What Kind of Aggression & How to Fix It!?
So I'll start off with a little background of my bully's. Isabel is a 5 year old, she's spayed - she was previously in another home for the first 10 months of her life in which she was abused. She was chased with bats/long sticks & vacuum cleaners. She used to be afraid & directed her aggression towards me since the previous owner who abused her was a woman - me & her are past that now. She is very protective over my boyfriend & I. I also have Jackson who is almost 2.5 years old, and intact! He's a feisty guy who loves attention and doesn't want anything more than to be the center of attention & in the action with everyone (humans) - he's also a good listener/obedient. Sometimes. These two used to play & play & the occasional hump! Never a problem.
So a few months ago, we had to leave to work somewhere to stay in a company apartment for about a month & one of the dog kennels broke so we let Isabel sleep out of the kennel & Jackson had to sleep in the kennel. We trusted her more to not pee on everything in sight or chew anything. This is when the aggression towards each other started. I've been watching their behavior & trying to correct it for over 3 months. At first it seemed like Isabel would "strut" around his kennel, almost in circles to show her dominance. Probably when we weren't home either. I believe Jackson would get sick of it, growl at her, thus giving her a reason to lunge at him & they would both attack each other through the kennel. To fix that, when we weren't supervising or at night, she had to be locked in another room. Now when the roles are reversed and we put her in the kennel and him out - we wouldn't have this issue at all. Jackson would walk around her kennel or sniff at her - from what I observed, he was mostly just interested in her (like he used to be).
When we got back home, I thought maybe the fighting would stop but it just gets worse.. These two can't even be outside the kennel (in the house) together... It will start as a staring contest, then fight. Jackson always holds his stance, very still, staring & Isabel is always the one to lunge at him first. When we all walk outside, they're fine. Drinking water, fine. We feed them in their kennels.
Jackson just does not like to be in his kennel when she's out, he's jealous & wants to be the center of attention too. Today when he was in his kennel, he just stared at her until he got her attention, then she lunged at his kennel. I have to distract her when she's out so she doesn't pay attention to this staring. Now when he's out of his kennel, he's a doll & couldn't care less about staring at her unless he wants to sniff her. But in his kennel he turns into a beast.
I'm sorry this is so long, I just want to get all background information out there, I hope someone can guide me into the right direction. We are looking to see a behavioralist soon if we can't fix this ourselves. I've heard that this is "cage aggression" but I've had no luck in changing it. I've even put a towel on a side of his kennel so he can't see her. One thing that I try to do is when Jackson starts to growl or stare, I go over to him & make him lay down in his kennel. He's usually good about it but sometimes I think he just wants to be a challenge & wags his tail when he doesn't listen! ugh!
He turned his aggression towards me today, I had a knock at the door & he saw it as an opportunity to run out of the door to play outside. (By the way, I spend a lot of time outside with this guy just about every day - thinking it will wear him out... No, he just wants more). I grabbed his hips before he could hop on out & pulled him back. He growled at me & I told him to get in his kennel & he kept growling at me. I didn't scold him, I just told him to lay down. I was pretty unsuccessful in getting him to lay down, I didn't even get angry with him - but definitely showed me that this dog does not think I'm the leader
Re: What Kind of Aggression & How to Fix It!?
Thanks for replying Brutus77! Ok...
We have had Jackson since a pup, he has always been crated. Isabel, my boyfriend had her since she was 10 months old, since we've been together, she's been crated. The action or event that changed is when her kennel broke and we let her out of her crate when we weren't home or sleeping. This is when his staring progressed or her attacking him while he was in his kennel progressed. Since we've been back home, they are both crated (we bought her a new kennel). We also separate them by two feet and a towel that covers Jackson's view of her. But I guess out of sight out of mind is not going to work here since you mentioned putting them in separate rooms. We really have to crate them unless we are going on a walk or it's just Jackson out of his kennel. We try to work with both of them by having one in the kennel & work on correcting the bad behavior before it starts, but it always ENDS the same & we return them to their kennel.
It only takes Isabel a matter of a minute to return Jackson's glare & proceed to attack him while he's in the kennel. Today, I've tried to just stick my hand in the kennel and tell them to calm down or "be easy". I wasn't with Isabel for the first two years of her life so any training she's had, isn't much. She does NOT calm down when we say "enough" or anything. She doesn't know how to lay down without physically pulling her down. She does not listen, at all to any attempts to calm her down.
On the other hand, if Jackson gets riled up, starts the stare down or growls, a simple "enough" or "quiet" calms him down & he then listens to me. He will not get aggressive with me unless I get angry which I don't do.
To answer your staring while one is not in the kennel. When Jackson is out, he does not stare, he does not care about Isabel. When he is in his kennel, he stares & she returns the stare, then she lunges at his kennel.
He's getting neutered late this month.
Last edited by Isabel and Jackson; 04-10-2014 at 11:18 PM.
Reason: Additional Info
Re: What Kind of Aggression & How to Fix It!?
Yes.. I totally agree. I was about to post last night with what we tried. Since Isabel is usually the one who doesn't listen after she's gotten mad, I had to put the choke collar on her - it's the only thing that gets her out of her "zone" that she gets in when she's mad or trying to eat him. But we did have both of them out last night & they were good. We are seeing who starts the staring, who continues to fight and we stopped it.
When we are outside walking, they get along perfectly, same as when they are drinking water... They even take turns or wait for the other to finish. Something ticks in them when we are all just relaxing but we're going to try both of them together again on leashes until we stop this staring.
Thanks again for the advice