Adding second dog to home, dogs are fighting

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Adding second dog to home, dogs are fighting

This is a discussion on Adding second dog to home, dogs are fighting within the Dog Training and Behavior forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; Hello all, I have a 3 year old Rottweiler female (named Dakota). Had an old chihuahua also (died from old age). Since her death, my ...

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Old 09-17-2018, 06:55 AM
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Adding second dog to home, dogs are fighting

Hello all, I have a 3 year old Rottweiler female (named Dakota). Had an old chihuahua also (died from old age). Since her death, my rottweiler has been depressed. Went to the local animal control and adopted a 4 year old female lab/pit bull mix (named Alex) who was going to get put to sleep due to overcrowding. She shows no signs of aggression and was ok’d to be with other dogs according to her report. I have Alex in a crate and Dakota free in the house. Dakota has never shown signs of aggression, she is very sweet and calm. I have tried to make them get along. First contact they had, they sniffed each other for a while, then Alex started humping Dakota, Dakota got aggressive and I separated them quickly before a fight broke out. Now, every time I let Alex out, Dakota immediately comes over and growls, and Alex also, so I separate them again. If they were to really fight, one or both would probably end up severely injured so I am extremely careful. I feel bad that Alex has to be in a cage. I know that I probably should have gotten a smaller breed, but I really fell in love with Alex and saved her from being put down. Other then keeping them permanently separated, is there any way to make them get along?
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Old 09-17-2018, 08:20 AM
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Two females can be tough unfortunately. But growls are normal too. When we brought our last dog home, there was a bit of growling here and there and a bit of snapping for a couple days from my other two, and that was it. They've all been completely fine in the last 2 weeks.

Are you 100% sure that it was going to escalate into a fight?
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Old 09-17-2018, 08:27 AM
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You can start really slowly, first let them see each other through a glass door or window, then, at another session, you can let them sniff each other through a wired fence, it's important to have short, but frequent sessions, and before each step, they should succeed the previous one! Then you can introduce them to each other on a leash, outside, (you'll need 2 people for this) after that, you can introduce them on a leash, in a neutral place, not outside (with all the distractions) but somewhere indoors that's not your home, or any place your dogs particularly know, also you can try stress-bonding them, which means that you put them together, in a space where they experience some stress (like car rides), and this kinda makes them stay together to feel better. Then you can slowly let them be together at home (first with a leash, then without, closely supervising them).
Each session should be done with patience, it should be pleasant and you should reward every little good behavior, I highly recommend doing this with someone else, so each one of you, will be focused on a dog!
You can also search this on YouTube, because there are many great trainers who talk about bonding!
I hope this was helpful! 😊
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Old 09-17-2018, 09:38 PM
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Sounds like both dogs are stressed out by the recent home changes and a bit nervous/anxious around each other. Not fun. Sorry to hear about it, must be stressful for you, too!

I would try counterconditioning them. So basically.... the presence of the other dog = super amazing food treats and happy talk from mom or dad.

Here's how I would start:

What about instead of just using a crate, try using a baby gate? Put the gate between a room and hallway or two rooms. Then have a dog on each side. You stand in between and happily announce "doggie treat time" or "bonding time!" or something to your liking. Then drop tons of small amazingly delicious treats continually to both dogs. Do not leave enough time between treats for their brains to think about whether they need to be stressed at the moment, just make them think about the amazing food they are getting. Treats should be delivered about every 2-3 seconds. Cut the food into tiny pea sized bites so you have lots to work with!

If either one won't eat the treats like this, then the dogs are too close. (or the treats suck!) Use the baby gate, but maybe have one dog on leash and you adjust your positioning. Same if either dog is reacting (barking/lunging/growling)

Increasing the distance between the dogs generally reduces stress, and hence stops the aggressive behaviors.

Only use the highest value foods for this exercise, such as steak, chicken, hot dogs, cheese, liver,etc. Must be very scented and delicious to really get the attention of both dogs. No dry treats or kibble at this stage. You can take their kibble and drizzle steak juice or chicken broth over them and that may be yummy too.

Do this as many times a day as you can so they can start to have very positive associations with each other. If you are worried about them gaining weight, then just short their meals. So less food in the bowls, more during the 'bonding time" sessions.

You can eventually work up to doing this with them being able to wait while you rotate treats among them, like we dog with all three of my dogs, one being newer. But for now, just feed rapidly during the sessions with the baby gate between for safety.

After the bonding session let them go to their separate spaces to relax just in case they need to release anxiety.

And after you have mastered the above, for bonding have them do tricks together for food/praise. Like ask each for a shake, or high five. Fun stuff only, with high value rewards make for great bonding!

I equate it to a blind date.... kinda uncomfortable and creepy, but if you do an activity together like walking or bowling or whatever, it takes away some of the intense awkwardness, right?

Remember, each time announce happily the phrase you have chosen right before each session, so your dogs know what is about to happen (good things!) and then practice! I am betting their mindset will change about each other!

Counterconditioning works!!!!
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