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Discussion Starter #1
@busannie posted a comment I really appreciated about calming behaviors being part of a conversation which reminded me of this article.

I took it as most altercations are minor and although it's worth analyze them the large majority need no intervention as long as both dogs were communicating and not intending harm. What do you think?
 

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I consider up to "gripping" to be fairly acceptable dog behavior, and would equate a scuffle without gripping to a heated argument in people. That said, if you are arguing with one of your friends 3 times a month, you are probably reconsidering your friendship; and if your dogs are scuffling on the regular, you probably should look at their "friendship" as well, and see if you can remediate the arguments before one of the dogs decides to take it to the next level. IMO it is worth a little extra caution to avoid a full on fight, because it can be much harder for dogs to come back to being "friends" after that.
 

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I do not let my dog engage in actual fighting, but I do let him tell another dog off if it's warranted. The telling off involves growling, snarling, and at the most light bites.

When I allow him to tell a dog off there's a few guidelines that I follow.

I know the other dog well, I know that the other dog will not take up the challenge and start a full blown fight.

The other dog is nearly the same size as mine, if it does turn into a fight that I need to break up I do not want the other dog larger then mine and mine getting seriously hurt of killed, my boy is only 10 lbs.

The other dog is not a very young puppy. I do not want a puppy to become scared and develop a fear of other dogs.

He is not resource guarding. I do not need his resource guarding against other dogs to get worse.
 

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I don't allow my current dog to engage in any fighting or even sparring when accompanied with certain posturing. There can only be one sheriff with certain dogs especially if they have the "attitude".
 

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I do let him tell another dog off if it's warranted. The telling off involves growling, snarling, and at the most light bites.

Have you ever tried taking the position of the arbiter rather than allowing your dog to take this role? I only ask this because allowing the dog to act in this capacity can alter the dynamic between human and dog. I certainly can appreciate why some might do this, so I don't know that there is a correct answer one way or the other but there are consequences associated with one's choice in how they proceed in this particular matter.
 

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The only time my pit and Great Dane/lab mix fights is around something of value (getting into garbage, bones, toys) I try to keep items away from them unless I'm watching closely but it has happened maybe once or twice a yr I always stop it as soon as it starts I make a sound like "ah ah" to distract and stand up immediately when one goes after the other
they have never had a full blown fight they have always stopped with my distraction
I make both sit till they ignore each other usually 30 sec or so then release them and sit back down everyone relaxes and it is forgotten it has never escalated to blood drawn and never is a big deal i feel like if I let them work it out by themselves they would def hurt each other


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I definitely agree that frequency, severity, relationship to other dog and personality type are very important factors.

Echo is pretty shy of altercations, preferring to concede in most cases. Which is very helpful considering her best dog mate has some resource guarding issues. The only times I've seen her escalate were when introduced to multiple new dogs, I always intercede here because she gets shows extreme stress and I don't think it would be an appropriate time to let them sort it out.
 

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Cosmo is really sensitive so any altercation with a dog makes him scared of that dog. My friends mix attacked him and now when they see each other he purposefully avoids her and will walk completely around her because he remembers her not being nice with him. So I try not to let him fight with dogs, especially if the other dog started it and was just being aggressive

I will let him communicate with dogs, however if the other dogs doesn't let up when he's telling the dog to get away from him I will remove him from the situation
 

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Have you ever tried taking the position of the arbiter rather than allowing your dog to take this role? I only ask this because allowing the dog to act in this capacity can alter the dynamic between human and dog. I certainly can appreciate why some might do this, so I don't know that there is a correct answer one way or the other but there are consequences associated with one's choice in how they proceed in this particular matter.

What do you mean by altering the dynamic between human and dog?

I do play arbiter when he's simply being the fun police, or is resource guarding. I also try my best to not let him get into situations where he has to growl, snarl, and snap, if I see him getting stiff body language, and the other dog is not backing off, I'll call him away. I cannot control, or manage, everything, I've had dogs greet him rudely, I've had some that run up and jump at him being playful, and that's usually when he'll growl, snarl, and snap, when he reacts like that it's usually over before I can react, he's not looking for a fight just to get the other dog to stop. I feel in those cases he's well within his rights to react the way he does.
 

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I feel in those cases he's well within his rights to react the way he does.
I don't disagree. I just have chosen to treat that type of situation differently. I appreciate that you can't "control and manage, everything". Having larger breed dogs over my life, I have taken a different approach as to who resolves the situation you cited in an earlier post " I do let him tell another dog off if it's warranted." In my situation, I don't care which dog needs to be told off because I am the one who steps in and settles the issue because it is a crucial constant in our relationship and expectation placed on my dog's behavior. So, by changing the dynamics of this standard, my dog would look at the relationship and most likely escalate the undesired behavior and things could get horrible in an instant. I think Luna's comment " I always stop it as soon as it starts I make a sound like "ah ah" to distract and stand up immediately when one goes after the other" touches on exactly what I am doing. Luna settles the dispute, not the dog(s). This is what I strive for in my training, that the dog relies on me to fend off other ill-behaved dogs as it's not my dog's job which she most certainly is capable of but still not her place or job to pursue. This is the dynamic I was referring to earlier. I train for indifference when it comes to these types of situations, calm, cool and maintained obedience and heavily rewarded as it is so difficult for the dog.

I learned a lesson a few years back with my current dog when I was really working her hard in this type of environment teaching the behavior. This lady opens her front door and lets her little dog come charging out, I tell the lady this might not end well and she flippantly replies how her little dog has no problem keeping the bigger dogs at bay and intimidates them and she thinks it's funny. I have my dog in a commanded sit at my side and the little dog continues to advance barking and doing its thing. My patience is wearing thin with this lady as I ask her one more time to recall her dog and she refuses and the dog continues with its feigned aggression. So, in a moment of weakness, I released my dog, she took 2 steps forward, postured and gave a growl which meant business and the little dog turned tail and ran into the house directly. I told the lady off and she didn't care much for it but so be it. It took me 1 1/2 months to get things back to what we had previously accomplished because of the one incident and it was my fault not my dogs. I want my dog to truly rely on me to deal with unruly dogs and if I should be unable to do as such, I feel confident my dog can fend for herself just fine but it is not my desire. So, as I mentioned earlier, I don't believe there a correct answer, one way or the other. It is just the way I train my dogs to deal with other dogs lacking civility.
 

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I don't disagree. I just have chosen to treat that type of situation differently. I appreciate that you can't "control and manage, everything". Having larger breed dogs over my life, I have taken a different approach as to who resolves the situation you cited in an earlier post " I do let him tell another dog off if it's warranted." In my situation, I don't care which dog needs to be told off because I am the one who steps in and settles the issue because it is a crucial constant in our relationship and expectation placed on my dog's behavior. So, by changing the dynamics of this standard, my dog would look at the relationship and most likely escalate the undesired behavior and things could get horrible in an instant. I think Luna's comment " I always stop it as soon as it starts I make a sound like "ah ah" to distract and stand up immediately when one goes after the other" touches on exactly what I am doing. Luna settles the dispute, not the dog(s). This is what I strive for in my training, that the dog relies on me to fend off other ill-behaved dogs as it's not my dog's job which she most certainly is capable of but still not her place or job to pursue. This is the dynamic I was referring to earlier. I train for indifference when it comes to these types of situations, calm, cool and maintained obedience and heavily rewarded as it is so difficult for the dog.

I learned a lesson a few years back with my current dog when I was really working her hard in this type of environment teaching the behavior. This lady opens her front door and lets her little dog come charging out, I tell the lady this might not end well and she flippantly replies how her little dog has no problem keeping the bigger dogs at bay and intimidates them and she thinks it's funny. I have my dog in a commanded sit at my side and the little dog continues to advance barking and doing its thing. My patience is wearing thin with this lady as I ask her one more time to recall her dog and she refuses and the dog continues with its feigned aggression. So, in a moment of weakness, I released my dog, she took 2 steps forward, postured and gave a growl which meant business and the little dog turned tail and ran into the house directly. I told the lady off and she didn't care much for it but so be it. It took me 1 1/2 months to get things back to what we had previously accomplished because of the one incident and it was my fault not my dogs. I want my dog to truly rely on me to deal with unruly dogs and if I should be unable to do as such, I feel confident my dog can fend for herself just fine but it is not my desire. So, as I mentioned earlier, I don't believe there a correct answer, one way or the other. It is just the way I train my dogs to deal with other dogs lacking civility.
I agree with interrupting potentially harmful conflict whenever possible rather than having the dogs "figure it out," and to encourage your dog to look to you first to help them handle a situation. But in the situation you describe when you weren't able to handle it for her, I don't think it was "a moment of weakness" to allow her to stick up for herself. I think I would have an issue with your dynamic if she feels threatened but can't defend herself because you're forcing her to hold a sit stay, but if she truly isn't uncomfortable because she trusts you to handle it, it would be okay.
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I don't disagree. I just have chosen to treat that type of situation differently. I appreciate that you can't "control and manage, everything". Having larger breed dogs over my life, I have taken a different approach as to who resolves the situation you cited in an earlier post " I do let him tell another dog off if it's warranted." In my situation, I don't care which dog needs to be told off because I am the one who steps in and settles the issue because it is a crucial constant in our relationship and expectation placed on my dog's behavior. So, by changing the dynamics of this standard, my dog would look at the relationship and most likely escalate the undesired behavior and things could get horrible in an instant. I think Luna's comment " I always stop it as soon as it starts I make a sound like "ah ah" to distract and stand up immediately when one goes after the other" touches on exactly what I am doing. Luna settles the dispute, not the dog(s). This is what I strive for in my training, that the dog relies on me to fend off other ill-behaved dogs as it's not my dog's job which she most certainly is capable of but still not her place or job to pursue. This is the dynamic I was referring to earlier. I train for indifference when it comes to these types of situations, calm, cool and maintained obedience and heavily rewarded as it is so difficult for the dog.

I learned a lesson a few years back with my current dog when I was really working her hard in this type of environment teaching the behavior. This lady opens her front door and lets her little dog come charging out, I tell the lady this might not end well and she flippantly replies how her little dog has no problem keeping the bigger dogs at bay and intimidates them and she thinks it's funny. I have my dog in a commanded sit at my side and the little dog continues to advance barking and doing its thing. My patience is wearing thin with this lady as I ask her one more time to recall her dog and she refuses and the dog continues with its feigned aggression. So, in a moment of weakness, I released my dog, she took 2 steps forward, postured and gave a growl which meant business and the little dog turned tail and ran into the house directly. I told the lady off and she didn't care much for it but so be it. It took me 1 1/2 months to get things back to what we had previously accomplished because of the one incident and it was my fault not my dogs. I want my dog to truly rely on me to deal with unruly dogs and if I should be unable to do as such, I feel confident my dog can fend for herself just fine but it is not my desire. So, as I mentioned earlier, I don't believe there a correct answer, one way or the other. It is just the way I train my dogs to deal with other dogs lacking civility.

I've actually had what you describe happen. A dog came out of the laundry room of the apartment complex I live in and charged me and my dog. I did not even allow the dog to get to us but managed to get it to think twice about approaching any closer then a few feet, I would have probably kicked it had it come closer, and I had Zody behind me. The idiot owner eventually decided to come out, and slowly walked towards us, the fool didn't even apologize.... Those are the types of situations that I'd never allow Zody to handle on his own.

As I said, the times I allow it are with dogs I do know, I have some friends who's dogs are a bit rambunctious at times, or are at times rude. If I see it coming I interfere, I'll distract Zody, or the other dog, but there are times that things happen to fast and usually Zody is in the right to correct the dog and he does not carry it too far. Again I do my best to stop it from going that far, I know the more he acts that way the more he will act that way and the last thing I need is another behavior problem to work on with him.
 

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It just so happens that a small spat between my two dogs just broke out, that I didn't interrupt, because I didn't see it coming and it was over before I could step in. I think this is the kind of thing the article was referring to. It happens rarely with my dogs because as others have said we monitor access to potentially guarded resources and other factors that are known to cause conflict between our dogs, but Molly's apparently a little grumpy today, probably because she has a sore in her ear that we put ointment on earlier. Something Watson did must have upset Molly somehow, because she suddenly went for him and he ran. He runs faster than she does and escaped, and, even better, he came back and play bowed and they started up a play-chase right afterward. Sometimes it's impossible for us to settle disagreements for them better than they do, as much as we want to be advocates for them.
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Sometimes it's impossible for us to settle disagreements for them better than they do, as much as we want to be advocates for them.
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I've never had more than one dog at a time, so I have no practical experience. I certainly have dealt with being the referee with dogs which visit frequently because of friends coming by but that is so much easier I assume. I think your words above make great sense in a multi-dog pack.
 

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I agree with interrupting potentially harmful conflict whenever possible rather than having the dogs "figure it out," and to encourage your dog to look to you first to help them handle a situation. But in the situation you describe when you weren't able to handle it for her, I don't think it was "a moment of weakness" to allow her to stick up for herself. I think I would have an issue with your dynamic if she feels threatened but can't defend herself because you're forcing her to hold a sit stay, but if she truly isn't uncomfortable because she trusts you to handle it, it would be okay.
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I broke protocol because of my ego, to teach the lady a lesson. There was nothing threatening about the situation, it was just a little dog. Had I just startled the other dog with use of voice or a quick advance, the dog most likely would have left us alone. I wonder if my dog might have thought I was a wuss ??? LOL.
 

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Some dogs don't know when to stop someone on my block has 2 pits he generally doesn't break them up until they are really going at it (they are the dogs on the block that attack each other when another dog walks by )his wife and him have both been bitten trying to separate them they almost put one down because it bit his wife so bad
I never want my dogs to be so into the fight they ignore my commands imo I shouldn't have to use my hands or body to separate them
That is why I break it up as soon as one goes after the other if it's just a warning growl with zero contact I won't interfere but once they feel they need to get up to follow through I think it's time to stop them



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I broke protocol because of my ego, to teach the lady a lesson. There was nothing threatening about the situation, it was just a little dog. Had I just startled the other dog with use of voice or a quick advance, the dog most likely would have left us alone. I wonder if my dog might have thought I was a wuss ??? LOL.
That makes sense. As a hypothetical, if it had been a large dog that your dog really would find threatening, would you still have asked her to sit-stay while you attempted to handle it? We've never had an unavoidable situation like that happen, so I've never thought too much about how I'd react. I feel like both of my dogs would be more likely to cower than to want to go on the offensive, and I'd be left to address the threat myself anyway.
 

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Some dogs don't know when to stop someone on my block has 2 pits he generally doesn't break them up until they are really going at it (they are the dogs on the block that attack each other when another dog walks by )his wife and him have both been bitten trying to separate them they almost put one down because it bit his wife so bad
I never want my dogs to be so into the fight they ignore my commands imo I shouldn't have to use my hands or body to separate them
That is why I break it up as soon as one goes after the other if it's just a warning growl with zero contact I won't interfere but once they feel they need to get up to follow through I think it's time to stop them
This kind of situation is definitely different than the ones between my dogs. As soon as something breaks out with my dogs, I'm ready to interrupt if I have to, but it only ever lasts a few seconds. The case you're describing doesn't sound like "normal" fighting, it sounds like barrier frustration / redirected behavior. They're not really in a dispute with each other, they're just frustrated and taking it out on each other. In this case, it definitely needs to be interrupted immediately (or, of course, prevented in the first place).
 
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