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Discussion Starter #1
I need help. My dogs, age 1.5 and 4 years, had a huge fight yesterday. It started over food and escalated to a very, very scary level. I was able to separate them and they have been kept separated since yesterday.

My husband is out of town, so it is just me here and I am very worried about letting them be in the same place. I tried once yesterday and the 1.5 year old attacked the 4 year old.

It started because the four year old has started to bully the younger one to let her have some of the 1.5 year old's food. I tried to stop it yesterday and that was when the the younger one went after the older one.

Anyway, what should I do? Keep them separate until my husband gets back on Wednesday? Both are acting kind of depressed about being separated, but I don't want to break up another fight. It was not fun.
 

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I'm not sure in what order your story goes.

1) The dogs were eating
2) Older Dog tried to eat from Younger Dog's meal
3) Younger Dog defended meal
4) Dogs were separated
5) Dogs were reintroduced and Younger Dog went after Older Dog again?

I guess it's step 5 that I'm not understanding. Have the dogs been back in each other's presence since the fight?

I would tend to say it was the food that caused the problem, so if the food isn't in the picture, they'll likely be fine. Make sure you remove all food, food bowls, treats, etc from the area before letting the dogs be together. In the future, feed them separately. It would be nice to be able to feed them in the same area and you might work on that, but honestly...wouldn't you prefer to eat without someone else hovering around, threatening to steal your food? Dogs, too. Just keep them separate during meals so that they can relax.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Yeah, sorry for any confusion, but that's it. Absolutely will feed them separately. We used to, but then they seemed to be OK and now, apparently not.

Anything I can do to make the reintroduction go well? They have been separated since. We have a loft space that can be totally cut off from the downstairs and I spend time with both dogs in each place. To take them outside I put one in the bathroom and take the other out, then switch places. This is such a pain!
 

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I have 4 dogs .... 2 miniature poodles, and 2 schnauzers...their ages ranged from 2 to 8 yrs. old.....

They all get along fine EXCEPT when there is food or treats (even dog bones) involved. Then there is the potential for trouble....

They are all crate trained, and have always been fed in their crates....when done, they are let out....usually a potty break too.

Most people will feed separately because of this problem.

I would allow them out together ....never any food or treat or bones or toys around.....and supervise....supervise...supervise!

Give them time to forget and forgive....but I would be watching them inter act for a long time and never leave them alone together....
 

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I would give them several days to cool off before re-introducing them. Let all of the hormones fade away. Let them relax. I would introduce them on a leashed walk. I would do several walks. If they go well and you have them together in the home, I would have them drag 4 foot lines for a while.

Biggest thing: don't be in a hurry. You can create enemies.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks. I am afraid of them fighting again, so they are still separated. I will probably wait until my husband gets back in town to reintroduce them. Then again I may lose it before then. This fight was really bad. I am bruised from trying to separate them in the middle of the fight (no broken skin). They are both spayed females, if that matters.
 

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I second the reintro by going on a walk. Get yourself ready and then clip on the lead on dog one. Leave her at the door. Get dog two and then walk out the door immediately. If there is any growling be firm and hold them apart on a short lead until you are out where distractions will kick in.

By the time you get home you should have happy dogs again. Feed them in seperate rooms, pick up all bowls when finished eating.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Oh, thank you for that tip. Seriously. Will give it a go tomorrow. Now they are sleeping and I should be able to keep them apart through the night. One sleeps with me, the other in the loft space, closed off but with space and easily accessible.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
A big thank you for the reassurances. The dogs are in the same room with me now. They are mostly avoiding each other but they are being very calm about it all. It was a rough couple of days but I think we'll be OK.

And yes, they will be fed separately from now on. I don't want any more fights.
 

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The problem is that you "separated" them. I'm guessing that means you physically removed one of the dog and you might of been shouting.

Try to feed them together again and use a treat to lure the other dog away, make them wait for the younger one to finish then reward the older one.
 

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The problem is that you "separated" them. I'm guessing that means you physically removed one of the dog and you might of been shouting.

Try to feed them together again and use a treat to lure the other dog away, make them wait for the younger one to finish then reward the older one.
Bad advice there. If the issues stem from eating in the same area it's a simple solution of NOT having them eat in the same area. There is no reason to try and force dogs to eat near each other if they aren't comfortable with it.
 

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What are the sexes of the dogs?
Have they been together a long time.
Altered?
That's about the ages our Shar-pei 1.5, got as a puppy, and our Collie 4-5 years old started to spar.
Sometimes it sounded like a death match.
Definitely don't feed them together for a while.


Your youngster sounds like it's done being a puppy.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Definitely not feeding them together.
Both females, both spayed. Together since April 2011, the older one we've had since she was a puppy and is a springer mix, the younger we rescued and the breed is unknown. They are about the same size ~40 lbs.

Today was mostly good. They are avoiding each other but they both want to be near me. It is kind of cute. We all took a very long walk. Well, it was a walk, a meeting, then we went to a restaurant where I had a meeting with two other people and one baby, then we all walked home together. It went very, very well and took about three hours. (ahhh, the laid-back, dog-friendly Oregon lifestyle where dogs can be with you on business meetings and no one bats an eye)

Tomorrow my husband is back from his conference on the East Coast, so that should help, I think. Thanks again for the help.
 

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The problem is that you "separated" them. I'm guessing that means you physically removed one of the dog and you might of been shouting.

Try to feed them together again and use a treat to lure the other dog away, make them wait for the younger one to finish then reward the older one.
Yeah, this is NOT good advice and I would not suggest ANY ONE follow it for resource guarding- especially not after an incident has escalated into a fight. We don't make dogs do any thing that can cause a fight. We're not trying to force them into an uncomfortable situation that causes a fight- we're trying to prevent the situations that causes fights in the first place. Also I don't know if you're suggesting separating the fight was a bad idea or not, and if so uh.. DO NOT let dogs fight it out over food. I would have dead dogs on my hands if that was the case.

OP, I'm sure they can be together just fine, but food has to be out of the equation. Pick up Mine! by Jean Donaldson. I have two resource guarders that got into one very serious fight over a recently cooked in kitchen (Someone thought someone MUST have had something) that we had to physically separate and the fight itself resulted in injury (split ear, gum and facial abrasions). They were separated for a short cooling off period and reunited without issue outside later.
 

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The problem is that you "separated" them. I'm guessing that means you physically removed one of the dog and you might of been shouting.

Try to feed them together again and use a treat to lure the other dog away, make them wait for the younger one to finish then reward the older one.
I wouldn't recommend anyone do this without a professional present and before allowing a professional to do this, I would make sure they have taken all safety precautions and are ready to stop any sort of fight, which will undoubtedly happen.
However, I don't see what using a treat and luring one away will accomplish, it seems like it's just a way of removing the other dog, which is the same as separating them, it doesn't teach them anything, the dog isn't connecting the dots that he wants me to wait for the other dog to finish, he's just thinking, my owner wants me to wait and then he gave me the treat for some reason.
 
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