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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My family knew we were biting off a little more than we can chew when we brought home a second puppy. Both of them are wonderful and they love each other. They like to sleep together but they don't always share toys and food which is disconcerting. Here's where things get rough. They are both psychos and they spend 65% or so of their time fighting, play fighting sure but it gets out of hand very quickly. My female which is my personal dog is a german wirehaired pointer, a hunting dog who's only going to get bigger and stronger. At 6 months old she's already almost 40 pounds, nearly 68% of her adult size. Our other dog is Petey, our family pug. He's 8 months old and roughly 15 pounds. He's not going to get much bigger. My wirehaired pointer, Alaska (who we call Allie for short) doesn't know her size and strength and has the potential to really unintentionally hurt Petey. Allie will steal Petey's toys which drives him crazy but even when she hasn't done anything he's often the one that starts scuffles and eggs her on as she bounces off the walls. This especially has to stop because they like to fight on us which is beyond annoying when we're trying to read or on our laptops and when she's an adult Allie on a dead sprint could crack a rib if she leaps on us running after Petey. Figures they've started to fight again as I type this. It's not like Allie gets out unscathed either. Petey is always biting at her floppy years and that causes her to cry and us to yell at him. He bites hard for a pug puppy and he could really tear up her ears. Allie has broken skin on Petey's face on two occasions now, minor and by accident of course but enough to cause concern. It's not fair to yell at either puppy for this. Even if we do scold them they are caught up in the moment and pay no attention to us and they will still go at each other even if we try to hold them back. They are much too strong to hold back completely and it hurts when we get in between both of their gnashing teeth and claws. We try putting them in the backyard to run off some energy but they want back inside immediately. We'll separate them for a few minutes but once we let them out there's another fight within minutes. Also both have been fixed and we thought bringing those hormones down would stop this but it clearly hasn't. Also I want to at least try to train Allie to hunt, she'll be used to chasing and flushing out small animals and I don't want her to see Petey or my frog, chameleon and tarantula as potential prey. I really want them to be able to play together and to enjoy their puppyhood and have good loving lives with us and with each other. I want them to be able to roughhouse but is there a way to make them settle down when they need to and break it up? Is there a way to show them that we mean it when we tell them to stop fighting?
 

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They are puppies so saying 'stop play fighting' isn't going to cut it, they don't speak English. They need to be properly separated when things are getting too heated, different rooms to cool off with a chew and do some training.

Having too young puppies, although from different litters, littermate syndrome can occur when they become so attached to each other they pay little or no attention to you.

I suggest getting them both into puppy classes ASAP if you haven't already. Training two puppies at once is a difficult task, so dog classes will really help, also doing little training sessions with the seperately throughout the day.
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Very true there. Allie has just graduated basic obedience and I'm working with her daily. I would assume communication is likely the biggest thing we need to practice. Great Idea though, I never thought about separating them with a toy or bone each to keep them occupied while they release some steam. I'm going to start that. Thank you so much!
 

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Also I want to at least try to train Allie to hunt, she'll be used to chasing and flushing out small animals and I don't want her to see Petey or my frog, chameleon and tarantula as potential prey. I really want them to be able to play together and to enjoy their puppyhood and have good loving lives with us and with each other. I want them to be able to roughhouse but is there a way to make them settle down when they need to and break it up? Is there a way to show them that we mean it when we tell them to stop fighting?
First of all, you can either have a hunting dog or a dog that co-exists with other pets. You can't have both, so unless you want to give up your other pets I suggest you don't train Allie to hunt. Even if a dog is raised with other animals, if they're ACTIVELY trained to hunt and you cultivate their prey drive, they will be a danger to small animals. All it takes is one time for another animal to get hurt or killed. Honestly reptiles/amphibians and er, spiders aren't really typical dog prey but I can see a hunting dog going after them.

Second of all you need to limit their playtime. Only let it happen for a few minutes with you monitoring them. This is especially important because Petey is small. Does Ally ever self-handicap--ie, do things gentler like if an adult is wrestling with a child? If not, that's a problem. Also, is this true fighting going on or just rough play? Honestly, with their size difference and the fact Ally has broken skin on Petey's face (and quite frankly, I'm shocked you don't see this as a big problem), I don't think you should let them play rough AT ALL. It sounds like Petey doesn't know his limits and Ally isn't good at self-control. I find it hard to believe that Ally didn't break skin on purpose. Dogs have INCREDIBLE abilities to control their jaws. My dog Stella plays with dogs 1/4 and 1/5 of her size and she's never hurt any of them with her mouth, even when she was younger. I would not leave your dogs alone together.

I'd keep a spray bottle on hand, and squirt them when they get rowdy. If they doesn't work then use a shake can of pennies. Also, if they do listen to the squirt bottle or start listening to verbal commands, don't use a shake can. You don't want to shoot a mouse with an elephant gun, but we want to stop it. And of course keep training them to respond to their names, and maybe even work on a "settle" or "go to your bed/crate" command when you want them to cool it. But really, you should be careful with this, because problems like this can escalate quickly.
 

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Breaking up a actual dog fight is very different than breaking a intense play match. For and intense play fight I would teach your dogs how to go to a place, like a mat, on command and teach them how to settle. An actual fight may require louder more physical tactics to pull them apart.

In the mean time, when you notice things are getting too intense, but they are not at fight mode yet, separate them and put them in "time out" - each to a different room for an amount of time until they settle down. Once released, ff they immediately return to rough play, separate them and put them back in time out. Repeat until you get the results you want.

These dogs are now adolescents, so naturally they are going to play harder and not care about the rules. It's your job to teach them to know the limits and I've found time out works great to do this. I've also found having one dog (usually the problem child) wear a leash dragging so you can easily pull them away helps until they respond by command. You should also set limits about what is acceptable play. Biting and pulling on ears or tails in my opinion is ok and I would separate for that offence.

Also on contrary to the above poster, I know plenty of hunting dogs that can co-exist with small animals. In fact a buddy of my uncle's has 3 hunters - a munsterlander, a Springer and a retired lab. These dogs live with 2 cats, a couple of ferrets, and a rabbit name Roy. Never have these dogs ever hurt one of the other pets, nor do they hurt each other. This is because they have limitations and boundaries and understand their role. They get that when they are in the field they are field dogs and when they are at home they are expected to be family dogs. They have an "off switch" like most working dogs, and this owner has worked very hard to create this.

Also dogs can very much learn to recognize the difference between a prey animal, such as a wild duck vs another dog/member of the family unit. They just need constant supervision and proper socialization, and never leave small animals unattended with her. A great example is my uncle's friend's Munsterlander would never be left unattended with Roy the rabbit, as he is used to flush and kill wild rabbits, but they are able to hold Roy nearby without Cody (the Munsterlander) going nuts trying to kill him.

As you've said, you have a handful with 2 dogs under 2 who aren't well trained, or have a default settle to fall back on. I, personally, would contact a behaviourist and positive based trainer to help you with their interactions and train a default "off" switch for your hunting dog. If you don't you could be in for a world of hurt.
 

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I know it is different, but I don't allow my kids to play hard with my dog inside (unless it is the basement) we have scheduled supervised playtime, as things get crazy fast. I used to crate the dog and send the kids to their rooms when things got out of hand, everyone very quickly learned what the limits were. Playtime should END when it gets too intense. Bite inhibition is key though, you MUST train that or your dogs will not be able to play with anyone, dog or human.

Do you know someone with an older larger well mannered yet playful dog? I think the best place for puppies to learn to play nicely is with older dogs who play nicely, not from each other! My dog used to need to be corrected a lot, while you should still be watching, older dogs can teach puppies a lot.
 

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@traciek88, I totally disagree. I've owned and trained dozens of hunting dogs and it is completely possible to have a dog who hunts and gets along with other pets, large and small. I also disagree with your suggested method of interrupting the play fighting.

Train a positive interrupter. Kikopup has a video tutorial. These are both young dogs. When you see they're getting too excited, interrupt play and separate them. No punishment is required.

Spend time every day with each dog separately. Do some impulse control training. Teach them some tricks.

Get Patricia McConnell's book Feeling Outnumbered. Great resource for those with a multi dog household.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Very good ideas. We are using a spray bottle and fortunately I think it's becoming much less of a problem upon working with Allie daily. They tussled a bit today but it didn't get out of hand at all, they simply wrestled like puppies do. I've actually noticed that it might be a ploy for attention. They really get back to normal when we leave the room so I wonder if we ignore them and leave when they start they will get the message.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Yes! That is fantastic advice! Thank you so much Kaywilson! I'm going to do all of those things over the next few weeks and with their behavior already improving I'm sure we're going to have two wonderful pets. Thank you again and God bless!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Yes Ems, my cousin has a huge rambunctious but very well mannered lab/shepherd/husky mix named Leo who's over 100 pounds (pure muscle) that listens on cue even though he can play rough. Allie at her young age is still learning to come out of her shell with dogs she doesn't know and we're working on that with her so I think meeting Leo would be a great way for her to learn boundaries and peaceful play and best of all trust and respect for other dogs she may encounter and live with. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thank you Grabby! I love to get time down on the floor with both of them individually and I will look at all the resources you mentioned. I even have a hunch based on everybody's suggestions that I should play with them gently whenever I get the chance to try and give the impression of gentle play all the time.
 
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