advice needed regarding LGD and family dog

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by use2bwilson, Dec 11, 2016.

  1. use2bwilson

    use2bwilson Hatching

    Aug 18, 2011
    Hi There,
    I am very concerned about the safety of my 11 year old male aussie / heeler mix around our 1.5 year old male LGD.
    I am considering re-homing the LGD but really really hate to do that.
    They are both great dogs and the LGD is turning out to be an awesome guardian and super sweet great dog in general. (But to be fair the aussie mix is my absolute favorite dog I have ever owned. I would not forgive myself if something happened to him that I could / should have prevented).
    The tension between the 2 dogs began about 6 months. But shortly after I noticed this growing tension, my aussie mix and I moved away from the "family" while I started a new job in CO. During this 6-month transition, I had my aussie mix with me while my husband stayed behind with the rest of the critters while the house sold, etc. We have been together at our new place for just over a month and have been very cautious to keep the 2 dogs separate. Our new place is fenced and cross fenced and we are able to manage this separation pretty well. Both dogs are relaxed when they are separated by the fence and there is no attempts to rush the gate when gates are opened. Both dogs listen very well.
    However, the other day we had an incident with another dog nearly killing a chicken (we have 5 dogs total and typically they all have been fine with our chickens and goats). However, in the last week one of them has killed a chicken and was caught in the act of eating it. This was a 2nd attempt.
    In the drama of another chicken assault, our young LDG got out of his pasture and attacked our aussie mix. Somehow, miraculously, our aussie was unharmed ... everyone was unharmed. But it took both my husband and I to separate the two and had the fight not occurred right next to our tack room where we could put the aussie for safety once they were finally separated, I do not think it would have ended so well. If this had happened away from the buildings where we could not have put the aussie behind closed doors ... I do not wish to imagine what might have happened.
    My husband is a super strong athletic dude and he is barely able to control the LGD "pup" when he goes "full akbash" as we call it. Our LDG "pup" is in general very sweet and submissive and pretty darn obedient in the realm of LGDs. He LOVES to play with our female LDG and our female bc/heeler mix. He also gets along great with our 11 year old male akbash. He also plays really nicely with our neighbor's female dog. He is truly an amazing dog that I do not want to re-home.
    He has not yet been neutered. I wanted to let him mature a bit before I had him neutered but I will be making an appointment ASAP.
    On a day to day basis, the situation is very manageable; however, there is always the potential that someone makes a mistake and a gate is left ajar. I would not forgive myself if something happened to my aussie mix.
    I do not want to over react and get rid of an amazing LGD. He really is amazing. (He only barks on an as need basis!!)
    But I do not want to under react...
    I feel like I am crazy to keep them both ... THOUGHTS !??!!?
    I do not expect that neutering him will change anything over night ... but perhaps in a few months as a 2 year old LGD, his intensity will subside a bit (as I type this I know it is wishful thinking).
    Before the recent incident, I had taken them on a short "run" together while the aussie is off leash and the LGD is on leash. I thought this time together would be positive and relaxed and it might help improve things. It went well and was very relaxed. They are fine together on many levels yet I DO NOT TRUST IT.
    Perhaps with continued controlled positive interactions, we can work through this ...?!??!
    I truly want to work this out somehow ... but my heart tells me it is too risky ...
  2. ChickenGoesRuff

    ChickenGoesRuff Songster

    Jan 8, 2015
    That's how my dog reacts to my cousin's dog. I would try to work with upping their training and continue the monitored interactions. With my dog, we had both dogs trained very well on down and stay/hold. The new dog (in our case, my cousin's dog) would lay down on a stay command, and we walked the established dog in and had them both lay down facing the same direction, about 10 feet away. Someone held each leash and we moved each dog closer every few minutes, praising each. We had to repeat it over a few days, but they stopped tearing at each other, though they never actively sought out another's company. Best of luck!
  3. henny1129

    henny1129 Crazy Livestock Gal

    In situations like these, you really just need follow your heart and trust your gut. I'm going to tell you a short story that explains the sentence I just said. A few months ago (end of June) we got a 5 month old Bernese Mountain Dog mix puppy named Checkers. He seemed sweet and submissive. He seemed to get along with our other dogs, Murphy and Olive. After having him for a few weeks we thought he was a pretty good dog, but we noticed there were certain things that made him tick. Like grabbing his collar would make him snap his head around, he did not like to be dominated by the other dogs, etc. Slowly, over the months we owned him, we noticed these little "ticks" became more and more of a deal. He would get into scuffles with our other dogs when they would make him lay on his stomach, he would open his mouth and almost touch us with his teeth when we grabbed near his mouth. One day we sent the dogs to dog daycare (Checkers had gone before and was completely used to it) and Checkers bit the owner of dog daycare. And this was no accident, Checkers meant it. Thank God he only left a small mark and didn't permanently injure anyone. We soon realized that we had to trust our gut and follow our hearts and have Checkers put down. We don't believe in keeping dogs that bite people for no reason, and honestly, no one else should either. Checkers was out down and this is not putting anyone in danger anymore. I'm not saying you have to have your LGD or your Aussie put down, I'm just saying follow your heart and trust your gut. If you really don't trust the LGD than don't keep him, you can find another LGD that gets along with your Aussie. In the end, it is your decision, but these are my thoughts. :)
  4. Beekissed

    Beekissed Free Ranging

    The worst thing you could have done was separate them and not let them resolve the issue. I'd increase their exposure to one another, not the other way around. The only way you can correct the dogs in behavior is by exposing them to the situation over and over and train them on what you want to happen. I'd take them both on walks together, both dogs in submissive positions and on the leash....meaning, not pulling you along, but walking beside you on either side and watch their cues...usually there will be a look or a body language precursor to a and learn those and try to head them off at the pass BEFORE they escalate. When you see that, give a correction, place them both in calm positions, etc. Make them work and walk as a pack and you might see some changes.

    I'd not rehome that LGD...he sounds like a real keeper and he seems to get along with all the other dogs, so it would seem your Aussie mix may be the instigator on these fights in some small way. Just watch and see what happens prior to a fight and watch the body language. Is he approaching with a high tail, with a dominant manner? Is he coming into "his" territory he feels is his to guard and not turning back at his warnings, his body language?

    Over on BYHs, the sister site to BYC, and you can find the link to it at the bottom of the page, there are folks over there who raise these LGD breeds and may be able to give you some insight into what could be happening there. Just find the LGD forum and ask for help there and you'll get all KINDS of advice on it.
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2016
  5. use2bwilson

    use2bwilson Hatching

    Aug 18, 2011
    We plan on working with both dogs together. But I am more curious if others have had success in this situation.

    I take them on walks together around the property and for fun runs off the property. My aussie is always off leash and I have the LGD on leash. I do not trust that I can handle both at once. I can have my aussie heel next to me more on walks to simulate both on leash. But I have my hands full with LGD. He is STROOOOOONNNNNNGGGGGG and weighs as much as I do.

    I also plan on working with both dogs on leash with my husband. Working on down stays and leave it. The aussie has these commands down but obviously the pup needs work. He actually listens great at gates and knows wait very well. My husband and I were both marveling at the fact that we have done very little "formal" training with him yet through our daily interactions, he knows a lot of commands and is actually very very responsive for a LGD. I make him sit before I feed him every time so he knows sit. We will continue to work with him. We will use lots of treats and praise and keep it positive.

    Thanks for the suggestion of the other forum ... I added my thread there right away!
    Thanks everyone ... keep sending feedback and other suggestions. I want this to work out for both dogs. They are both really important to me.
  6. Beekissed

    Beekissed Free Ranging

    I was surprised and delighted by that with my own LGD pup when I got him....a VERY intuitive learner that picked up most of what he learned by watching my older dog, a Lab/BC mix dog. He learned it and even went one better and obeys more quickly on some things. Those two will fight over food on occasion but it's always the older dog that starts the brawl, as he dominates the food, no matter what. Not their daily meals, of course, I would never let one dominate the other one's food but just food tossed out and such...the older dog will school the LGD dog on just who owns food privileges when the bigger, younger dog rushes into the food.

    I normally let them duke it out, as the older dog needs to have and keep his place in this pack even if he's aging and I think he is fighting for that. No blood is ever drawn and no punctures made with's just a lot noise and movement for a little bit and then the younger dog backs off.

    Could be your older dog is trying to school this youngster in the pack order?
  7. use2bwilson

    use2bwilson Hatching

    Aug 18, 2011
    well the older dog certainly growls and use to put the pup in his place. That dynamic started to shift as the pup got bigger and BIGGER and was close to a year old. So the older dog is not without his part in this ... yet the attack last week was totally out of the blue. The older dog was not any where near the chickens. He was watching from a hundred feet away and not involved at all. I really think that the chaos of the chicken killing and the correction of the female LGD set off the young dog. Maybe it freaked him out. I think he fed off of all that bad energy and my reaction to the situation and just jumped on my older aussie. There was absolutely no provoking in that moment by the aussie. it really was strange and out of the blue in that moment in time (yet I am aware of the struggling dynamic and tension that has been building).
    Perhaps I was too harsh in my correction of the chicken-killer dog and the younger dog reacted to that ... ?!?!?

    So in this case, it was definitely not the older dog schooling the young dog. The older dog's neck was in the young dogs jaws and the power and intensity in that mix was absolutely terrifying. I got them separated somehow and the LDG got out of my control (he is way stronger than me) and went after the old dog again. If the old dog had not run towards our house and our garage where I eventually tore him out of the young dog's jaws again and was miraculously able to get him separated and into the garage ... I don't know what would have happened!!

    BTW, this fight caused the female akbash and female bc/heeler mix to ALSO fight. So we had two fights that we were trying to break up at the same time. It was absolute chaos :(
    awful! simply awful ... all over a stupid chicken.
  8. Beekissed

    Beekissed Free Ranging

    The gals over on BYH swear up and down that regular breeds of dogs can't work alongside or hang around with the LGD breeds due to a difference in purpose, they say the LGDs will and can hurt the other breeds because of their instinct to protect the flock and nothing will get in the way of that. They even state that the regular breeds can't play with the LGDs due to their play being too rough for the regular breeds.

    I've not seen any of that pan out with the LGD mix dog I've had alongside my current Lab/BC nor am I seeing it with him and the current LGD dog....the play seems to be either very equal or dominated by the smaller, older regular breed dog.

    Could be your LGD breeds were backing your play when you were giving one of the regular breed pack a correction and just took it upon themselves to reinforce that message....not sure about that but they could have fed off your state of mind and energy and decided to follow your lead on the other dogs. They are extremely intuitive, I've noticed...they seem to be able to read what you want and even anticipate your needs and start before you say anything.

    I had a very large GP here for a brief while a few years back, the previous owner said he tried to kill his other dogs(cattle dog breeds) and warned me not to try and work him with these regular dogs or he would kill them. I only had him a brief time before the neighbors shot him when he ventured off our land for mere seconds, but in the time he was here, the BC/Lab dog dominated the relationship from the time that dog came off the truck. And the BC/Lab dog is not even what I consider an alpha type dog...he seems very content to let the other dogs take the lead on guarding, starting the fights with other dogs, etc. It's all a mystery to me but I don't get to see what they are seeing with their breeds that are not LGD and how they interact with the LGDs.
  9. use2bwilson

    use2bwilson Hatching

    Aug 18, 2011
    I was correcting the female akbash. She is the recent chicken killer ... :(
    But, yes, I do think much of the chaos was a result of my reaction (that is my gut feeling). The LGDs are very intuitive. I do agree.

    I hate to keep our LGD completely separate from our family / herding dogs. For the most part, they all play so well together (minus the old aussie and the young LGD ... and the female heeler mix and female akbash). It is clear that their personalities and temperaments are not a good match. Our older aussie is a bit uptight and possessive. Yet he is not at all over bearing or aggressive in any way. He has dominate posturing for sure ... but never does more than that. The pup is just at the stage where he is going to test those boundaries and if I let the two of the work it out themselves, I highly doubt the aussie will survive.
  10. dainerra

    dainerra Crowing

    Jun 4, 2011
    at 1 1/2 years old, the LGD is becoming an adult. That is a large part of his change in behavior. I honestly wouldn't try to work on this without a trainer or experienced person to observe. For the walking/correction of the LGD, do you use a prong collar? If not, I would recommend getting one. If you don't know how to use it correctly, has some good advice and your trainer should be able to help.

    The LGD was reacting to the attitude of the environment. Lots of stress and tension and saw his chance.

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