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Discussion Starter #1
We have a 3 year old female shepherd and 2 year old rescue male shepherd who we have had for a month. The female is the dominant one. The dogs get along fine now in the house, on walks and outside in the front yard but when we put them in the backyard last week their play turned into a fight. I think what originally happened was their play got rough and the male nipped my female too hard and it ramped it up into a fight neither could stop on their own. My husband had to pull them apart and both dogs were shaken as were we! Since then we have rotated their time in yard. This morning I went out with them and again saw the signs that a fight was about to break out and I quickly got one back inside before it could escalate. As some background my male is a very mellow dog, he was raised with other dogs and loves to play. My female we have had since she was a puppy and she is very "drivey" and she can be obsessive. Could a temperament conflict be part of the problem.

Does anyone have any advice? Before this I have only had one dog at a time so I'm not familiar with having two. Is this something we can work on with them or should we always assume they will need to be kept separate in the yard.

Thanks for any help
 

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Since they get along fine anywhere except in the backyard, I would not put them in the backyard together. I would put one dog in the front yard and the other in the backyard.
 

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I think inside they are more under "rules" same on the leash and except that. The yard seems to invite the territory issue I think sometimes, or just the chase,etc. the fenceline thing with neighbor dogs can escalate things too! Cody and clipper got along fine in & out, but hooch I only let out on his own or if I let both clipper and hooch out together I stay out with them. Hooch would try and start play, bowing down, running off, but Cody didn't like it!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
thank you both for the replies.

Readaboutdogs, it is a similar situation here where my male wants to play and the female will only take so much and put him in his place. I did notice today watching them play inside that the male seems to be pushing so maybe I'm wrong and dominance isn't as fully decided as I thought it was. Could I be asking too much of them too early? It has only been a month.
I'll continue to rotate them in the yard for now but is there any hope of getting them to be together out there? My family spends most of our time in the backyard in the late spring/summer/fall.
Would it help if I put the male on a leash with me for awhile and do some obedience out there with him while she is out too. My thoughts are if I could desensitize them to being outside and teach him "hey my rules apply out here too" maybe they will settle down and show her that her place is not threatened and she still gets more privilege(be off leash in this case).
I just don't want to try something and inadvertently make it worse and end up with a situation that cannot be solved because of my misstep if that makes sense... We are feeding her first(after we eat), letting her go out the door before him etc.
 

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2 of mine are like that, 8 year old male, 6 year old female, if they do not have their respective toys out with them, one has a frisbee and the other has a jolly ball, there will be a fight, but with the toys outside with them, they are fine
 

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That's a good idea Ken. I just got them both new jolly balls too, so I'll try it tomorrow. BTW I noticed you have a EPI dog as well? My male has EPI... and putting on weight since we got him! :)
 

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i think they get really keyed up when they are outside loose. it happens before they even get out the door. i am not sure you can train them to behave outside together with that exitement going on. you can try putting them both on leash outside, because the lose one will still have the excitement going on. the only other thing you can try is to tire each one out seperately before putting then in together so you get the excitement out of them. the only other option is to rotate dogs out there.
 

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That's a good idea Ken. I just got them both new jolly balls too, so I'll try it tomorrow. BTW I noticed you have a EPI dog as well? My male has EPI... and putting on weight since we got him! :)
I just read your post #4, same thing here, when they start to play in the house, the male is the one that`s get pushy, and outside, if no toys are there, he chase`s the female till she stops, if he runs into her (and he does this on purpose) or bullies her, she comes back with a vengeance, and the fight starts, throw the toys out there and it stops, my female likes the jolly ball, although it no longer resembles a ball of any kind, you may have to find what each one loves to play with, and only use those 2 toys when they are outside, my female will not let the male have the jolly ball, and the male will not let her have the frisbee, so they just run around the yard

yes, Max has had EPI for 5 years, he was 100lbs, stwiched from TOW after last recall, to Fromm grain free and hes down and staying at 95lbs, which is better for him
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The toys worked outside this morning! I had them both lie down and wait while I brought out two but my girl hogged them all, so I brought out a third and it all went well. ha! She can't control all three balls going at once so each had something to keep them busy and focused on something other than each other. We played for a few minutes and then I put them both into a down and took all the toys away again. It felt like a playgroup for dogs but it worked. Thanks for the idea! They are both currently flaked out together after a long run. You'd never think there was a fight looking at them lying side by side.

My epi boy came to us at 62 pounds and we could see every rib, spine and his hip bones. At 2 weeks he was up 2 pounds and I think he's gained a bit more. I find it hard to tell because I see him all the time, but he looks less ribby and he stopped blowing his coat which I'm taking as a good sign that he's stabilizing. His energy level is up too...he just needs to leave the female alone a little!

Thanks everyone for the help.
 
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