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We have 3 dogs in our house. 2 boys and a girl. They are all rescues. 5 days ago we rescued a stray off the street around our house. She is a young, high energy retriever mix. She is a super sweet dog and very good with our kids, but won't stop fighting and displaying aggression towards 2 of our dogs. She doesn't mind our little dog, but only seems threatened by our 2 that are the same size as her. We definitely introduced them the wrong way, but would love to be able to get them to co exist. No one has come forward to claim her or try to adopt her and I really don't want to take her to the shelter.
She is fighting specifically with our female pitiful mix Leia. Leia has been the alpha dog in our household, but she is now behaving fearfully of the new dog, Gracie. They have both drawn blood, but nothing too serious. We have put Gracie in a crate in the living room, where they can all see one another and for the most part they ignore each other. Our lab mix Jedi is a barker however and that seems to get them all going. We have had the two girls on leashes outside together and they do ok and then all of a sudden go for one another.
My biggest concern is that tomorrow for the first time in years, I am going back to work and my kids will be at school. The dogs will be in the house alone for several hours. I will put Gracie in her crate, but my kids get home before I do and I don't want there to be fighting without me there to control it. We are also going on a cruise in 2 weeks. We had already arranged for a pet sitter to come by the house 3 times a day, but don't want Gracie to have to be crated the whole time.
Any advice on how to get them to be able to co exist would be awesome. I know we messed up the start, but am hoping we can get it fixed.
Thank you!
 

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Hi Angie,

I didn't reply earlier to your thread because I don't have any real experience managing a multi-dog household, but I was wondering how your day went.

I would like to suggest that you keep the new dog completely separate from your existing dogs, definitely on the other side of a door. I'd also like to suggest that you make arrangements with a rescue group or a shelter to foster the dog or better yet to find another foster home until its owner has been found or an adoption has been arranged. Honestly speaking, I think you probably have too much on your plate right now with three dogs, kids, a new job, and an upcoming trip to consider keeping this dog permanently.

Please check out this thread:

http://www.dogforum.com/general-dog-discussion/lost-found-i-found-stray-lost-134482/
 

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Sounds like a stressful environment for everyone. Females are known to be pretty intolerant of other females (not all dogs, but it is not uncommon). I would keep all of them separate from the new dog right now. It may be too much too soon for all dogs. If you can gate Gracie off in a separate room, but where she can still see everyone and not be too secluded would be your best bet right now. Give her time to get to know the new environment, smells, dogs, people, routine, etc.

I don't really want to say this, but it may come down to having to find Gracie a home or rescue to help out. If blood has been drawn I would be afraid of things escalating to the point of no return.
 

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I have been doing rescue work for over 10 years and I can see some problems here. I believe that the dogs are trying to establish pack order. Every time you bring in a new dog the order changes. They have to figure out where their place is in the pack. Obviously the new dog Gracie is challenging Leia for the top spot and Leia is having none of it, hence the fighting.
It sounds like you don't have control of your three if the male is barking and starting the frey. Basic obedience helps establish you as the leader of the pack. Redirection also works with all dogs if it is done in a timely fashion too. But the most important thing for you to do is to establish that ALL things in the house belong to you! That includes their toys, their food, their water and their bodies. About two years ago I had nineteen dogs in my home, three were mine and the rest were fosters. We had about two days of dustups and then all was peaceful because I stepped in between the dogs and let them know that I wouldn't tollerate any fighting. I use only my voice and possibly a spray water bottle, no other methods. If they are already engaged in a fight I grab the first tail or back leg I can reach and pull them apart then step between them and scold both of them. I stand between them until the dogs are no longer in the red zone then I praise them and step away. It works but you have to pay attention to the dog's body language. They will tell you a lot about how they are approaching another dog.
 

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OP, I haven't had a lot of experience with fighting in a multi-dog household, most of what happens in our house is a minor spat, nothing that even comes close to physical confrontation. I have found some web resources that focus on non-aversive methods, which I hope will help. As well, there are some very knowledgeable people on this board.
Multi-Dog Household Aggression - Whole Dog Journal Article
Managing a Multi-Dog Household - How to Keep the Peace! - Whole Dog Journal Article
http://www.whole-dog-journal.com/newspics/pdfs/5-7-Steps.pdf
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/canine-corner/201404/aggression-between-dogs-in-the-same-household (This one suggests a 'top-dog' approach, but the reason it works isn't what you think).

You may also want to brush up on dog-body language, since dogs give many clues about their mood/feelings before acting on them. If you can spot when trouble is brewing, you can redirect or distract before anything happens ..
https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/virtual-pet-behaviorist/dog-behavior/canine-body-language
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8bg_gGguwzg
Learn about dog body language

Whatever method you choose will probably take several weeks to show results. It may be worthwhile having the 'new' dog stay elsewhere while you are on your cruise, though that may result in having to start from scratch on your return.

Anyway, good luck and I hope you'll keep us updated.
 

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I believe that the dogs are trying to establish pack order. Every time you bring in a new dog the order changes. They have to figure out where their place is in the pack. Obviously the new dog Gracie is challenging Leia for the top spot and Leia is having none of it, hence the fighting.
Pack theory/dominance/alpha etc., has been pretty much disproven through studies of dogs' social behavior, including wild dogs and feral populations. Left to their own devices, dogs tend be loners, or to form small groups, which change often. There is no stable pack order, because there is essentially no pack. Conflicts that arise over resources are won by the most aggressive dog in that moment, but says nothing about what may happen tomorrow or next week. Dogs tend to follow the friendliest dog, not the most "dominant". Socially, dogs are much less like wolves than most people realize; if you are doing any kind of training or management based on what happens in a wolf pack, there's a good chance you are on the wrong track. Sorry to be blunt, but sadly, the longer people think of dogs as 'tame wolves', the more disservice we're doing to dogs who are amazing in their own right.

http://www.dogforum.com/training-behavior-stickies/dominance-dogs-4076/
https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/virtual-pet-behaviorist/dog-behavior/your-dog-dominant
Who Needs an Alpha? Dogs Follow the Friendly | Pet Behavior
Are Dogs Pack Animals? |
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33mLzcOU5wM&feature=youtu.be

Redirection also works with all dogs if it is done in a timely fashion too.
Good advice.

I use only my voice and possibly a spray water bottle, no other methods.
Advising the use of aversives, including water bottles, is specifically against forum rules.
http://www.dogforum.com/dog-training-behavior/forum-rules-guidelines-training-behavior-please-4330/
 
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