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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,

Me again.... I’ve encountered some issues. I currently have Belka - a five month old (35lb) pitbull/lab mix who was taken early from his litter. I also have an aggressive 6 year old chihuahua (15lbs). At first Belka was very submissive to Charlie but now he’s started to fight back during scuffles. It’s no longer teaching Belka he bites too hard but a fight.

My brother in law visited and he used to do schutzhund training with German shepherds and said that with Bella’s behavior and Charlie’s aggression Charlie would likely end up dead once Belka got bigger.belka, during a fight, goes for Charlie’s neck and collar and just pulls as hard as he can.

Now I’m scared.

I’ve been keeping them separated the last few days (since my brother in laws visit) but I know this won’t curb aggression in either dog .... I need help. I don’t want Belka to kill his brother... I honestly don’t have any idea what to do. During aggression classes with Charlie he doesn’t act out so his trainer is confused and says he’s a good dog.

I just don’t know what to do for either dog....
 

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This does not sound at all like Charlie is aggressive. This sounds very much like he's issuing entirely appropriate correction to Belka - ie: Growling, snapping, and trying to make Belka knock it off when he's overly rough or he just doesn't want the big, dumb, puppy around/bothering him - and like Belka is maturing and no longer responding to that (appropriate!) correction by turning it into a fight.

The problem here, from the sound of what you've written, isn't Charlie.

I say this largely because 'he used to be submissive to Belka but now he's fighting back during scuffles' and how he isn't acting out in your class/your trainer's assessment. That just screams to me, that there is no real aggression from him, but that Belka is maturing and isn't going to 'accept' being corrected anymore. But it's not Charlie being aggressive. It's Charlie going 'WHOA NO" (this is normal, normal, normal dog communication, healthy and entirely appropriate) and Belka taking it really badly and upping the ante (THIS? Not uncommon but not so much normal/healthy).

This is all still bad/not good, but it is VERY important to be working on the right dog and I doubt Charlie's it. Get a behaviorist in to observe them if you can, to confirm and get advice. Meanwhile with that size difference? Absolutely separate.
 

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Can you provide more info - like what behaviors exactly make you call Charlie aggressive?

Keep them separated at all times, preferably by more than one barrier, and get a behaviorist in - regardless of what anyone here has to say about it. You need a professional when it comes to potentially life-threatening behavior issues between dogs. If you cannot afford a behaviorist, try reaching out to local rescue organizations to see if they can help out.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
By aggressive I mean possessive. Charlie is very possessive of things and has been since my sister had him as a puppy. He has also had major stomach issues and doesn’t like to be picked up or touched around that area. If Belka gets around Charlie’s stomach while playing or Belka tries to take something from Charlie and Charlie isn’t in a playing mood - he goes full on Kujo. He attacks and doesn’t stop. I actually have to pick Belka up and remove him completely. When in kujo mode Charlie attacks anything and everything: shoes feet hands brooms sticks even paper.

Charlie hasn’t broken skin on us but a few times, the most severe bite being when he got his foot stuck and nearly broken: I reached to his foot to tug it from where it was painfully lodged and while it didn’t break his foot it hurt him and he attacked whatever was in front of his mouth : my hand. While I don’t count this as aggression because it was rooted in pain and fear ....

Charlie also doesn’t like people in his space. He’s very selective on who he lets pet him and he tends to growl at most people.

Belkas current trainer is a behaviorist and we were originally enrolled in her classes with Charlie. But I had to postpone Charlie’s classes as taking Belka to his classes and Charlie to his classes meant getting off work twice every week and the boss was getting angry. The trainer is also booked up until February and everywhere else in town is too (assuming a large influx of puppy classes because of the season).
 

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Any dog who has resource guarding issues, especially if they don't stop even if the other dog backs up and especially if they have handling sensitivities on top of it all and they've broken skin on people...

Should be separated from other dogs when unsupervised, and should only interact with other dogs when guardable resources aren't present. (Unless you are deliberately doing desensitization/counter conditioning and have a safe setup).

It also sounds like Belka is being inappropriate which is normal for adolescent dogs. She can learn unwanted behaviors or escalate if these altercations keep happening. If I had Charlie and Belka, the two would not just 'mingle' unsupervised. Ever. For the rest of their lives. It is possible that Belka could seriously injure or kill Charlie in these altercations, especially if they continue. Those kinds of events usually happen out of defensive behaviors or play behaviors and over-arousal, or prey drive. Any time there is a huge size difference among dogs, and any behavior issues in either dog, you are playing with larger risks.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Oh no no Charlie and Belka are never alone together ever. They even have different walk times outside. When we brought Belka home I was afraid Charlie would hurt him and now it’s the opposite.

Right now they are completely separate 90% of the time. There is mingling after Belka goes for his walk when he’s tired.

I have noticed that Belka became very unruly while my brother in law was here. There was a lot of fighting and jumping (which we’ve never had a problem with as Belka just didn’t do it) and biting. We had nearly broken Belka of mouthing people by separating/ignoring him. But my brother in law let him mouth on him because “that’s just a puppy”. I will say also the my brother in law has some... aggressive methods with dogs. Ie: charlie growled when my sister touched his belly and so my brother in law literally smacked him across the room. He said that I need to be Charlie’s “alpha”.... I’m not too comfortable with that idea though....
 

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... so my brother in law literally smacked him across the room. He said that I need to be Charlie’s “alpha”.... I’m not too comfortable with that idea though....
It's unfortunate that this happened. And I hope that you would stand up for your dogs so that this abuse doesn't happen again. If I have a friend or relative who won't behave around my dogs, they either don't come or my dogs are in a separate space when they arrive.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Charlie was separated from him right after and was no longer around him. To be honest I never expected it to happen as it was out of the blue. He had been to our house twice before (a week each) and had never once raised his hand to Charlie. He expressed his dislike but largely just ignored him. When he smacked Charlie we all were just stunned.

My sister and brother in law visit once a year as they live across the US from us and I honestly never in a million years thought anyone especially my brother in law, would hit my dog.

After they left I did express my anger to my sister about it and told them next time they visit it would be best if they got a hotel rather than stay at the house. I honestly have never ever been in a situation like that before....
 
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