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We have 3 dogs living in our house, all girls, two are mine and one is my brother's dog. His dog is the oldest (american bulldog). He got her from the pound at around the age of two. This is the dog that has been aggressive. The bulldog generally does not get along well with dogs she doesn't know. She can't go to the dog park because she seems to always get into it with dogs that are bigger than her. The first time she met our largest dog (substantially taller than the other two), she also tried to start a fight, but she gets along with the largest dog just fine now and has for a couple of years. The largest dog is by far the most submissive, and she generally gets along with any dog she meets. When the other dogs try to steal her food, she simply comes and nudges us to pick it up for her when she's full so they can't eat it.

A little over a year ago now, we got a puppy. Initially, the bulldog adored the puppy. The bulldog actually stirred up a ruckus when my sister brought her dog over and that dog growled at the puppy. The bulldog jumped on my sister's dog and was barking/growling very aggressively, no biting occurred. If our large dog started roughhousing with the puppy too much, the bulldog would growl at her. Our large dog and the puppy have never fought before though.

Now, the puppy, a small lab mix is about 18 months old, not a puppy anymore. She weighs slightly less than the bulldog and is a little taller. The bulldog's demeanor with her seems to have completely changed. She growls at her much more frequently when she's being annoying. The lab mix is quite rambunctious still. The lab mix has always been annoying and hovers around the other dogs around mealtime, although we try to keep her from doing this. The large dog simply leaves the food and will come get myself or my husband to pick up her food or make the lab mix back off, depending on if she's still hungry. The bulldog was letting the lab mix get away with hovering over her during mealtime when she was a puppy, but in the past month or two she's grown increasingly hostile to it. The lab mix has also always occasionally done this weird air humping toward the other two but neither were bother by it when she was little. The largest dog still isn't bothered by it.

Last night, at mealtime, the lab mix was doing the same thing and the bulldog attacked her. The lab mix is pretty agile, so she avoided getting trapped in the bulldog's chompers, but she has a very tiny head and the bulldog was trying to put the lab mix's whole head in her mouth. They were separated after that for the rest of the night. Then, this morning the lab mix did the same thing to her, and the bulldog growled. The lab mix backed off a little bit, and the bulldog finished eating. The lab mix was no longer paying attention to the bulldog and it attacked her. The bulldog got hold of the lab mix's neck and refused to let go. We were surprised and panicked and did not handle this the way we should have. My brother grabbed the lab mix's hind legs, and when the bulldog wouldn't let go, he tried to pick the lab mix up. I ran into the room and grabbed the bulldog by the collar. We tried a bunch of things to try to get the bulldog to let go, even hitting her in the sides and pulling on her tail. After what felt like an eternity, she finally let go, which I can only guess was from finally running out of air after being choked by me pulling on the collar that whole time. No blood, thank goodness.

The lab mix was pretty shaky after. I took her in the office and she was barking and shaking just from hearing the largest dog walk by outside. What's more, now the lab mix seems to be trying to seek out the bulldog. She tried to sit outside the door to the bulldog's bedroom and bark at it the night of the first incident. She seems to be doing the same again today, like she wants payback or something. We have them separated for the foreseeable future. I really don't know when/if I'll be comfortable with them being in the same room. I won't even let the largest dog by in the same room with the bulldog now unless one of the humans is there to supervise (although the bulldog hasn't had a single issue with this dog since they first met years ago, I just don't feel comfortable with it). Does anyone have any ideas what is causing this? Is there anything we can actually do to change this behavior?
 

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There is a thing dog people talk about -"puppy license," which means adult dogs (not all but most) will tolerate behavior from a puppy that they won't from an adult. Your lab mix's puppy license has just run out.

There's another known dog thing which is bitch to bitch aggression, which is acknowledged among dog people as the most severe kind. The general idea is that male dogs fight to win and female dogs fight to kill.

So - the young dog no longer has a puppy license, and you've been lucky having 3 female dogs that got along.

Figure that's over now. The bulldog is never going to be safe around the lab mix again and you have the option of keeping them totally, absolutely, always carefully separate or of rehoming one. Well, also of course of doing neither of those things and paying vet bills and maybe cremation fees.

Sorry. I live with this situation myself - two bitches, one would be friends, one wants to kill the friendly one, house with lots of baby gates. And I'm lucky at that because in my case the aggressive bitch doesn't actively seek out the other dog, just takes advantage of any opportunity to get to her. I know of other cases where the aggressive dog would go right through the kind of barriers that work for me. Sounds like you might have more my kind of situation. Time will tell.
 

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I'm going to agree with storyist & say that the 'puppy license' has expired, plus you have exacerbated the situation by allowing the rude 'hovering' behavior at mealtimes to continue. At the very least, you need to completely & totally separate all three dogs whenever food is in the picture. Locked in crates or separate rooms for ALL mealtimes.

But, yeah, in all honesty you're looking at long term 'crate & rotate', with the dogs never having any contact with each other, ever.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the responses. That is what I suspected were the only solutions. The “puppy license” definitely seems to make sense.

Luckily, the bulldog isn’t one of my dogs and does not live here permanently. She’s only been living here for about 7 months. We’ve been letting my brother and his dog live here while he finishes school. I was generally not there when the bulldog was fed, so my information is secondhand.

The bulldog has a history of not getting along with pretty much every other dog she’s met, and she has certain destructive tendencies, ruining a number of different items in my house, ripping plants out of the yard, etc. The conflict was just surprising in this instance because they had gotten along so well before.

I think it’s safe to say she has worn out her welcome at this point.
 
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