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I have been fostering (and greatly want to adopt) a 4 y/o pit mix. She knows basic sit, stay commands (that I didn't teach her!) and generally listens very well. However, my 10 y/o beagle/basset has some issues with her, starting about a week after the new dog arrived. The issues are based mostly around food, but sometimes happen with seemingly no reason. Fights start with my beagle/mix staring at my pit, and then initiating a fight.

My pit has never hurt the beagle/basset during their squabbles (which makes me think, she isn't really trying to), but in the most recent fight, my older dog landed a few minor bites on the pit. I don't want to wait around for the day when my pit decides she does want to hurt my older dog, because the older dog won't stand a chance...

My beagle/basset does not listen very well - I got her when she was 8, and she had very little training, would not listen, not housebroken, etc., and I've done what I can - so I'm not sure how much training I can do on her part. Do you have any suggestions? I have fallen in love with my foster pit, so I'd like to do all I can before I decide I can't keep her.

I have taken a few measures:
  • Crate in the living room (covered with a sheet) to give my older dog a safe, cozy space
  • Feeding separately, older dog first
  • Do not let new dog in older dog's crate or on her bed
 

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Are there ANY toys, treats or desirable objects such as a comfy bed within the immediate area when a staredown/fight happens?

Are they fed within sight of each other?

Are the dogs ever alone together out of sight of a responsible human adult, including for something as short as a bathroom break or getting the mail?

Is your house and yard set up in a way that crate and rotate (crate can mean a room in this case) is possible?
 

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All of what Shell said, ignore my other message if you saw it, I got confused.

Keep them seperated when you cant watch them, if the fight gets serious spay water on them, cover them with a blanket, or if you have two people each of you grab the back legs and walk backwards slowly.
 

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Not to contradict Deacon.dog, but rather to provide an alternate view from personal experience:

Never grap a dog who is fighting, by the back legs or by anywhere else. You will probably get hurt worse than either dog would remaining in the fight. And think about how important your functioning hands are to nearly everything you do all day.

Seeing your dog get in a fight is excruciating, but there is a lot of smoke and mirrors involved. Just as puppies are genetically built to radiate cuteness, adult dogs instinctively know exactly how to make themselves appear as absolutely menacing and bloodthirsty as possible in order to avoid or win a fight. But the truth is that run-ins between normal dogs, although you may feel sure you are going to have to rush to the hospital (or a doggie cemetary) in a minute, usually end with a few shallow self-healing bites, or none at all, and some perhaps bloody scratches.

Over many years, I have had the great displeasure of watching one of my dogs or another get in what appears to be a furious, to-the-death fight about five times. And none of the dogs involved ever ended up having to go to the hospital. Not once. But I had to go to the hospital the first and last time that I grabbed one of my dogs in a fight by the back legs.

... because I read about it on a forum.

Never again. No brainer.
 

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Personally, I have split up several dog fights. If the dog is really driven, it usually wont re-direct. It works well to grab the back legs, but only if you know the dog wont re-direct. In the worst of my moments I choked a dog off another, don't do that...Mine was just a very very driven dog with no intint to let go of Zeus, like.. none.

It is SCARY living with a true dog agressive dog. I don't believe yours are, as when my Kennedy (who is now passed) got in the house with Deacon & Zeus she wouldn't hesitate to start attacking the first one she saw. We put her down after the little kids in the house grew up enough to open doors and let the dogs out on a regular basis (smart arses even figured out child locks). It wasn't fair to her or my other dogs, and none of the shelters near me would take her.

Real DA is near impossible to fix, but i believe your situation can be improved by yourself, and probably fixed with a professional dog trainer.
 

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Hi all, thank you for your helpful replies! In terms of triggers, I thought about what the common denominators have been when fights break out. In addition to food/bowls, there is a particular blanket I believe my beagle/basset may be protective of. I am going to get rid of the blanket and see if that helps at all.

I feed them in separate rooms. However, they see me pour the food. Sometimes, my pit comes in the kitchen while my beagle/basset is still eating to drink water. I will try keeping them completely separate while eating, from start to finish, until bowls are picked up.

It is definitely reassuring to hear that dog fights are mostly "smoke and mirrors". The two of them fighting is my first time witnessing it... so jarring. It's also been sad and confusing for me to see my usually chill older dog feel so upset by another dog's presence. And scary, since my pit could easily take the older dog down, if she wanted.

But, I'm glad to hear that you don't think this is incurable. I will work to spot triggers and try to build more supervision/separation in our daily routine.
 

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Maybe some dog fights aren't serious, but I know a couple of people who are out thousands of dollars in vet bills because of dog fights, and I know of people who came home to find a dead dog. I almost euthanized a rescue foster dog over injuries from a fight, and that bill was over fifteen hundred (he had to have his ears amputated among other things; there's a reason they butch pit bull ears). I paid that vet bill primarily because I knew the whole thing was my fault for not taking prior warning skirmishes seriously enough.

I'd give careful consideration to whether you want to live with doing the kind of careful separation that may be necessary to keep the peace for the rest of the beagle mix's life. And yes, physically separate them at feeding time, from before you start preparing the food, with a physical barrier such a gate or one or both in crates and not side by side crates. I'd never leave them alone together either.
 

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Over many years, I have had the great displeasure of watching one of my dogs or another get in what appears to be a furious, to-the-death fight about five times. And none of the dogs involved ever ended up having to go to the hospital. Not once. But I had to go to the hospital the first and last time that I grabbed one of my dogs in a fight by the back legs.

... because I read about it on a forum.

Never again. No brainer.
How did you put an end to those fights?
 

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Hi all, thank you for your helpful replies! In terms of triggers, I thought about what the common denominators have been when fights break out. In addition to food/bowls, there is a particular blanket I believe my beagle/basset may be protective of. I am going to get rid of the blanket and see if that helps at all.

I feed them in separate rooms. However, they see me pour the food. Sometimes, my pit comes in the kitchen while my beagle/basset is still eating to drink water. I will try keeping them completely separate while eating, from start to finish, until bowls are picked up.

It is definitely reassuring to hear that dog fights are mostly "smoke and mirrors". The two of them fighting is my first time witnessing it... so jarring. It's also been sad and confusing for me to see my usually chill older dog feel so upset by another dog's presence. And scary, since my pit could easily take the older dog down, if she wanted.

But, I'm glad to hear that you don't think this is incurable. I will work to spot triggers and try to build more supervision/separation in our daily routine.
I'm no expert and in zombie mode - higher brain functions like thinking are on life support, but a few things still come to mind:

Have you had both dogs checked out by a vet? Not just the pit for the bites, but both dogs and a full "MOT" check? Could be the beagle mix is picking something up from the pit that you're missing. Could be that the beagle is unwell herself. Her sight or hearing could be starting to fade.

I see you have two girls. Are they both spayed?

What's the pit doing when the beagle mix starts staring?

Anything can be a resource to a dog -, toys, food, treats, space, beds/sofas - you. In fact, you're probably the highest value resource of them all, because you literally provide all the rest.

Spraying water wouldn't break up a serious dog fight in which the participants are hellbent on tearing each other limb from limb. If that works, it's a skirmish -, not a battle.

Bear in mind that female dogs are called bitches for a reason. If they really decide to take a serious dislike to each other, you'd be better off rehoming the pit.

Definitely keep the dogs separate while they're eating. I have two girls myself. I'm extremely lucky that they tolerate each other quite well but even so, they're fed in different parts of the house and things like Kongs or chews/treats are closely supervised.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Maybe some dog fights aren't serious, but I know a couple of people who are out thousands of dollars in vet bills because of dog fights, and I know of people who came home to find a dead dog. I almost euthanized a rescue foster dog over injuries from a fight, and that bill was over fifteen hundred (he had to have his ears amputated among other things; there's a reason they butch pit bull ears). I paid that vet bill primarily because I knew the whole thing was my fault for not taking prior warning skirmishes seriously enough.

I'd give careful consideration to whether you want to live with doing the kind of careful separation that may be necessary to keep the peace for the rest of the beagle mix's life. And yes, physically separate them at feeding time, from before you start preparing the food, with a physical barrier such a gate or one or both in crates and not side by side crates. I'd never leave them alone together either.
Thank you for this hard but sound advice. I love the pit, and especially not knowing how long my beagle mix will be around for, it makes me want to keep the younger dog.

Of course, I know that's a selfish thought. I am a single person (with roommates, who help) and even with help, all of the separation and supervision/fighting is quite exhausting. It might get even harder in the future to keep this up. I already love the dog though... it just sucks! Lol
 

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Tater23, you can't really. You keep them seperated the best you can, but I said earlier, toddlers in my house kept letting the dogs out (I know you weren't quoting me btw). Its difficult to keep them trueley seperated

oh and now whenever I hear dogs barking/growing/etc I have a panic attack, and i'm not one to have those on a regular basis

its scary
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I'm no expert and in zombie mode - higher brain functions like thinking are on life support, but a few things still come to mind:

Have you had both dogs checked out by a vet? Not just the pit for the bites, but both dogs and a full "MOT" check? Could be the beagle mix is picking something up from the pit that you're missing. Could be that the beagle is unwell herself. Her sight or hearing could be starting to fade.

I see you have two girls. Are they both spayed?

What's the pit doing when the beagle mix starts staring?

Anything can be a resource to a dog -, toys, food, treats, space, beds/sofas - you. In fact, you're probably the highest value resource of them all, because you literally provide all the rest.

Spraying water wouldn't break up a serious dog fight in which the participants are hellbent on tearing each other limb from limb. If that works, it's a skirmish -, not a battle.

Bear in mind that female dogs are called bitches for a reason. If they really decide to take a serious dislike to each other, you'd be better off rehoming the pit.

Definitely keep the dogs separate while they're eating. I have two girls myself. I'm extremely lucky that they tolerate each other quite well but even so, they're fed in different parts of the house and things like Kongs or chews/treats are closely supervised.
I have decided, while I will continue to foster her, I will ultimately not adopt the pit. It is just not worth the stress my beagle mix will go through (and who knows - she could live for another 7 years!). And the pit is so sweet, she would love another family just as much, I'm sure! Since the pit won't be here long term, I think I will do more separating, rather than attempts to solve the problems. Thank you all for your help!

But, to answer your questions, in case anyone else is curious:
Yes, they are both spayed. The pit is usually just lying down when the beagle mix tries to initiate fight (staring), which is why I thought the blanket might be a source of contention. I have not gotten them a full MOT check -- that seems like a good idea, even though I'm not keeping the pit.
 

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I am sorry, but it is probably the best.

Plus adopting her out will free up room in your house for another foster, room to save more lives.
 

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You made the right decision. Two females can be BAD NEWS. There is a saying. Males fight for breeding rights. Females fight for breathing rights.

I never suggest anyone have two females for this reason unless they are dedicated to keeping them separate.
 

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I agree, right decision.

If you want to keep fostering, keep fostering to help those dogs get their own forever homes and when the right one is there, you will know. Things will just seem to fit right in the household.

You may want to ask to foster only males or even only puppies (although puppies can be a very different foster experience)

I had a large male dog so when I fostered, I fostered female dogs or puppies whenever possible. I fostered only two male adult dogs, one that was borderline on getting along and one that was after my male had recovered from knee surgery and it was crate and rotate anyways.

I fostered only puppies and that one younger male dog after I "foster failed" and adopted my female Eva.
 

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When I was fostering, we narrowed it down to ONLY males under 4 months of old. This way, our selective adults got used to the puppy as it grew up and they didn't feel the puppy was a threat..
 
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