This is my first post, and it's a long one. I joined because of the problems I'm having with my boyfriend's dogs and everyone around me is too biased to give any good advice.
I have two dogs. A 9 year old male (nuetered) king Charles that I took after my uncle died about a year ago, and a 3.5 month old female black lab. My Dogs get along fine for the most part. The king Charles guards food and bones, but only lashes out with nips and growling, and only when the lab puppy ignores all warning signs. The puppy is a typical lab puppy. Usually sweet with a touch of raging psychopath when over stimulated, though that is usually directed at the cat. I try to exercise it out of her when I sense it coming on.
My boyfriend has a 3 year old large male (nuetered) hound mix and a 4 year old female (spayed) pit bull. The pit bull has hip dysplasia, and is on medicine, but I think she is still in pain. She acts a lot worse at my house than his, but I also have an acre that she runs around on. This is a fairly new relationship, 3 or 4 months, so I don't have much historical background on the behavior of his dogs.
The pit bull has hated the puppy since the day I brought her home with absolutely no cause. She growls and snarls at the puppy anytime the puppy gets within 5 feet of her. She has bit my boyfriend twice while trying to get to the puppy, and he says that he was just in the wrong place and the pit bull was snapping at the puppy. She has only ever showed animosity toward the puppy, never the king charles.
I have also seen the pitbull growl and lunge at other dogs in the pet store. He says he takes her to the dog park all the time and she does great with other dogs. He also fostered puppies not long ago and says that the pit bull took a couple days to warm up but was great with them. I haven't really seen any of this warm and fuzzy behavior towards other dogs. Mostly indifference or outright hostility.
We went out to dinner one night, crated the puppy, and left the three older dogs free in the house (never had a problem before). We get home to find that they climbed and got into one of my bags and pulled out a Ziploc full of puppy bones and chews. (I know they shouldn't have had access, i didnt know they would be able to get them and will secure them better in future). Everyone is acting guilty, and I find poop flung all under my desk in the basement. My king Charles is the offender, and I quickly realize that one or both of my boyfriend's dogs have attacked the king charles. He has a large wound on his head that had to be stapled shut, a puncture wound on his neck, and bruising along his back. The poop being flung every which way makes think they actually bit down and shook him, and hurt or scared him so bad he pooped in the process.
My boyfriend swears it could never be the pitbull (I'm not buying it). I think the king charles may have gotten defensive over what may have been the last bone (it takes him forever to chew anything and the bigger dogs eat a bone in less than a minute) and both of the larger dogs attacked him. I have seen them gang up on him in play, and if one escalated, I think both would have participated.
I don't trust either of his dogs with my dogs now. I told him they are never, under any circumstances, to be left alone with my dogs. He thinks my dogs should just be locked up, since his hound will destroy a crate/room if locked up. I don't think this is very fair.
I also don't trust his dogs around children anymore. I figure if they will attack a dog, why wouldn't they attack a small, persistent, annoying, little human? I didn't really trust the pitbull to begin with. She gets in kids faces and aggressively licks and nibbles. Her behavior toward the puppy has made me actually afraid for my own safety before.
Is there anything that can be done with his dogs? I wasn't a particular fan of a 4 dog home to begin with, but now I am actually fearful for the safety of my dogs, and any visiting children. I have a large family and they are over frequently, oftentimes in large enough numbers that I can't physically supervise everyone directly.
We both have our own houses now, but if we should ever move into together, something needs to change. I haven't let him bring his dogs over since the incident about two weeks ago. I work from home, so I used to take my dogs to his house and work for a couple days, or he would bring his dogs over and stay for a couple days.
Basically, I don't trust his dogs, and I don't know that I ever will, because I don't know what is motivating them. Is their an explanation for the behavior? Either the pit bull towards the lab puppy or the attack on the king charles? I know the bones fanned the fire, but now that it has happened, it's more likely to happen again, even without the food drive, right?
Could training help? I know the worst case scenarios, but what am I looking at for best case scenario? Am I right to worry about the pitbull and hound being around children?
I refuse to sacrifice the safety or happiness of my dogs and any little humans that may get caught in the mix.