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Discussion Starter #1
I've very rarely had to worry about this, but when there is a skuffle, I always put a stop to it. My last GSD was in a couple of dust-ups, but a nice bellowing "HEY" from me ended it. This only happened twice, so I'm certainly no expert, lol. Another of my GSDs had an awesome attitude, and was bitten 3 separate times without retaliating. On those occasions, the other dogs were yelled at, and once I whipped one with my leash and made it yelp before running back home.

With this puppy, he had a few encounters that haven't been the greatest. But then he's fine with other dogs, so I guess no lasting issues? He's 8.5 months old and I would have figured that he's at an age now where if he does have a bad experience, then the other good ones should balance it out...I was hoping this anyways, but then a thread from Rico's Dad made me think that he's still pretty young and impressionable so maybe I should reconsider.

Getting back to the point - one of my family members has an older dog that my puppy will sniff (not obnoxiously) but basically ignore. He has way too many other fun things to do, lol. Old grumpy dog wants nothing to do with him, but twice now has randomly attacked him. The first time he was warned with a quick rap to the nose to knock it off. The second time, after pinning my puppy (who was lying there crying) and biting his ear and neck (drawing blood) he was sort of alpha rolled. I didn't actualy pin him down, but I was right there and I did my usual bellow but he didn't stop so I grabbed him to pull him off and he rolled onto his side by himself. So he obviously was showing submission to me. He did yelp too.

The owner of grumpy was saying that 'they' say for dogs to work it out. I know I was told not to interupt my previous dog's fighting by someone with much more knowledge that I have. My take is that I just don't allow my dogs to fight, period. I'm the boss and I do the fighting, lol. Take a number, little guy, lol...

But seriously, am I messing up by disallowing them to work it out on their own? Am I too controlling? Am I wrong?
 

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absolutely not. I intervene on any altercations. If I let my dogs work it out I would have some very bloody dogs without ears and teeth. LOL

Like you, I do all the fighting. You want to fight someone? You have to fight me first, if you win then you can fight whoever you want. Nobody wins against me. I let them "work it out" in a much more civilized manner. Which really isn't all that hard if you understand their language. I find great humor in watching my dogs "argue".


Now in your situation, you need to consider some things. Is your puppy giving body language to the older grumpy dog that is making the older dog say "I don't think so buddy" that caused these "random attacks". IMO unless you have an unstable dog who is the human equivalent to a sociopath or psychopath, then attacks are never random.

Your puppy very well may be giving some rude body language "asking for it". In which case you need to interrupt your puppy before they do get attacked.

More often than not puppies can be over zealous even though the owners don't see the puppy actively bothering the adult dogs, they may being little brats that a body language expert would pick up on immediately.

Another thing is, are you on older grumpy dogs property?

At 8.5 months old he is at a very awkward stage mentally. Be very careful what you do with him at this age. Honestly I hate all my puppies when they are this age. They are downright annoying and trouble some. And all my adult dogs tend to find them annoying as well.
So we kinda buckle down and wait for that age to pass before we do anything.

Do NOT let them work it out on their own. Learn a little bit about the behaviors your puppy is offering.
The book Canine Body Language by Brenda Aloff is a fantastic book for beginners to learn about body language.
Amazon.com: Canine Body Language: A Photographic Guide Interpreting the Native Language of the Domestic Dog (9781929242351): Brenda Aloff: Books

It can help you recognize if your puppy is in fact bothering the older dog.

Someone who tells you to "let your dogs work it out" especially if one dog is drawing blood on another, is a fool.
 

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I guess the better question is, how do you feel about expensive vet bills or a dead dog, if you DON'T break up your dogs disputes?

I would not allow this older dog to correct this puppy, because the older dog is being too forceful. Generally, older females are better at disciplining other dogs without hurting them.

On the bigger topic of "letting dogs work it out":

My dogs are not allowed to fight, however, if another dog attacks them I expect them to still listen when I tell them to "down" as I grab the other dog off.

Once my Leonberger (who is terriorial, dominant) was bitten in the face by another persons dog who was resource guarding ME from her. She layed down and waited to me to deal with the dog. Choosing to engage, gets her a worse consequence.

Another time, a VERY large Shepherd came onto my property and tried to fight her through the fence, she held him by the face until I got there, I told her to "Aus", she did and let me handle the rest, which included following this dog home and tearing the owners a new one.

My Shepherds are extremely social, but the same goes for them. I don't expect them to just sit there if another dog jumps on them, but they had better disengage when I say so. And if another dog nips, lunges or otherwise reacts with no follow up attack, they should ignore and allow the people to deal with it.

This way, my dogs stay as safe as possible, and if something serious happens, I can put an end to it quicker if only one dog is out of control.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
At the time of the last incident, my puppy was sniffing the ground when the other dog pounced. So it was completely unprovoked. Yes, it was on the other dog's property..this other dog only likes 2 people in the world, his owner and me. And everyone was playing with my puppy in the water (grumpy doesn't swim) so I can understand that this dog's nose would have been out of joint. And he has a history of getting into these type of scraps: not full-on attacks, but nasty.

I felt as though I had to justify my attitude so I said that because I have a GSD, a breed with a fine-tuned sense of protection, I had to make sure that my dogs knows that *I* am the one who calls the shots. He needs to know that *I* am the leader and *I* am the warrior (lol) who is in charge of all things, including protection. So therefore *I* have an obligation to take charge, and if I have to break up a fight, that's what I have to do.

There's no way in the world I would ever think that letting the dogs scrap it out would be a good idea. But it came back to me at the time that yes, I had been told not to interfere before. At that time I just argued that I didn't care if I was wrong or not, I don't let my dogs fight, so that it that, lol. Just like raising kids - you don't tell a mother what to do. Not if you're smart, that is, lol.
 

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Do not let your puppy around this dog anymore. The dog is not "correcting", nor defending himself from a "rambunctious puppy", he is being territorial and aggressive.

Puppies can learn at a very early age to be dog aggressive from just ONE attack, and it can last for life.

From now on, keep them seperate and only socialize your puppy with dogs you know are stable, social and under complete control of their owners.
 

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YES exactly what N Smith said! This dog is being territorial and aggressive based on your description.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Oh, I wish it was that simple. Unfortunately they have to be together this weekend. It's a family member who I don't get so see very much and it would be very hurtful to decline the invitation.

What I was hoping was that the dog has been corrected enough that it would finally sink in that fighting the puppy means ultimately fighting me, who we all agree will come out the winner so why bother. I am definitely going to keep them as far away from each other as possible.
 

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ironic that i read this thread today as my husband and i argue over what to do about this. My 9 year old female in my opinion sometimes goes overboard correcting my 7 month old puppy. I always jump in. I want to be the one that corrects and settles or prevent it...he thinks the older dog should be able to settle it and that its even ok for her to start it because she was here first...ugh...glad to read everyones answers
 

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When dogs live with us,it is our reponsibility to work out their disputes for them.Letting them work it out themselves could be deadly.
 

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Oh, I wish it was that simple. Unfortunately they have to be together this weekend. It's a family member who I don't get so see very much and it would be very hurtful to decline the invitation.

What I was hoping was that the dog has been corrected enough that it would finally sink in that fighting the puppy means ultimately fighting me, who we all agree will come out the winner so why bother. I am definitely going to keep them as far away from each other as possible.
In your case I would board my dog to make sure the older out-of-control-dog can not damage this young dog (body and mind). If they have to be together, both should be under control, most likely by leash or crated. They need to learn to focus on their owners not on causing trouble. It will help to exercise your pup so he doesn't get into trouble as easily.
The hard approach you mentioned earlier will work against you in the end. Contact an APDT.com trainer to avoid issues like that.
I do not expose my 6 month old pup to out of control dogs and if in a park, I see trouble brewing, I get his attention, leash him and go away and retaining a happy attitude with him so he doesn't pick up on tension.
 

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I guess the better question is, how do you feel about expensive vet bills or a dead dog, if you DON'T break up your dogs disputes?
:) My thoughts exactly. We've had a couple e-vet visits and we DID break up those fights!
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
I agree. But the person who believed that they should work it out was a much older mentor-type who had spent their whole life around GSDs. Not that this means that they're right, but it does make me wonder.

Edit to add: I appreciate all the feedback - wolfy dog, how will the hard approach work against me? This is how I've always done it, but I'm not too old to learn!
 

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Just because someone has more experience than you does not mean necessarily that they are right-do what feels best for you-you can always ask them about what they are saying -but I learned this lesson the hard way and was upset with myself for just going along with someone who had more experience
 

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This topic reminds me of a man I met in the feed store a few months ago.He had two beautiful male Dogue De Bordeaux with him,but they had a lot of scars on them. He was saying that they always have fights,but he doesn't get in the way of them,because wild dogs do it all of the time and are fine. I saw him another month after that at the same store,and found out that one of his dogs died after they got in a fight and he was disembowled by the other one. This man still believed that it was 'better than stepping in and that it was the way of the wolf:rolleyes:'.
 

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I get very upset if my two get into even a the slightest of an argument. I won't have any of it. I do not believe in letting them 'work it out'. If this were the case, how would you act at a dog park with a random dog attacking your pup instead of some dog you actually know...? Would you feel the same way? Do you set conditions on who to let your pup work it out with and who not to? This may get confusing for the pup.
 

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Edit to add: I appreciate all the feedback - wolfy dog, how will the hard approach work against me? This is how I've always done it, but I'm not too old to learn!
30 some years ago I used these same techniques and it never solved it, yes in the moment it did.
In the meantime I got smarter, have been working as a trainer nbow for 20 years, the gentle way. I know now that negative experiences in the presence of or through another dog, the dog will start to associate and eventually generalize other dogs to be negative and build up his anxiety/aggression over time.
And you run the risk of undermining the relationship you have with him.
My last dog, a basket case of a mutt, had learned I taught him) that when he saw another dog that he couldn't handle, to come to me and sit while I gave him treats. Otherwise he would have attacked them. When the other dog would approach I would stand in front of mine and tell the other dog "Go Home! or NO!" Usually that was enough for its owner to come and get him or get snotty with me but that 's OK.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
Our household has 2 dogs it it, and I actually listen to the sounds they make. I recognize the grunts and growls that say "I mean it" (this coming from the older one, obviously the puppy is still a silly boy) and that's when I intervene. I don't wait for it to get rough because it's simpler to just tell them "enough" before anything happens.

holland: I know, I hate to have someone lord their experience over me! But with age comes wisdom, so I try to learn from those older than myself. I still folow my own instincts though.

wolfy dog: how will it undermine our relationship? This is the biggest concern for me - that's why I thought I was right by stepping in to take over the fight, so he'd know I "have his back".
 

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Our household has 2 dogs it it, and I actually listen to the sounds they make. I recognize the grunts and growls that say "I mean it" (this coming from the older one, obviously the puppy is still a silly boy) and that's when I intervene. I don't wait for it to get rough because it's simpler to just tell them "enough" before anything happens.

holland: I know, I hate to have someone lord their experience over me! But with age comes wisdom, so I try to learn from those older than myself. I still folow my own instincts though.

wolfy dog: how will it undermine our relationship? This is the biggest concern for me - that's why I thought I was right by stepping in to take over the fight, so he'd know I "have his back".
I agree with managing the pup and other dog(s) in your house hold. I use "leave It" to tell the pup to quit harassing the old dog and then keep him busy or crate him.

Regarding "undermining the relationship". It can make him insecure towards you because we can never communicate as effectively as dog do. I would never want my dog to feel insecure or worried about me. That's what I personally meant with "undermining". If "you take over a fight" he most likely will join you out of pack behavior and it practices aggression.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I always have had the attitude towards other dogs that they have to go through me to get to my dogs. If I have to hurt them, then that sucks because I don't want to do it, but if it gets that far, then that's not my fault. I guess that makes me sound like a bully? But the actual energy and feelings that I'm projecting to the other dog is "back off or you'll wish you were never born" not "oh, I hope you don't bite me" so my confidence level is pretty much off the charts. That should keep my puppy from worrying, don't you think? I'm certainly not worried, just ready to rip the dog limb from limb - projecting that attitude, anyway - lol.
 

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The more gentle methods work better for me and the dogs is my experience. Thanks for the respectful discussion, over and out :)
 
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