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Discussion Starter #1
I adopted a 8 month old male gsd 2 months ago and it has been rocky pretty much from the start with my female GSD, Molly.

Zeke came to us unsocialized with no manners and we have worked with him on this. He has so far done great, he is even doing super with our cat. The problem is that there is something going on between him and our female that I have no idea how to work with.

Usually they are fine, I have even caught them playing but every once in a while it gets really serious and thats what im worried about. This last time has me ready to take him back to the humane society. Not just for molly but for him because one of them are going to get hurt.

There was no blood shed but it was very hard for my husband to break them up and if he had let them settle it there would have been.

I don't know what to do now but keep them seperated. They go out by themselves and are never unsupervised. I really don't want to live like this forever. Is there a chance its just adolescence and he will settle down? When do you know that two dogs will never get along?
 

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Fighting between a male and a female happens much less than dogs of the same sex. Were they hackling and showing teeth? In my opinion, dogs that are really fighting would draw blood in an instant, and real fighting normally happens from the start not from play. That does not mean that two dogs cannot get so worked up that they go at each other a bit, but that normally is not a "real" fight. With all this said, I do not allow roughhousing of this type in the house, and very little outside. Without seeing the altercation, it is hard to know what the issue is. I would supervise the interaction for the time being, and stay on them so they understand that you will not allow this behavior. Stopping it before it starts is best, but you will need to learn all about canine behavior, dominance, and posturing in order to do so if you have not already.
 

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I assume that the OP knows the difference between playing, posturing and fighting. And I HAVE seen damage done between males and females, especially if they're vying for rank. Obviously if it's serious enough to keep them separated then there is a problem.

Be sure that when you separate them you do so by grabbing the dogs' tails or squirting water into the aggressor's face.

I would get a behaviorist in to help you with this. Have both dogs been through formal obedience training? If not I would get them signed up immediately. How is Zeke with other dogs? Do you practice NILIF in your house?
 

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I think that I would work on BOTH dogs and obedience training IN CLASSES right now. Because the fact is you need to be the leader to BOTH of them. You need the class environment though so they have the distractions and can see you are in charge and they learn to look to you and OBEY you when alot is going on.

And once they learn to look to you, then you will be better able to stop their interactions before they get out of hand. If you aren't sure if they are playing too hard, or just short of a real fight, then you need to stop THAT activity prior to it reaching that level. So if you instead need to majorly increase their exercise levels to get the edge off them, then that's good. You always having one dog in the room with you so you can monitor is good. Having no rough housing from the dogs for the time being.

And YOU getting the leadership role in the house and with the dogs so they look to you, learn from you, listen to you. Especially as your male matures and continues testing the waters with the adults AND the other dog. If he KNOWS you will nip it in the bud, he's less likely to try anything. But if he knows you are late, or in the other side of the house, or worth blowing off generally........ then that can cause major problems.

Get into a good dog class, particularly with the male but both is good. WAY more outdoor exercise for both dogs to wear them out. And you may want to start up the NILF program as well as reading The Dog Listener by Jan Fennell.
 

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Maggie hit the nail on the head. Exercise and obedience. Especially walking these two together will help lots. And these walks are not to sniff everything and to tiptoe through the tulips. The purpose of the walks is to get them to exist near each other with a clear head under your control while you're all moving in the same direction.
 

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What are you doing about toys and mealtimes? Is Molly
above the new pup in pack order? (Obviously, the humans
are alpha) If Molly is above and you feed the new boy first,
could create problems.

As to the toy part of it, seperate but equal? Don't give them
anything to fight "over"?!?!?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
First off thank you for all of your suggestions, I do have zeke signed up for formal obedience class to start this january. I have been working with him in the home on the obedience I have known from growing up. Just how to act inside a home, what "go lay down" means, etc.

I do not allow rough housing at all in my home between any dogs, I give a command to stop it and all parties involved stop immediately. No questions asked or they get a more severe correction.

As for feeding, all dogs eat at the same time. they have a spot in the kitchen they go to and wait for me to bring their bowls, they sit until I put the bowl down and I have never had any issues at meal time. When they are done they come to me and sit until all others a done. I pick up the bowls and they go outside to potty. I go outside to supervise zeke.

I practice NILF, they sit to do everything or get anything and I do not allow pawing or mouthing of myself or other family members.

I was pretty upset yesterday so I did leave some important details out about the fight. I was not there so this is according to my husband. I think if I had been there it would not have happened. I have told my husband to keep them seperated until I get home and I would work with them then.

He was out in the yard with them and he said they were all sniffing around doing their usual thing and BAMM molly had zeke on the ground, there was teeth bared and fur flying. he got them apart and was holding onto zeke and molly came around and hit him again where mike left him open. She did this twice.

Zeke has never had a problem besides the usual puppy behavior with any of the other dogs and when I correct him he stops. I have never had a problem anywhere with him, except if he feels threatened he can act out badly. This happens if the vet has to restrain him for whatever reason. He has never growled or snapped at strange dogs. Just sniffed and if I told him to leave it he does.

I do think this is a rank issue. I dont leave toys around because I have had issues with these two and until I can trust them they stay up.

I am going to start walking them together and will enroll Molly in obedience asap as well.

they dont fight like this all time. The last incident was two weeks ago but the fights seem to be getting worse. I think I need more than anything reassurance that doing all these things will bring balance back.

again thank you everyone.
 

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http://www.leerburg.com/dogfight.htm Breaking up a dog fight "safely"

How has Molly been with other dogs before. This is just my opinion but I think having a female going after a younger male dog makes me wonder about both dogs! It's just a little off. And I don't mean that to make you feel bad about your dogs either! If you can find a behaviorist, or if your trainer can observe them that would be great.

I don't like that it's getting worse. I would be concerned and that concern would translate into action as it is for you. Don't relax-don't let your husband think he can either, because you want to keep everyone safe and prevent this from getting worse. And also causing more damage to a young dog who is learning it's a do unto others before they do unto me (dog eat dog!) world.

As for the vet restraining thing-less is more there. I have a dog I got when she was 8 who hadn't been cared for much, so going to the vet was pretty freaky for her. She didn't know or trust anyone. Restraint made that worse. I switched her to a vet in the practice now has a very light touch with her and she has learned that the vet office is a good place to go. There is a thread somewhere posted by Timber1 about his dog at the vet office-I think you'll like it!

Good luck! You are doing a good job.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
No offense taken, I am open to the fact it might be partly Molly making these fights happen. As far as with other dogs I have never had any real issues with her, she isnt a happy go lucky dog but I have never seen her act like this with any other dogs.

I even had her at the vets once and a woman came out of the exam room with a pit bull acting crazy and the dog came within an inch of her nose to nose and she never even flinched.

I have had to work with her and my pointer though, she has been rough with him and she has a problem if we are out running and he gets ahead of her. A correction gets her to stop though. Now that I think of it she really doesnt listen to anyone else but me :p. My husband can yell till he is blue in the face and she wont stop. I just thought she was being a shepherd and they played rougher.

I think its back to basics for the both of them, and I will try to find a good trainer that can help me with this. I will also get my husband involved with obedience and Molly.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I wanted to post an update on my Molly and Zeke.

Zeke is now in the second week of obedience class and he is doing super. He is a very intelligent dog but what I had thought was dominance actions on his part are actually him being very insecure and reactive.

I have been biking with the dogs morning and evening at least 20 minutes of nice running. Along with that I have been practicing obedience exercises with Molly and Zeke seperately.

Things seem to be getting better but we have figured out who the chief instigator is in these situations, It's Molly. Zeke and my pointer, Koda have been getting along great and even play out in the yard with Zeke getting Koda to chase him. This seems to infuriate Molly and she attacks Zeke putting him on the ground. If she can't catch zeke she then turns on Koda, chewing on him.

Does this sound like jealousy over Koda? Maybe I am not spending enough time with Molly?
 

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Sounds to me like Molly and you need to work on some NILIF stuff. You are the one who gets to call the shots on what is appropriate and in appropriate dog behavior for Molly. Maybe some rules to remind her to behave in a polite manner to her fellow doggies, or she doesn't get to play or be around them when they are playing nicely.

I don't believe in dominance. I believe in rules and structure...the niceties of social life.It is up to you to make sure that Molly gets enough exercise and doesn't get the opportunity to hurt your other dogs. Lots of time outs for Molly can work well, too.
 

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It sounds like Molly still thinks she needs to control the situation, and that she doesn't believe you can. She also sounds like a dog who's not cut out to be top of the pack because she can't actually 'manage' the other dogs. Lots more work with her, bonding & training so that she trusts you are able to 'take care' of everything.
 
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