing. In a real pack Alphla dogs do not solve every spat in the pack. Also how is pack order supposed to be established if thier never is any confrontation. I hear people claim, "not in may house"...or "i will kick thier butts if the do"...these people seem to have the most problems or dogs that merely resemble rugs and are afraid of thier owners.
So when I choose to discpline I never ever discpline the higher ranking dog. I do not want the higher ranking dog thinking that I, thier leader is giving power to a lower ranking dog. This makes the higher ranking dog feel threatened and then thus fight harder to protect thier postion on the pole.
I believe a dog's finest hour, the greatest fulfillment he holds dear, is when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle-with a ball in his mouth."
An interesting topic as our family (of 5) has been having troubles such as this.
We have an non-spayed Setter bitch and a spayed Corgi bitch. The Setter has gone after the Corgi on a couple of occassions and we had to step in due to the size differential. Usually they are the best of friends, but every once in awhile out of the blue this happens.
Then there are the 2 Setter dogs, father and son. They do not get along period. Either one of them are prone to start a fight. We try to keep them separated as much as possible. Unfortunately there are times when they do go at it. And we do break them up. We've been lucky where none of us the humans have been hurt. Quite frankly I believe that they would fight until one is seriously injured.
I always enjoy seeing Gunny's responses on subjects as this.
I like him a lot better than I like most people. To you he's a dog. TO me he's an adopted son who is short, hairy, walks on all fours and doesn't speak clearly. I have no problem with any of these. <
I too have one stud and one of his sons who would fight until one of them was dead or exausted. I used to have 2 sons that would do that, but I got really fed up with seperating them, and one day I decided I wasn't going to let them do it. Unfortunately I have only been able to do it with one son, because the other one belongs to my son, and he does'nt agree that I can stop them. For all intents and purposes I have stopped it, so it can be done.
Having multiple dogs over the years I have had my fair share of dog fights. After being badly bitten on one occation I started learning about the dog's body language. You can tell alot from the way the tail hangs, or the position of their heads or their overall stance. I have one dog that just on a whim will decide that she is P.O.ed I can tell by the look on her face. That's my clue to be alert. Also, if there's an activity that seem to incite a dogfight, just eliminate that particular activity. Another thing to do is learn about the dog body language.
Nice to see you back Cinnaeve! You have my sympathy with your situation... I've had a few problems with Jack initiating fights when he felt overwhelmed with a house full of strangers or just plain jealousy. No one watches like a hawk and reads the warning signs like me, so even though they get along great most of the time, I don't chance it when I am not around. I am very cautious when I have people watch my dogs.
I like you, never hesitate in jumping in there and separating them having nursed a few puncture wounds on a toy poodles sensitive skin...moments like those, I don't have time to think about it or feel fear, I just act. The over thinking and the worrying along with the "what if's" is for after the ordeal.
I have seen people freeze up and just stand there when it happens instead of doing anything.
Would love to see some updated pictures of the girls
I have the problem every so often, and I jump in and break it up. I have 3 un-spayed mini aussies, a spayed mini poodle, and nuetered shar-peiXlab. My dominante aussie feels she should hold the rank over the male also. It can cause a problem, and I have had the nurse a puncture or 2. I wouldn't ever let them just fight it out. The 3 aussies usually figure things out with spats, but they are all close in age, and I am just waiting lol. Depending on the body langage, and size difference, I might let them fight for a min or two tops. Otherwise I step in.