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Thread: Aggression--how to head it off

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    Wrinkle Wiper matzwd's Avatar
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    Default Aggression--how to head it off

    Before Aunt Clara came to live with us, Zelda was the stingy, alpha princess in our home. Biscuit the chihuahua mutt is an independent guy and couldn't care less about either of the girls, except that they leave him alone, so none of this involves him. So, we knew pretty much immediately after getting Clara that she also was a stingy alpha girl. Zelda mothered her by protecting her and bossing her up to within a couple of months. We've gradually had more and more spats, all of them food related. I usually pick Clara up and hold her for a minute to separate the two and then put her back on the floor after the food has been removed. Well, tonight, there was no food, just toys the girls like to chew. They used to steal them from each other and wrestle a bit, but this was waaayyy different. Clara is definitely the one to go on the attack first. When I picked her up, I could hardly get them apart because they were literally attached to one another skin-teeth. After waiting a minute or two for things to calm down and for the toys to be removed. I set her down. She immediately went after Zelda again, and it started all over, this time even more aggressively. I did get them separated and put Clara in a room with the door closed. No one is bleeding (but Clara was the other night in another spat). However, I'm becoming concerned that these two are going to end up hating each other and not being able to live peacefully together. What do we need to do? They are calm right now and both free to roam, but I do have a leash on Clara just in case.

    I've read some other threads regarding this topic, but they seem to be with aggression from the older pooch rather than the newcomer.

    They are also loose in the house while we are away from home. Should I maybe be separating them while we are gone, or is this something like skin-kids do to get parents' attention?

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    Dog Park Attendant Noyes27's Avatar
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    I am in no way an expert, but I would think picking the one up is actually a positive reenforcment, and you should stand between them instead so that you are the alpha, by picking the one up it seems you are protecting her/him thus making that one the alpha...

    Sent from my myTouch_4G_Slide using Tapatalk 2

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    Default Re: Aggression--how to head it off

    I agree, no expert here either but I do know having one higher than the other as in couches etc, shows them as higher in the pack. Whoever is the aggressor needs to be the main one handled I would think. MAke that pup sit and watch the other with the toys in a sit/stay position or even laying down which puts them more in a submission. You have to be on guard to keep the aggressor in check, they must sit and just wait until the other is done with the toy etc. in my case Miila was the aggressor, being new to the pack but I would think the rules are all the same cuz in the end YOU are the actual pack leader and you choose who does what. They both need to know that. It is exhausting and you must be on top of the situation or it will get ugly quick. Can't judge your home specifically but with Miila, I kept them separate while we were gone for their safety. Poor Miila was gated in the hallway if we left for an extended period otherwise crated for quick runs. Better than finding one hurt severely when you come home. I have read online that many times they are better when we are gone and acting out with us cuz we are providing the environment for the fight. But for me t
    gleaming it to chance wasn't an option cuz Miila was nutso. There are many here who know best but this is my experience.

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    Default Re: Aggression--how to head it off

    Well they are trying to figure out who is alpha and that needs to be you. First off when they get into a fight don't pick one up. When one of our girls start a fight I will grab the one who started it by the side of her neck and hold her and say NO. Then let her go and the fight is over. There are other ways of doing this as well, but this works for me. You need to go back to the basics, when you take them out side you go out the door first, make them sit before they go out and do the dame coming in. Make them sit before they eat, make them earn everything, even your affection. If you do not have them crate trained I would think about it and put them in their crates when you are not at home. Now that they are fighting, do not leave them alone together. If they fight when you are gone you may find a dead bully when you get home. Bullies, once they get older and fight, some will fight and then its over and some will fight until one is dead, so don't chance it.
    Have a Great Bully Day.
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    Default Re: Aggression--how to head it off

    I hope things get better for you! Let me know what works!

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    Default Re: Aggression--how to head it off

    I agree with @Davidh. You need to start enforcing the law right now. Picking one of them up is not the answer, because you are putting that dog at a higher level and fueling the situation.

    Go right back to basics ... back to bootcamp!!! Just as davidh said, you go to the door and turn round then you make them back off and sit ... only then does the door get opened. The same with EVERYdoor. EVEN the fridge door ... mine are like a circle of piranhas the moment that fridge door opens so if yours are the same then it's a door and same rules apply. They back off a good distance and they wait.

    Food times have to be VERY disciplined because it appears that's where the aggression started to appear and that is not uncommon. You get their food, you make them sit, you make them give high-five or whatever, you put the bowls down in front of them but a little distance away. You make them sit and you make them wait until YOU say ok. Now if this is too hard at first then I would say that you work with them both in a separate room and do the same thing. Once they are both VERY good at sitting and waiting until they get permission, then try it with both of them together.

    When they have toys and they are playing. Go up to them, and take it away. Make them sit, make them do a trick, put it down, make them wait for permission.

    It's all mind games in the end. They will be so busy looking for permission from you, their alpha and their pack leader, they won't have time to bitch slap each other!!!!

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    Default Re: Aggression--how to head it off

    Good stuff here!

    Bo tried being a bossy little creep to Bea when he arrived too. (She was here first and a year older) By confirming for him where HE stood in the pack order (below me) certainly helped the situation. That takes time and practice by doing leadership type things over and over with them. Bo will be 2 in February so some of this stuff is him just being a "terrible two year old" but by not letting him get away with anything, he doesn't know he CAN get away with anything. LOL

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    Default Re: Aggression--how to head it off

    We are a one bully home, so I just wanted to say good luck sounds like you got some good advice on here

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    Wrinkle Wiper matzwd's Avatar
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    Thanks for the help and well wishes regarding my girls. That makes total sense about living Clara. I've just started doing it because I haven't been able to break up the fight and leave them both on the floor. When I picked up Zelda, who is a 15 pound Boston by the way, Clara still goes after her, so I'm trying to hold onto one and keep the other off. When I pick Clara up, she struggles to get back down for a minute, but Zelda doesn't jump up to try to get her. I was able to try grabbing Clara by the skin on the side of her neck last night, and she was still going to town, so I had to get her on both sides to keep my grip. I had her sit and stay there for a bit. I think with time this will work. I knew that if I shared this struggle with you guys you'd be able to help. Never even thought about the alpha positioning, so thanks to you!

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    Default Re: Aggression--how to head it off

    Quote Originally Posted by Noyes27 View Post
    I am in no way an expert, but I would think picking the one up is actually a positive reenforcment, and you should stand between them instead so that you are the alpha, by picking the one up it seems you are protecting her/him thus making that one the alpha...

    Sent from my myTouch_4G_Slide using Tapatalk 2
    This. I agree. I am going through a similar situation, though it does pale in comparison to yours. My cat Bubs hates my dog Remi. I mean, my cat will chase Remi all over the house in anger. It got to the point where my cat would pee on Remi's stuff and Remi would then pee on top of that.

    My dog loves to antagonize and chase my cat. Sometimes Remi will bark at him and try to play, but sometimes he can get a little rough and the whole thing just escalates into something borderline aggressive. I have tried a few things. Most have failed.

    Failed techniques:

    1) Body blocking (He always comes back to the cat, regardless of whether or not he submits. Or, it escalates to him challenging me by biting my pants/legs, hands, etc. It's not viscous, but it's obvious he's throwing a temper tantrum)
    2) Trying to get Remi's attention to break it up, but he pretty much ignores me, sounds, or any touching.
    3) Putting him on his side until he calms down and submits. I have discovered this actually seems to piss him off and makes Remi bite at my hands, clothes, etc. He will fight me for minutes on end. He will eventually give in, but again, it doesn't correct the behavior long term. This is pretty dangerous. Since he's almost 40 pounds at just under 6 months, I can't see this being a long term solution.
    4) Trying to nudge or sweep him to the side (OMG! What was I thinking? This just pisses him off!)

    ONE THING THAT HAS WORKED SO FAR

    What has worked amazingly well is when Remi gets in these moods where he's hell bent on going after the cat, I put the leash on him. I make him follow me around, sit by my feet, lay down, and other obedience training tricks. When he needs correcting, I lift up a little and give him the shhhht sound. For some reason, this completely snaps him out of it and re-establishes me as the alpha of the pack. I had to do this to him this morning, and although him and the cat had a scuffle, when I told him to give the cat space, he respected that limitation I put in front of him. He left and went to do something else.

    I'm sure some of my failed attempts work on other dogs, but it only seemed to escalate Remi's play/aggression.

    I do know that food aggression is not uncommon with bullys. I wonder what would happen if you put a leash on the antagonizer and correct him before he can escalate to attack mode. Let him know that behavior is not wanted. I bet he settles down. It'll be a challenge, but you can do it! Just be careful. We don't want you to get bitten!

    Good luck!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Last edited by ModernFemme; 12-22-2012 at 08:11 PM.



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    Default Re: Aggression--how to head it off

    @matzwd You have gotten great advice. The main thing here is for you to understand that all of this takes an enormous amount of time,patience and energy. You must commit yourself to doing these things over and over and over until she gets it. I would feed your other dog first and then after she is done feed your bully. I would keep them separate when you are not home. The leash at all times for now is a great idea also. Do not give up. You can do this. But you need to understand that bulldogs are stubborn and once they are set in doing something its very hard to stop them. Thats why you should be on top of her. The shhh sound and an affirmative loud NO its effective too. Good luck and dont give up!!
    LisaMarie

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    Default Re: Aggression--how to head it off

    We had a similar problem with Mack and Chester. Chester was always the aggressor and his attacks increased in frequency and severity. We had to split them up all of the time, they couldn't be loose together in the same room. We ended up finding a new home for Chester. Chester lived happily as an only inside dog with 2 kids all to himself!

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