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First, let me go over what I have, what I know, and what I am working with to properly setup the situation and what I need help about.

For starters, I have four dogs. They are a 35 lb Cocker (Male), 45 lb Lab/Border Collie (Female), 70 lb Lab/hound (Male), and 100 lb Lab/Great Pyrenees (Male). They are all roughly 3.5-4.5 years old, and have lived together most of their entire lives (but all are rescue).

My problem is centered around my 70 lb dog. As far as how he gets along with the others, he looks up to the bigger dog and wants him to be seen by him as his equal. He gets put in his place on very rare occasions by the bigger one, but the bigger one has never attacked or hurt him...just establishing the pecking order. The 70 lb dog BEGS the smaller female to play with him, as they are equals in energy levels. She has her own OCD issues, but when they do play, it's rambunctious, fast, and furious. As far as the smallest dog, he enjoys his company and they sleep together.

I have trained the dogs to not have food aggression (at least with our family members). I can literally play with their food, swirl it around in and out of their mouths as they eat with not even a second glance. However, all the dogs have some sort of food aggression with another dog, ESPECIALLY the 45 lb female and the 70 lb male....and therein lies the basis of my problem with the 70 lb dog.

Now, I know that it's a dog's instinct to fight/attack for 3 things: food, sex, and illness/injury. Over the past 4 years, on the rare one or two occasions when a fight broke out between any of the dogs because of food, I merely stopped the fight and would calm them, never truly getting on them (I find it unfair to get on them for doing what's in their very nature). It probably happened about 4 times in 4 years.

However, the 70 lb dog has been taking that "other-dog food-aggression" to another level. He has attacked all of the other dogs in recent times, but when food was only in the near future as opposed to trying to share a bowl. For instance, while I was cutting up chicken to put in their bowls, the smaller one walked underneath him to merely go to the other side of the room. Attack. (This never was an issue until about 3 months ago). Another time, I had opened the fridge door and the big one was walking to where he sits while I prepare dinner and was attacked by the 70 lb one for just brushing up against him (again, never an issue before). In addition, at random times, he will also begin a warning growl that he's about to attack when any of the other dogs merely comes in his direction and no food is at stake. At those times, we attempt to correct the behavior, but he's very resilient to do so.

Right now, the only way that I can "treat" the problem is to take preventative measures such as making sure that all dogs are over an arm's length when any food activity is about to be under way. However, this does not truly solve the problem, and I know that you can't just get on a dog until a behavior is exhibited and I am not going to put my other dogs in harm's way so that I can illicit the behavior in order to correct it.

Any ideas on how to tackle this problem would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Jean Donaldson's book Fight! is very useful for dog-dog issues like this. Correction-based training is likely to make your problems worse, so if the book doesn't have resources you can implement, I recommend finding a trainer (there's a sticky thread up above with tips on finding a good one).
 
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