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I posted a question yesterday (or the day before) about my two small female dogs fighting.

Well, this morning a light bulb went off and we figured something out.
We had no idea but Piper (a pug/rat terrier mix) tries to hump Bandit and that is what causing all the issues.

I know 'humping' is a sign of dominance. At times there is no warning that it is going to happen.

I need to change this behaviour NOW! and I need your help.

Piper also humps our new dog but he doesn't have a problem with it and he is bigger so when it bothers him he just stands up and walks away.

My questions: Does Piper think she is a higher rank than the other dogs?
How do I show her she isn't? If anything I would rather the smaller dog be of higher rank, is this something I can decide or should I just allow Piper to be higher? If I did allow her to be of higher status would this stop of the fights? I'm worried it would encourage her to do what she is doing.


I'm going to contact a behaviourist but what can I do in the mean time?
 

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You could keep piper on a leash at all times in the house (when you are watching her), that way you have an easy way to get ahold of her and stop the humping when it starts. You can redirect her to another more appropriate behavior, like chewing a stuffed kong or something. When she starts humping the other dog, remove her from the situation, have her do some commands and then give her a stuffed kong to work on. Another option would be to use isolation, the second she starts humping the other dog tell her no and calmly put her in her crate or in a closed room. No yelling or anger, do it all calmly. She will probably figure out that humping the other dog results in herself being all alone.
 

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Unless you have intact dogs in the house that are in season, humping is not necessarily a sign of dominance. It is often just a displacement behavior, that, as you've noticed, irritates some dogs more than others.

Therefore, I would not bother wondering what the dog is thinking, it is not even a question in your home or of any use. There are only good behaviors and bad, and you define what good and bad is. You'll reward good behavior and punish bad behavior, irregardless of what the dog is thinking.

There are two schools of thought here, interfere, or let what naturally will happen, happen. No one can say for you which is preferred, this choice is personal, and likely will be dependent on what you care to tolerate. My recommendation would be to catch and reward good behavior and ignore bad behaviors (if you can). Otherwise, I would try interrupting the dogs by making a noise and walking between them (if you can), and rendezvous at the fridge. Any dog that follows you gets a tid-bit out of the fridge for a sit. Any dog that doesn't, or shows no interest, gets nothing. Repeat.

If that doesn't work, isolating the dog for a few minutes would be my next course of action. Of course none of this will be helpful if your dog's needs are not being met as well. So determine is you've been slacking off in giving your dogs plenty of mental, physical, and social interaction.

I don't think you need to call a behaviorist for this unless the fighting escalates into uncomfortable territory. But any good certified trainer should have a few ideas of their own on how to approach it.
 

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Just be careful. You can ignore undesirable behaviors, and reward desirable behaviors, but the last time I ignored my girls (a Toy Poodle and a Toy Poodle x Miniature Dachshund mix), I got to pay for a $160. emergency vet visit for the Toy Poodle. She ended up with a gash on the back of her neck that required seven staples to close up. I had been standing right next to them playing with the other dogs; one second they were fine, the next the younger mix approached and tried to hump the other, the older Toy Poodle on the bottom growled and BAM! she got bit. They had gotten into it before, but without bloodshed. This time the mix's teeth just ripped the Toy Poodle's skin like paper in the seconds it took for me to whip around and break them up. The vet said there were no puncture wounds, and coupled with what we know about the dogs, we don't think it was meant to be a vicious attack. Now I'm back to keeping them separated unless I can supervise and redirect them BEFORE there's a problem.
 

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By chance did you post on Yahoo! answers too?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Everyone in the house is fixed.
My trainer is also a behaviourist so either way I'm sure she'll tell me what is going on.

Twice now I've kept Piper on a leash attached to me when she has showed some 'bullying' behaviour. It has only been twice, but she has shown a lot of improvement. She is responding more to my commands when she gets into the other state of mind. I read the thread on NILIF and have been doing that with her. I'm sure we will have our ups and downs but I think we are on the right track to get things sorted out.


Thank you all for your help!

P.s. Yes I did post on yahoo - but I used different names (I am a teacher and know some of my students use yahoo).
 

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That's a frustrating problem, and I don't know the answer either-- I have two labradors, a male and female, and the male is fixed. He humps her a lot and although I break it up whenever I catch them at it, I don't know of a good way to train this behavior out of them. It seems like something that would be very hard to fix completely.
 

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I'm running into this behavior as well at my place. Not the humping, but the dominance. Honestly, I'm not sure I'm equipped to deal with it. I got a second dog yesterday and he's a 10 year old who's used to no human interaction and he was allowed to do what he wanted whenever he wanted. So far he's tried to steal food from my cocker spaniel (who's half his size), tried to steal food from a food dispensing toy (my fault I should've learned from the first incident), tried to steal toys from the Spaniel (even though he had his own) and flat out walked right into the cocker's crate even though he (the cocker) was growling at him at the time. Needless to say this didn't end well. I can't chaperone my dogs 24/7, but I can't very well keep the problem child crated 24/7 either. I'm very tempted to return him to the rescue at this point.
 

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I'm running into this behavior as well at my place. Not the humping, but the dominance. Honestly, I'm not sure I'm equipped to deal with it. I got a second dog yesterday and he's a 10 year old who's used to no human interaction and he was allowed to do what he wanted whenever he wanted. So far he's tried to steal food from my cocker spaniel (who's half his size), tried to steal food from a food dispensing toy (my fault I should've learned from the first incident), tried to steal toys from the Spaniel (even though he had his own) and flat out walked right into the cocker's crate even though he (the cocker) was growling at him at the time. Needless to say this didn't end well. I can't chaperone my dogs 24/7, but I can't very well keep the problem child crated 24/7 either. I'm very tempted to return him to the rescue at this point.
what your dog is doing is not dominance. he was just never tought to know any better. YOU need to show him whats right and wrong. show him what you want, reward the good things he does. one day and you want to return him already? you havnt given him a chance!!!:mad:
 

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Yeah. I'm a bad dog owner. :( I'm spoiled by my other dog who behaves like he's supposed to from the time I got him pretty much.
 

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I'm running into this behavior as well at my place. Not the humping, but the dominance. Honestly, I'm not sure I'm equipped to deal with it. I got a second dog yesterday and he's a 10 year old who's used to no human interaction and he was allowed to do what he wanted whenever he wanted. So far he's tried to steal food from my cocker spaniel (who's half his size), tried to steal food from a food dispensing toy (my fault I should've learned from the first incident), tried to steal toys from the Spaniel (even though he had his own) and flat out walked right into the cocker's crate even though he (the cocker) was growling at him at the time. Needless to say this didn't end well. I can't chaperone my dogs 24/7, but I can't very well keep the problem child crated 24/7 either. I'm very tempted to return him to the rescue at this point.
why cant you keep an eye on your dogs 24/7?
 

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*Hulkamaniac*
I would have to agree with the other posts in that the older dog doesn't know any better.
From my understanding of the stuation I would leave a leash on when you they are together and you are supervising them. When the 10yr old goes to steal a toy/food I would make a noise you want him to associate with a negative consequence. The consequence? Calmly taking him by the leash and bringing him back to his toys or give him something you WANT him to do. Okay not so much a consequence as redirection but if you are consistent with the noise your dog will associate it with something he shouldn't do and stop before he gets removed.

Also I would not leave them together when you are gone but seperate them in the house till they understand their places in the pack more. Your going to have the quickest results if you can monitor ALL their behavior when together. Leaving them alone together for long periods of time is going to enforce the behaviors you don't want inforced.

And keep in mind it takes TIME! Believe me I know! I adopted a 62lb 2yr old Australian Shepherd and that's what I keep telling myself--it takes time, and training, LOTS of exercise and patience and lots of play time and treats! :)

Best of luck-don't give up so soon, he's had 10yrs to learn what he knows. You can't expect him to know what you want him to do in a day, let alone a week.
 

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*Hulkamaniac*
I would have to agree with the other posts in that the older dog doesn't know any better.
From my understanding of the stuation I would leave a leash on when you they are together and you are supervising them. When the 10yr old goes to steal a toy/food I would make a noise you want him to associate with a negative consequence. The consequence? Calmly taking him by the leash and bringing him back to his toys or give him something you WANT him to do. Okay not so much a consequence as redirection but if you are consistent with the noise your dog will associate it with something he shouldn't do and stop before he gets removed.

Also I would not leave them together when you are gone but seperate them in the house till they understand their places in the pack more. Your going to have the quickest results if you can monitor ALL their behavior when together. Leaving them alone together for long periods of time is going to enforce the behaviors you don't want inforced.

And keep in mind it takes TIME! Believe me I know! I adopted a 62lb 2yr old Australian Shepherd and that's what I keep telling myself--it takes time, and training, LOTS of exercise and patience and lots of play time and treats! :)

Best of luck-don't give up so soon, he's had 10yrs to learn what he knows. You can't expect him to know what you want him to do in a day, let alone a week.
This is not bad advice and actually very similar to what the lady at the rescue suggested. She suggested I keep Brutus (the 10 yr old) crated at all times unless he's doing his business. I may try this tomorrow and see how it goes. I've tried making loud noises before, but it doesn't seem to work. It does work on my Spaniel, but not on Brutus. I suspect either he's deaf or close to it(which is possible at his age) or he simply ignores me (which is probably more likely).
 

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I work outside the home.
As do I and my husband.....that is why we crate or gate :)

I think you pups issues could be worked though with time and training ...but IMO once 2 dogs have fought multiple times ....I could no longer feel comfortable leaving them unsupervised together for the day....they would have to be crated or gated for my peace of mind :)
 

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As do I and my husband.....that is why we crate or gate :)

I think you pups issues could be worked though with time and training ...but IMO once 2 dogs have fought multiple times ....I could no longer feel comfortable leaving them unsupervised together for the day....they would have to be crated or gated for my peace of mind :)
The way I see it two of the altercations weren't really fights. Brutus just shoved Zero out of the way and that was over food. There's no food in the back yard so there's no danger there. The other fight was Brutus shoving his nose into Zero's personal space. Again, not really an issue in the backyard. Neither of them has showed any aggression otherwise. I think they'll be fine, but I will be keeping an eye on them.
 
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