Another Fight Question - Can You Help Me and My Bullies?

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luv2rgue
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Another Fight Question - Can You Help Me and My Bullies?

Postby luv2rgue » Tue Aug 16, 2005 9:51 am

You all have been so helpful with my posting in another link and pblove suggested I post here to get some more ideas - which I could really use!!! My first fight happened last Wednesday (the second one was the morning after that) and I we are all still recovering.

WHAT STARTED THE FIGHT (I think):

Seven (our rescue husky-pit mix/female 3 years) has been the dominant one.Dozer, our rescue Am Staff male, now 17 months) has been fine with that for the 10 months they've been together. He was only 7 months when he joined our family. Now that Dozer is getting to that 18 month age, it looks like he wants to challenge Seven for the spot of top dog. Seven is not backing down. On Wednesday, Seven seemed to be somewhat afraid of Dozer and, stupidly, I tried to make the situation better by placating Seven. I noticed Dozer was posturing that night to her after I had brought home squeaky toys (something I had only done one time before, a very long time ago).

Now, I'll probably get flamed for this but even though we bought books and listened to the rescue people about pits, nobody can tell you everything. I mean, we learned not to take them to the dog park pretty quickly, but we thought that they just played aggressively, you know? They always share toys and tug together, but they always play very loudly too. It never occured to me that we should separate them. I mean - never!

Anyway, later that night, a few hours after bringing home the toys, Dozer kind of ran up to Seven and picked a small fight. That is when I noticed that she was trying to hide from him or acting scared of him. So, like I said, like an idiot, I told my hubby to put Seven on the bed since we were going to sleep and Dozer was already up there. The fight started immediately upon her jumping up. They went to the ground with each other in their teeth. It was horrible. Seven had Dozer's eye and scratched up his face big time, leaving his mouth and head bleeding - Dozer had punctured Seven's right leg and split her ear in two places. We had never experienced a fight before and were totally unprepared. They just DON'T LET GO!!! It was well over 3 minutes. We threw two big leather dining room chairs at them and a laundry basket full of clothes. I finally grabbed both collars and practically tore my shoulder trying to keep them apart while why husband grabbed one and I grabbed the other.

WHAT WE DID AFTER FIGHT #1:

When it was all said and done, each one of us slept in a separate room with each dog and monitored and cleaned their injuries.

FIGHT #2:

The next morning, we let them gently meet one another, sniff each other's wounds and try to go back to things as normal. A few hours later, however, we were all in the same room (about 16' x 14', closed in) and Dozer, in his typically morning-style, wanted to play with Seven - tail wagging. I think she was feeling vulnerable due to her injury and she snapped at him, which ticked him off and they got into a fight again- this time not so much damage to Dozer, but worse damage to Seven's other leg. We had to take her to the vet for her punctures and rips to be cleaned. Now she was limping on both front legs.

By this time, we had already read how to break up a fight (we were up all night trying to figure out what to do . . . which is when I found this site) and we used that technique of "wheelbarrow" with the dogs legs. This broke the fight up much more quickly, but also I think because they were both still injured. It seemed with that fight in the morning that you could have placed human thoughts to the dogs as it unfolded - Seven was kind of in the corner. Dozer came up wagging "Let's play, Seven, come on!!!" Seven's body language said "Screw you, you hurt me last night!" Then Dozer's body language and subsequent fight said "Screw you then, let's fight!"

YOU CALL THIS ADVICE? EUTHANIZE THE DOGS?:

The only advice we could get at first was to euthanize one of the dogs!!! My babies!!! :crybaby: I understand that may have to happen . . . like if they were showing human aggression - but I'm certainly not prepared to do that now. Give me a break! It was animal aggression, not human aggression! We have the time, the desire, and the house-structure to try and work this out. One pit rescue place recommended keeping them apart until Seven can heal and no longer feels vulnerable. Then, perhaps in a couple of weeks, take them on a walk where they are both on a short leash and not let them touch one another. Just see how they act. I still didn't (don't) really know what to do from there though.

HAS IT COME TO SEPARATION? I'M SCARED:

I am still stressed, a lot of which has to to with all the changes in our house now. I feel soooooo bad because Dozer whines when he is in the crate. I'll tell you below what we are doing . . . I don't want them to never be able to be in the same room together. I don't want to have one outside and one inside. I don't want to be watching tv with one in a crate and one not, but that's what we are doing. I'm willing to do what it takes, but I am sooooooo scared that one of them is going to get hurt. My mental wounds are still fresh too and I NEED some advice for the bullies and most importantly, HOW AND WHEN TO REINTRODUCE THEM to see if they can ever get along together.

WHAT HAPPENED THE NEXT DAY:

I hope it hasn't come to the day of separation in our house, but we'll see.
So, Thursday night - get this . . . we put Dozer outside. Of course, he's all upset because he knows we are inside and probably with Seven, but he's been with us ALL day and she's been home alone. So he cries and whines.
This makes Seven go to the door (which is a full window) and wag and whine. So, we decide to open the blinds on that door. Seven can see out, but Dozer can't see in. She seems genuinely happy to see him. We definitely don't want to move things too fast, so we see what they are like with Dozer in the back yard and Seven in the courtyard, which means they can see other, smell each other, and "talk" to each other through the gate - but they can't fight. Seven starts helping Dozer try to dig under the gate to get in. So . . . we don't want that and we decide to put them both on their leads and pinch collars and go for a 1/2 block walk - no touching. Then we stand around in the courtyard for awhile - plenty of space, then we stand in the house for awhile (leashes and collars on) - plenty of space. They're okay. I don't want Dozer knowing Seven is really hurt, so we let Seven take the lead on everything, since she is ignoring him a little bit.

Seven practically gives Dozer a prostate exam!!! :) ha ha!! She sniffs
his hind end and then under him. He lets her, but we are being
ultra-careful. I then felt like that was enough - about 20 minutes from
beginning to end - so now they are separate.

We kept Dozer in the house in his crate and let Seven wander free. We were trying to restablish that Seven is top dog. Dozer whined and cried and carried on when we left him alone in the crate to sleep. My heart just can't hardly take that . . . but it's his fault for getting in a fight, right? He postured and growled from inside the crate and my hubby immediately went nuts and did the "I'M THE ALPHA" screaming and carrying on thing. That chilled him out. But Seven didn't really stay in the room, even though he was crated.

WHERE WE ARE NOW . . .

It's been almost a week. Dozer comes with us every day and Seven stays in the courtyard. We've been on three walks, but Dozer whines like an idiot - screaming to be up with Seven. I don't know if I should let them be close together - I thought we were supposed to let Seven stay in front and reiterate that she is the alpha. She is definitely getting more confident again since her wounds have healed. We then let Dozer in the back yard when we get home and we love Seven up for awhile. Then, Dozer comes in and goes in his crate, while Seven stays out. They each play with their toys, but Dozer initially cries because he wants to play with her. Seven comes up to the crate and wags and he wags back. Dozer sleeps in the crate in our bedroom and Seven sleeps on the bed.

We let them in the house together on leads and pinch collars. We only did that twice though because they get pissy and do "looks" to each other after about 20 minutes. They are fighting for attention, I am sure.

Dozer respects our position as alpha much more and doesn't posture now at all when in the crate. Seven has always listened to us in that regard. If we tell her "OUT", she'll leave the room.

I've ordered break sticks and a stun baton due to the posts here. Neither have arrived yet. I am also thinking about putting a muzzle on each of them and introducing them off leash that way - so no damage can be done. What do you think?

Thanks for your help and for listening.

Kim

Diane Jessup

re

Postby Diane Jessup » Tue Aug 16, 2005 11:05 am

You may need to seperate your dogs. That is very common in multi-dog bulldog households. I certainly have dogs which cannot be together.

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luv2rgue
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Postby luv2rgue » Tue Aug 16, 2005 11:33 am

So if they really do have to stay separated forever, what do I do about Dozer's constant whining without Seven? If he's outside and he knows she is inside, he scratches at the door constantly and whines and howls. He whines in his crate. He whines if they are on two different sides of the dog gate, etc. Any thoughts?

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luv2rgue
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Postby luv2rgue » Tue Aug 16, 2005 1:11 pm

Bumpin' to the top because I know you great people have some suggestions for my babies, right? :thumbsup:

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Naplis Slim
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Postby Naplis Slim » Tue Aug 16, 2005 3:21 pm

wow! you handled it better than I would have.

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Postby satanscheerleader » Tue Aug 16, 2005 4:47 pm

Personally I only have two "positions" in my pack. Me and the kids, then "the dogs". No matter "who they think they are" in the pack heirachy they are expected to follow MY rules. As long as they all behave accordingly I don't really care what order they think they are in according to each other. I have pushed my dogs limits in all ways considered "the norm" on how to handle dogs packs. For instance.... I have varied who eats when {ie: feed them in all different orders} to push and see how that would effect the pack. I noticed no difference in how they behave. I'm not naive to the fact that they have their own idea of who is who according to their pack order but as long as they work it out within my set of rules it doesn't really matter. I'll let whoever I want on the bed and the rest have to accept it. I'll bring whatever new dog into the house and the rest still have to act accordingly. I think "formulas" like NILIF or obedience training are great tools but one of the most vital keys to running a pack successfully is confidence.
Dogs are so much more perceptive than people realize. Do you think the fact that when your dog is whining in the crate cause the other dog is out and it gets your sympathy goes unnoticed by your dog? No. He will use that "weakness" as an "opportunity". He knows you feel bad so he uses it. Dogs work on a much more instictual level and just like they can sense fear or someone up to no good they can sense unsurity or insecurity. Tell him to cut it out and make him lie down. If you let them play you, they will. Dogs are creatures of opportunity who will test and push their limits. Running a pack is a constant ebb and flow and you have to be the one controlling the waves. Stop feeling bad and stop second guessing your actions. Do what you've gotta do with confidence and your pack will follow suit. No one is going to follow a leader that isn't leading.
Also is maybe Seven isn't acting scared of him.... maybe she is trying to be submissive to him? Maybe it is time to let her. Pack orders between dogs can change. The only one really necessary to stay the same would be yours. Maybe you interfering in the order between them is what is causing the problem. There is some amount of truth to the concept of "let them work it out" and I don't mean the way most people would take that like let them scrap it out because obviously with pits they don't operate on that level when an actual physical confrontation is in play. I mean on a much more subtle level.
With all that being said..... some dogs breed genetics are stronger that their "dogness". Some dogs will scrap no matter how well a pack is run and if all else fails..... separation is the responsible thing to do.

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luv2rgue
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Postby luv2rgue » Tue Aug 16, 2005 5:20 pm

Thanks for that! I've just switched jobs, I'm looking for a new house in an incredibly expensive market and trying to sell mine that has barely appreciated. So I have no confidence in any of my decisions right now. But as of this moment, I'm going to lead. You're right. I'm the alpha. THANKS!!! :headbang:

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Postby satanscheerleader » Tue Aug 16, 2005 5:34 pm

Sorry about all the added stress you are going through. I remember discussing this with someone else that when times were tough for them their female would act up. I guess not all dogs are your shoulder to cry on when you're stressed. Some are to busy seeing what they can get away with! BRATS! Just like some kids. :roll: Moving for me is extemely stressfull and one of the few times where I am not my old self and the dogs sure like to be brats then! :sad:

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Postby Kano » Tue Aug 16, 2005 7:44 pm

I read on a Pit Bull book that the male usually tries to take the Alpha position. That's what Dozer was probably trying to do when you tried putting Seven on the bed.
The book also reads that by soothing the underdog and punishing the bully, you are only making it worse for the underdog. As the winner will only try harder to beat the living daylights out of the loser so that your attention will go where he thinks it should go - to the dominant dog.

Diamonds Ruff

Postby Diamonds Ruff » Tue Aug 16, 2005 7:54 pm

I don't have any advise for you because I think it was all pretty well said by the people above but I do want to wish you luck in all of this :)

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Postby satanscheerleader » Tue Aug 16, 2005 8:27 pm

Kano wrote:I read on a Pit Bull book that the male usually tries to take the Alpha position. That's what Dozer was probably trying to do when you tried putting Seven on the bed.
The book also reads that by soothing the underdog and punishing the bully, you are only making it worse for the underdog. As the winner will only try harder to beat the living daylights out of the loser so that your attention will go where he thinks it should go - to the dominant dog.


I'm not a big fan of that way of thinking. The main rule in my house is zero tolerance for aggression and bullying. Whoever is being a dink is going to get the wrath of Zoe {aka God in this house!}. Even if they didn't start the fight but they became involved they are in crap, too. That being said I also don't go and coddle the victim of the bully but the bully better not show their face unless they come crawling and are sucking up big time. Besides that, my male is the house dork. lol

BullyBreedLover

Postby BullyBreedLover » Tue Aug 16, 2005 10:04 pm

I went through the same thing with 2 of my dogs, my pit and a husky i had. Once they got into one good fight they wanted to KILL each other. Unfortunatly i live in a very small one floor house and there is really no way to keep them all separate. Plus the stress made my husky start attacking the other 2 dogs in the house. It was very hard but i had to place my husky into another home where she was the only dog. This way i knew she would get all the attention she needed without the stress. The other 3 dogs were trained strictly with the NILF training. I have had no more fights in a good while ::knock on wood:: Of course i keep my eyes open and avoid any situations that i know may turn bad. Good luck i hope things work out for you. It sounds like they may need to stay searated. It is very hard. Things will work out for the best.

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luv2rgue
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Postby luv2rgue » Wed Aug 17, 2005 9:53 am

UPDATE

Thanks everyone for the responses. Last night, we muzzled them both and let them say hello - pretty instant attempt to fight, despite all the original tail-wagging and face licking with a fence between them. I did feel that maybe they both felt ultra-vulnerable with the muzzles on the business-end of things. BUT . . . it did work out well because we went ape-sh*t - :po: screaming in low tones to not EVER do that AGAIN and WE are the ALPHAS and WE decide who does what. Well, they both listened and ended up being fine in the house together iwth the muzzles on. Seven mostly sulked. Then, Dozer went into his crate, so we took the muzzles off, locked the crate up, and he went to sleep.

We let Seven outside later (because she needed to go out) and we let Dozer run around and play for awhile. It was a very quiet night.

I don't know what it means that they went straight for each other - but maybe a couple more weeks of that (and when the stun baton arrives!) and we'll be able to see how they get along.

Grey

Postby Grey » Wed Aug 17, 2005 11:44 am

The added stress of the move is what caused the few riffs I had with my 2 girls initially. No fights since the move actually took place but I know the terror of seeing your dogs try to rip each other apart!

My girls are separated when I am not home. But there have been no signs of aggression at all since we got settled and life is normal again.

What I learned then, and have since learned about dogfights:

I found the easiest way to break it up was slam a baby gate between them.

From there, the instigator gets ousted from the pack. I wordlessly grab her by the collar take her to another room, and shut her in. I leave her in there for two hours then let her out. Depending upon how bad the fight was, I ignored her for a day or once, even four. This sends a very strong signal to the dog: Alpha is very, very angry. I learned not to yell. The Alpha is expected to be calm in all instances of life and breaking up a dogfight is one of them. You have to display your leadership and how fit you are for that role.

In my case the instigator was always my pittie mix, who would love to be Alpha in a heartbeat if I let her. I learned I had to demonstrate to her that I am BOSS and she should not do anything I don't want her to. As time wore on and the moving boxes piled up, so did the stress but by then a sharp look in the eye was all she needed to back off.

In the meantime before the move, they were separated by means of that baby gate unless I and my husband were home, or I was at least in the room with them.

Good luck - I know this is hard.

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Postby satanscheerleader » Wed Aug 17, 2005 2:39 pm

Shunning is a very strong message to a dog. The last thing they want is to be ousted from their pack. :thumbsup:


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