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Discussion Starter #1
We recently adopted a 5 month old Australian Shepherd mix (Vesper). She is 30 pounds. We also have an 8 year old Havanese (Kiwi). She is 14 pounds.

Kiwi is a nasty little girl when it comes to other dogs. Vesper was getting snarled at and snapped at for just trying to sniff Kiwi, and Kiwi was stealing her food (the nerve!) and the puppy just stood meekly by. Don't worry, we scolded Kiwi when we saw this happening.

However, Vesper began to show signs of dominance over Kiwi (placing her paw on Kiwi's back) and everyone in the family agreed that we had to support Vesper as the dominant dog because she is bigger. Kiwi, of course, didn't agree with this. She kept snarling and being down right mean to Vesper, who never retaliated her aggression.

Then, the day before last, we gave Vesper her first bath and put her in the family room with my brother, father, and Kiwi (who was supposed to stay on the couch, but my brother and dad are horrible at watching them). I gave Vesper a liver treat (the dogs' favorite) and she walked away with it without eating it. She dropped it, and then Kiwi swooped in and stole her treat. When Vesper tried to get it back, Kiwi snarled and bit Vesper on the face. I guess Vesper had had enough so she grabbed Kiwi and shook her. She didn't break the skin, Kiwi was fine. Please understand this entire scenario only lasted about 10 seconds, and we pulled them apart immediately.

I'm at a loss for what to do. We don't want to put Kiwi in danger, but Vesper is such a great, sweet, laid back dog. She's great with the cat, with kids, and with us, and is amazing with other dogs when she plays with them.

We want to try and get them to get along, but Vesper is going to be about 50-60 pounds and could seriously hurt Kiwi. After the incident, Kiwi avoids Vesper like the plague and vice versa. I'm hoping Kiwi respects Vesper's dominance now.

Is there any way they can come back from this? We are keeping them separate except for brief, calm interactions. Does Vesper need to be re-homed or can this be trained away? Or will it stop now that Kiwi is respectful of the bigger dog?
 

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Are either of them spayed? Many times that helps these issues go away. Also, I don't think you should be letting either of them dominate the other, there should be 1-2 pack leaders in your household max, and they all should be human, the rest of the members of the household are pack members, meaning the dogs should be equal, not answering to one another but to you. If they understand that you are the pack leader 100% then they wouldn't have to try and figure out which of them were dominant over the other. I guess I am saying what you want to shoot for is when you hear even a hint of a growl from one of them, the simplest "eh" sound from you should stop them dead in their tracks from continuing their display of dominance because they would be reminded who's in charge, you, and wouldn't worry about being the boss themselves.
 

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like RescueMomma2012 said you should be the one leading. I understand that thinking the bigger should be dominate one but it doesn't always work that way. its kind of like trying to get a dog n cat to get along you raise the status of the cat so the dog knows it can't pick on the cat.
Knowing how kiwi is try not to feed treats in the same room as one another or make sure both have a treat and teach them they can't touch the others things.
I was watching 2 labs for 2 weeks and i taught them within a day or so times(few mistakes here n there) that they couldn't touch my puppy or go near/ eat out of my pups food dish or take her treats. If they took her treat(bone) i would take it back from them and say no and give it back to my pup. so it can be done.
but ya if the females aren't fixed that could also be an issue
 

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They are most certainly fixed! Wouldn't have it any other way. It's good to know that Kiwi's status should be elevated so that Vesper leaves her alone, though. I was wrong to elevate Vesper over Kiwi. This is her house and her people, so Kiwi should be given everything first. It's funny, because that's exactly what we were doing with the cat.

My mother and I are the pack leaders, definitely. (I'm a college student home for the summer.) I will make sure to raise Kiwi's status starting tomorrow. First to be fed, first to be petted, first to be out the door.
 

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All right. First things first, dominance means nothing. Forget you ever heard the phrase. You can call yourself a pack if you like, but forget about the dominance nonsense. No one gets to be any thing because of size. If you knew previously your dog was not good with other dogs, I would have NOT added other dog, but that is neither here nor there now.

Don't allow either dog to steal any one's food, and certainly don't punish them for it. You're setting the thief up for failure by allowing the opportunity. They eat in separate areas, that's all there is to it. Dogs are dogs. No one is going to be "more respectful" because they're out sized. Try telling my 11 lbs Dachshund that he should welcome strange dogs out in the world with open arms because he's smaller than them. Not going to happen. You're going to want to hit resource guarding 101. I recommend the book Mine! by Jean Donaldson every time, but in the mean time like I said, NO ONE EATS NEAR EACH OTHER. I have two managed RGers and if allowed to continue it will get worse before it gets better. It's a crate or a shut door until food is done or injury or death.

Again, it's not about status. In this situation I would bring in a good positive professional. No one backing any dominance business. I would also keep them separated for the time being because 1. Your puppy should be having positive dog interactions at this point in her life and 2. Bitch fights are nasty and nothing any one wants to ever deal with.
 

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I don't think separating them should be necessary. I have three dogs, a mini dachshund, 15lbs, a corgi/beagle mix, 35lbs, and a RR mix, 65lbs, and they all eat side by side. The mini takes her time and sometimes leaves her food and eats throughout the day, the other two know not to touch her bowl, and they don't. Harmony is possible, it just might take you a few tries. If you want you could check out a few books at the library, one method can't work for every person who owns a dog, I would find the method that works for you! Good luck!
 

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Some females just don't hey along. Fights between bitches can be brutal. You can control most of this, but if left alone together, and neither is much for backing down it can get nasty fast.
 

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I have just boarded to Belgium Shepherd bitches who wer best mates in the runs and in a shared kennel but had to be seperated at feeding times. Specific instructions from the owner was to not give any treats that could not be swallowed instantly. Other than that they were great friends.

In my own house we have 7 bitches and all get fed at the same time but all are widely seperated. We also use bowls that cause one or two of them to eat slower (harder to vacuum up the kibble) as they used to finish and then try and steal from another bowl. Peace reigns.
 

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I don't think separating them should be necessary. I have three dogs, a mini dachshund, 15lbs, a corgi/beagle mix, 35lbs, and a RR mix, 65lbs, and they all eat side by side. The mini takes her time and sometimes leaves her food and eats throughout the day, the other two know not to touch her bowl, and they don't. Harmony is possible, it just might take you a few tries. If you want you could check out a few books at the library, one method can't work for every person who owns a dog, I would find the method that works for you! Good luck!
I have been owning dogs since the age of 7 & I have NEVER fed any of them side by side where they are looking each other in the eye, I don't even feed treats when they can get at each other EVER. Anyone who does a 'pack feeding' IMHO is setting up a desaster :/.
 

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Don't allow either dog to steal any one's food, and certainly don't punish them for it. You're setting the thief up for failure by allowing the opportunity. They eat in separate areas, that's all there is to it. Dogs are dogs. No one is going to be "more respectful" because they're out sized. Try telling my 11 lbs Dachshund that he should welcome strange dogs out in the world with open arms because he's smaller than them. Not going to happen.QUOTE]

Good advice, but sepearating them during feeding may not be a good thing.
 

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Don't allow either dog to steal any one's food, and certainly don't punish them for it. You're setting the thief up for failure by allowing the opportunity. They eat in separate areas, that's all there is to it. Dogs are dogs. No one is going to be "more respectful" because they're out sized. Try telling my 11 lbs Dachshund that he should welcome strange dogs out in the world with open arms because he's smaller than them. Not going to happen.QUOTE]

Good advice, but sepearating them during feeding may not be a good thing.


I am confused as to why you feel seperation during feeding might not be a good thing?
 

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The saying goes..... Dogs fight for breeding rights.... Bitches fight for breathing rights..... Worst dog fights I have seen have been bitch fights.... Spay, neutered, etc. Dogs can and do fight.... The reasons can be various..... Forget all the dominance, Alpha, etc crap.

It is about control and management not hierarchy...... And you are going to very likely need some hands on help.
 

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Resourse Guarding can be a major issue with some dogs...
Separating them during meal time..That doesnt correct that behavior ...it just temporarily avoids the issue.
Lots of dogs that will not be agreeable at feeding time, have no resource guarding issues..... I have never owned a dog with a resource guarding issue. I have worked with a bunch of them.

Food and sex fall under a different category than typical resource guarding items. Food and reproduction are vital resources and many if not most dogs will fight over them under at least some circumstances.

A significant portion in getting dogs to get along falls under management rather than training. when, where and how dogs are fed.... Is a management issue

The OP is already having issues with two dogs. Managing such a potentially highly violatle situation like feeding time, just makes sense.... If there are resource guarding issues, there will be other opportunities to work on those issues.... No sense intensifying an already tense situation
 

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I can feed all three dogs at the same time (and at one point, the cat we had at the time also ate in the same room at the same time). But I don't leave the room, and I don't allow anyone to push anyone out of their food. So when I feed if they're loose, I stand there, whoever picks their face out of their dish is 'done' and gets removed from the room and their food gets picked up. Game over. When they finish, they also get removed if they try to steal from another dog's bowl, game over. Because the dogs have always grown up with these 'rules' they have no major issues, and will stand and wait for the other dogs to finish THEN go into that dog's bowl. There's no 'oh I left that crumb and now I want it' or any of that.
 

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I don't think separating them should be necessary. I have three dogs, a mini dachshund, 15lbs, a corgi/beagle mix, 35lbs, and a RR mix, 65lbs, and they all eat side by side. The mini takes her time and sometimes leaves her food and eats throughout the day, the other two know not to touch her bowl, and they don't. Harmony is possible, it just might take you a few tries. If you want you could check out a few books at the library, one method can't work for every person who owns a dog, I would find the method that works for you! Good luck!
Good advice, but sepearating them during feeding may not be a good thing.
Separating is absolutely necessary, IMO. I've heard time and time again separate feeding is a crutch and not solving the problem. Feeding them together is not the answer to solving the problem. It's a quick solution on how to get a red hot fight going, but not the answer. The work you do for RGing has nothing to do with forcing other dogs to eat together, and I really don't see any need for my dogs (two RGers in my house) to eat side by side. Neat parlor trick, but not necessary in management.
 

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You can still have females who behave over the feed with training, but if they have issues its going to come out. Females don't let things go like males will. Just as with a truly dog aggressive dog, it can be managed, but not cured. Two strong willed females can battle over seemingly nothing. It may improve as the pup matures, yet since she is already standing up for herself, the most improvement I would hope for is the older dog to back down.
 
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