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Opinions on my anatolian's new dog agression

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by DuckyBoys, Feb 5, 2009.

  1. DuckyBoys

    DuckyBoys Songster

    Apr 2, 2008
    What can you guys tell me...here's the scoop...

    He is now 2 years old and lives outside 100% of the time with a german shepherd female who will be 10 this year and my giant schnauzer who is now 3.

    I have noticed two behavior changes in the past month or two -

    1. He's overly-playful and rough with the shepherd who is the alpha dog. She puts up with him for a while and then snaps at him until he backs off.

    2. He's started to get food agressive with my GS and they fight at least once a week. I'm talking fight. They are a 100% even match - both about 100 lbs, both about 27 inches, both with thick fur so no one "really" gets hurt. But my GS is very sensitive and he goes into a funk when these fights happen. He was severely abused as a puppy and violence makes him shut down.

    Do you think the LGD is trying to take over alpha position because of the age of my shepherd? My GS has no interest in being alpha dog but yet, he has no interest in bowing down to the LGD either. When they fight - and it is only for like 20-30 seconds, it is like something out of Call of the Wild.

    Any advice? I don't want to entertain negative thoughts, but I can't have two giant dogs fighting all the time.
  2. Wolf-Kim

    Wolf-Kim Songster

    Jan 25, 2008
    Are they neutered?

    Are they fed in the same area?

    First things first, if they are not neutered, please have them neutered. Testosterone can definately add to an already tense situation.

    If you feed them in the same area or even out of the same bowl, you must stop. They need to be fed in seperate bowls and in seperate locations. Food aggressiveness can lead to aggression elsewhere and even though they are evenly matched, one or two lucky shots and you may end up digging a hole or taking an expensive trip to the vet.

    Since your shepherd is getting older, you may have to look at creating seperate areas. Some older dogs don't know when to let go of being king. So you may need to look at getting a kennel for the aggressor.

    Do NOT allow them to fight. Keep them seperate until the issue is resolved. Yes, sometimes animals need to establish rank, but these are dogs and not chickens. They are expensive to doctor up and it's a big hole to dig. The fights will only escalate until there is a clear and definite winner, even if the loser never gets up.

    And lastly, if neutering and seperation during feeding do not resolve the situation. You're last option(without hiring a dog behaviorist) is either purchasing seperate kennels/runs or rehoming an aggressor. I had two German Shepherds that would throw down and duke it out, and unfortunately my father's dog was here first, so my dog had to be rehomed.

  3. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Crowing

    Mar 31, 2008
    Grifton NC
    Listen to Kim
  4. skirbo

    skirbo Songster

    Jul 18, 2008
    Walton County, NW FL
    I'll second/third that. Very good advice.

  5. bwebb7

    bwebb7 Songster

    Aug 16, 2008
    Brooksville, Fl
    If your dog has new aggressive behavoir issues-INSIST that your vet do a thyroid profile!
    insist on it!
    Good Luck
  6. mountaintopchicken

    mountaintopchicken Songster

    May 23, 2007
    Wolf-Kim's advice is great!

    One thing I'm concerned about is that you mention that your dogs are full-on fighting, and that they have very thick fur. You said that no one really gets hurt, but they could be leaving puncture wounds that you can't see through the fur. Even one puncture wound can become a big mess (and a costly vet bill), as they tend to get badly infected.

    I would take both to the vet to get them checked over - I know cost may be an issue here, but they could check for damage from the fights, and also check for other health issues that could contribute to aggression - like bwebb7 said, a thyroid panel would be important.

    I would keep them separated until you find a way to deal with this issue, but if they do fight again, and you want be more sure about whether a bite has occurred that you can't see through the fur, you can go over them thoroughly with a white paper towel - that will help you to find any blood in their fur.

    It sounds like a situation where a consultation with a good trainer would be best (after a trip to the vet to rule out health issues causing the aggression). Hands-on help where an expert can see the whole situation first hand is so much better than trying to figure things out over the internet, where no one can see the dogs and how they interact.

    You say they live outside full-time. What is you're relationship with them like? Do you walk them, do any training with them? I am absolutely, totally not an expert at anything to do with dogs, just a dog-obsessed pet dog owner, but it would seem to me that if you are going to try to influence the pack dynamics here, you would want to begin with each dog having a very solid relationship with you, and hopefully see you as the head honcho.

    Here's a really basic article that helps a dog owner learn how to establish that kind of relationship:
    You're Grounded

    Also there is the Nothing In Life is Free (NILF) that is another way to establish a good relationship between you and your dogs. I know it doesn't directly address the pack dynamic issues, but it's a good start at beginning to achieve the kind of relationship you may need with your dogs if you are going to successfully manage the aggression between them (hopefully with the help and advice of a trainer!).

    (Also, if you have kids, or have kids visit you, this situation could be really dangerous to them - I'd hate to think if a kid out in the yard in the midst of those two giant dogs fighting...)
  7. coffeemama

    coffeemama Barista Queen

    Mar 5, 2008
    Quote:Do people walk LGDs? I just assumed they stayed with the herd most of the time [​IMG]
  8. mountaintopchicken

    mountaintopchicken Songster

    May 23, 2007
    It sounded to me like this particular LGD was in more of a backyard-pet situation than a hang-out with the sheep/goats/whatever situation because the OP mentioned that it lived outside with a shepherd and a giant schnauzer, and didn't mention that the anatolian protected a herd.

    I think in a traditional LGD situation they would have minimal people-time and spend most of the time with the flock. But in a backyard situation, I would walk whatever dog I had no matter what the breed - give 'em something to do, something to look forward to, tire 'em out, and hopefully keep them out of trouble...
  9. hensdeliverthegoods

    hensdeliverthegoods Songster

    Dec 18, 2007
    Catawba County, NC
    Your dog is bored out of his skull. He's a working breed and if he isn't given something to do, he'll find it himself, usually in a negative way. And spaying/neutering is essential.
    Sorry to be blunt, but it's just easier to give it to you straight. [​IMG]
  10. coffeemama

    coffeemama Barista Queen

    Mar 5, 2008
    Quote:Oh thanks-I did't see that. I was just wondering because we have been researching LGD breeds, and I was hoping to have them live with the herd mostly. [​IMG]

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