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A little over half a year ago, my male cocker spaniel, Ripley, passed away. My family was heartbroken, and so was our female border collie/ Newfoundland mix, Zoey. Once our family was over the heartbreak, we decided to get a new dog. We wanted a dog more active than Ripley was, since Ripley was a veeeery lazy dog that had no interest in other dogs. He was still a companion to Zoey, though, and we wanted a dog that could fill that hole for her and actually get off the couch and play with her too.

After a lot of searching, we fell in love with some kind of hound mix. She's a true mutt-- the vet couldn't pinpoint what she was other than that she was a hound with maybe some traces of pointer and lab. She was very mellow and docile at the rescue center, about 3 years old, and roughly Zoey's size, if not a little bigger, so we adopted her. Molly, as we named her, and Zoey met and instantly became friends-- seeing them run around in the yard and seeing Zoey having a bit of her spark back was so incredibly heartwarming.

I have 3 cats (I know, we're pet crazy), and Molly being a hound was pretty insistent on chasing them! But I've grown up with pets all my life and thanks to a handy thing called google I've managed to train her out of it within a month. Our two younger, skittish cats still actively avoid her and she whimpers when they're on the stairs playing (we have a baby gate up so Molly can't get downstairs where the cat litter, food, and toys are), but it's purely from curiosity and not because she wants to hunt them. She's pretty tolerant of my 14 year old cat, Sebastian, since they've made a routine of sleeping together on my bed.

So it all seems great so far! More than 2 months in and everyone's happy! Except that Molly and Zoey have been getting in fights. The first time it happened was late at night and no one really knew what happened, but it might've had something to do with Zoey being in my room at night. Molly's grown really attached to me, but she's never seemed irritated by Zoey being in my room before. Now that it's happened a few more times, I can say with certainty it's related to a dominance issue. A few days ago they had a quick scuffle at night that I quickly diffused, but today they had another that was their worst fight so far. Zoey's ear got pretty bitten up, but luckily there's no tearing or puncture wounds. I saw Molly standing over Zoey in a very stiff position, and Zoey snapped, sending both of them into a bit of a frenzy. I quickly broke it up, but I'm terrified that it'll happen again and Zoey will get hurt more severely than a few cuts. They used to play together and roll around together, but now Zoey's too scared to even leave someone's side to eat food! She shakes whenever Molly comes into the room, and that's no way for a dog to live. Please help me! I'm desperate-- I've searched all over the internet and nothing matches up with my situation enough for it to be helpful!
 

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It very often takes a new dog several months to fully settle into a new home & show their true temperament, so that could be why you're seeing this crop up after such a nice prolonged 'honeymoon' period. That being said, when bitches start fighting with one another, it can escalate & **badly**. At least for the time being you need to physically separate the two dogs whenever you are not right there to supervise, direct & train - in short, to make absolutely certain that you can diffuse any tensions *before* they erupt into an actual fight.

My suggestions to you would be as follows: Enlist the help of a really good, positive reinforcement trainer who can observe the dogs in person. This is the very best way to come up with a working training plan and/or management protocol.
Pick up a copy of Jean Donaldson's book 'Fight'. It offers a lot of good information regarding dog on dog aggression.
Immediately (if you don't already do so) implement a solid NILIF type protocol in your home for **both** dogs. Making sure that they both have rules & boundaries, as well as a predictable routine that reinforces good manners & polite behavior can help all around - and it certainly won't hurt the situation.
 
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