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Okay, so she didn't actually eat her, but here's the story... Its a little long (sorry) but I want to make sure you guys have all the info.

HISTORY -
Gia and Three (thats the labs name) met when Gia was about 10months and Three was a year and a half. The girls saw each other nearly every day, got along great, Three was dominate as she was older. The girls are now 8 and 9. Both live with other dogs, have dominate personalities, but generally get along with dogs they meet (ie walks, dog park, friends dogs). The 4 "fights" that Gia has been in, have all been short scuffles over a ball. As a rule of thumb tho, I describe her as having a chip on her shoulder... If she growls to let the other dog know the ball is hers and the other dog lets up, then things are fine. If the other dog growls back - things escalate! (I'm usually able to step in before it gets to this point tho)

EVENT -
So the other day the girls meet after they hadnt seen each other in 3yrs. Both were off leash, on neutral grounds at a park. They approached each other, got into posture and slowly did the sniff over. Ears and tails erect - tails slightly wagging... no one growled or anything, then both dogs went after each other... Gia grabbed Three in one bite behind the ear and held on the duration of the fight. The way the dogs were positioned (sort of in a twisted way) it was hard for us to get in there and break the fight up... Three was screaming and it seemed like the more she screamed, the harder Gia would bite.

AFTERMATH -
We get them apart, walk to separate areas of the park to inspect the dogs. (We didn't see Three's injury at the time). Since both were "fine" we decided that if this was ever going to work that we couldnt just end the day there so we leashed the dogs, we both got our other dogs from the vehicles, and went for a 30min walk where the dogs were fine and in close proximity. Before we leave all the dogs are sniffing each other, tails wagging, then a growl from Three, a bigger growl from Gia and disappointment in both of us humans because we thought we'd made a little progress. We just told the girls "no", put them in a sit/stay and finished our conversation.

HELP -
So the advice I'm seeking is; A - any comments/suggestions on what we did right or wrong? B - is there any hope/advice in eventually getting these two together again? We'll take it as slow as need be, just wondering if there is hope... and C - will this level of a fight "screw up" my dog? Seeing what she's capable of has me slightly nervous to introduce her to any new dogs (ever). I know thats a little extreme, but my jaw is still dropped a bit. Plus she's 8, has HD, maybe she's just a grump now(?)

So anyhow, thanks in advance.

UPDATE -
...and for those wondering, Three had a deep puncture behind her ear, but its been taken care of and she's okay now. Gia also sent her a bone with an apology.
 

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Sounds like a typical day at a dog park. Sorry, it's just that this stuff happens all the time at dog parks which is why I avoid them. In this case you had two owners that were not neglectful and watching and a dog still got hurt. Your dog is old enough that she will not get screwed up in any way from this, she is just a dominant female. When she comes across other dominant females she needs to be controlled (on leash). Please make sure you do not get her around young females, as she will do some damage there.
 

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Should anything like that happen in the future, I would NOT try to force the issue with a leashed dog walk.

The best way to break up a dog fight is to grab the dogs and pull them out by their tails. I have had very good luck separating dogs (long enough to pull them out) by squirting water from a water bottle into the aggressors eyes (these fights have been between other people's dogs). I have also had luck stopping fights from happening by yelling from my solar plexus--really more like a roar--BACK OFF!

And my first dog was a very dominant female and did not fight because I did not allow it. Every so often she would be challenged by another dominant female but it would always be stopped before it escalated, mainly because I became the super alpha of the world at that moment.
 

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You have a dominate female GSD and the lab is a dominate female also. Not a good mix at all. Three years ago your GSD was younger so she backed down from the lab, fast forward three years Gia is not a pup but a mature female.

Since this was an occasional meeting and the dogs don't live togteher is actually easier for you, you just keep your female and the lab owner keeps her dog on leash when they are together. Also as John said you need to keep your female on leash.

Once females fight there is very few chances that they will be friends, even co-existing in a home is a challenge and if the owner slips up it will some times result in the death of one or both dogs, at a minimum it results in more than a puncture mark.

I don't think it will screw you dog up, but since she wasn't injured it may make her a little quicker or more willing to exert or show er dominance again to a dog that wants to challenge her.

There is nothing wrong with dominate dogs, they are just that dominate. The take some different handling than a neutral or submissive dog.

I am glad that you both had enough sense not to try to grab collars, this will result in you getting bit.
 

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Jean if the female is nice and stable likes she sounds and just a dominate dog, then when out in public she needs to keep this dog leashed.

She is addressing the issues at home, but just needs to make sure she has control of her female.

Lakota is the most friendly dog, he doesn't mind meet and greets, but he WILL not tolerate another dog to dominate him. Twice while at the Vet's office when I was getting meds or paying my bill and he was right by my side, some one brought there dog up and life was good until the other dog started putting it's head on Lakota's bakc. Then he loudly with his HUGE vioce told the other dog to back off, it scares the gagebbers out of people and I calmly tell them that my dog doesn't tolerate bad god manners ot being dominated by another dog..
 

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Just a couple of comments.

Gia did not send the bone with an apology - her human companion may have.

I thought it's supposed to be the legs that you grab, not the tail to seperate the dogs?
 

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Middle, I had always read that you grab the back legs.

I went to Leerburg because I have heard that he has info posted on breaking up dog fights, I like the leash method that he talks about, less chance of you doing damage to your dog and once you get the leashe lopped, less chance of lossing the dog. I could see where if a dog is really struggling, trying to hold the back legs could be a real physical challenge.

http://www.leerburg.com/dogfight.htm
 

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You may have been doomed from the start because they are both dominant females. However, I would have started things off with a leashed walk. I would never introduce dogs to each other offleash, even if 3 years ago they were fine. Personally, I would not put them together again unless it is a walk while they are leashed. I am not a fan of dog parks either. Good luck.
 

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Originally Posted By: Wisc.Tiger

Once females fight there is very few chances that they will be friends, even co-existing in a home is a challenge and if the owner slips up it will some times result in the death of one or both dogs, at a minimum it results in more than a puncture mark.
Not to hijack the thread but I was very interested in this comment you made which I have heard and read from several sources.

When we first adopted Maiya she attacked Annabelle so many times and sent her to the vet for stitches each and everytime we thought we were not going to be able to keep her. Serious fights, like Annabelle almost losing an eye, and having the entire back of her ear completely skinned, multiple puncture wounds in the face and legs. Maiya never had a scratch. I know for a fact they would have killed each other if not for our intervention.

Anyways, it's been 4 months since their last blow out and they have come to a point now where they are ALWAYS together and do not like to be sperated. OF COURSE I still seperate them when I am not there to watch them. But now they sleep together, they play together, and are always checking to see where the other one is if she is missing.

Maiya throws out her dominate signs to Annabelle still and Annabelle will go into a submissive gesture instead of growling back like she use too.

Is it likely that they have come to an understanding?

Of course that is wonderful, but I would still never ever ever trust them alone together.
 

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First if you have two dominate females you have to be much more dominate than both of them in order for there to be peace. I would never never trust two females that have gotten into battle if I could not be there to supervise.

Lisa what has worked in your home is that Annabelle is submitting and Maiya is backing off, but I will bet if you weren't there Maiya wouldn't say ok you are submitting, Annabelle would be dead. It takes a lot to balance females in the house. But this is with warning, all it will take is Maiya to be having a bad day and Annabelle to not submit fast enough and the fight will be on.
 

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You just can't tell with bitches. Ringer and Honey's sister was killed in a bitch fight with her life long companion shortly before their 12th birthday. According to their owner, the girls had never had a problem until that night.
 
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The best method I've found for breaking up a fight without either getting bitten or possibly injuring the dog by pulling limbs is to throw a large blanket like you might have at a picnic or the beach over both dogs. When they can't see they let go. Then quickly grab dogs away from each other.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Originally Posted By: middleofnowhereJust a couple of comments.

Gia did not send the bone with an apology - her human companion may have.

I thought it's supposed to be the legs that you grab, not the tail to seperate the dogs?
middle you are absolutely right. I purchased the bone, I wrote the note, and I forged Gia's paw print. I will call my friends and let them know the truth. Gia had no part in the matter!


and now to be serious. first, thanks for everyones replies and input, i just wanted to add a little bit of info and clarification. a couple people mentioned pulling the dogs apart by their back legs. i'm not sure if this would have been an issue, but i'll tell you that the reason neither of us tried that is because both of the girls have HD. so the fact that i was unsure of the damage i could cause them, in the moment i just opted not to do it. also - the hold that Gia had on Three, pulling would have been just that, pulling, she did not let go until her mouth was pried apart. not the smartest move, but we had gotten both of them to the ground at this point and it was the only option we could come to.

to jean, i feel pretty safe with my dogs together at home. like i said, this is the first fight of this nature and with my other dog being a 1yr old male, the chances are slimmer of it happening here. (i wont rule it out, but he's totally submissive to her) could it also be that she knows i'm in charge when we're at home? and that i need to work on asserting myself while out? both of her good friends are female (a 6yr dobie & a 11yr lab) and when they're over a simple but stern "knock if off girls" works as far as controlling any emotions from getting out of control.

generally i would not opt to let two off leash dogs together w/o knowing how they'd deal with the other, but Three has some leash aggression, so to put things in HER favor she "had" to be off. I didnt think it'd go over to well with Gia on leash and another dog approaching her. So bad judgement call, we understand that now.

i have a guestion to bowwowmeaw - when you say "force" the issue on leash, are you referring to us allowing the dogs to walk together afterwards - or do you mean in the future trying to have them meet on leash.

i dont think its so much knowing that she's a dominate dog that has me uneasy - its actually seeing what your dog can and will do. had her teeth not been worn down a bit - or had we not been there, i could easily see her ripping this dogs neck open.

have any of you dealt with your dogs causing severe damage, and been able to get her back to a controllable point?
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Originally Posted By: GSDadThe best method I've found for breaking up a fight without either getting bitten or possibly injuring the dog by pulling limbs is to throw a large blanket like you might have at a picnic or the beach over both dogs. When they can't see they let go. Then quickly grab dogs away from each other.
it was also suggested to us by an onlooker to cover the dogs nose with something to block their breathing. although, i cant see that working (position and opportunity wise) in most fights.
 

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During the first attack Seamus made on Thor, I had grabbed both of them by the scruff of their necks, and yanked with all my might. Everyone here told me that was not the wisest move as I could have been bitten by either one of the two sparring boys. But who thinks of that when you're alone with two dogs trying to kill each other? *smiles*

So when Seamus and Thor got into it again the last time, I had tried to grab the leash attached to Seamus's collar and pull them apart that way. Unfortunately, during the fight, the collar had snapped off so all I had was the leash attached to an empty collar...and the two were still locked together.

As I said at the time, I grabbed a large sheet (the only thing close at hand at the time...thank heavens I do laundry now and then *grins*) and threw it over Thor's head... his eyes, his nose, his ears ...and pulled as hard as I could, effectively blinding him and blocking off his breathing through his nose. He did let go and I was able to separate them.

So I have to agree with GSDad...it does work! Something to remember when you're one little person trying to pull apart two huge shepherds in a do or die grip on one another.
 

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Originally Posted By: Hatterasser
So I have to agree with GSDad...it does work! Something to remember when you're one little person trying to pull apart two huge shepherds in a do or die grip on one another.
tell me about it. i told another friend of mine about this incident and she told me that her GREAT DANE and ENGLISH MASTIFF have gotten into 'a couple of' fights. i'll mention now that she's all of 5'1 and i'd guess 120 at most. i will let her know of this technique.
 

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Quote:it was also suggested to us by an onlooker to cover the dogs nose with something to block their breathing. although, i cant see that working (position and opportunity wise) in most fights.
They must be made of armor to be willing to go to the BUSINESS END of the dog to break up the fight! Sorry, but if it were me, I'd go for the parts farthest away from the teeth- the rear legs. Always stay away from the mouth/head. The onlooker must never have never had to deal with dog fights and I shudder to think what will happen when s/he does. S/He'll be in the ER faster than you can say "idiot."
 
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