German Shepherds Forum banner

1 - 17 of 17 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Skip to next post. MRL broke it down so it is easier to read.
My husband Mike and I dated for 3 years then married in February. He has an 11 year old male Akita (Scout) and an 11 year old female shepherd (Chloe). I have an 11 year old female shepherd (Pretty Girl) and a 3 year old female Golden (Lucy). While we were dating we introduced Pretty Girl, Scout and his other dog Kahla who passed away last year. They got along find for weekend visits. After Kahla passed his son asked that he adopt their mother's shepherd Chloe as she wasn't getting along with their mother's other smaller dogs. Two weeks prior to the wedding I took PG and Lucy over to Mike's house for a evening visit. My husband is very casual about dogs getting along, my son wanted to watch a basketball game and I was exhausted so probably not thinking ahead. The three of us sat on a sofa with my son on the left and his dog Lucy to his left. I was in the middle, Mike was on the right. PG tried to move in toward my feet, Chloe tried to move close to Mike's feet and within minutes the PG and Chloe were at each other fighting. We just thought it was because it was a new situation and we were all too close. Then for the two weeks that I was moving in, while busy with boxes gave all the dogs equal attention but feed my two dogs and his two dogs in separate locations at virtually the same time. I know my dogs were nervous as they were in a new location and I was not able to give them as much attention due to the moving. Even though my dogs typically slept in the bedroom with me, I placed their bed by my side of the bed so they had their place as Chloe typically slept next to Mike's side. But then I noticed Chloe started laying down on my dog's bed next to my bed so realized we may have some alpha issues. Though I have raised 4 shepherd and am very firm so thought I could work on the blending. For two weeks there was minor growling and maneuvering for sleeping positions but seemed ok. Then the whole new blended family with three kids went out of town for a 5 day trip leaving the dogs with a long time house sitter. On day 2 Mike's daugher came to the house to pick up some clothes with her mother (who adopted and raised Chloe) and PG and Chloe got into a fight. Then on Day 4 they got into a fight again and my friend took PG to the vet to treat surface wounds. My first day back from the trip I was on high alert but keeping them mostly separated with equal time for his dogs and my dogs in the house or on the patio, and they seemed fine. On the second day I went out on a one hour errand with my dogs on the side patio and his dogs inside. When I came home the house looked like a blood bath with PG broken collar on the floor. I found PG just outside an open door to the patio from my son's room covered in blood with Scout and Lucy on either side. In my focus to find the dogs did not realize Chloe had come up on my heels and PG and Chloe lunged at each other like gladiators. I grabbed a towel to whip at them and yelled but they wouldn't stop, finally was able to drape towel over Chloe's head and separated them. Then took PG in for 5-6 areas of stitches and Mike came home and took Chloe in for 3-4 areas of stitches. Mike's vet suggested that PG be spayed (as it was never an issue before as she was in a fenced yard with a neutered male for a few years then by herself). Ironically when we adopted Lucy I thought it would be nice for PG to have someone to play with and they adapted very well. So after PG came home from a two day rest from her surgery, I was a prison guard making sure all doors were completed double door (patio and bedroom) locked. Then Mike's daughter decided to get an apartment and wanted Chloe as she was a single lady living on a first floor apartment. Two months later his daughter is frustrated with Chloe waking her in the middle of night so doesn't want Chloe. Therefore Mike wants to try to re-introduce Chloe and PG on his own. I know there are a lot of things we humans did not do right in the beginning and Chloe has no where else to go, so I am open to re-introduction but think we need some professional help to guide us. Any thoughts?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
27,460 Posts
( WELCOME TO THE SITE .... I merely copied and broke up the following to make it a bit easier to read so you can get more help).

My husband Mike and I dated for 3 years then married in February. He has an 11 year old male Akita (Scout) and an 11 year old female shepherd (Chloe). I have an 11 year old female shepherd (Pretty Girl) and a 3 year old female Golden (Lucy). While we were dating we introduced Pretty Girl, Scout and his other dog Kahla who passed away last year. They got along find for weekend visits. After Kahla passed his son asked that he adopt their mother's shepherd Chloe as she wasn't getting along with their mother's other smaller dogs.

Two weeks prior to the wedding I took PG and Lucy over to Mike's house for a evening visit. My husband is very casual about dogs getting along, my son wanted to watch a basketball game and I was exhausted so probably not thinking ahead. The three of us sat on a sofa with my son on the left and his dog Lucy to his left. I was in the middle, Mike was on the right. PG tried to move in toward my feet, Chloe tried to move close to Mike's feet and within minutes the PG and Chloe were at each other fighting. We just thought it was because it was a new situation and we were all too close.

Then for the two weeks that I was moving in, while busy with boxes gave all the dogs equal attention but feed my two dogs and his two dogs in separate locations at virtually the same time. I know my dogs were nervous as they were in a new location and I was not able to give them as much attention due to the moving. Even though my dogs typically slept in the bedroom with me, I placed their bed by my side of the bed so they had their place as Chloe typically slept next to Mike's side. But then I noticed Chloe started laying down on my dog's bed next to my bed so realized we may have some alpha issues. Though I have raised 4 shepherd and am very firm so thought I could work on the blending.

For two weeks there was minor growling and maneuvering for sleeping positions but seemed ok. Then the whole new blended family with three kids went out of town for a 5 day trip leaving the dogs with a long time house sitter. On day 2 Mike's daugher came to the house to pick up some clothes with her mother (who adopted and raised Chloe) and PG and Chloe got into a fight. Then on Day 4 they got into a fight again and my friend took PG to the vet to treat surface wounds.

My first day back from the trip I was on high alert but keeping them mostly separated with equal time for his dogs and my dogs in the house or on the patio, and they seemed fine. On the second day I went out on a one hour errand with my dogs on the side patio and his dogs inside. When I came home the house looked like a blood bath with PG broken collar on the floor. I found PG just outside an open door to the patio from my son's room covered in blood with Scout and Lucy on either side. In my focus to find the dogs did not realize Chloe had come up on my heels and PG and Chloe lunged at each other like gladiators. I grabbed a towel to whip at them and yelled but they wouldn't stop, finally was able to drape towel over Chloe's head and separated them.

Then took PG in for 5-6 areas of stitches and Mike came home and took Chloe in for 3-4 areas of stitches. Mike's vet suggested that PG be spayed (as it was never an issue before as she was in a fenced yard with a neutered male for a few years then by herself).
Ironically when we adopted Lucy I thought it would be nice for PG to have someone to play with and they adapted very well. So after PG came home from a two day rest from her surgery, I was a prison guard making sure all doors were completed double door (patio and bedroom) locked. Then Mike's daughter decided to get an apartment and wanted Chloe as she was a single lady living on a first floor apartment.

Two months later his daughter is frustrated with Chloe waking her in the middle of night so doesn't want Chloe. Therefore Mike wants to try to re-introduce Chloe and PG on his own. I know there are a lot of things we humans did not do right in the beginning and Chloe has no where else to go, so I am open to re-introduction but think we need some professional help to guide us. Any thoughts?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,348 Posts
Here are my thoughts: If it works out that these females do not- and CAN not-- live with eachother, be aware that "rotations" and "crating schedules" are for extremely vigilant families only, not for casual families, for the next 10 years (or however long the dogs live). Especially with females, one casual moment in trying to keep dogs separated and rotated can be deadly.

On the plus side, others have worked with dogs who didn't get along and been successful.
It may be there are things you can do to honor the dog's declared pack order (feeding the alpha first, the beta second, etc.). It could be that WAY more excersise helps (this always means lots of very long walks, ball playing, etc. never just time in the back yard) both girls blow off steam. It can be that a professional canine behaviorist
(not a pet dog trainer) can identify things you can do-- and stop doing-- that will help smooth things over. Spaying might help. Excersise (and this again means lots of involvement from you) might help. A change in diet might help... lots of grains and carbs can exacerbate nervous carb-jag energy highs, and interfere with ability to settle.
A behaviorist can help you see pack dynamics that may be hidden to you, such as, which dog REALLY is in charge and needs to get greeted first, let out of crates first, etc. And yup....... crating might just be VERY necessary here.
A behaviorist can help you identify what the "coveted resources" are that can trigger problems.. they may be different than what you expect them to be, such as your eye contact, being greeted first by you, prime resting spots, and who gets to breathe the air under the oak tree in the back yard, versus the air under the elm tree.
Dogs are funny in what they value. A behaviorist can help make things clearer. A training class for both Cloe and PG would give them MENTAL excersise-- because you would be doing lots of HOMEWORK on that training daily.... tiring them out mentally.

I don't have the answers for you, just those ideas. I hope so much that you can make this work.
Some dogs just need time, but, some dogs simply cannot co-habit. The numerous bite wounds mean both girls are serious about this. This may be a dominance issue, a territory issue, hormonal issue, or a combo. But nowadays a good behaviorist can help you sort out what might help. Wishing you and your new family the very best!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
27,460 Posts
To me, sounds like the dogs all love the humans, but when it comes to 'dog stuff' you humans are just annoying pests buzzing around them and they feel they can ignore you to do what THEY think needs to be done.

For whatever reason, there's no leadership role here for you all and they are going to work it out among themselves.

So a MAJOR shift in training and LEADERSHIP needs to go on. So while management is necessary for now (forever?) that's not really helping or changing anything to make your dogs learn what they are doing is NOT acceptable and will NOT be allowed in the house. They don't have to love each other and be best buds, but they will not fight in front of you.

Any of the dogs that are crate trained can have the crates back up to help with this. Some time in a crate for safety is WAY better than the injury/vet visit/stitches/serious vet visit that can otherwise occur.

With all the crazy busyness that I'm sure is happening with all the new family, new move, getting used to new things for the humans, THE DOGS needed alot better 'plan' to get used to each other than what probably ended up happening. So while it's easy to understand how it happened, you are going to have to try to backtrack and work out a new plan that may work.

All these sites have excellent articles about dogs and aggression

http://www.k9aggression.com/Aggression/aggression_main.html

http://www.cal.net/~pamgreen/family_feuds.html

http://k9deb.com/socialis.htm

http://www.flyingdogpress.com/articles.html
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,782 Posts
Originally Posted By: Brightelf, for the next 10 years (or however long the dogs live).
It probably won't be quite that long, they are both already 11 years old.


If it were me, I would just keep them seperated 24/7. They have alerady proven that they want nothing more than to kill eachother, and given the chance, they are likely to succeed next time. And I would NEVER leave them both at home if you are going out of town and/or having someone else care for the dogs. I would board one of them if you have to have a "pet sitter" or even a relative take care of the dogs.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15,138 Posts
I agree with BlackGSD, I would just manage them and keep them apart 24/7. They are not young dogs and are each use to being queen of their own place. Now you have combined the family, it leaves the females wanting to fight for the top spot.

You can't undo things and it seems with bitches once they start at each other there is no end, it only gets worse. Right now all you have had to deal with is stitches, if they continue to have access to each other then you could be dealing with one or two dead dogs.

Val
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,782 Posts
Originally Posted By: Wisc.Tiger
Right now all you have had to deal with is stitches, if they continue to have access to each other then you could be dealing with one or two dead dogs.

Val
And/or a severly bitten human. Check out Chucks post about what can happen to someone that tries to seperate 2 fighting bitches!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Thank you so much for breaking it down, it was in the middle of the night that I wrote and just wanted to get the facts out to be helpful.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
MaggieRoseLee,
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts. I am not sure I understand the Leadership role, do you think I have not been a firm enough leader? Or do you sense they will continue to work it among themselves the minute I leave the house. I definitely agree that we need a new plan. I really appreciate the sites and hopefully they will help with a new plan. Meanwhile I also have three behaviour specialists that I am exploring. But I want my husband to attend the appointments and he works 60 hours a week so tricky.
Thanks again,
hikinghawkeye (Julie)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Patti,
Thank you for taking the time to offer thoughts. I do not have a vigilant family and everyone is used to the dogs always floating around the house and opening doors to let them inside. Also neither PG or Chloe have ever been crated except for short term behaviour issues. I like your idea about honor the dog's declared pack order, but how do I know who is the alpha? The behaviourist that I want to go to sounds good so maybe she can determine.
hikinghawkeye (Julie)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
If it were me, I would just keep them seperated 24/7. They have alerady proven that they want nothing more than to kill eachother, and given the chance, they are likely to succeed next time. And I would NEVER leave them both at home if you are going out of town and/or having someone else care for the dogs. I would board one of them if you have to have a "pet sitter" or even a relative take care of the dogs. [/quote]

Tracy,
I do worry that this might be the case. However, the only separate space outside of visual is a side yard that will need to be modified for shade. When PG was in visual of Chloe, Chloe would bark and lunge at the glass door for up to 20 minutes or as long as I could stand it, thinking she might give up and get used to another dog around.
hikinghawkeye (Julie)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Val,
Thanks for your thoughts. The territory issue is tough as Chloe was at my husband's house for about a year. Then PG was there without Chloe for 4 months. But now Chloe has been there for the last 30 days. So it might be interesting to watch PG when she goes into the house to see her reaction.
hikinghawkeye (Juie)
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
27,460 Posts
Quote: Or do you sense they will continue to work it among themselves the minute I leave the house.
I'm 100% with everyone else that you can't leave the dogs alone together when you leave the house. And for the time being even when you are home. It can't be up to them to work it out, because, as you've notice, when it's up to them it's going to be a fight. You didn't mention crates but that's usually what most of us use to confine dogs FOR THEIR SAFETY if there's a issue.

IF this has any chance to get better so WHEN YOU ARE HOME, and they are out with you, they may get along..... you need to do some work. It works best if EVERYONE in the family jumps on board, but if it's too hard for your husband to take the time to work with the dogs, even just you may help.

The Dog Listener by Jan Fennell is a book that may help.

And there's a ton of info you need to read on what 'leadership' means to our dogs. In DOG language, not in people language.

Here's some specific sites that may help:

http://www.flyingdogpress.com/articles.html is the main site with ALL great info

The specific articles:

http://www.flyingdogpress.com/leadership.html

http://www.flyingdogpress.com/relationshipbased.html

http://www.flyingdogpress.com/aggreasons.html

Unfortunately, there is no quick fix (except containment) for this issue that any of us can give you over the internet. This will take alot of time and reading up and even work better if you could find a trainer/behaviorist that you could get help from in your area. Bringing the 'worst' behaved of your dogs to dog classes and upping the exercise for ALL the dogs would show an immediate easing of tension. But not fix this.

Did you read any of the articles I posted earlier?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
MaggieRoseLee,

I did just get time to read the sites and really liked the Pam Green page and the Deb page, so thank you. Definitely realize along with education there is a lot of time that needs to be allocated to this process. My PG and I never went to formal training classes but since she was my third Shepherd I just taught her on my own and feels she respects me. During one dog "arguement"/no blood when I told her "outside" she did walk away. Mike's dog Chloe does respond to Mike's commands (but he has limited commands). Tricky part is since I am the person at the house the vast majority of the day is to get Chloe to respond to me. This is actually what one behavior specialist suggested is that Mike and I spend time ( a lot of time) working with our dogs on commands, then alternating dogs so they both learn the same commands from either adult.

Thanks again for keeping in touch!
Julie
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
I have been reading a lot, and would like to get started with things that I can do such as greetings and feedings. But I am still not sure who is the alpha. My husband thinks it is the male Akita and one article seemed to indicate that he would be as the senior member and longest member of the household. But other than defending his family on walks if another dog approaches us barking or growling at the others if my husband is handing out food from the counter, he seems to let the other dogs have free reign. Also guess I do not want to jump the gun and start giving any dog preference as I might guess wrong which might create confusion. So back to my gut telling me this is beyond my expertise and should let a professional help determine who is alpha then act accordingly. Also wondering how we determine who the dogs perceive as the alpha human. One interesting article indicated that the quiet limited male was determined to be the alpha. This probably leads me back to letting the professional watch us interact with all of our dogs and watch the dogs interact with each other then just tell us their thoughts and recommendations. At minimum I can use the advice of a lower carb diet and more regulated frequent exercise. I had mistakenly thought having a nice size yard to run free was good, but actual walks might be better. Though have to adjust my time schedule to take in the early morning as we live in Phoenix and too hot after 8 am right now.

Thanks again to everyone who responded and still open to any additional thoughts. I sent my husband all your feedback as well so hopefully we can get an appointment soon as I am just worried about moving Chloe back in without a game plan.

Julie
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15,138 Posts
In a dog pack there is the Alpha Female and and Alpha Male. The male protects the area and the female rules the pack. So there are two Alpa's in the pack, but only ONE Alpha female and this is where you problem is.

Val
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16,649 Posts
Hi Julie,

You both need to establish yourselves as pack leaders. I would forget about the alpha stuff and learn how to become effective leaders. Once you both take a leadership role then the dogs will fall in line accordingly. This may take a little longer since the dogs are older and they will get new rules but it will be worth it in the long run.

And I agree that keeping them separated permanently may be the best solution. Since the fights escalated each time they will probably continue to escalate. It is not worth taking a chance that one of the dogs will kill the other or hurt you, your hubbie or one of the kids when you're trying to break up a fight.

If you do choose to try to get them together again you will have to take it very, very slowly and I would keep them separated in the house because smaller spaces tend to cause more problems.
 
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
Top