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Thread: Advice needed....MY behaviour!

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    Pet Sitter Momma2Bullies's Avatar
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    Question Advice needed....MY behaviour!

    Hello all!

    a while ago I posted about some new developments at home where Wilbur and Layla (littermates, both altered, 2 years old) started having serious fights. This all coincided with me not working and home all the time (since Nov). We tried everything, and made some progress, but the longest they would go without an incident was 2 or 3 days.
    Trigger seems to be Wilbur's possessiveness of me, I try to break it up, neither will stop...etc.

    They have fought when I am alone with them as well as when both me and my BF are home.
    Two seconds later they are cuddling and playing.

    Well I have been away for 2 weeks now and I return home in a couple of days. Since I have been gone, there hasn't been a single incident, in fact my BF has started to leave them uncrated while he goes out for a while and they just sleep together ( yes we have a nanny cam on them!).

    my question is, what should I do when I walk back into the house? How can I make sure my presence doesn't undo the tranquility? I don't want to have to re-home myself!!!!

    I am dying to see my babies (can't believed I survived!) but I am so sad that I clearly seem to be the problem.....



    UPDATE June 12:Hi everyone! Just wanted to pass on the update so far. Since I came back, the fights have decreased (even though there were a few the very night I came back). I started to really pay attention to what is going on, and also acted like a "snotty cheerleader" (LOL!). I presented like their antics or growling to each other were so boring and beneath me.

    I also saw that when Wilbur started being aggressive, and I would tell him no and discipline him, Layla seemed to interpret that as my needing her protection/help. I don't know whether this is good or bad, but I started just ignoring Wilbur when he was being cranky. I didn't tell him yes or no. When Layla saw this, she has basically stopped engaging him, so the whole incident just fizzles out. As the weeks have passed, we have hardly had any fights.

    maybe being TOO involved in their every action was not the best course of action. Now that I am not "rewarding" the bad behaviour with attention (even though it was not positive attention from me, it was still attention), they seem to be getting along better.

    I will keep you posted!!!!

    Update June 27: Spoke too soon. Things are a mess. All-out fights AND it seems Wilbur has been marking in the living room since I don't know when.
    Hubby and I are both suffering severe puncture wounds after breaking up the latest fight tonight (of course, triggered by me allowing Wilbur on my lap and Layla happened to come "too close").

    I don't know what to do. I am consistently the common denominator, no matter what I try.
    I also just posted about this in another thread about marking and territorial growling.

    Feeling so dejected. Everything is peaceful when I am not around.
    Worked so hard for housebreaking too... thought it was the one thing I had done right (alarm set for every 2 hours through the night, minimal house accidents when they were puppies. They are completely house-broken...WTF Wilbur!)
    Last edited by Momma2Bullies; 06-27-2013 at 08:37 PM. Reason: Update
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    Default Re: Advice needed....MY behaviour!

    I know it's going to be hard but I think that when you first go home that you need to ignore them both, and only greet them when they have calmed down.

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    Default Re: Advice needed....MY behaviour!

    I agree with @kazzy220 just walk past them and don't make eye contact with them until they have calmed down and you can give attention on your terms. It's supper hard to do, because you want to see and love on them, but try it. How it works out.
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    Default Re: Advice needed....MY behaviour!

    Sorry to hear that they are fighting, it is really scary My 3 year old male and female bulldog started a fight about an hour ago and it was all my fault even though I obviously didn't mean to In our case it's tension that starts the fights, for example tonight I was sitting on the couch and my bulldogs were sitting by my feet. The male was licking the females face and she started to growl, she always does it and nothing happens, it's just their way of doing it but tonight I got up from the couch at the same time pushing the male away from her. For some reason that tension starts the fight it has happened many times that they start to fight when we try to correct the female from growling, so now we just let her Our female is a bit grumpy but luckily the male is very understanding, also I've learned the triggers and avoid them at any cost. They don't eat together anymore and they have separate beds, also when they play I stop them when I see that the female gets tired. And of course the ignoring of her growling... (It's bad I know, dog trainers look away

    I don't know if Wilbur and Layla has triggers? It sounds like one is guarding you like you said. Our male guards us like that when we have food so it's easy to correct, we just remove him from the room if he starts to "stiff up" around the food. Maybe you somehow add tension without knowing? I know I get stiff myself if I suspect a fight coming and then of course it does I don't know, it's really hard, I just know how our kids work and I'm sure you'll find triggers as well, and then it's easier to avoid fights. We only have a few incidents a year so it's not that bad.

    The hardest part is to split them up, they just wont let go maybe you have any tips? We pour water on ours, it does take a lot of water though so it's a HUGE mess when it's all over but I'm to scared to go in between them.

    Hope you find a away to reduce the fight incidents
    You were born with the ability to change someone's life, don't ever waste it.



  5. #5
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    Default Re: Advice needed....MY behaviour!

    Quote Originally Posted by kazzy220 View Post
    I know it's going to be hard but I think that when you first go home that you need to ignore them both, and only greet them when they have calmed down.

    ^^^ EXACTLY.... no eye contact or touching until they are calm.
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  6. #6
    Pet Sitter Momma2Bullies's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice needed....MY behaviour!

    Quote Originally Posted by 2BullyMama View Post
    ^^^ EXACTLY.... no eye contact or touching until they are calm.
    i was afraid you would advise this! But thank you all for this suggestion....
    It IS going to be really hard, but I think it is more important to ensure their long-term wellbeing rather than satisfy my own guilt for 5 minutes.
    @Petra, I hear you! In my house, Wilbur is the grumpy/cranky one. He is lower energy than Layla, and wants more "alone time". He will start growling, and giving her what I would call ample signs and clues, but it is like she wants to provoke him. I know I don't help....Wilbur is very attached to me and I really babied him after his knee surgery ( I am also a very anxious and nervous person).

    We haven't tried water, we ring a super loud dinner bell thing that I am sure wakes the dead!

    but with my absence , it sees clear that I am a huge trigger. I will let you know if the suggestions above work...
    it will be so hard to not scoop them up in my arms!
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    Default Re: Advice needed....MY behaviour!

    Sounds pretty much exactly as our situation only it's the female that is the difficult one. She's also been a little extra pampered due to her health issues she's had surgeries to try to sort out her eye problem and her hips are not 100% so she's on special supplements. She's also much less energetic and prefers to be left alone just like Wilbur. It's hard to find a middle way of her being left alone and him getting his energy out. We have a pug who our male plays with when his playfulness is pouring over so I think that helps our situation. Trying to play with only the male is domed to fail cos the female then of course gets jealous

    I used to get stiff when I saw signs of trouble but I've learned to ignore it and I just get up and call their names in a happy calm voice and one of them always listens and comes with me and then the tension in the situation is gone

    That bell sounds interesting... lol. I wonder if that will work on ours, they don't seem to hear or care about anything while busy fighting I've heard some people use pepper but I'm to scared to try it.
    You were born with the ability to change someone's life, don't ever waste it.



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    Default Re: Advice needed....MY behaviour!

    Quote Originally Posted by Petra View Post
    The hardest part is to split them up, they just wont let go maybe you have any tips? We pour water on ours, it does take a lot of water though so it's a HUGE mess when it's all over but I'm to scared to go in between them.

    The fights that we have in our house started when our sweet Maggie passed away ... almost a year ago. Although Maggie was the alpha I think it was our all consuming grief mixed with the loss of the alpha that upset the balance so much. So Daddy started to go after our black lab, Bear. I learnt very quickly how to break up a fight!!! First of all, mine always wear collars. Not to walk with because it's ALWAYS harnesses, but I see their collars as fashion accessories
    ... and I'm always trolling Etsy for new collars!! Anyway... back to the point ... if they don't have collars then get them or make sure they are wearing their harnesses all the time. If a fight does break out then instinct says to just go in there without a thought and try to break them up. What you HAVE to do is stand back and wait for your moment and go for the collar/harness instead.

    If all else fails, again take your time and work out who is the more aggressive one, then get behind them and grab their two hind legs and pull them away.

    I've had to do both things when a fight has broken out in the back yard and a bucket of water is just not at hand!

    Over time, we have worked out the triggers and although it is fair to say that Bear hates Daddy with every ounce of his being, at least we don't have fights any more. My daughter is hoping to get a pet friendly apartment with her boyfriend in October and has begged us to let her take Bear with her. For peace, harmony and Bears happiness we've told her she can.

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    Default Re: Advice needed....MY behaviour!

    Thanks for your advice @kazzy220 I admit I'm bad at letting them wear a collar, I always think when a fight breaks out that "It would have been great to have collar to grab right now", but well... too late. If I don't have water we usually simply take one each (me and my husband) and we pick them up. Then they let go after a while cos they can't get a new "grip". I think this weekend I must make it my mission to find them nice collars, some shopping is never boring, especially for the kids, and now I even have an excuse

    Thanks again
    Last edited by Petra; 05-16-2013 at 03:24 PM. Reason: Wrong spelling
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    Default Re: Advice needed....MY behaviour!

    Quote Originally Posted by Petra View Post
    Thanks for your advice @kazzy220 I admit I'm bad at letting them wear a collar, I always think when a fight breaks out that "It would have been great to have collar to grab right now", but well... too late. If I don't have water we usually simply take one each (me and my husband) and we pick them up. Then they let go after a while cos they can't get a new "grip". I think this weekend I must make it my mission to find them nice collars, some shopping is never boring, especially for the kids, and now I even have an excuse

    Thanks again

    check out etsy.com. Really pretty handmade collars ... you may even get addicted to buying them... like me!!!!

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    Default Re: Advice needed....MY behaviour!

    Quote Originally Posted by kazzy220 View Post
    I know it's going to be hard but I think that when you first go home that you need to ignore them both, and only greet them when they have calmed down.
    I agree with kazzy and Davidh. The excitement of you coming home probably is a trigger as well. As others have mentioned the temptation is to love up on them while they are jumping and wanting your affection but don't do it. Just remain calm and go about your business till they calm down and then you can love up on them. We have the same problem somewhat when my wife comes home. The maltese is running around and barking and wants to jump on my wife so she will pick him up. And Ace, the bulldog, wants her attention to so the two of them compete for it which usually ends up with Ace trying to dominate the little dog.

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    Pet Sitter Momma2Bullies's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice needed....MY behaviour!

    Thank you all so much for your input, I really appreciate it (and everyone on this fabulous forum that has been a godsend for me!).
    i leave tomorrow, so I will steel myself and make sure I follow this advice! I know it will be difficult, but I need to change my ways!
    BTW, still no incident and the dogs have been left uncrated all week. This is a record, and I want it to stay this way!

    thanks again xo
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