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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
although there hasn't been an incident t since we returned home from summer vacation the end of July, there was one yesterday in the yard. I have 7 fenced in acres,,had let them out together( I have a 3rd male Rottie mix) because they were mildly barking at some far off critter. I held Gracie back,,as I always do so Roma wouldn't feel threatened , and let them all out . They branched out separately like they always do. I got on a phone call so wasn't paying attention to them, couldn't have seen them anyway from the house with the trees. 15 minutes later, they all came back, roma and Pancho went straight into the pool, Gracie was the last to appear, covered in dirt and mud( we have a baseball field in our yar and it had just rained). The others weren't dirty, just panting more than usual but figured it was from chasing a squirrel or rough housing with each other. gracie was panting the most, I hosed her off, then noticed a couple punctures around her neck. I took her inside and examined her further,,she had a very raw bruised neck, a dime sized hole in the side of her neck, and multiple punctures. I called the vet who,happened to be open late last night, took her in, where they shaved all her spots and closed the big one with 4 staples! This is the second time she has required staples from Roma. Since I didn't see it happen, my guess is they had a squirrel treed way back in the yard, and roma was frenzying over it( she has been lucky to,catch one twice that fell after failing to make the leap to,a better tree) and she saw gracie as a threat. I don't know if the male got into it, I doubt it, because he usually just stands there when the females go at it. gracie never starts it nor fights back. I am just sick about it. I had been so good about supervising them, and they were getting along fine, seemed to really love each other. My dilemma is, I have had Roma since she was a puppy, came from the rescue I am very involved in, and her sister Gracie,,was returned to the rescue at 18 months, I fostered her,,and adopted her. I was thinking if anyone has to be rehomed it would be Gracie, since she came late. My husband adores her and is mad at Roma. My male, Pancho is very bonded to Roma, tolerates Gracie, is just starting to almost like her. I have asked for the advice of a trainer, she basically,says it is instinctual for Roma to want to eliminate Gracie when prey is involved. Since the incidents are so rare, it would be impossible to set it up, and correct Roma If she is going to attack. I am also talking with the president of the rescue about what the best solution is. I love them both, and Gracie had some trust issues when she came to me, I worked so hard with her to prepare her for adoption, then ended up not being able to give her up. Advice please?
 

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I'm very sorry that you're finding yourself in such a difficult position. :-( I don't know about the 'eliminating competition' theory, it sort of sounds like basic redirected aggression/frustration to me - not that 'labeling' it really makes things better or different.

My Charlie used to redirect onto Abby when he got worked up over squirrels in the yard, and we trained him to take his frustrations out on inanimate objects (sticks or toys) that were laying around instead. BUT! In my case we're talking about a 35# dog who never drew blood - so it's not *really* the same at all.

In your case, I'd have to say that the girls will need to be tightly managed so that they never are put in a situation where Roma might encounter something that will start getting her charged up. So, NO yard time together (never know when a squirrel might hop by), no walks together (again, just in case something stimulating happens) Pretty much a crate & rotate existence, with the possible exception of calmly hanging out with you in the house. Is that really something you want to do, or is it even reasonable to think you could do? Honestly, there's no shame in admitting that sort of lifestyle just won't work with your lifestyle.

What would worry me the most, is that one day Gracie might just decide she's had enough & fight back... No one can decide what is right for you & your situation, but if it were me, I'd return Gracie to the rescue (yes, with a heavy heart, but knowing that it was in her best interest)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I agree, more vigilance is what is required. I am home a lot hanging out with them. If I am gone they are either crated, or left with instruction if they are free and someone is there, not to let them out, especially if they are frenzying over a squirrel, but when I am gone and they are free in the house,,al,they care about is my return. They all wait by the window, from what I am told . I will be going outside with them, maybe with an air horn, from now on.
 

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I agree with BKaymuttleycrew - the dogs should not be unsupervised together. You're risking both (or all) of their lives by letting them roam unsupervised in your yard.

I seem to remember you starting a thread a while ago about them fighting, but I don't remember the specifics. Under what circumstances are they fighting? Only when they're free roaming, or also while they're leashed? Have they ever fought in the house? Have you ever had to try to separate them? How did it go? Has Roma ever redirected towards Pancho, or only Gracie?

My first instinct, in this situation, is to suggest that you eliminate the situations in which Roma will find the need to redirect at Gracie. You wouldn't need to do a strict crate & rotate if the dogs don't have conflicts in the house, and you could easily muzzle Roma for walks in order to preserve Gracie's safety. Don't let them roam unsupervised.

I know you're more bonded with Roma, but it makes me uncomfortable to think that the solution to Roma's aggression is to rehome the dog she's aggressive towards. She will eventually find other dogs/things to redirect at, I think. It's not like getting rid of Gracie will get rid of Roma's instincts to redirect aggression under stress.
 

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Yeah, personally, I would do everything to set my dogs up for success. So if I were to go outside with the group I would separate the two that don't get along and go on two separate outdoor adventures rather than putting them all together and hoping you'll make it to the fight in time next time.

If it only happens when she's hyper-excited and redirecting her frustrations on the one that's easy to target, I would make sure not to have them together during events that could make her hyper-excited. Like going outside in a group. You can carry an air horn, but unless you follow them around at all times, and pay attention at all times for the right moment, I wouldn't think you'd be able to prevent a fight every time.

I would most likely attempt a loose crate and rotate existence, or potentially rehome the instigator if crating/rotating wasn't something I could do.
Rehoming Roma, unfortunately, would be the better idea. She doesn't seem the type of dog to be suitable in a multi-dog/multi-female household. Even if you get rid of Gracie she could just go down the line to the next submissive (for lack of a better word) target in your group. Who knows she may start fights with the males without Gracie being the target of her frustrations.
I'm really sorry you're in this situation and I know how hard a rehoming can be with a dog you've raised, that's just my two cents. Good luck!
 

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If it does come down to rehoming... I don't think that decision needs to be made strictly on a "seniority" basis but keep in mind that rehoming a dog with a history of redirected aggression towards another dog in the home is going to be difficult at best and potentially ethically sketchy at worst. It's also not fair (but very human) to be mad at or blame Roma.

If this only happens in response to certain triggers then I think it's doable to keep these dogs in the same home. I do it with mine, although I won't go into all the gory details, and along with behavioral modification things have really eased over time. I would never let these dogs outside together, period, though. I don't know enough about how they act inside the house together to comment on management there.
 

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Posting to add:

I think it's a workable situation and re-homing doesn't have to be the first choice. Does it require more care and attention than owning 3 dogs who get along? Sure.

My two males (a 140 lb. GSD or Mal mix and a 130 lb. Great Dane/GSD) used to get into fights because they were both resource guarders. Did they put holes into each other that required stitches? Sure, a few times, in fact. Eventually, however, I learned to eliminate the situations before they escalated, and I didn't have to worry about crate/rotate because I managed the stimulus that existed in their environment at any given time.

Neither of the dogs were good candidates for re-homing (the 140 lb. dog has a high prey drive and has killed cats in his previous homes and the 130 lb. dog bit a kid who was hitting him with a stick when he was a puppy), so I was in a situation where I had to make it work or I had to euthanize one.

It is doable, and I don't think you should give up yet, unless you're very set in the opinion that you simply cannot handle strictly maintaining and observing their environment and interactions.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
The first time it happened was during a walk at our summer home( all 3, with me alone) and a Dobie on a,leash 50 feet away set them off, all of them..that's when Roma attacked Gracie. I had to break them up, got bitten in the process. No injuries to anyone tho. Pancho didn't get involved, but Roma had Gracie in a death grip, on her back and latched to her throat area. One other time in the house down there, over a squirrel spotted outside, but I saw it coming and pulled Roma by the tail and under her hips to get her off Gracie.
So far since we have been home, no house incidents at all, but I mkae them calm down before going outside, holding Gracie back away from Roma, or I,don't let anyone out if they are spazzing like that. gracie has learned to hang back before going outside. Now,she doesn't want to go near Roma, inside or out,,even tho Roma is being her usual sweet self. Roma would never attack Pancho because she was raised as a puppy with him, and he is the one who had to put her in her place as a youngster. They NEVER fight,,just play rough . And working with a shelter,,Roma has been exposed to many female dogs,,no issues whatsoever. It's just Gracie who sets her off, and that's only with outside stimuli.
 

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If that's the case and I was determined to keep both dogs (which isn't wrong - as I said, that was my decision in response to interdog conflict) I would never let them outside together. It's a drag but it becomes automatic to rotate and it will just become normal after awhile.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Poor Gracie is traumatized ...she just lays behind my chair. I have been out with them a few times, she steers clear of them, but Roma is like business as usual. They keep checking out Gracie's wounds, she looks nervous every time. How does an attack like that affect the victim? Is it like a human, PTSD? I have been giving her extra love today
 

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My 2 males have gone at each other so we have to crate and rotate. We have let them be together for very short times. They dont instantly go at each other, which is a plus. We do redirect. The Beagle is the instigator in our situation. Elvin doesnt seem to remember? Like he just looks at Opie and is thinking " whats your problem?". Are your girls spayed? Opie wasnt neutered so that was part of our problem. he is now though. Id love to hear about some of the behavior modifications mentioned in this thread.

We thought of rehoming Opie because hes the one that caused it BUT it wouldnt be fair to him and new owners so we have adapted. They both are happy and healthy, even if not left alone together anymore.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Yes they are both spayed . I feel so badly because I,wasn't there to witness it or break it up. I still don't know if my male was involved or not. Judging from Gracie's injuries, Roma could have hurt her much worse or even killed her,,all around the neck area. Thank goodness for a thick coat! I am surprised Gracie walked away.
 

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I wasnt there to witness our bad fight either. I left the boys out like i normally did and went to go out to pick up my son. I heard Faith barking but thought nothing because she barks....well hubby came home while I was out to blood literally everywhere. Punctures in both of them and gashes. Opie got Elvin way more. Elvin really needed quite a few stitches/staples. Not pretty. If they had not stopped Opie would have killed Elvin. Who would think a beagle could kill a lab/husky? Anyway, so i understand how you feel bad and its OK!! Now just make sure to take the steps to prevent/manage/change behaviors and conditions.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I actually went out to try to find the scene of the crime a little bit ago. Gracie was covered in dirt,,so I surmised it was from the baseball field in our yard, BUT,,at first thought just rolling for fun, but it is clay and would have been reddish. I went back by the pine trees,,( we have double rows around perimeter of property)where the squirrels hang out,,and found a patch of dirt that was very much disturbed. I found some light hair and some blood on a weed nearby...BINGO! So I re- enacted the incident,,squirrel treed, Pancho and Gracie jumping on the tree trunk,,Roma waiting,,salivating quietly at the base,,squirrel makes a move, all dogs get excited, (stimulus) and Roma goes after Gracie. Possibly Pancho jumping in(doubtful tho he had a smear of blood on his face ). If that's the case, with Pancho involved somehow, poor Gracie!
 
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