Dog Forum banner

1 - 9 of 9 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
59 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Today was a pretty regular day for my pups. (both 2 year old mixed breeds) They went out back to potty, came back in when called and got a little treat like usual when they listen. about 10 min later, all of a sudden Roxy lost her mind and went after Rico. She grabbed him by the ear and would not let go. We yelled at her to stop and when she didn't we tried to separate them. :(

She had a death grip on Rico's ear and he was screaming so badly. He never tried to fight back or defend himself, and DH tried grabbing her jaw to get her to let go and she still wouldn't. He ended up having to toss her to the ground while I grabbed Rico and pulled him out of her reach. DH took her and put her in the bathroom while I looked over Rico, then after about 10 min she went to timeout in our older dog Ginger's pen area, where she's been sleeping for the last hour. His ear is fine, it was only slightly bloody. I can tell it's sore from how he's reluctant to let me look at it, but I was actually surpised the damage was so minimal.

Yesterday, when they were sleeping and she was literally hugging him, I actually made a comment about how nice it is that they love each other as much as they do. Then today she loses her mind and attacks him.

This is the second time she's done this, and the first time was when she was on prednisone so we thought it was related to that based on other attitude issues she was having while on it that went away when stopped. She doesn't have any visible medical issues, isn't in pain, and was her normal happy self up until the moment she snapped. i know we've all been a bit stressed with a 5,000 mile move coming up, but I'm not sure if that's what caused it. The only other thing I can think of is that maybe one of them snuck something inside and the other went after it, and it escalated from there.

I'm sure we didn't handle breaking up the fight as well as we could have. Any tips for if it happens again, especially if it happens when I'm home alone, and how to handle this and hopefully prevent it from happening again? We're taking them both to training classes after the move, since we never found ones here in English that were positive, and I'm taking Rico for agility classes after so he can build his confidence.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
202 Posts
Have they always lived together? You say you aren't sure if one brought something in from outside. Have either ever guarded food/garbage/whatever they could have picked up from outside before?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
59 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
We rescued Roxy 2 years ago this week, when she was around 5 weeks old. Rico was rescued 3 months later when he was around 7-8 weeks old. Roxy does have some resource guarding issues with stuffed toys, which they don't get because Rico destroys them in seconds. roxy has brought in 2 baby mice over the past few weeks, and she does seem to RG them.

Now that I'm thinking calmer, the fight was on top of their downstairs bed, which for the first time ever they pretty much destroyed yesterday. We've left them home alone plenty of times and there's never been an issue, but for some reason, yesterday they opened up the zipper and chewed tons of foam all up and left it all over the downstairs area. The bed needs to get them through the next 3 months, so we just zipped it back up and secured it after cleaning the mess. Maybe it has something to do with RG the bed.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
6,595 Posts
I would guess RGing the bed but again its hard to tell without any other context. I'd keep them separated when you're gone for the next while. It'll help de-stress them both, regardless of the why or how.

<Insert general rant about finding a behaviourist/trainer here> I found it gave me the confidence to handle thing a bit better, and YOU still have to do the work, but they can put you on the right track and show you some techniques to break up the dogs in person which is valuable. I'm sure you've heard this already but they are worth the money to prevent situations like this from escalating. With your move coming up, I'd separate fully for a few months until they're both settled individually and then go ask for a behaviourist's help at the new place. I wouldn't do it any sooner than a few weeks into the new place-you want them feeling comfortable in the new home first.

You might like to read Fight! by Jean Donaldson-it has a chapter on dog-dog resource guarding. The whole book is done really well, too, so you may find it useful in general. Mine! is on human resource guarding, and you might find it useful if a bit out of context to be creative with.

Good luck! Fights can be scary but it sounds like it was mostly for show and your dogs aren't trying to kill each other (the bite would've been a lot worse, and bites to ears tend to heal relatively quickly).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
254 Posts
I second the training...but with the move are they getting enough excercize?

It looks like you're in puerto rico so you'd not dealing with the -15F/-38 w/windchill that the northeast is looking at. Board dogs are bad dogs, and much like humans, without enough stimulation they will turn on each other.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
59 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the advice. I'm definitely contacting a behavorist once everything settles down a bit after the move. I'd already been planning on it for Rico to help him overcome his franticness, but they can both use the help. I'll definitely read that book, too. Their exercise level has been about the same as usual, so who knows. For Roxy's part today, she's been seemingly super apologetic to Rico. She walked around with her head down all morning, and went over and sniffed his ear and licked his nose. Ri then licked her back. We're keeping them calm today with no crazy play sessions to help things smooth over.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Kwenami

·
Registered
Joined
·
442 Posts
Dogs can find all nature of things of tussle over that we never even consider, leading us to believe the fight came out of nowhere. Also, once a dog has been victimized by another dog, they tend to be wary of them in some situations, and that behavior in turn makes them an easier target for future assaults.

As an example, my two APBTs were both female, and both had a history of at least some dog aggression- the older dog was fine with our household dogs, but very reactive/aggressive to strange dogs outside; the younger dog was totally non-reactive, but would pick fights with dogs even inside her household. It took about a year of walks together and interaction through gates before they were really allowed near each other, and even then, it was only under close supervision and in limited situations. They had a couple minor scuffles, in which the older dog never fought back (the first time she did intially, but when I yelled, she stopped), and neither was ever injured because someone was right there to break them up. My younger dog at one point learned that the hallway was a good spot to catch other animals unaware (our cat as well as my older dog), and after being snagged once while passing through, my older dog would not walk by the younger dog in a confined space without someone right there to "police"... usually, I'd shoo the younger dog out of the hallway and into a bed out of the way anyway, as I'd figured her game out. There was nothing in the hallway to guard other than air, but it was obviously a contentious area, so I had to make sure to eliminate the option of fighting over it. Another tussle was over a twig while out on our deck, and also my younger dog would try to redirect on my older dog when made to get down from furniture or move if she didn't want to- she was a mega brat who would start a fight for any or no reason just because she liked to brawl. As my older dog became older and frail, we moved again to keeping them completely separate, other than if both were on the couch with someone between them.

A behaviorist would probably be a great outside eye to help you figure out what your dogs' triggers are, and it wouldn't be a bad idea to contact one even before the move.

The thing to remember is that the more they are "allowed" to get into fights, the more quickly they will learn to escalate things and the better they will get at injuring each other. For that reason, since you don't yet know what caused the fight, I would exercise great care and only let them together when you can directly supervise and "read" them. This way you can see any tension before it gets to the point of no return, and not only prevent a fight, but file it away to prevent further problems. You might want to leash your girl to you for a while so she can't get into trouble, or get a baby gate (or a few!) to set up some cool down areas for when you can't directly supervise or things look to be getting a little hairy.

If you feel like you might not be able to separate them yourself if they were to fight, then it is all the more important to prevent fights when you are alone with them, whether you do that by leashing them, watching them like a hawk, or separating them with gates. There are numerous ways to break up fights, and it's easier to do it alone if one is not fighting back/ready trying to get away, but being bitten is always a possibility to keep in mind (I was lucky in that my brawler dog had the breed typical lack of redirection in a fight, and was fairly easy/safe to wrangle by her collar, but grabbing a fighting dog is a common way to get bitten). If they get into a fight, remember that most (not all) of the time, grievous injuries aren't going to happen in the first couple seconds, so if you need a second to figure out how to break them up, it may save time in the long run over rushing in in a panic. Also, if one dog has the other in a solid grip, pulling them apart is less than ideal, as more tissue damage will occur vs them letting go, but obviously, you have to do what you have to do in a pinch. Ideally, by taking proper preventative measures, you won't have to break up fights, and they can continue to be friends.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
189 Posts
Hopefully it doesn't happen again, but in the scenario your dogs do scuffle again and you can't separate them easily - lift Roxy's hind legs. It catches the dog off balance and they eventually release their hold on the other dog. If they still don't release, lift the hind legs even higher. Something I learned when working at a rescue.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
I had same issue

I have an abandoned Pit Bull (2 yrs) that I rescued at the Mexico / New Mexico border as a really small pup. She gets aggressive like yours when there is a lot of excitement in the house. Its their nature (Pitts). Once she hurt one of the other three, and I'm sure she would have killed him had I not been there. I tried to get her a home, but Pitts are hard to place and no rescue would take her. I had to kick the poop out of her to let go of him. That was about a year ago and she has improved, but still flips now and then. I'm glad I kept her, but if she attacked a person like that, she would have been gone.
 
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
Top