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Discussion Starter #1
I'm really upset about this. Please if you can offer some insight it would be so great.

I have two dogs, Belle, our 4 year old Beagle/Basset female (who was our first pet) and Sadie, our 1.5 year old Boxer/Beagle female (who we got about a year ago). Sadie is spayed, but Belle is not. She had the procedure but apparently they didn't get all of it (she gets her "period" every 6-7 months).

We've only had a few problems since having her, usually when Sadie gets too close to Belle's food. I've broken up a few fights between them. However, in the past few weeks, the fights have seem to have increased, to almost once a day at times.

It seems that Belle is very "moody" and if you do something she doesn't like, like make her get into her bed or bring her in from outside, she growls, sometimes shows her teeth, and usually if Sadie is around, tries to bite her. Otherwise, they're fine, but Belle still seems very anti-social, whereas Sadie is always licking you. Belle seems to want nothing to do with Sadie.

I don't know what to do about these fights. Is it because Belle was never really spayed and she's too hormonal and aggressive? I love my dogs but Belle is really starting to make me upset how she's acting. I thought getting a second dog would make her more social but this isn't what I wanted.

Any insight? Thanks!!

Ryan
 

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Have you talked to a vet about Belle's incomplete spay? It doesn't sound normal.....I know sometimes they miss some ovarian tissue, so that the dog can still be hormonal and go into heat, but the fact that she still bleeds is concerning. I doubt they missed her entire uterus. I'd want some very specific answers from her vet, preferably the vet that "spayed" her. If something is really wrong, she may be in pain, and that would definitely make her cranky. I think some bloodwork would be a good idea, too.

Once medical issues are ruled out, it would obviously be a behavioral problem. In that case, consulting a qualified behaviorist would be your best bet. Females do frequently have rivalry issues, but with proper management, you should be able to avoid outright fighting.
 

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I would definitely hit up the vets office and then find a good behaviorist before the fighting gets worse...and without proper management, it more than likely will get worse. The problem with two females is that the fights are not usually to establish any type of status, they are fights to actually rid the other female from the pack. Here is a good article on bitch fighting: http://www.caberfeidh.com/Fight.htm

Until you can get some professional help, I would NEVER leave them alone together, pick up all high value items like toys, bones, etc...and supervise all interaction.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Thanks for the replies. Belle's bloodwork has always been fine and the doc is aware of her periods. I do pick up all toys. They otherwise get along fine. We never do leave them alone together.

Right now, I just woke up, let them both out, and they're both in the room with me, sniffing each other. The fights seem to happen mostly when my wife and I are both home.

I got them both from the SPCA in maryland and they allegedly spayed Belle. But yes, she gets her period around every 6-7 months or so for about 1-2 weeks. I plan on speaking to the SPCA and my vet shortly to see what can be done. Is it possible to get her properly spayed at her age?

Thanks again.
 

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Yes, a spay shouldn't be a problem at her age. I would definitely see if the SPCA will do it for you, was the spay included in the adoption fee?
 

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I would not be expecting any upfront answers from SPCA as something is not correct and like most places are not going to tell you anything that will make them look bad. (sorry my paranoia) I would use a vet I trusted and then if still unsure a second opinion(not the SPCA) I have no experience with a bitch that spaying was not successful so I'm of no use there. A spaying may not help aggression problems you have but will help other stuff (health). She is not too old.
Feeding in same area may have started this whole fighting program which then escalated to bigger problem. Were they my dogs they would be fed seperately and 15 minutes all unfinished food picked up( you may already be doing this)
You have not mentioned training of any kind, all dogs are better dogs when trained, that's not a wish that's a fact. The last but most important advice that I can give you is never leave the 2 dogs unsupervised.
Good Luck Ryan
 

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I don't want to be the bearer of bad news but bitch fights are the worse. Once they start it is usually a matter of managing them. This might mean keeping them separate at all times. In this case it sounds like Belle's incomplete spay might have something to do with it. Is there No way to fix this problem? I agree with others that said "bring in a behaviorist." That person might be able to see "triggers" in the situation that would help you to avoid any aggression between your dogs. Good luck with your girls. In the meantime keep them separate so you don't build on the anger between the two.
 

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Seems like Belle is causing the problems and needs to be better trained if she is not listening to you. Implement NILIF with her and make sure she knows every kibble she gets comes from you. She needs to understand you control all resources, food, water, treats, affection and that she has nothing without you.
 

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Seems like Belle is causing the problems and needs to be better trained if she is not listening to you. Implement NILIF with her and make sure she knows every kibble she gets comes from you. She needs to understand you control all resources, food, water, treats, affection and that she has nothing without you.
Bitch fights aren't really about training and or establishing yourself as the leader...they are about wanting to kill the other bitch in the house. That's why these fights are epic and very difficult to stop once they start.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Yes, a spay shouldn't be a problem at her age. I would definitely see if the SPCA will do it for you, was the spay included in the adoption fee?
yes, the spay was part of the adoption fee. when we first noticed she got her period, we didn't think of it being an issue since she has always been a really calm dog - we were just careful about where she sat!

What are everyone's thoughts about laying on Belle when she shows aggression to me? I heard of this technique by laying on the dog (not crushing her, but covering her) to establish that *I* am the dominant one. I tried this this morning when Belle started to growl at Sadie and eventually Belle, while fighting me, finally calmed down. After that, they both were able to sit by each other and lick/sniff each other with no issues. Who knows how long for though.

Sadie is always wanting attention - always putting her head on us and stuff like that. We respond by petting her, but we will try the NILIF technique on both of them and see if that helps. Belle usually sits at a distance and cries if she wants something.

Thanks for the replies so far!

ALSO, what are everyone's thoughts on using a soft muzzle temporarily to at least stop the biting if/when they fight? thanks.
 

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What are everyone's thoughts about laying on Belle when she shows aggression to me? I heard of this technique by laying on the dog (not crushing her, but covering her) to establish that *I* am the dominant one. I tried this this morning when Belle started to growl at Sadie and eventually Belle, while fighting me, finally calmed down. After that, they both were able to sit by each other and lick/sniff each other with no issues. Who knows how long for though.
Absolutely NOT. That is one of the most outdated theories in dog training and GREAT way to get bitten. Establish yourself as the leader by implementing NILIF.

ALSO, what are everyone's thoughts on using a soft muzzle temporarily to at least stop the biting if/when they fight? thanks.
Muzzles are fine if they absolutely have to be together, but right now I would keep them seperate until you are able to get some professional help. Putting them together is only asking for the problem to escalate.
 

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do NOT lay on her. That is more likely to get you bit in the face. It has nothing to do with dominence.

*Dominence*(and I use the term loosely being its not exactly accurate) is all about resource control. That's what Nilif is about. You control EVERYTHING positive in their lives ranging from food to treats to toys to walks to attention as small as you simply looking at them. *Dominence* isn't about being physically threatening. if you take that tact sooner or later your dog is going to get pushed over their tolerance threshold...same way with your dog and bringing in the new dog I bet. Did they get full access to each other right away? Because with two bitches that's often a recipe for disaster. You need to desensitize to the presence of a new dog by introducing same sex pairings at a drugged up snail's pace.

Start over.

Separate them utterly. keep theem fully separate for a good while and then slowly slowly slowly allow them little glimpses of each other. Let the dogs set the pace. Read up on canine body language and if either of them shows any sign of stress take a step back in your progression. You don't want to push them AT ALL.


as to the behaviorist...be careful who you choose...there is a link laying around here somewhere Im going to go see if I can find it.

and a word about muzzles.

Dogs have thresholds. Some have higher and some have lower thresholds but they all have a point where if you come to it they will snap because they cannot handle x amount of stress.

With the muzzles...I wouldn't. I would just keep them separate. But if you feel you must don't just slap on the muzzles and think that will help. Use treats and praise to coax your dog into accepting the muzzle. Take it slow and don't push them.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I will have to try the muzzle techinque, slowly. If Belle is not in the room with us, she cries for hours on end (we've tried this).
 

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Do you crate?

Because while Im not a big fan of crates this is one instance where they could be a help.

Get two crates and crate train. Crate one dog while the other is out. that way they can both be in the same room with you but separate.
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Do you crate?

Because while Im not a big fan of crates this is one instance where they could be a help.

Get two crates and crate train. Crate one dog while the other is out. that way they can both be in the same room with you but separate.
I keep the smaller dog, Sadie, in a crate usually. both dogs can be in the same room (with the crate) and have no issues at all.

the reason I want the muzzle is to have some protection from them biting each other if a fight does break out while trying to supervise them together.

this is just odd, they used to be so good together. I do know that belle's last period was roughly a month ago. does anything think her behavior could simply be caused by the trail end of that? thanks.
 

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Bitch fights aren't really about training and or establishing yourself as the leader...they are about wanting to kill the other bitch in the house. That's why these fights are epic and very difficult to stop once they start.
Belle is growling at her "leader". This tells me that there are more issues at hand than a fight between two dogs.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Belle is growling at her "leader". This tells me that there are more issues at hand than a fight between two dogs.
yes, she will growl at me if i make her do something she doesnt want to do, like get out of a chair, or come inside from being outside (usually barking at someone).

What can I do to control this issue? other than that she's a loving dog.
 

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this is just odd, they used to be so good together. I do know that belle's last period was roughly a month ago. does anything think her behavior could simply be caused by the trail end of that? thanks.
This situation is not that uncommon between bitches when they both hit maturity, regardless if they are fixed or not. They simply don't want the other female in the house.


Westhighlander said:
Belle is growling at her "leader". This tells me that there are more issues at hand than a fight between two dogs.
Yes I missed that. ;) There is a lot going on, which compounds the problem even more. I'd definitely ramp up the NILIF, don't let Belle on any of the furniture and consult a BEHAVIORIST.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I've been starting to implement NILIF. I also got two muzzles, but only making Belle wear one right now. She's OK with it, but I give her treats before I put it on her. She seems 'OK' with it, though she looks like she acts sad with it on.

We had another fight start to break out in our bathroom, which is where another fight broke out before in the same spot. Luckily the muzzle was on.

The odd thing is, they've been around each other all day (with muzzle) and not a single issue at all - nothing. The bathroom just made her go off again. Think she has some bad memories of the first fight in there?

I'm also having Belle sleep in another room on her bed pillow (no muzzle). Will doing this be good and not cause more damage by having her not sleep in the same room as Sadie and us? Thanks.
 
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