Can you make 2 dogs who hate each other coexist?

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Can you make 2 dogs who hate each other coexist?

This is a discussion on Can you make 2 dogs who hate each other coexist? within the Dog Training and Behavior forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; My male dog just turned four the middle of November. He's normally pretty easy-going and mellow and gets along well with most other dogs. He's ...

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Old 01-23-2019, 12:38 PM
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Can you make 2 dogs who hate each other coexist?

My male dog just turned four the middle of November. He's normally pretty easy-going and mellow and gets along well with most other dogs. He's a mutt of German Shepard, chow, boxer (25 percent each) and around twelve percent lab and American Staffordshire per DNA testing.
He's now around 95 pounds(about ten pounds overweight!) and loves his social time with people and other dogs. Never fights females or small dogs, will defend himself if an unneutered large male tries to push him around but has never hurt or broken the skin of another dog.

Not at all possessive lets other dogs and my cats eat his food, treats, water, doesn't really care about toys. Occasionally will growl if a dog he doesn't like steals a squeaky right out of his mouth but that's it.

Over a year and a half ago I had my horses at a terrible place for about three months that I learned quickly almost killed my old horse and wasn't caring for either of them. I moved as soon as I found another place and got clearance from the vet that the older horse was stable enough to move.
But that place had a large always loose unsocialized shaggy brown giant dog that used to pounce on my dog and wouldn't get off or leave him alone and wouldn't respect my dog's signs to get off and leave him alone. My dog was always leashed or locked in a horse stall or my car so this other dog would try to get in and jump on and shake the car or the stall or leap on him while he was leashed. Wouldn't stop unless I literally waved a horse whip at him and tapped him with it (not hard and it was literally a last resort my dog was having to bite and snap and freak out and he didn't even feel it or move) and the owner had no control either.

Since then my dog hates giant shaggy dark dogs like leonbergers or Newfoundlands, especially unneutered males and unsocialized ones who try to pounce on him And won't back off if he growls.
There's one particular Newfoundland that he's hated for two and a half years. They've had a few minor scuffles with no injuries in the past and the other owner and I spent many days with both on leashes together feeding them treats and patting and praising them for getting along. This seemed to work for a while And there were no incidents for at least a year or two.
The other dog also always happens to arrive after we do and takes the one squeaky that my dog had been playing with and runs around with it and won't give it up. Or one of my dog's best buddies that he was playing happily with will leave him and go play with the other dog instead.
Last incident the Newfoundland came in and both took the favorite squeaky and my dog's best pal ran off and left my dog and played with him when he'd been playing with my dog literally until the other dog came in. Also unbeknownst to me my dog has mild hip dysplasia on one hip and was a little sore from running into something at full speed on that hip a week before. He wasn't limping or acting sore so I thought he was fine. I saw him glaring at the Newfoundland so I gave him praise and treats for coming to me. Then the Newfoundland's owner started giving other dogs treats so he ran over like he always does. The Newfoundland raced over And crashed hard into my dog knocking his sore hip into a concrete tunnel and my dog went after him. This time the Newfoundland was in a rage and being much bigger and heavier pinned my dog and bit him drawing blood and cutting him all over his face and one leg. It took several people to separate them and the other owner put himself between them since nothing else was working. His arm got several bites and had to be stitched up in the ER. My dog didn't hurt the Newfoundland at all. And was scared And shaking so I had to take him to the ER to make sure he had no internal injuries. That's how I found out about the hip dysplasia. No stitches needed. Just painkillers And he's on joint suppliments now and his face is finally almost fully healed.
Luckily we haven't seen the other dog since then and it was over a month ago.
Every other time he's had a scuffle with that dog I can look back and pinpoint it to a bad medication reaction, or Lyme disease, or thyroid problems or he was defending his friend, or even this time he was in pain from his hip and I should have gotten him x rayed sooner even though he was otherwise acting normal.

He's so mellow and forgiving but hates this one dog and is afraid of this type of dog. I know if it had been one of his buddies or me or the cats that crashed into him he wouldn't have started a fight. And he's strong at 95 pounds but he has no chance against a 150 or 200 pound dog and he's the one that got hurt.

Has anyone been able to train dogs to get over a grudge against another dog to peacefully coexist in public places for short periods of time? Especially if the dogs both normally get along fine with other dogs and just hate each other?
I don't expect them to be best buddies or play or live together, just coexist without fighting in a large open space.
Or do I just grab him and put his leash on and leave and run away whenever I see that dog from now on?

Part of me is hoping since he got hurt and was scared at the time he'll be scared now.

The only other time he got hurt he acts very submissive and gives puppy licks to the other dog whenever he sees him. But they'd been friends for about a year and used to play all the time before that dog started getting aggressive with other dogs and hurt several including his buddies. So a different situation.
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Old 01-23-2019, 05:24 PM
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Your dog isn't holding a grudge against a certain kind of dog- he's learned to be weary of dogs that look and act a certain way, because he's had bad experiences in the past. The only way to undo bad experiences is to override them with good ones; it takes a whole lot of good experiences to undo a negative one, and it takes one negative experience to undo a whole lot of good ones.

I think that you can certainly work towards lessening his negative experiences with large, fluffy male dogs and building his positive ones. IMO, your best bet at working on this would be to find a local trainer with knowledge in helping dogs build social skills and access to well mannered dogs of the demographic your dog has issue with. You would want to be aiming for structured interactions that focus on teaching neutrality with this kind of dog to start, and then introduce play ONLY after both dogs are well known to one another and only at low levels and intensity until you're confident in the safety of the play.

Part of lessening his worry around those types of dogs is ensuring he doesn't have any more negative experiences with them. Letting those kinds of dogs interact with him when you can't guess the temperament of the dog, the owner's level of control over their dog, or count on the other owner's intervention before there is an explicit conflict is courting trouble. I would plan on making a hasty exit if any kind of dog that fits the description of dogs he tends to react to is coming in to the park.

In terms of him getting along with the dog you described him fighting with, I would hope you don't see that specific dog at the park again. I would plan on making a quick exit if you did, because I would rate it very likely that there will be another altercation when you do see that dog. Their interactions are showing a pattern of escalation, not de-escalation. It's quite possible that next time, just the other dog coming over will be seen as enough of a threat for you dog to show aggression, and it sounds like the other dog is likely to respond with equal issue if your dog threatens him.

I would add that as your dog's hip dysplasia worsens, I would not count on his continued good graces with other dogs running into him/playing rough.

When you're allowing your dog to interact with other off leash dogs that you do not know, you have to be realistic about:
- your dog's recall
- your dog's likelihood to guard the resources in play (food, toys, other dogs, you, etc)
- how your dog is likely to react to another dog's correction
- how your dog is likely to react to another dog's aggression
- your dog's tolerance for rudeness (or accidents like being run in to)
- whether or not your dog has specific issue with any other kinds of dogs

I would also consider what might happen if you are in the park and a large, fluffy male dog enters either before you have realized or before you can get out. If you're going to keep going to the park, have a plan for that situation.
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Old 01-24-2019, 02:07 PM
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Thanks for your response, it's very helpful. Despite this one fight I usually have good control of my dog at the park and other situations.
He hadn't had any fights with the other dog on over a year or longer and the other owner and I had spent many hours after the last incident which was much more minor with both of them on leashes on the park feeding them treats and praising and patting them for being closes and getting along. So since there had been no fights, scuffles or problems and they'd coexisted peacefully in the same park for well over a year, and neither had ever injured each other in prior scuffles before that, we both thought they were safe together. As I mentioned, every earlier prior incident I could directly pinpoint to a physical problem with my dog or him defending his dog friend.
I'm not excusing it or saying I'm going to let him be around the other dog again however.
I told the other owner at the time of the incident that it scared me and whenever I saw then in the future I'd put a leash on my dog. I think that would imply I'd leave the area and we'd split time there. Hopefully since the owner got injured he'd have the sense to give me time to get out of there before letting his dog loose again.
I've been going there for over two and a half years now. The vast majority of the dogs and people that go regularly are long-standing residents since my city is strict about only residents of this city can use the parks. Animal control does regular license checks and kicks out even licensed dogs from neighboring cities.

So most of the dogs that go there my dog has known for at least a year. New puppies and adolescents he likes and tolerates and there's only three large shaggy males that regularly attend. The neutered male leonberger he sees all the time and has no issues with, we saw that dog just yesterday and they coexist and don't I tersct apart from a brief sniff. The unneutered male pushy unsocialized leonberger with the equally pushy and obnoxious owner my dog hates and I avoid like the plague because I can't stand the owner's arrogance or the way he lets his dog race around harassing dogs and doesn't try to control him. Then when the smaller dogs growl or try to set limits he tries to intimidate the owners claiming his dog is a "show dog" and better not get any marks that will affect his competition.
I've trained and shown horses for decades and I turn them out alone to prevent injuries. Keep your obnoxious unsocialized bully out of the public city dog park and don't let him provoke other dogs and he'll be fine. Try training him. My dog has left the park with marks on him exactly three times in almost three years. Because I train him.
His hip dysplasia is only in one hip and the vet said it's very early stage and mild at this time. He was more sore from bruising from crashing into a concrete tunnel while running at full speed in play a week and a half prior to that incident. He's now on joint suppliments and wild salmon oil. I also have pain meds I can give him as needed. He doesn't limp or show any sensitivity and acts fine if other dogs bump into him.
But I appreciate the things to watch out for!
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