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I have a german shepherd/husky mix who will be 12 this summer. He is super sweet and loving and has never shown any aggression... towards people. His vision and hearing are getting pretty bad but otherwise he is in excellent health, no signs of arthritis or anything. We have two other dogs and recently there have been problems between them. It started after our 1 1/2 year old female got spayed. For a couple months after getting spayed she was very defensive and would snarl at the older dog whenever he got near. He began to get defensive in exchange and they started getting in fights when she'd growl at him. Then our six month old, but 85lb, puppy would start jumping in and they would both attack the older dog who would then escalate things even further. This has happened several times and even though the female has stopped with the snarling they are still getting in fights.

Just half an hour ago the older dog attacked the puppy (who is bigger than him) for no reason that we could see, though that doesn't mean there wasn't a reason. The other dog jumped in and then my husband unwisely decided to jump in to separate them. He accidentally fell on my old dog (who was also being attacked by the two other dogs) and my old dog bit him on the hand. I, meanwhile, grabbed the water dish and threw water on the whole mess and broke it up.

Unfortunately though my husband completely blames my old dog. He has one small hole in the top of his hand but the muscle is badly bruised. Now he is talking about my dog needing to live somewhere else.

What should I do? My idea was to keep the two younger dogs downstairs and the old one upstairs, but does anyone have any other ideas how to fix this issue that doesn't involve permanently isolating my old dog? He's been with me since he was a puppy and I refuse to part with him, especially since he's already a senior dog.
 

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You need to keep the old dog separate for his health and to reduce stress on him. It is cruel to rehome an old dog unless you know who is taking him, and they will be good owners. Rescues, animal control or shelters are cruel for an older dog. They do not adjust well to sitting in a cage while waiting to be adopted. Humane euth is kinder, and I don't say that lightly.

Normally I would recommend a vet check with a Thyroid test (incl T-4) for aggession issues, but I have a feeling that with reduced hearing and eyesight he is missing signals the other dogs are giving, or is arthritic and sore, and they are too rough so he is protecting himself. Separating him, and making sure you give him attention still would be best.
 

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I definitely would not rehome him, he has been loyal to me for nearly 12 years, he deserves the same. I think that might be best, to separate him. I wish there was some way they could be together but I don't want to do anything that is going to cause him stress or injury to any of them.

My husband's issue was that he seemed to attack for no reason, but I really think with his poor eyesight and hearing there is no way we can know how he is interpreting what's going on around him. I just wish there was something more I could do for him. Does anyone else have a dog with poor vision/hearing? Any things you've found that make them more comfortable and secure?
 

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Using mats in front of doors that are a different texture than the normal flooring can alert them to where they are. Different scented air fresheners can orient them to rooms. Just be aware that their sense of smell is very strong, so often an unlit candle or bag of potpourri on a table is strong enough...no need to use plug in wall scents. Talking to them or stomping your feet to wake them up before touching them so you don't startle them.
If your husband fell on the old dog, the old dog may have bitten out of pain, and being startled. He thought he was being attacked. Your husband needs to forget about it. The dog wasn't being aggressive towards him, in spite of getting bitten. He does need to keep an eye on his injury. If it swells excessively, gets pus in it, or has red streaks coming emanating from it, see a dr immediately.
 
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