Suggestions for new LGD and current dog fighting

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by ttclan, Mar 24, 2012.

  1. ttclan

    ttclan Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 20, 2011
    Estes Park, Colorado
    Hello all - I know this isn't necessarily a chicken issue or particularly a predator issue, but I know that this forum is really active and many of you have LGD's.
    I'm hoping that someone can offer some suggestions, sage advice...[​IMG]

    I realize that all dogs need to work out their hierarchy...and that some fighting would be expected when introducing a new dog into the family, but this seems to be a little more than just basic working things out. They are really aggressive toward one another.

    Here's the basic situation and you can tell me that I'm worrying too much, that's okay. [​IMG]

    We have an almost 9 year old Rottie, we live in the mountains and have a lot of trouble with predators. She has become an amazing protector, but she's getting old and has hip issues. She sees not only the family, but also our animals as hers. She actually herds the chickens - it's really funny to watch. She has always been a house dog.

    With the recent addition of mountain lions coming down on the property and the already big packs of coyotes consistently trying for my flocks, we felt it was important to get an LGD and give her a partner. He will be an outside dog and will live with our birds and goats and any other animals we get as a true LGD.

    So, we got a new boy, from really good lines who all were used for and proven as protection dogs (Colorado Mountain Dog)...unfortunately he was bought by city folk and lived in a small yard. He was returned because the family realized he really needed space and a job to no personality flaws or issues. Good for them to wise up and realize the mistake they made!

    He's just 1 (as in he turned 1 last week) and was back with the original breeder for a time on her working ranch before she felt we would be a good match for him. He responded very well to the goats, horses, chickens, ducks and geese she had and feels with a little work we can bring him back as a true LGD, especially since he is still young. He's wonderful! FYI: He did fight a little bit with her two dogs, but both of hers were clearly more dominant.

    My female has always been the submissive one every time we've socialized her with other dogs, but with the coyotes she's pretty aggressive and so far has chased them off every time.

    Apparently, he has typically been more submissive to other dogs too.

    So now, I have these two dogs both typically near the bottom of hierarchies, fighting a lot - it's been several days of consistent fighting.

    She typically initiates the fighting...almost always when we are around the two of them. They are not fighting unless one of us are there. I think...she's the dominant one, but he's still trying. She got hurt yesterday, he got her ear and drew blood, but she's not giving in even so. Today, twice he laid down in her presence after they were fighting.

    How far and how long do we allow them to fight it out?

    I also need some suggestions to help them with the hierarchy knowing that they have different jobs and will live differently. She herds and protects, but he will live with and my animals a voice too.

    Is there anything I can do to help with them? Meaning, can I help with giving preference to her as more dominant dog? If she truly is? Do I need to wait and see who fully "wins" first?

    I would really appreciate your thoughts., especially because we are not dealing with typical dogs just living in the same household.

    BTW: they are both neutered/spayed.
  2. Beekissed

    Beekissed Flock Master

    Quote: I'm no dog expert, but do you think this line is significant? Could be plain ol' jealousy. When I got a new pup after owning my GP/Lab mix for 4 years, she was in no mood to accept this young intruder, particularly when around the family. I nipped it in the bud the very first time it occurred and any subsequent aggressive behavior in his direction~even a low growl from her or trying to push him out of the way when he got close to us.

    Of course, as he aged they had to settle who was boss, especially at feeding time but I still wouldn't allow any overt or over the top "settling" and it all worked out fine.

    If you can, I'd give strong indication to them both that it won't be tolerated at all. Be assertive, be strong, be consistent and when they finally get the message, I think they will settle it in less violent ways later.
  3. snoggle

    snoggle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Get the help of a trainer experienced in this. I've had my share of fights between dogs over the years and usually they work themselves out after a few days, but the only dog I had that NEVER got over this problem would fight until she was physically pulled off of the other dog. She would draw blood and cause injuries and it didn't get better after years of "trying to let them work out the pecking order". I finally had to re-home her where she would be the only dog, after getting bitten myself while trying to break up a fight. My understanding is that bitches are much worse with this. The kicker was that she was a mutt of about 50 pounds. She attacked two different Great Pyrenees (the female constantly, the male only a couple of times) who were well over 100 pounds, but she attacked a smaller female dog (it wouldn't let me type *****, that's dumb) we had a few times too. BTW - 99% of the time, she got along with the other dogs perfectly, but would attack when she was excited about something. She was ALWAYS the initiator.

    If there hadn't been any real physical harm, I'd agree with the "let them work it out", but since one of them has actually gotten injured, I would get some help from someone who knows what they are doing. In my experience, if someone is actually getting injured, it may only get worse with time, not better. JMHO
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2012
  4. mlm Mike

    mlm Mike Sunna and Mani Premium Member Project Manager

    Aug 14, 2010
    Hardy Township, OH
    Are there any recent goat kids, chicks or any other babies ? Some LGDs won't even let a herding dog they are normally friendly with, when babies are around.
  5. ttclan

    ttclan Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 20, 2011
    Estes Park, Colorado
    Thank you for the thoughts.

    I do think that is significant, which is why I mentioned it. The breeder agreed that I should nip it, which we have been trying to do. Well, not me, I haven't gotten in the middle of them, but my ranch hand and husband have, to the point of pulling them off each other. The new dog is very submissive to me and the ranch hand...and interestingly, our old dog is dedicated to the two of us as well. And she only seems to pick fights when it's one of the two of us.

    Quote: Great idea, I think I'll call our old trainer and see what he can do to help. I agree with this also, I'm very concerned that she's been hurt, even though she's still fighting tough.

    Quote: No, not in this case...well, the chicks are separated out indoors where the dogs aren't near them. And the LGD is new to us as well, he's still figuring out everything in general.

    We've only had him a few days longer than they have been at it, so there's a lot that's new to both, but I don't want this to go too far or too I didn't wait to ask.
  6. nzpouter

    nzpouter Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 19, 2009
    new zealand
    Take them both out for a long walk everyday.
  7. punk-a-doodle

    punk-a-doodle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 15, 2011
    I'll try digging up a dog behavior forum that really helped me in the past. Like you and Beekissed said, the fact that this happens when people close to the rottie are around is significant. I really hope you can solve this, and I think you can. Things like having one dog on a leash while petting and giving attention to the other and (treat or praise) rewarding the leashed dog for behaving, walking them both side by side on leashes (using two people and far enough apart where they can not get at each other) and again praising good behavior and slowly decreasing the space between them, etc may help. Just throwing out suggestions, but I agree that a good trainer can really be helpful.

    Completely a question here, but does letting two dogs fight it out typically lead to peace/an established order, or does it actually lead to more fighting? Does anyone have personal experience with one or both situations?
  8. Mala

    Mala Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 10, 2011
    The fact that she is initiating the fighting only when people are around sounds like she is trying to prove to the humans that she is more dominant than the puppy. I think you also need to examine your own behavior around both dogs and see if you aren't adding to her confusion with your own actions. If you are feeding or praising the puppy first, she sees this as her alpha's putting him in a higher place than she is, and then she has to prove to you that she should be higher than the pup, thus fighting until someone ends it or the pup submits. I agree, get a trainer to help you, and try to reinforce to your rottie that she is above the puppy in the family pack (and likewise show the pup that he is at the bottom of the pack).
  9. dainerra

    dainerra Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 4, 2011
    she is resource guarding her favorite people. She views herself as the owner of YOU and is protecting her property from this intruder dog She isn't trying to prove to the people that she is "dominant" She is telling the pup that "these 2 people belong to me"

    One thing I have always been told about dogs in the same household that fight - males fight to breed, females fight to breathe. Meaning, males will usually have a few short scuffles over something they both want but will work it out. Females, on the other hand, once they decide they don't like each other - well that is pretty much it. I would get someone to come to your house and observe the dogs in the natural environment.
  10. Beekissed

    Beekissed Flock Master

    With my two, I always gave deference to my older female....they both had to lie down quietly before being fed, then older dog fed first, junior dog fed second. When greeted by me, older dog got first greeting and affection, junior dog got it secondly. I allowed the older female to "correct" the younger male when he encroached her space during eating but never more than a growl and lunge...anything more aggressive was immediately corrected by me.

    In this manner, they seemed to work out that she was always dominant when I was not there and he learned subordination to us both. Could be he was just a submissive dog anyway but this worked well to keep her from treating him like an intruder into our family unit. They became great work partners and lived and guarded livestock together for the next 5 years without any trouble at all.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by