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I’m not exactly sure where to post this, so if I should remove this or move it, let me know!

I have one almost two year old female Labrador Retriever, one almost three year old male Husky and German Shepard (and a whole lot of other breeds). Both are pretty dominant and have gotten into fights over food, toys, and places. It took a long time to break the male of aggression toward me and my family. He would bite if you got near his bed or his pillow. Now, he doesn’t. It took time but it was worth it. The female learned some of his behavior, she was always a sorta stubborn puppy but not really possessive. Our male dog was much older than her, we got her as a baby while we got him as an older guy. Anyways, we live in the middle of no where- so that means no dog parks. They met a male dog that they attacked and ran off. We ended up going on vacation and started socializing them while on vacation, they did great! They played, barked, and seemed like they had forgotten every bad habit at home! Once we returned, we had family that bought a puppy. So we decided instead of forgetting the socializing, we’d socialize them with the puppy. We let them visit and they acted nervous around each other but no biting. Then the family member got an older, bigger female dog (a Great Pyrenees) but it was submissive. So my male dog bit at the Great Pyrenees but it submitted and we jumped at him so he stopped. My male dog and female dog acted nervous toward the Great Pyrenees ever since, but did okay with the puppy. Now, my family member said that the puppy was too wild and they were getting rid of it. It’s suspected to be a Pitbull (I’m getting a dog DNA kit soon for her!) and they were going to send her to a shelter. We live in a place where two out of three households abuse their dog. A Pitbull, who the family claimed was “insane” (she’s just hyper) would probably end up in a bad home. She’s not exactly a puppy anymore, she’s the size of my male dog but skinnier. My family decided to bring her home. She’s not trained at all, so we’re working on that.

My current situation is that my female lab and my male mix hate the new female puppy. The puppy is dominant, or wants to be. My two dogs also want to be. If the puppy sniffs their paws, they’re growling. We’ve had three accidents of biting, then I scream and they disperse. The puppy often tries to play but is met with caution and nervousness from my dogs. My male just lays around and snaps at the puppy if it gets near him or touches him, otherwise he ignores it unless she goes toward something he is possessive over. We’ve kept food away from them and keep them in separate rooms until they learn to get along! We also keep toys away. We really need them to become friends, if anyone has suggests I’d appreciate it! My female sometimes seems like she’s playing but it’s hard to tell. Her tail is wagging but it’s like she wants the puppy to submit. My female also gets really aggressive if the puppy gets hyper. My brother came out of his room and the dogs were happy to see him, so they all run toward him. The puppy goes to jump and my female goes for her neck and growls. She also hates when the puppy is near me or gets excited to see me. She’ll growl and stand on the other side of the room if the puppy is laying near me, I’m not sure if she’s afraid or angry. Again, if anyone has any suggestions, I’d love to hear them.
 

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Hi.

Wow. Just. . . Wow. I can feel the tension from across the pond! It's like a powder keg, just waiting for a spark.

You're in a dangerous situation, and I think you need the advice and guidance of a qualified, humane behaviourist who knows and practices the current, science-based methods of desensitizion - someone who can come to your house and see the situation for themselves. With the best will in the world, we can only interpret what you tell us. A behaviourist can see it for themselves and interpret what's going on in the moment.

There are a lot of mistakes made here, and I'm going to try and unpick them one by one, if that's OK?

. It took a long time to break the male of aggression toward me and my family. He would bite if you got near his bed or his pillow. Now, he doesn’t.
How did you get him to stop biting you and your family in this situation?

- so that means no dog parks
Great! The very worst thing you could do is take these dogs to a dog park and let them loose on unsuspecting dogs. You'd find yourself liable for prosecution, compensation, or at the very least - vet bills.

They met a male dog that they attacked and ran off
And what did you do? How did you deal with this situation? What happened next? How did the other dog's only react? More info, please.

So we decided instead of forgetting the socializing, we’d socialize them with the puppy.
You have an adult male, aggressive dog, bring in a Labrador puppy, who also learns to be nervous/aggressive . . . And you think socialising these two, frankly unstable dogs with a Pitbull puppy is a good idea?! Really?

So my male dog bit at the Great Pyrenees but it submitted and we jumped at him so he stopped
Dear God! No wonder he's afraid of the Great Pyrenees! Last time he air snapped at her, you jumped him! He now associates the GP with you launching yourself at him.

It’s suspected to be a Pitbull (I’m getting a dog DNA kit soon for her!) and they were going to send her to a shelter. We live in a place where two out of three households abuse their dog
Where did you get the statistic that 2 out of 3 households abuse their dogs in your neighbourhood? That's a huge claim, and one I hope you can support with evidence.

The puppy would frankly have been much better off at a shelter who can assess her needs and place her in an appropriate home. All you can offer her are two dogs that can't stand her and a situation that just needs the strike of a match before it explodes. Make no mistake - this is a bad fight waiting to happen.

would probably end up in a bad home
You have no way of knowing that.

The puppy is dominant, or wants to be. My two dogs also want to be
Doubt it. She might be pushing her luck, but she's not trying to be dominant. If she was badly socialised as a puppy, what you describe as dominance might be an awkward attempt to play.

We’ve had three accidents of biting, then I scream and they disperse.
Bites aren't accidents. Growling, snarling, air snapping are all being ignored, so the tension escalates and the dog(s) resort to biting with increasing force.

We’ve kept food away from them and keep them in separate rooms until they learn to get along!
This may never happen - especially if the two bitches decide they hate each other. As the Pitbull puppy matures, puppyish behaviour that she's always gotten away with (known as a puppy licence) is no longer tolerated and the adults tell the youngster to settle down. Female dogs are called bitches for a reason -, once they decide they hate each other, the only option might be rehoming one of them, or else keep them separate for the rest of their lives, otherwise, they could fight to the death.

My female also gets really aggressive if the puppy gets hyper.
Probably telling her to settle down.

She also hates when the puppy is near me or gets excited to see me. She’ll growl and stand on the other side of the room if the puppy is laying near me, I’m not sure if she’s afraid or angry.
Resource guarding. You are a valuable resource.

All of this is really beyond the forum's ability to competently assess the situation - I'm just going off of what you've put in your opening post and I'm not exaggerating when I say I can feel the tension from here in Britain. It does sound like, unless there is an immediate de-escalation of the tension, WW3 is about to break out. You need a certified behaviourist.
 

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Hi.

Wow. Just. . . Wow. I can feel the tension from across the pond! It's like a powder keg, just waiting for a spark.

You're in a dangerous situation, and I think you need the advice and guidance of a qualified, humane behaviourist who knows and practices the current, science-based methods of desensitizion - someone who can come to your house and see the situation for themselves. With the best will in the world, we can only interpret what you tell us. A behaviourist can see it for themselves and interpret what's going on in the moment.

There are a lot of mistakes made here, and I'm going to try and unpick them one by one, if that's OK?



How did you get him to stop biting you and your family in this situation?



Great! The very worst thing you could do is take these dogs to a dog park and let them loose on unsuspecting dogs. You'd find yourself liable for prosecution, compensation, or at the very least - vet bills.



And what did you do? How did you deal with this situation? What happened next? How did the other dog's only react? More info, please.



You have an adult male, aggressive dog, bring in a Labrador puppy, who also learns to be nervous/aggressive . . . And you think socialising these two, frankly unstable dogs with a Pitbull puppy is a good idea?! Really?



Dear God! No wonder he's afraid of the Great Pyrenees! Last time he air snapped at her, you jumped him! He now associates the GP with you launching yourself at him.



Where did you get the statistic that 2 out of 3 households abuse their dogs in your neighbourhood? That's a huge claim, and one I hope you can support with evidence.

The puppy would frankly have been much better off at a shelter who can assess her needs and place her in an appropriate home. All you can offer her are two dogs that can't stand her and a situation that just needs the strike of a match before it explodes. Make no mistake - this is a bad fight waiting to happen.



You have no way of knowing that.



Doubt it. She might be pushing her luck, but she's not trying to be dominant. If she was badly socialised as a puppy, what you describe as dominance might be an awkward attempt to play.



Bites aren't accidents. Growling, snarling, air snapping are all being ignored, so the tension escalates and the dog(s) resort to biting with increasing force.



This may never happen - especially if the two bitches decide they hate each other. As the Pitbull puppy matures, puppyish behaviour that she's always gotten away with (known as a puppy licence) is no longer tolerated and the adults tell the youngster to settle down. Female dogs are called bitches for a reason -, once they decide they hate each other, the only option might be rehoming one of them, or else keep them separate for the rest of their lives, otherwise, they could fight to the death.



Probably telling her to settle down.



Resource guarding. You are a valuable resource.

All of this is really beyond the forum's ability to competently assess the situation - I'm just going off of what you've put in your opening post and I'm not exaggerating when I say I can feel the tension from here in Britain. It does sound like, unless there is an immediate de-escalation of the tension, WW3 is about to break out. You need a certified behaviourist.
We’ve looked into dog behaviorist, none can come to our home. We live in the middle of no where.

He stopped biting us after we gained trust, basically. He was really possessive and untrusting, I worked with him, gained his trust, and started rewarding him for not being possessive. We’ve made progress, I can touch any bone in his mouth or take it and he is fine. Major improvement here. Maybe it had nothing to do with me, but I’d like to believe it was. When he rescued him, we were warned he disliked women. Now I’m proud to say that I (a female) am his favorite person in the home.

I’m not sure what you want me to say about the dog park, they’d been friendly-ish toward our neighbor dogs from afar. I couldn’t socialize them in other way? It was my only option, we kept them on a leash until we knew they were calm and wouldn’t cause any problems and they did great.

The male dog that my dogs attacked was on our property, and had been known to be aggressive and get into fights. Mostly everyone just reacted like, “Oh, I figured the dogs would run into each other and scuffle.” or “They finally met the fighting dog, huh?” We weren’t outside when it happened, our dogs ran the male off our property and returned home. I couldn’t do anything after the fact. The male dogs owners didn’t say anything to us, we bring it up to them because we were worried for the dog but they didn’t care. They were used to him being bloody from fights.

We got my male and female lab at the same time, I didn’t want the male dog but my family did and now I love him to death. As for introducing them to a puppy, what was our option? Not socialize? We’d get hate for it just the same. They did great with the Pitbull puppy when it wasn’t at our home. They ran together and played. I think it was a good decision.

He wasn’t air snapping, he had gotten into a corner and the GP unfortunately tried to walk by. I assume him being pushed into a corner made him lash out, or something triggered him. I suppose I could’ve just let him keep on the GP but that didn’t seem like a good idea. There was a lot going on, pressure from my other family who doesn’t understand dogs to just force them to get along, pressure to just leave them alone and let what happens happen, etc. I didn’t have much choice as to what I did in the past, and reacted the only way I saw fit in that situation. Maybe I was wrong but at the moment, it’s all I knew to do.

My home town is known for dog fights. Two of my past neighbors abused their dogs. I cannot name you one person I know that has kept a dog from puppyhood to senior years aside from myself. They either die on the road, die of dehydration (often), die of freezing to death in the winter (also often) or just down right abuse. I am trying to stop all of it, but no one cares so I’m fighting for animal rights alone. The dog fights here are for fun, little money is involved. I’ve wanted to report it or go against them but the people involved could be dangerous to me. Plus, the police have been called in the past and nothing happens. As for the whole 2 out of 3, it’s just a guess, I’ll admit. There are some statistics proving that Pitbulls are normally put down immediately, without a chance to be adopted. My town doesn’t care enough to actually do studies on animal abuse, sadly. Just trust me, though, animal care here is at an absolute low. I understand the “shelter can do better than you” mentality, but all the shelters here are kill shelters and are just awful. One place was shut down multiple times because of their poor care, another was shut down multiple times because of poor care and some illegal activity. See my problem? It sounds like you think I’ve not looked into anything, but I have. I’ve talked to people who may want her but then I see they chain their dog to a tree and leave it outside in the sun all day or it has scars all over it and change my mind.

I said “would probably”? I obviously don’t know that she’d end up in a worse situation but I’d place my bets to she would. I don’t know what to say, I know this place. I know the people. I know the common animal abuse and neglect.

I think she’s trying to be dominant, but even if it is an awful attempt at play- it still is a problem for me because my dogs don’t like it.

I meant incidents not accidents, oops! The Pitbull puppy does ignore most growling, I understand why it escalates because she doesn’t understand warnings. I need help on trying to get them to get along. Do I try to teach the puppy to respect the growling? I still don’t know what to do.

Alright, any idea on how to change this? Are you telling me there is no hope? I refuse to believe that and will probably search elsewhere for answers. I won’t give up on them? They’re wonderful dogs, and don’t deserve abandonment or anything negative.

Which is fine. We don’t scold her for that because we also try to correct the puppy when she gets too hyper.

Glad she sees me as valuable! I don’t know how to get a behaviorist here, I can’t. If I could, I would. Thanks for your reply, tho, I’ll keep trying. I’m not one for giving up, but I’m not sure what to do moving forward. I’d hate for WW3 to break out in my living room so I’ll have to do something. A cousin just sold a lab puppy and later on found it ran over, so I don’t have much hope for selling or giving the Pitbull puppy away. Maybe I’m wrong and she’d go to a great home, but everyone who has shown interest ended up having a bad record. (I’d ask if anyone knew about them and it’d mostly be bad things.) So I want to keep her, plus I’ve grown attached, as has my mother and brother who now favor her over my two dogs. I’m in a rough position here. Anyways, thanks for your reply! If anything improves I’ll probably come on here to celebrate! I was hoping to find a magical answer here that fixed my problems but alas, maybe things will work out somehow. Again, thanks for your reply! I hope I answered some of your inquiries!
 

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I’m not sure what you want me to say about the dog park, they’d been friendly-ish toward our neighbor dogs from afar. I couldn’t socialize them in other way? It was my only option, we kept them on a leash until we knew they were calm and wouldn’t cause any problems and they did great.
I thought you said you didn't take them to the dog park, because there were none nearby? So did you, or didn't you?

Either way, socialising doesn't mean letting your dog(s) meet every other dog you and it sees. It's way more involved than that. You want to build up positive associations with people, places, animals, sights and sounds that the dog will be likely to encounter in day-to-day life. It means learning to read canine body language so that you know when to step in and when it's OK to let the dogs sort it out for themselves. It means being your dog's advocate, having his other backs and setting it up for success rather than failure.

As for introducing them to a puppy, what was our option? Not socialize?
Yes, actually. With the two dogs you have, their unstable temperaments, that was a valid, responsible option. Bad socialisation can be much worse for the puppy than no socialisation at all.

He wasn’t air snapping, he had gotten into a corner and the GP unfortunately tried to walk by.
So what did he do?

Being PTS is arguably better than languishing for years in kennels, waiting for a home, a family that never materialises.

Pitbull puppy does ignore most growling, I understand why it escalates because she doesn’t understand warnings. I need help on trying to get them to get along. Do I try to teach the puppy to respect the growling? I still don’t know what to do.
A puppy would understand a warning growl. She would have heard it and learned from the consequences of it from her mother and siblings in the litter. It could be that she's an adolescent and choosing to ignore it, or it could be that the growl is a play growl. Without being there, there's no way of knowing.

In the event that it's a warning growl, and pup chooses to ignore it, you step in and back up the dog trying to warn the pup. You remove the Pitbull pup from the situation. Play with her, take her for a walk, give her Time Out in another room with a stuffed Kong.

Without a behaviourist, you're going to have to study canine body language - really make sure you understand it! Start with the canine ladder of aggression. You're also going to have to accept the possibility that these dogs may never get along and may need to be separated constantly. And that's no way to live.

Canine ladder of aggression
 
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LMMB has it pretty much covered, I'm just going to add I'd keep the dogs separate except when under strict supervision. And by that, I mean walking them together on leash, but with some distance between them and closely observing their body language. At the distance where they are aware of each other but not displaying warning signs, reward, reward, reward generously. Your aim is to create a positive conditioned emotional response (Google +CER for the science).

Over several months work on narrowing the gap. Any sign of tension, widen it again. So the three people involved in walking the three dogs will all need to learn the signals. Do not rush this or you will make things worse, not better. And don't assume it will work - it might, but depending on how damaged their trust is, they may never be able to be alone unsupervised. And when you are not doing this activity, keep them apart.

I second the idea you should learn more about dog body language. I quite like this video.


And, just to pick up on something else - you said you can now take a bone from your male dog. Why, just why would you do that? Imagine you had a plate of ice cream and your brother came and took it - you would object. And reasonably so. If it kept happening but you were somehow stopped from objecting, you would learn to not even try, you would give up. But you wouldn't feel any happier about your ice cream being stolen. That's the risk you run with taking high value items from your male dog. One day he may decide he has had enough.
 

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I thought you said you didn't take them to the dog park, because there were none nearby? So did you, or didn't you?

Either way, socialising doesn't mean letting your dog(s) meet every other dog you and it sees. It's way more involved than that. You want to build up positive associations with people, places, animals, sights and sounds that the dog will be likely to encounter in day-to-day life. It means learning to read canine body language so that you know when to step in and when it's OK to let the dogs sort it out for themselves. It means being your dog's advocate, having his other backs and setting it up for success rather than failure.



Yes, actually. With the two dogs you have, their unstable temperaments, that was a valid, responsible option. Bad socialisation can be much worse for the puppy than no socialisation at all.



So what did he do?

Being PTS is arguably better than languishing for years in kennels, waiting for a home, a family that never materialises.



A puppy would understand a warning growl. She would have heard it and learned from the consequences of it from her mother and siblings in the litter. It could be that she's an adolescent and choosing to ignore it, or it could be that the growl is a play growl. Without being there, there's no way of knowing.

In the event that it's a warning growl, and pup chooses to ignore it, you step in and back up the dog trying to warn the pup. You remove the Pitbull pup from the situation. Play with her, take her for a walk, give her Time Out in another room with a stuffed Kong.

Without a behaviourist, you're going to have to study canine body language - really make sure you understand it! Start with the canine ladder of aggression. You're also going to have to accept the possibility that these dogs may never get along and may need to be separated constantly. And that's no way to live.

Canine ladder of aggression
I said in my first post we socialized them on vacation. I assumed people would know I meant to a dog park- my bad! Yes, we took them to a dog park on vacation.

I mean, good to know? Next time I just won’t socialize the dog, but I’m kinda past that now.

I’m not sure which dog you’re referring to here about being PTS. Sorry.

I’ll look into canine behavior, thanks for the suggestion. I bought a book on it! We’ll try your advice! If anything goes better, if you’d like to know, I’ll try to post here. So far it’s the same tenseness, nothing improving or getting worse. Still hopeful, tho!
 

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LMMB has it pretty much covered, I'm just going to add I'd keep the dogs separate except when under strict supervision. And by that, I mean walking them together on leash, but with some distance between them and closely observing their body language. At the distance where they are aware of each other but not displaying warning signs, reward, reward, reward generously. Your aim is to create a positive conditioned emotional response (Google +CER for the science).

Over several months work on narrowing the gap. Any sign of tension, widen it again. So the three people involved in walking the three dogs will all need to learn the signals. Do not rush this or you will make things worse, not better. And don't assume it will work - it might, but depending on how damaged their trust is, they may never be able to be alone unsupervised. And when you are not doing this activity, keep them apart.

I second the idea you should learn more about dog body language. I quite like this video.


And, just to pick up on something else - you said you can now take a bone from your male dog. Why, just why would you do that? Imagine you had a plate of ice cream and your brother came and took it - you would object. And reasonably so. If it kept happening but you were somehow stopped from objecting, you would learn to not even try, you would give up. But you wouldn't feel any happier about your ice cream being stolen. That's the risk you run with taking high value items from your male dog. One day he may decide he has had enough.
Thanks for the suggestion and video! I’ll be studying canine behavior now! I got a book on behavior so between online videos and book studies hopefully I’ll get it! :D

As for the whole bone thing, we don’t just randomly steal from him. I’m not a bad guy here. He’s gotten a hold of toys or bones that may cause choking, before he’d snap and growl, he was just possessive and nervous. If you moved your hand too fast he’d jump and snap. He’s learned that when I take something from him, it’s because I need to and he normally gets something in return. I don’t just randomly take his food or whatever he’s chewing on, only if it’s chipping or could be dangerous. I’m not perfect but I’m pretty happy with the results I got, I don’t think he’s just learned to accept things will be taken and he has to “put up” with it. He’s just learned he’ll get something better or that there’s a reason it’s taken away. He knows he can lounge around and chew on a bone all day without anyone bothering him normally. He’ll lay with me to eat or gnaw on a bone, he didn’t do that before. He just trusts me now.
 

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Good luck, and yes please do update us on progress.

If watching videos helps, I'm a big fan of Kikopup on YouTube. She has a lot of material, hopefully something will be helpful.
 

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I said in my first post we socialized them on vacation. I assumed people would know I meant to a dog park- my bad! Yes, we took them to a dog park on vacation.

I mean, good to know? Next time I just won’t socialize the dog, but I’m kinda past that now.

I’m not sure which dog you’re referring to here about being PTS. Sorry.

I’ll look into canine behavior, thanks for the suggestion. I bought a book on it! We’ll try your advice! If anything goes better, if you’d like to know, I’ll try to post here. So far it’s the same tenseness, nothing improving or getting worse. Still hopeful, tho!
PTS = PutTo Sleep/euthanized.

No, it wasn't clear that you were referring to socialising them while on vacation, but if I understand the timeline here, the pitbull pup arrived after that - and it was the puppy socialising with the other 2 that I was referring to. In any case, if you know your dogs are aggressive and take them to a dog park (while on vacation or not), you're asking for trouble.

I'm not saying don't socialise any future puppies - I'm saying socialise them with calm, stable dogs of even temperament with good social skills that can in turn teach them how to become calm, stable dogs with good social skills.
The outcome of socialising puppies with dogs of unstable temperament should be abundantly clear every time you look at your lab. :(

Please do keep us informed.
 
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Sorry it took a while to update, but everything is going good! They’re playing with toys together! I’ve watched a bunch of videos and I think it helped! Thank y’all! They’re licking each other’s ears which I think is a sign of affection! They fall asleep together! It’s really cute! Thanks for the advice! :) They still nip a little but everyone is learning each other boundaries!
 
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