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Discussion Starter #1
I had a very disturbing revelation recently when I found out someone was camping out underneath my house in the crawlspace for several weeks. I'd really rather not go into details about that, but since then, my two dogs (a mini dachshund and a pitbull) have shown agression towards each other, mostly when other people are at the house.

The mini dachshund is a rescue from an abusive background and was nervous when I first got her but has since gotten better. The pitbull, I found a couple months ago and decided to keep when I couldn't find his owners. He's a very good dog, not typically agressive towards people or other dogs. I noticed the dachshund had started to get nervous and shaking very badly a couple weeks ago after she had been outside. Now she is back to being a nervous wreck, particularly when I have people over (mostly tall men like my brother or my dad). The pitbull has started favoring his back leg and panics if my brother or my dad chase him when they're playing. He also doesn't like to be in the backyard by himself anymore. The dachshund is a little protective of her toys and rawhides and will growl/snap at the pitbull if he gets too close. If no one's at the house (besides me), she leaves it at that and the pitbull will just walk away calmly. If anyone is over, she attacks him and he'll bite back. It's a particular problem because the dachshund is almost toy size and the pitbull is a pitbull and could kill her if he wanted to. Luckily, it hasn't escalated to full on fight and they listen when I tell them to stop. I just don't want it to get to a point that I can't handle it on my own.

I'm nervous to leave them alone together anymore and I feel terrible that they had to go through such an ordeal for so long without my knowing. Before all this, they got along fine; the dachshund would even play with the pitbull. Any advice on how I can get them to get along again?

Also: I can't afford a professional trainer. They are both well trained, obedient dogs; they're just a little traumatized.
 

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You should never leave a larger dog with a smaller dog alone. Always supervise! If you cannot supervise, keep them away from each other.

It sounds like you need to start building their confidence around other people again.

No more chasing/rough housing, and maybe start getting other people to give them treats, but not approaching them quickly, etc. Work on training out in the backyard with your dogs as well... but I would not leave a dog unsupervised out in the yard, ever. Also, do not leave toys lying around if your doxie guards it. Only give it to her when you are supervising. Take it away when strangers are over so that it prevents possible fights from starting.

I am sure more people will give you better advice, but this is all I can think of off the top of my head right now.
 

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So this behavior started while the person was under you house before you knew about it? The dogs knew and you didn't? Trying to understand the relationship with the Squatter and the dogs misbehaving. Sounds like they need to be separated when left alone. The little dog could be seriously hurt.
 

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Agree with above advice, you can look up "predatory drift," esp. important if there's more than a 15-20 lb. difference in their sizes. They may get along fine for years, and one day the bigger dog gets amped up by something - chasing cats or whatever like that, the little one happens to run by, and BAM - it can be over in a second. And they can't help it, it's instinct.

You can also look up "resource guarding," here's a good website:
http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/virtual-pet-behaviorist/dog-behavior/food-guarding

Tough situation, good luck and best wishes!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks everyone for the advice!

Taquitos - I didn't think about picking up their toys. I will definitely do that. She has no food agression or anything, just her toys and rawhides. Also, they are free to come and go from the house (most houses in my neighborhood have pet doors since the houses are quite small and the yards are fairly big), since the pitbull tends to tear things up inside the house. He's more unmanageable when cooped up inside the house. The dachshund tends to stay inside by choice, though, so mostly during the day, they are separated. Thanks again for the tips!

Jen - I started noticing the dachshund getting more and more nervous after she would be outside, including when I was with her. I knew something was up, but I just thought it was raccoons or cats (I'd heard noises and she would sniff and bark at the crawlspace vents outside) because your automatic thought typically isn't 'there must be someone under the house' lol. They are free to come and go from the house, but if someone were to unexpectedly show up in the backyard, both dogs would probably go check it out. Also, the pitbull has an appointment this weekend for getting his second round of shots so I'll have them check out his leg as well.

Goodgirl - He's not showing signs of any kind of prey drive right now, but I do keep an eye out for it. His aggression is in response to the dachshund's which fits the description of resource guarding in the article (thanks for the link). I'll work with her on that.
 
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