Originally Posted by shakakha
The other day, Hannah and Murphy attacked Sami. They both ganged up on Sami and grabbed at her neck. She had to get a couple of staples in her back and was shaved by the vet so we can monitor her large bruises and smaller injuries.
How can I show Hannah and Murphy that Sami is the alpha?
Is there something I can do to discipline the younger ones or help make them less aggressive? THANK YOU
, that sounds so stressful and scary for all of you guys! Sorry to hear it. I am glad everyone is "ok" ish now and that you didn't get hurt breaking up the fight between the dogs! You didn't mention getting hurt, so I am really hoping you didn't. Poor Sami. I hope she heals quickly.
So, when I hear about a dog fight in the home, I tend to want to ask a bunch of questions to see if we can figure out what went wrong, or what happened to contribute to the fight.
I do this with my own dogs, as well.
Can you go back and think of what happened right prior to the fight?
What were you
doing? What were the dogs
doing? Was there food present?
Or toys nearby or any other valuable resource that they could be fighting over? Where were you guys--inside or out? Dogs on the bed or couch-- or was everyone on the floor? (Sometimes a fight can ensue when one dog wants to jump on couch and the the other dog doesn't want to move or share space)
What else happened that day or even few days prior? Any additional stressors going on? Any illnesses, new visitors/workmen to your home, vet visits, medicine applications, new dogs visiting, fights with roommates (or partner or parents) etc etc? Have you been stressed yourself? Think about it and you may be surprised.
I know the fights at my house between my dogs were absolutely due to too much stress in our home --on top of resource guarding issues. Human stress really affects our dogs!!!
You mentioned you were home more often due to summer break, so maybe the patterns/routines
changed with your dogs? Maybe you were giving more attention/fun training/tricks/walks to one dog vs the others? Changes in routines can sometimes upset dogs--dogs thrive on regular routines.
Personally, I would suggest you concentrate more on reducing stress in your home in any ways that you can, rather than mulling over "alpha' business. I personally feel most dog "aggression" is due to some sort of stress, and in most cases due to a "combo platter" of stressors.
Whether it is between the dogs, due to resource guarding, health issues, pain issues, lack of sleep, annoyance issues (one dog wants to play, the other does not), schedule changes, human induced stress, or other wise. Just my opinion, others may think otherwise. So, don't spend too much time worrying about alpha issues or trying to make any of your dogs alpha at all.
Instead I recommend to people to treat all of your dogs equally
with dignity and respect and love and trust--- and ask the same of all of them with you--and each other... and you will probably have a much more peaceful home with less dog fighting (hopefully none!) in the future.
Also, I suggest you start studying up on dog body language and calming signals so you can see how your dogs are feeling BEFORE any aggressive event/fight occurs. You can study about this online for free.
If you start to see any aggressive/stressed behaviors start then immediately remedy the situation. I would personally not punish this, but rather remedy it when possible. Yelling at the dogs or squirting them could increase stress and hence increase aggression, so be cautious of this. Remember if stress tends to cause some fights, we want to reduce stress, not increase it, right?
So if you see one dog snarling at another, perhaps separate the dogs by taking one in another room and giving the dog something do to, like chew on a bone. Not as a reward, but more as a redirection.
Or in my home, many times I like to go get some yummy food bites and ask my dogs to join together to do some fun tricks. And then I reward them heavily with food and praise. Very good for bonding, teaches them that working together brings good things!!! And YES, you are absolutely doing the right thing by separating them when you are gone and cannot supervise!!!This is the safe thing to do.
I do it with my three dogs everyday. They all have their own cozy part of our house to relax in when we aren't there to monitor..just in case. Better safe than sorry, right? Mine would probably be ok now since I have done lots of work to gradually get them to be relaxed again together, but I say... why take a chance at undoing our good progress?
That's all for now. I hope this helps a bit, to get you thinking about what may have happened... and then to prevent future situations with your beloved dogs. Again, sorry it happened, I know dog fights are so troublesome for all.
PS. Sending healing thoughts to Sami.