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Discussion Starter #1
We got Matilda last fall as she, her mother, and siblings were all headed to the shelter. She is a mystery mutt, with probably some black lab. Matilda has always been somewhat aggressive with our other two dogs. She mostly ignores my pug who is happy to let someone else be alpha. Mollie, the schnauzer initially "put Matilda in her place" Now the Mattie is older she has been randomly attacking the schnauzer. Some times it is at meal times, so we separated food dishes, feed in crates, etc.

Other times it is when we are just "hanging out" in the evenings in the living room or kitchen. These random times there is not really anything going on, no treats involved. Last night we were all together for about 45 minutes and suddenly Matilda had the schnauzer pinned, hackles up, teet bared. This is obviously NOT play behavior.

How do I stop this? Matilda is 7 or 8 months old (not sure) and has been doing this since she was about 3-4 months old. It is not really feasible to keep them separated all the time. Someone always loses out on family time that way.

I am considering rehoming her provided I could find someone who has no other dogs. She IS smart, learning her commands, follows directions. She is a bundle of energy and loves playing ball in the yard. She is a joy to have, but does not get along with Mollie. We don't want to lose her but. . .

Any suggestions?

Thanks,
Amy
 

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Without actually seeing the dogs, it's really impossible to tell what's triggering these episodes. Have you considered enlisting the help of a professional behaviourist? These attacks may seem random and sudden to you, but there are likely many subtle warning signs being projected in each dog's body language and actions. A behaviourist (not the same thing as an obedience trainer) will be able to identify these signs and what sparks off Matilda's reactions.

Are both dogs spayed?
 

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It sounds like you have an issue with multiple bitches in the house. This is not an uncommon occurrence. It is why often times you hear people say "if you are getting a second dog, get an opposite sex pairing" There is a reason people are called bitches in a derogatory way. Bitch fights can be the worse. They are not fighting for breeding rights or status. Bitches fight for territory. I suggest you get a very skilled trainer/behaviorist to assess if this is what is happening. In the meantime I would NOT allow these two dogs to be together unattended. If the fights are happening often, I wouldn't allow them together even with you there. PUT up some physical barriers and keep them apart. Each time they fight you could be escalating the problem between them. Get some help. Sometimes these things can be resolved with some simple management techniques, other times it will mean they must be forever separated. Good Luck.
 

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I think I am seeing this start at my place.

I have a Border Colliex that is about nine years old, and a little terrierx that is about a year old. The terrier followed me home last fall, and was about six months old.

So far, all I have seen are little spats. However, the worst fights I ever saw happened between the BC and the Dalmation I had. One of those fights started through a fence. I don't even know how the BC got a hold on the Dal through it, but she did...

I guess I was hoping that the terrier was young enough when she came, that they would be able to sort things out "nicely."

Maybe I am still hoping... I dread having to go through that sort of management situation again...
 

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Great advice by everyone! I can tell you what the first sign to look for is....intense eye focus/eye lock on the other dog. The 2nd cue is a slight lip curl. If the dog is standing the next cue is a slight lowering of the body..ready to take off. Tail (if they have one) will go level and they're gone. All of that can all happen in a flash...often too quick to respond to effectively.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
What do you do when these situations occur?
We immediately separate the dogs and put them in a sit/stay. I admit, we probably do miss a lot of the subtle warning signs as it does seem to be very quick.

No, we have not contacted a behaviourist. This sound kind of expensive. I don't think there is even one available in our area. It would probably be the option with the best chance of success though.

Mollie, the schnauzer is spayed. Matilda is not, YET.

At this point, I will have to keep them separate at all times.

Are desensitization techniques helpful in situations like this?
 

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We immediately separate the dogs and put them in a sit/stay. I admit, we probably do miss a lot of the subtle warning signs as it does seem to be very quick.

No, we have not contacted a behaviourist. This sound kind of expensive. I don't think there is even one available in our area. It would probably be the option with the best chance of success though.

Mollie, the schnauzer is spayed. Matilda is not, YET.

At this point, I will have to keep them separate at all times.

Are desensitization techniques helpful in situations like this?
amy, sometimes desensitization techniques can help. Sometimes spaying helps. Sometimes NOTHING helps other then constant separation. More often then not though, there are triggers that the owner is missing. Knowing the triggers can help. If nothing else it becomes easier to avoid. It is hard to watch dogs for aggression because you literally have to be staring at them and assessing them every second. Behaviorists are not always that expensive. You could ask at your local kennel club, vet or even pet stores if anyone knows of a good one in your area. To me, if you can afford it, then it would be money well spent for some peace of mind. It can be just a matter of younger bitch is testing the limits. I hope you can get some help and find some peace with them in the house. It will make your life easier.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
thanks everyone for the good advice. Plan A is to get Matilda spayed, ASAP, and to take a look at the situation with more attention to detail. I guess if we have to rehome as a last resort, she will be spayed and hopefully easier to place.
 
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