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Hello,
I've written on this topic back in December but could use some more advice. Here is the scenario:
Jack - a 4 year old long haired shepherd with the sweetest temperment I've ever had in a dog - our 'gentle giant'
Aggie - a 1 year old female shepherd who does not have Jack's temperment but is an incredibly devoted and protective dog.
Jack lives primarily outside (his choice-staying within the property boundries) but does want to come in at times too.
Aggie lives primarily inside
Aggie is an absolute dominant female who just went through her first heat.
On the occasion that Jack does come in, she won't let him touch any toy, etc. even if she has her own. I usually buy 2 of the same but she drops hers and goes after his. She has to beat him to the door to come in, etc.
She has on some occasions, attacked Jack (who is almost twice her size). Today, was the worst. They were outside together and Jack had his toy and she went after him and began to viciously attack him. Although Jack is bigger and stronger, he is no match.
It isn't the norm because many times when they are together, she licks his eyes, ears, etc. almost mothering him.
The main issue is usually 'stuff' she wants that he has.
I am absolutely devastated at the thought that I may have to give her up but it isn't fair to Jack and I don't know what to do.
Oh, and visits to the vet are no party either. If there are other dogs in the waiting room, she is absolutely crazy.
Other than these interactions, she really is a great dog. Any thoughts? Suggestions? Would spaying help?
Thanks!
Lorri
 

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Spaying can make a reactive dog more reactive, but that does not seem to be the case here.

The way that spaying would help is if this is a hormonal reaction and it could be. However it would be best to weight 3 months for her system to normalize and then spay.

Females in standing heat, will generally allow a male to come up, and groom them and do all that is necessary to create puppies. However, when they are not in standing heat, but are undergoing the hormones involved, progesteron and estrogen spikes, etc, they can be violent to males.

What you need to do is forget the human idea of what is fair. Think about 2 year olds, MINE! If you give two two year olds each a frisbee, they may play with their own, or they may want the other one. They may want both of them.

What you have is a bitch who lives inside with the family. EVERYTHING inside is hers and that dog that comes in once in a while, well, he is an intruder stealing her stuff.

And sometimes you just have one dog that is very into toys, and won't let the other have any toys. Forcing things to be fair between them WILL most likely cause fights. A better approach is to put up the toys, as you own them, and let the outside dog play with toys outside while you are with him, but not while the female is out there.

And let the inside dog play with toys, when she has done something you wanted her to do. Then give her a toy for a while. But not while the outside dog is inside.

If she is being bitchy out of hormonal changes caused by her heat cycle, removing heat cycles might make a difference. But I would wait until she is in the middle, 3 months from now.

If you spay now, you can prolong the current state she is in, specifically since she is still not mature and just coming out of heat, which means her insides have all the hormonal changes of being pregnant.

Pregnant bitches can be totally evil to anything that may be a threat to their young. I had a bitch that would rub against the cat, and was awesome with her, but when she was pregnant, she attacked the cat. After the pups were weaned, she and the cat were buddies again.

The cycle is 63 days from ovulation to whelping. Which means the bitch's system will act pregnant for 9 weeks after ovulation. Chances are good that ovulation happened in the middle of the heat cycle, so puppies would probably be due in approximately 56 days. And then the system is getting over the pregnancy. I would give it 3 maybe 4 months before spaying. But no longer. Some youngsters will go into heat sooner rather than later. You probably do not want her to go into heat again.

Hope that is helpful.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
That was VERY helpful! Thank you SO much!
My husband is concerned we have a 'bad' dog but she is great aside from her interactions with Jack.
You're right, I guess some kids will just never get along. LOL.
 

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She seems to be dog reactive. Have you thought about taking her to training? In our last training class a dog reactive dog was there. The trainer worked with that dog one on one for about the first 4 weeks of traning. It was an 8 week class. Towards the end she was so much better.
 

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She is not dog reactive, she is a resource guarder. Until you can get with a good trainer to help with the resource guarding when the dogs are together take all of the toys away.

There is a good book about resource guarding called "Mine!"

You should also put her on Nothing in Life is Free.
 

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Sorry, didn't see that part. But the resource guarding is what needs to be addressed with Jack since that is when she shows aggression at home.

Have you done any classes with her? How much socialization has she had?
 

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Hi...sorry, I just saw these messages. I've sent her to training for 10 days while I was on vacation. Truthfully, she came back more nervous than when she went. Pacing, etc.
The trainer said she interacted very well with other dogs but I wouldn't know it after a visit to the vet. She went for Jack again today...took his ear and shakes it back and forth like a rag doll..he cries and it's like she is in another world and won't let go. Right after she does, he is right back at her trying to tease her by taking a toy (if there isn't one around, he finds anything like a plastic flower pot, big sticks, etc.) and trying to shove it in her face to make her chase him. It only incites her further and it is probably the most stressful thing I've ever dealt with. I'm amazed that he goes even near her. Is the answer just to keep them apart? HELP!
 

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I would NOT let her interact with jack unless she was on leash and I was right there ready to let her have it for being nasty to him.

By the time you get to her to break things up, she's already halfway done the deed so to speak, you need to stop it before it happens, if it means isolating her away from him, so be it,

I would be right on top of her 24/7 while she's interacting with him, and when she even 'thinks' about starting stuff with him, I"d be correcting her with a good LEAVE IT.

Definitely not fair to Jack to be the brunt of her bullying ways.

I wouldnt reahome her, she sounds fine otherwise, I'd just get my point across it's unacceptable behavior.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Diane,
Thanks so much for the advice. I will do what you suggest. Do you think after an (undetermined) amount of time, she will be 'nicer'? I am going to have her spayed at the end of next month. As an aside, it was suggested that I buy a remote trainer which I did. I keep it at a low level but once when she started on Jack, I gave her a quick shock and she only got more mad.
Lorri
 

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I've seen the remote work, up your stim on it..while using a "leave it" command.

I would leave a leash or a long pull tab on her, so you can grab her if she starts any stuff with him..

Up your firmness with her bad behavior , show her you mean business, a hard change of voice tone usually does the trick for me ..When she's GOOD, and being good to Jack, reward that..

Yes, I'd spay her, because hormones can play a role in snooty witches:)
 

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Thanks again so much! I can't wait to put your advice in action. Do you think she will eventually 'soften up to him'? Of course, when she's not being a witch she's licking his eyes and wagging her tail. Go figure.
 

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You say, she was on heat recently. And, Jack was sterilized, I suspect? She doesn't recognise him as a male first of all, but as a competitor for living space. She removes prey away from him by not letting him to any toys, thus telling him that he is a worthless member of the pack. It could be conditioned by the fact how you arranged it for your dogs to be outside and inside, weaker and minor members of the pack just walk around, their place is the "outskirts" of the pack, only the strongest are honored to sleep next to the leader. I wouldn't recomend to change this established order.
In the wild, she would be - or naturally pregnant by now, or she would be a working unit of the pack unable to breed. You have two options: 1) sterilize her; 2) train her to be a working member of the pack. And that is - exercise her intensely. She would be obedient only if exhausted physically, and, the rest is pretty easy - you should tell her "No" each time you noticed her agressive attidudes towards Jack, until she gives up completely. She simply must obey.
The story with some other dogs, I think, has nothing to do with her behaviour at home. She needs socializing, manners. It would be better to muzzle her and take her for walks more often where she can meet other dogs, train her somewhere in the park to meet any new dog in sitting or lying down position for the start. Otherwise, you wouldn't be accepted to any classes.
 

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IMO the female aggie is trying to rule the roost at the tender age of one and nobody is showing any sign of stopping her. I would not let either dog intimidate the other, or dominate the other, or excite the other.

The owner needs to actively control the dogs interactions and show them that some behaviors are acceptable and some are not. Instead of the dogs fighting over something you can go and claim that object and show the dogs to show respect to you instead of fighting amongst them selves.

Before even thinking of re homing one dog from a pair I think the owner should look at the way they are training the dogs and take more responsibility in being the leader of the dogs rather than expecting the dogs to sort out there own issues. If the dogs feel free to do as they wish then they may be cruel to each other at times as most are looking out for their own interests rather than the packs needs. For me calmness inside the pack is most important so I can bring in any dog into the pack and it won't be intimidated, bullied or feel it can take over as I'm in charge.
 
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