Help two female dogs get along

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Help two female dogs get along

This is a discussion on Help two female dogs get along within the Dog Training and Behavior forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; Hello everyone. I have two female dogs, german shepherd/hound mix and labrador/georgian shepherd mix. Both of them under 1 year old. Lab mix is a ...

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Old 12-07-2017, 04:49 AM
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Hello everyone. I have two female dogs, german shepherd/hound mix and labrador/georgian shepherd mix. Both of them under 1 year old. Lab mix is a new addition to my family. She was a stray. I got her spayed on sunday. The first dog will be spayed in a month. My first dog can't share her space, toys or humans with the other dog. She always looks for reasons to start fight with the other dog. While the second dog really doesn't seem to want to fight, she will finish it if neccessery. I need to find ways to make them enjoy each others company. Also, the other dog needs to be trained heavily. I don't think positive reinforcement is going to do much with her. She needs firm hand. I don't know if you are familiar with georgian shepherds, but they are really strong dogs, that are bred to keep the flock safe and fight wolves in high mountains of georgia if need be. They are excellent at their job. Which also make them really formidable dogs. They are not supposed to be mere pets. My first dog gsd/hound mix. Well she's fiercly protective towards her family members. You can't come near us without her getting aggressive. She's also very lean and although she's taller than the second dog, the second dog would win the fight without a doubt. I need to make sure they both understand what are the rules boundaries and respect each other. How do I do that? Thanks in advance.
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Old 12-07-2017, 07:51 AM
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Just a reminder that aversive techniques and recommendations are not to be suggested.

It sounds like your dog (GSD) is displaying some pretty serious resource guarding. I would highly recommend the book "Mine!" by Jean Donaldson and "Fight!" by Jean Donaldson. (She has a Chow, also notorious for being territorial and having dog aggression, all trained with positive reinforcement!) They will help you come up with a plan to change how they feel about sharing. I would also highly recommend you get in contact with a trainer.

Now, even with all this, there is a real good chance they will never even tolerate each other, much less enjoy each other's company. Some dogs just don't enjoy having other dogs around, and it sounds like your dog might be one of them. Once dogs start fighting, they tend to escalate fairly quickly and get more serious. I would look into ways to keep them separate while you sort out your plan, either baby gates, or crate and rotate, or potentially look into re-homing the second dog.

Good luck.
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Old 12-08-2017, 02:28 AM
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Just a reminder that aversive techniques and recommendations are not to be suggested.

It sounds like your dog (GSD) is displaying some pretty serious resource guarding. I would highly recommend the book "Mine!" by Jean Donaldson and "Fight!" by Jean Donaldson. (She has a Chow, also notorious for being territorial and having dog aggression, all trained with positive reinforcement!) They will help you come up with a plan to change how they feel about sharing. I would also highly recommend you get in contact with a trainer.

Now, even with all this, there is a real good chance they will never even tolerate each other, much less enjoy each other's company. Some dogs just don't enjoy having other dogs around, and it sounds like your dog might be one of them. Once dogs start fighting, they tend to escalate fairly quickly and get more serious. I would look into ways to keep them separate while you sort out your plan, either baby gates, or crate and rotate, or potentially look into re-homing the second dog.

Good luck.
Thank you. The fact is that i had not noticed my dog guarding anything other than her family members prior to getting another dog. It started about two weeks ago. Rehoming the other dog isn't really an option for us. She had a hard time getting used to us. She still is, and changing her home again will be extremely traumatising for her.
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Old 12-08-2017, 05:12 AM
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I commend your dedication and commitment to both your dogs. Please be careful however and don't ever leave them alone together while they're figuring out their roles. I've heard that female dogs in general can hold grudges and will fight to the death and gsd and Georgian shepherd mixes sound like they'd be formidable opponents.
I think the best thing to do is find a highly qualified and certified trainer or behaviorist who specializes in aggression and resource guarding. Your gsd mix sees you and the family as her property and is feeling threatened and will escalate and put herself in danger from your new dog if not managed and intervened now.
My last dog was an Akita pitbull mix and lived in his first home with his brother for nine months and apparently was fine until they were surrendered together. Each was adopted separately and my boy was quickly returned within two weeks for being too rambunctious and hard to handle, and aggressive to other dogs. He was great with my cats and horses and had individual dog friends but could never share food, treats, toys, balls, or even a water bowl or he'd get aggressive and chase away the other dog. I trained him to ignore other dogs and he never left marks except the one time I made the mistake of petting the other dog. He attacked it and that was a $450 vet bill I paid for the other dog'. I still never would have gotten a second dog during his whole life.
He was so happy I took him in from the shelter and so stressed and unhappy around most other dogs. Even his best buddies he wouldn't share toys or treats, let alone me.
Maybe I'm personifying or humanizing but he just adapted and made every effort to fit into my life and help me with everything and we bonded so strongly from the minute I saw him in the shelter I couldn't put him the stress of having to deal with learning to share me. And I would never want to take in another dog and have it feel second best or less loved or risk its safety.
If both of your dogs are generally good with other dogs and just not bonding and your first dog is possessive in general, maybe a better chance? Get the new dog her own toys instead of making the first dog have to suddenly share/give up her toys. Also spend time with you and each dog so they know the routine.
Be careful and please seek a good trainer or behaviorist sooner rather than later.
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Old 12-10-2017, 11:02 AM
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I commend your dedication and commitment to both your dogs. Please be careful however and don't ever leave them alone together while they're figuring out their roles. I've heard that female dogs in general can hold grudges and will fight to the death and gsd and Georgian shepherd mixes sound like they'd be formidable opponents.
I think the best thing to do is find a highly qualified and certified trainer or behaviorist who specializes in aggression and resource guarding. Your gsd mix sees you and the family as her property and is feeling threatened and will escalate and put herself in danger from your new dog if not managed and intervened now.
My last dog was an Akita pitbull mix and lived in his first home with his brother for nine months and apparently was fine until they were surrendered together. Each was adopted separately and my boy was quickly returned within two weeks for being too rambunctious and hard to handle, and aggressive to other dogs. He was great with my cats and horses and had individual dog friends but could never share food, treats, toys, balls, or even a water bowl or he'd get aggressive and chase away the other dog. I trained him to ignore other dogs and he never left marks except the one time I made the mistake of petting the other dog. He attacked it and that was a $450 vet bill I paid for the other dog'. I still never would have gotten a second dog during his whole life.
He was so happy I took him in from the shelter and so stressed and unhappy around most other dogs. Even his best buddies he wouldn't share toys or treats, let alone me.
Maybe I'm personifying or humanizing but he just adapted and made every effort to fit into my life and help me with everything and we bonded so strongly from the minute I saw him in the shelter I couldn't put him the stress of having to deal with learning to share me. And I would never want to take in another dog and have it feel second best or less loved or risk its safety.
If both of your dogs are generally good with other dogs and just not bonding and your first dog is possessive in general, maybe a better chance? Get the new dog her own toys instead of making the first dog have to suddenly share/give up her toys. Also spend time with you and each dog so they know the routine.
Be careful and please seek a good trainer or behaviorist sooner rather than later.
Thank you so much. I never leave them without supervision. Never. The second dog isn't really a problem. The first one has already attacked her three times in last week. I got the second dog her own toys. The first one took them all. As a result i've hidden all the toys. Now they have no toys to play with at all. In last week my sister took time off work to stay with them. From tomorrow they will be left with my mom. I have no idea how is she going to manage both dogs. The first dog is getting more and more aggressive by the minute. She attacked my best friend whom she knew since the day I brought her home. My friend has always been afraid of her and when my dog jumped she started screaming, thus causing my dog to get mad. My first dog has a trainer. She was getting so much better we brought the second dog home. Now all the progress is lost. We are back to ground zero. I wouldn't have brought the other dog home, but it was the only way to save her from the harsh winter on the streets. And my dog really seemed to enjoy her company when outside. I guess she doesn't like having anyone on her territory as she barks at every visitor for the first few minutes. Sometimes the whole time someone is at our place. I am going to exercise both of them really hard in the mornings so they are tired during the day . In a week a dog walker will start taking them for a walk everyday. I'll just have to tire them out everyday before they get used to each other.
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Old 12-13-2017, 06:52 PM
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It's hard to say what's going on without seeing them in action, but it does sound like it might be a layered issue.

But, at the center of it seems to be that one or both dogs does not trust you as a leader. If you have a dog that exhibits aggression that you are not in control of, that suggests that the dog does not trust that you are fully aware and in control of the situation. So, in the absence of a calm, strong leader, they make up their own rules and take care of business in their own way.

From this, it may be tempting to think that a firm hand is what is required. Often, that only makes the problem worse. If the dog doesn't believe in you as a wise leader, showing him that you are strong will only encourage him to be more assertive. It raises the level of what is a normal show of strength and can quickly escalate to an uncontrollable level.

If the dog believes you have everything under control, and you remain calm, the dog will follow your lead.

So, how do you do this?

First, don't allow situations to happen that you can't completely control. This just sets the dogs up for failure. Make sure every interaction with each other (or strangers) happens exactly how you want it to. Don't allow situations to occur that need to be corrected. Every interaction should be successful and nothing should happen without your permission. Avoid the temptation to give them just a little more freedom to see if they handle it OK. Once you do that, you've lost control.

And, this control should be very calm and quiet. Don't use a lot of words and no yelling. Make sure the dogs pay close attention to you, not each other. (Of course, you should not try to train both dogs at the same time. I might leave the more passive one tethered while training the more aggressive one and not worry about what the more passive one is doing at the time.) If you feel the dog starting to think more about the other dog and less about you, say her name calmly but firmly to get her attention. Give her a light tap, if you have to, to stop her fixation (this is like a tap on the shoulder, not a swat).

Every time you have a successful interaction, reward that well. Don't punish unsuccessful interactions. It won't help. Just calmly and swiftly stop the undesired behavior, create some distance, and regain control over the situation and the dog's attention.

It will help to assertively keep yourself between the two dogs. If the dog tries to go around you, just give a gentle "Ah" to get her attention and reposition yourself. If the dog persistently tries to slip around you, it is clear she does not view you as in control. Just create some distance and regain control.

Gradually (over days/weeks) get the dog closer and closer to the kinds of situations that typically provoke aggressive responses. But, do not go too fast. If you never have an unsuccessful interaction, you did it perfectly. This training should move so slowly that it is boring for everyone.

Always try to avoid using physical force to keep them separated (other than a little "herding" with your own body). If you're having to hold the dog back with the leash, you aren't teaching her anything good at that point. Create some distance and only get as close as you can manage with only calm voice and body posturing.

That said, don't leave anything to chance - always have the leash as a backup.

In short:
- The dogs must believe that it is your house, your rules.
- To do this, they must trust you.
- Every time aggression is allowed to occur, it shows that you are not in control of the house.
- So, just physically correcting that aggression doesn't do anything to fix the problem. You're still not a leader, in their eyes. As soon as you are not physically in control, they will ignore your rules.
- Work on this problem very gradually and calmly or you probably won't succeed.
- There is nothing wrong with the dogs. They are just acting like dogs.

One last hint: You might try hand feeding both dogs every meal for a while. Require them to sit calmly while you give them their food one piece at a time. They only get the next piece if they're sitting calmly. Don't allow them to grab it from you.

This can be a quick way to restore order.

Hope this helps.
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