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Thread: Females fighting at home...Need some ideas on solutions...or advice, please

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    Default Females fighting at home...Need some ideas on solutions...or advice, please

    All,
    Some of you may recall when I first joined the group back in May of 2012 when we first brought Kaida into our home as an 8 week old pup, flown in from a breeder in OK. We lived in Baltimore at the time...

    We'd had our share of health scares in the first year…an exploratory surgery, an eye specialist to remove weird ingrown eyelashes…

    Aside from that, she has always been a happy and healthy pup. She’s a little over 3 now and has only been to the vet in the last 2 years for routine wellness checkups. Woohoo!

    We added to our “furkids” by bringing Jade home (An American Bulldog) at 8 weeks old shortly after Kaida’s first birthday. My husband had hoped to have a running buddy – so we opted for the larger bulldog breed to allow him to have an exercise partner.

    Kaida didn’t particularly like this…she acted out when we got Jade and they took a bit to warm up, but by the time we moved (and made our 10 day trek cross country to Alaska) they were best buds …or so it seemed.

    Once Jade got to about 10 or 12 months, she started testing Kaida as alpha. Kaida, who loves people and just tolerates dogs (she just ignores or is pretty indifferent to dogs) – Kaida has big dog in a small body complex. She and Jade are of dominant / strong personalities and she never wants to give into Jade. They are both spayed. Jade outweighs Kaida by 40ish pounds. About a year ago, while Jade was just over 1 and Kaida just over 2 years old…they started squabbling over a toy here, or attention there. Growling is how it started…and stare-offs, til we separated them in time out into their crates and let them back out. It happened maybe once or twice in that year…so we thought it was just a mood then.

    We brought our 3rd pup in (another American Bulldog - male) shortly thereafter. About 3 months later, my husband, who is in the military – went to Colombia for 7 months, leaving me alone to care for our 3 dogs in Alaska solo. So it goes with the military.

    In that time, the girls’ behavior escalated and they became more jealous over attention and would stare eachother down…but by the time I caught on, they’d be growling and on top of eachother, fighting…it got worse each time it happened and separating them or trying to manage them by watching them…didn’t work, because once it stopped happening, I got lulled into “they’re over it”…and that’s when it would happen again.

    I put e-collars on to manage it from that time forward using the vibrate to distract and redirect them or crate them if needed as a time out session. That worked until my husband came home and we again got lulled into them being good again…my mother came to visit shortly after my husband’s return. They fought over attention then again…e-collars went back on.

    I suppose it may be our fault for not constantly making them wear the ecollars – as the behavior doesn’t seem to change between the females – and Kaida seems to instigate it so much with Jade. She’ll just give Jade the cocky stare down for no reason and we didn’t have the ecollars on this weekend…and it happened again…
    I will do what’s needed as far as training goes…but even our vet said that once they’ve gotten to eachother, it’s not likely to stop….we’ll always have to manage them and try not to trigger anything…BUT…I wonder if Kaida would be better off in a home where she can be the lone dog, or at least the lone female dog? I don’t want to re-home her, but at the same time, I want her to be happy and not get hurt…and for there not to be constant tension at home where we can comfortably care for our dogs without constantly having to be on edge or on the lookout for the next fight.

    Has anyone gone through this? She’s gotten puncture marks from Jade (as Jade has from her) and it’s scary everytime it happens…as we don’t know what the damage is until we clean the two up and assess it. I don’t want our little Kaida to keep getting hurt – she’s a petite bulldog at 38 lbs, but thinks she’s 100lbs. Super stubborn (they both are) and will not give in.

    Has anyone had this happen and trained in some way to successfully have the home be harmonious and stress free again? Or is the best solution to rehome her to ensure she is safe and happy without other dogs in the home?

    Thoughts?

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    Default Re: Females fighting at home...Need some ideas on solutions...or advice, please

    Two females can be very challenging---- consistent strong leadership is a must. Our girl Banks was very much like this and we had to avoid females to ensure no fights.

    I would leave ecollars on except when sleeping and in crates

    Also if not using it start... Nothing in life is free
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    Bulldog Vet in Training Become a 4 Paw Member Donnam's Avatar
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    Default Re: Females fighting at home...Need some ideas on solutions...or advice, please

    Oh Tina, I'm so sorry you are going through this. I have been through it with two females and it is terrible, heartbreaking and can even be dangerous. My situation started when we rescued a female boxer who was in terrible health. At the time, we had a female bulldog, a female boxer and a big alpha male boxer. All of the dogs got along great. We had the rescue boxer spayed and got her healthy, fell in love with her too. As she was getting well, my male boxer was dying of cancer. When we finally had to put him down was when the s**t hit the fan. The rescue, Bella, was healthy again and she challenged Lily, my female boxer. Lily had never been aggressive at all before, but she had to fight back. I called a well known trainer who told me that she would never have recommended having two females in the same house in the first place. Sometimes they do well together, but when they do fight, it is almost impossible to fix. She said that girls just hold a grudge forever and when they fight they are brutal. And in those cases the numbers of fights escalate and become more dangerous.

    We rehomed the rescue and then the fighting started between Lily and my bulldog. Lily, my boxer that had been attacked in the first place was the trigger for every fight. She started it with a stare. I ended up rehoming my bulldog who was only a year old and it about broke my heart. I knew that she would adjust better than Lily to a new home, and she did great and is really happy in her new home with a male bully who fell in love with her at first sight.

    So during the six months that all this was going on, we hired two professional trainers, who did absolutely no good at all. I'm not saying that trainers are useless. If I were you, I would hire one for sure just to make sure you try everything. I had always had two females together and never had any problem at all before the situation with Lily and Bella. I have known people with two females who fight, who keep them in different parts of the house for their whole life! I just couldn't live like that, it was too stressful. I was hurt several times breaking up fights and the dogs got hurt as well.

    I hope your situation works out between your girls and I hope you're not discouraged by my story. I believe there are people here who have successfully worked through this issue that will reply to your post. Just know that if you do decide to rehome one of your babies you can get through it and sometimes it's in everyone's best interest, you and your dogs. I do know how hard it is--I think it was the worst time in my life, including my divorce! I'm totally serious about that. Good luck and please keep us posted!

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    Newbie Tina Ramos's Avatar
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    Default Re: Females fighting at home...Need some ideas on solutions...or advice, please

    Donna, thanks so much for sharing your story. I want to hear about all that have been through a similar situation and we have a training consult set up for next Monday. I certainly don't want to give up, but am not very confident a trainer will correct the behavior. I don't want Kaida hurt more than she has been already. It has escalated each time they fight. Fingers crossed that the trainer helps. Thanks so much for your support. It's been pretty tough.

    I'll keep you posted ...hoping we make some progress.

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    Default Re: Females fighting at home...Need some ideas on solutions...or advice, please

    I have no experience on females, but I have got two intact boys who occasionally fight. At one point it was weekly, but now it has happened a lot less. I used a tecnique called "Ice age". That means no talk, no touch, no eye contact for two weeks. Then when you start giving them attention it's first by just diciplining them. No bones, toys or anything fun for the whole time. Only short walks on a leash. It's hard for the dogs, it's hard for you, but it works. We started it after a fight and kept the boys separate for a few days, but after that they were in the same space the whole time without troubles. Still to this date we don't have toys or bones laying around, they play with them separately. It is also important that you don't give too much attention to your dogs normally eather. You should not always give them attention when they want, you deside when they get affection, attention, everything really.

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    Bulldog Vet in Training Become a 4 Paw Member Donnam's Avatar
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    Default Re: Females fighting at home...Need some ideas on solutions...or advice, please

    Quote Originally Posted by Tina Ramos View Post
    Donna, thanks so much for sharing your story. I want to hear about all that have been through a similar situation and we have a training consult set up for next Monday. I certainly don't want to give up, but am not very confident a trainer will correct the behavior. I don't want Kaida hurt more than she has been already. It has escalated each time they fight. Fingers crossed that the trainer helps. Thanks so much for your support. It's been pretty tough.

    I'll keep you posted ...hoping we make some progress.
    I know you don't want to give up. I would have done anything to get my girls to get along. Before that situation, if someone had told me I would rehome a dog, I wouldn't have believed them. I love my dogs so much and am totally committed to them. In fact, I'm one of the people who wouldn't have left my dogs alone in Katrina! But in this case, I just couldn't cope and it was best for the dogs. We have a huge boxer rescue group here and they will not place a female in a home with another female. For 25 years, I thought that was the silliest thing I'd ever heard. I'd always had a female bulldog with a female boxer with no problems at all. Now I have a female bully and two male rescue mixes. I won't ever have two females again, because that situation was so difficult and painful.

    If you do manage to correct the issue with your girls, I want to hear how you did it, so please keep us updated! I hope the trainer does some good--fingers crossed!

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    Newbie Tina Ramos's Avatar
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    Default Re: Females fighting at home...Need some ideas on solutions...or advice, please

    Will do, Donna...we have an appointment with a trainer next Monday after work. I'll keep everyone posted.

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    Texas Carol....put the heart in EBN Become a 4 Paw Member
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    Default Re: Females fighting at home...Need some ideas on solutions...or advice, please

    Quote Originally Posted by Donnam View Post
    I know you don't want to give up. I would have done anything to get my girls to get along. Before that situation, if someone had told me I would rehome a dog, I wouldn't have believed them. I love my dogs so much and am totally committed to them. In fact, I'm one of the people who wouldn't have left my dogs alone in Katrina! But in this case, I just couldn't cope and it was best for the dogs. We have a huge boxer rescue group here and they will not place a female in a home with another female. For 25 years, I thought that was the silliest thing I'd ever heard. I'd always had a female bulldog with a female boxer with no problems at all. Now I have a female bully and two male rescue mixes. I won't ever have two females again, because that situation was so difficult and painful.

    If you do manage to correct the issue with your girls, I want to hear how you did it, so please keep us updated! I hope the trainer does some good--fingers crossed!


    Donna...you have my utmost respect & immense admiration for rehoming your dogs.
    For people like us, it's the absolute worst possible, last resort EVER...omg...just about
    kills you! But you do it because you love them enough to suffer the agony because it's
    best option for THEM.

    I had to do this with female Chows, one with her championship and just 2 years old,
    just getting ready to breed her, magnificent! The other we'd taken back from a couple
    who'd bought her brother & couldn't resist her so took both then at 6 months decided
    too much to deal with, called me (in my contract) so went & got her. All was fine until
    the 6 month old matured at 1 year old. The 2 year old had been like a mother to her,
    suddenly, viciously turned on her & NOTHING would stop her, Chows do fight to the
    death ;( We found an older couple who'd lost their Chow to cancer, spayed her and
    stipulated no female dogs. It broke our hearts, I mourned like a mother losing her child
    (cause she was) but it had to be done. The younger Chow was a gentle clown, she didn't
    want to fight & was so heart broken to have to protect herself, you could see the hurt &
    confusion on her face so it would be a matter of time before she would have been killed.

    Thank you for sharing your personal story & giving excellent advice. God bless you!


    My 1st bully, Brutus
    RIP beloved boy.

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    Rescue Volunteer Become a 4 Paw Member 1Chumly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Females fighting at home...Need some ideas on solutions...or advice, please

    I had already replied to this thread but under a different heading I believe and it looks like it has been deleted. So... will try again as Tina wanted to hear about anyone that had gone though this.

    We had an American Bulldog from 8 weeks old and when she turned two she wanted to be alpha dog. Our other dog, a greyhound, did not want to give up her position and there were horrible fights and trips to the emergency vet. We tried everything to keep them apart and like with you there was lulls in the fighting. We tried professional training (they both went to boot camp for two weeks) and a behaviorist at a University. The greyhound obviously got the worst of these fights and after agonizing over it we gave the greyhound up. It absolutely broke our hearts but there would have been a fight to the death at some point. We knew the rescue would find her a good home. We were scared if we gave up the AB, she would end up in a fighting situation. Personally, I will not have two females again. The greyhound went to a fabulous home and we still keep in touch with her owners. She died at age 16, a really good age for a greyhound. The AB was a great dog, by far the smartest dog we have ever had but she was very dominant and for the rest of her life it was 'nothing in life is free'. We always had to keep her away from female dogs but no problem at all with males. I wish I could give you something positive but I firmly believe too that once they start fighting like that, it will continue. Good luck!
    Chumly 2002-2014 A gentle soul and the love of my life.

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    Bulldog Vet in Training Become a 4 Paw Member Donnam's Avatar
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    Default Re: Females fighting at home...Need some ideas on solutions...or advice, please

    Quote Originally Posted by Texas Carol View Post
    Donna...you have my utmost respect & immense admiration for rehoming your dogs.
    For people like us, it's the absolute worst possible, last resort EVER...omg...just about
    kills you! But you do it because you love them enough to suffer the agony because it's
    best option for THEM.

    I had to do this with female Chows, one with her championship and just 2 years old,
    just getting ready to breed her, magnificent! The other we'd taken back from a couple
    who'd bought her brother & couldn't resist her so took both then at 6 months decided
    too much to deal with, called me (in my contract) so went & got her. All was fine until
    the 6 month old matured at 1 year old. The 2 year old had been like a mother to her,
    suddenly, viciously turned on her & NOTHING would stop her, Chows do fight to the
    death ;( We found an older couple who'd lost their Chow to cancer, spayed her and
    stipulated no female dogs. It broke our hearts, I mourned like a mother losing her child
    (cause she was) but it had to be done. The younger Chow was a gentle clown, she didn't
    want to fight & was so heart broken to have to protect herself, you could see the hurt &
    confusion on her face so it would be a matter of time before she would have been killed.

    Thank you for sharing your personal story & giving excellent advice. God bless you!
    Thanks so much for your post Carol. I have posted that story before, but every time I tell the story, it's painful and I am so afraid that people will think I'm awful or that I didn't try hard enough to correct the problem. But if you've never had a female/female conflict like that, you have no idea how horrible it is for the dogs and the whole family. I tried sooo hard and absolutely nothing worked. I felt like such a failure! The first trainer I spoke with told me that fighting between two females is totally different than male/male fighting. She said the female fighting usually escalates and females will fight to the death, whereas males will fight to establish dominance, but they don't hold a grudge like females.

    It hurt to rehome Bella, the rescue boxer, because we had fallen in love with her and certainly would have kept her. She got along with all other dogs, just not Lily. I had had Annie, my bulldog, for a year. She got along with all other dogs and was the sweetest thing and at times I felt like she was my soulmate. Having to rehome her was so heartbreaking. I know what you mean by mourning! That pain was lessened a little because I found a really wonderful home for her, but I was sad for a year--and it still makes me sad to think about it.
    Well, I didn't mean to write a book here. Just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your post!

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    Newbie Tina Ramos's Avatar
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    Default Re: Females fighting at home...Need some ideas on solutions...or advice, please

    I appreciate all of your shared stories, advice and support, as I've said before. It is seriously scary when the 2 females fight and I worry so much that Kaida (our 38 lb EB) will get seriously hurt as time goes on...as it is, she's gotten lucky with not losing an eye. the puncture wounds on her face are usually pretty close, or on her ear. So scary. My husband and I have agreed to explore the trainer option. He's adamant that we try to correct the issue...but, I have my doubts. I wanted to research rescues out there to ensure we had that option lined up should we need to give Kaida up. It is seriously heartbreaking as she's been with us since she was an 8 week old pup.

    I spoke to Kodie (CEO/Founder) at Pacific Northwest Bulldog Rescue...who is in the Oregon area, but works with dogs from Alaska as the need arises. She reiterated my fear and told me that training will not work for 2 females and that's why there are female bulldogs in rescue that have to go to only dog homes...or homes without another female. She said that speaking from experience that training never seems to resolve the issue...there's always that underlying grudge that won't go away. I cried when I spoke to her on the phone. She said it's smart to at least have an initial consult with the trainer...but was really persistent that Kaida's best avenue was to be rehomed. That is really saying something when coming from a rescue, in my eyes. If this training trial doesn't work...we are going to surrender Kaida to her. She said she sends up a "nanny" and that "nanny" will fly with her from here to Portland or Seattle, then transported to Oregon and that she would personally foster Kaida until she's found an appropriate home...keeping us updated all along the way. They keep the microchip registered under the rescue and ask that adopters who can't keep the dog for whatever reason returns the dog to them. That at least made me feel a little better.

    It's so tough...very emotional. Kaida was our first puppy together...my very first 8 week old pup (I had always rescued older rotties and worked with a rottie rescue a long time ago). My husband doesn't even want to think about rehoming until we've exhausted the training option. I agree, but I don't want to see her hurt...I think he believes that I'm giving up too early...when in reality I feel like I'm being more realistic about how bad it is?

    ...........that's all I've got for now. Thanks so much to all of you...your words mean so much to me while we are going through this with our furkids.

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    Newbie Tina Ramos's Avatar
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    Default Re: Females fighting at home...Need some ideas on solutions...or advice, please

    Training is NOT improving the 2 female's attitudes toward eachother AT ALL. It's been 3 weeks since my last post and since that time, Kaida has lost a Canine tooth (at 3 years old...it had broken off...I suspect she cracked it clashing at one point in the past with Jade) - we had to bring her to the vet and have the root extracted...and about 2 weeks ago Jade got ahold of Kaida and shook her...obviously meaning to harm her seriously this time...it was a terrible awakening that this was not going to end well if they continue under the same roof. Jade is put in a muzzle when they are out around eachother now, since that incident, but our EB, Kaida seems to push Jade constantly by prancing around in front of her - or staring at her and not backing down...

    Jade is also never relaxed...she is constantly looking for where Kaida is and if she finds her and sees her looking at her without looking away, she's charged up to her all amped up ...ready to fight.

    The tension in the household is not allowing us to improve the situation. We've decided that perhaps it's best to do a trial period of time where Kaida goes and stays with a friend of mine who has agreed that she'd take Kaida in permanently if she fits in her home...which she seems to be very confident about. She has 2 males, one a bulldog who is roughly Kaida's age and a Rottweiler pup who is about 6 months old...both are submissive/non-dominant.

    We feel that we'll be better able to get our home back to a neutral status so that we can work with the 3 remaining dogs to build up confidence and a more positive home atmosphere.

    I'm hoping this is the best way to ensure success for both dogs...the tension level at home is just too high -

    Fingers crossed that this works out well. - I am deeply conflicted about separating them...I don't want to give Kaida up, but I feel that she would be happier in the long run if she's placed where she is the only strong personality in the new pack?
    This is devastating...but on the flip side...I don't want any more harm to come to either of them, body or mind...

    I trust my friend who is taking her in...she knows bullies and Kaida has visited their home several times...she's comfortable there - I'm hoping she'll transition fairly easily. I'll miss her terribly, but the relief our home will have with the tension brought down is a huge incentive to do this trial run with Kaida sent to my friend's home.

    I hope I'm doing the right thing here...I feel that it's better for the dogs overall rather than keeping them under the same roof.
    Thoughts...? Comments?

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