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petite 04-14-2014 04:34 PM

Same Sex Aggression?
I am aware of same-sex aggression in dogs but was not aware it was specifically a GSD problem until recently through reading threads on this board.

I have an elderly Beagle/terrier mix ed female who is slowing down, beginning to cataracts, losing muscle tension, etc. I would assume she's alpha for now.

I also have a female GSD who's a young puppy right now. I don't have the best information about her as she was a rescue. Her mother was friendly to people as well as animals from what little I saw. I have no idea about her father other than he was a "large GSD".

Going into this, I assumed the mix would rule the roost until the GSD matures and challenges her. As old as she is, I can't imagine her putting up a "to the death fight" but now I'm concerned that both dogs are female. The mix will roll my GSD if the pup is too rambunctious, now and then she may tell her off with bared teeth but nothing exciting in my opinion.

Can someone with multiple females in the house chime in? Does age difference matter? Is the fighting over dominance the usual battle for it until one submits or do females suddenly start resource guarding and such with other dogs in the house? :confused:

selzer 04-14-2014 05:49 PM

The puppy should probably not cause any problems until she is up over a year, and actually, the age difference may make all the difference, as they are raised together.

Right now that baby is just a baby and wants to play. The old dog is OLD, and her joints and body can be hurt by a rambunctious puppy, so she is probably letting the baby know what she can and can't do. Keep an eye on it.

When the pup is mature, in two years, your mix may very well be still around as 15 is not out of the question. It will make total sense to crate one or the other when you can't supervise, and come down on the pup if in your presence she starts giving the old one trouble.

If worse comes to worse, which is actually pretty unlikely, considering the vast differences between the two, specifically age and power, you may have to crate and rotate.

But just because of the age of the Old Lady, and the youth of the pup, it makes sense to separate when you cannot supervise, and pay attention. If the pup is getting on the older ones nerves or body, it makes sense to give them a break from each other, until the baby realizes that playing nice, and being gentle means one thing, and getting crazy means another.

David Taggart 04-14-2014 06:19 PM

I think as well there couldn't be any problem, problems occur between females of a similar age. Instead, of course, it could be better for them both to create a pack. Take them more often for a walk and let them interact freely, normally the youngster learns from the older dog, play with both. Feed them treats in the kitchen, one at a time. Pack members eat, sleep and walk together. If there's anything between them - hesitate to interfere, because it could be just a "talk" between them. Be aware of 3 months onwards - it is when the gums become itchy and your puppy may start to bite harder. Try to redirect her to raw beef bones and toys to chew. If you call her to yourself every time she wants a rough game for war-of-tug - she would expect it and come to you to play instead of bothering your older dog. And, yes, think how you can separate them if necessary.

selzer 04-14-2014 06:30 PM

Actually fights happen between females with similar power. Age is a consideration, especially when putting two young adult females together. But, it doesn't have to be only those similar in age. It depends on specific characteristics they are born with -- where they are likely to fall in the pack order, how likely they are to follow or to lead, and how close the other bitch is to them in their likelihood to follow or lead. If the old one is alpha now only because she is an adult and the other is a pup, then the power might change in a couple of years, and if the puppy is a strong leader, than it is possible that there will be no major issues in that change.

If they are both naturally ingrained to be #1 bitch in the family, then when the youngster is reaching maturity, she may cross the line deliberately, and allowing them to figure it out for themselves can be fatal.

I think that strong leadership on the part of the owners can make it a non-issue so long as the owners do not leave them unsupervised with full access to each other. I do think that with the pup raised with the elder dog, she will be able to train the pup up, and there may never be any serious same-sex aggression.

It just always is a question with bitches though.

llombardo 04-14-2014 07:18 PM

I have a 9.5 year old female that is not GSD and a 2.5 yr old female GSD. The older dog has always been the one in charge. The younger one has challenged her a couple times and the older one did not back down. It was not a fight but the younger one getting in the older ones face kinda thing. I did step in because the oldest has earned her rank and it should be respected. They have figured out how to work together and they have each other's back. I feel the younger one is learning everything from the older one and will take over one day. If one of the younger dogs is messing with the older dog, the GSD is there in a minute to make sure all is well. It's really interesting to watch them, I can almost see what they are thinking. They are bonded and are together quite often playing, watching, and directing the boys.

petite 04-15-2014 10:19 AM

Thank you everyone for chiming in your experience. I feel more confident about having two girls! :) I'll keep an eye on making sure the old lady's space and rank is respected.

My last question is about resource guarding between dogs. The Old Lady will take a toy (which previously she had no interest in until the pup came home) and horde it in her bed. She'll bear her teeth and flatten her ears if the pup comes close. I usually allow teeth showing but correct snarls/air snaps. I understand the pup needs to be told but I don't like my dogs snapping/growling for any reason. I remove the resource from both dogs after the correction. Is this the right way to go about it? Or should the pup learn not to go for the old lady's resources?

selzer 04-15-2014 05:43 PM

Maybe train the puppy that the room where the old lady sleeps, the puppy is not allowed in. Then the conflict will be eliminated because the puppy will never get close enough to her bed to make her feel the need to guard her resource.

But I am no expert on resource guarding. I am just thinking that the old one is so old that maybe avoiding conflict may be the way to go.

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