View Full Version : Help and Advice Needed!

28th December 2006, 07:08 PM
Hi all, Heading out to work so forgive my erratic post…We have a 17 month male tricolour Max and about 6-8 weeks ago we adopted Brandy a ruby male probably aged around 2-4 about 6 weeks ago for the most part both dogs get on well enough, they play together occasionally and share the same sleeping space. They are fed in the same room but at different corners and they both get the same treats at the same time, both sitting to receive treats.

But on occasionally they have begun to fight, and this is what I’d like advice on. They got on better at the beginning than they do now. So far it’s not so much of a problem but I have to nip it now in the bud before it gets worse, before one of them hurt each other or worse, one of the family gets bitten.

Now, both dogs are due for neutering in January, Max, the younger one hopefully it will be a straightford job but Brandy has undecended testicles and one is not so obviously found so it’s a bigger operation for him – If the dogs are neutered - do you think this will help?

Also, I cannot tell which is the ‘alpha’ dog! I’m just not knowledgeable enough to know which and if one needs to be ‘favoured’ – this I do know – I am the catalyst for any fights they have had – they have never fought when I’m not there and I’m comfortable to leave them alone with each other – but if one sits beside me and the other comes close, there’s a row – and lately it’s not just a ‘snap’ it’s a fight – although no blood has been drawn – my family are trying to help, as in – keeping the dogs amused while I am in a different part of the house because the dogs just want to be with me all the time and will whine if they are not!

Max is still very much the playful puppy and has his toys and wants attention whereas Brandy just wants to sit beside me on the chair or on the floor and doesn’t show much interest in toys. Both love to walk and walk quite happily together and also follow each other in the garden with no problems at all.

Another problem I find is both dogs will now lift their leg and wee – in the house -! Not all the time, but once in enough. Even though both are housetrained – they seem determined to leave their scent everywhere – but we are dealing with that problem also, hopefully by confining them to certain area’s and by giving them free access to the garden and re-training – but I think it’s not a training problem…but perhaps neutering will help there too?

Ok – long post I know but I know some of you have had this problem so any advice is well appreciated – I know there are a million articles on this on the web, trust me – I Have read tons of them and many are conflicting so I just get more confused.

Training will help but so I need to find a trainer in the Dublin area’s of 8-10-12-22 or thereabouts. Anywhere else is too awkward for us to get to – Him and I both work long strange hours.

Anyway that’s as much as I can type right now. I need to go – would love some feedback and any input would be great.

Thanks in advance


28th December 2006, 08:11 PM
You have my sympathy. I'm in a similar situation with my pair- they get on beautifully when alone, but add me/fave treats/fave toys to the mix and Holly can turn on Amber- even if Amber just walks past! Admittedly it's mainly a dive for Amber, followed by rolling her over and giving her a sharp nip on the ear, but...!

I asked advice on this before and was told it's common for one dog to be territorial with these things and so long as they get on fine otherwise, to let them sort it out themselves. You may find neutering helps.

28th December 2006, 08:38 PM
At least one needs to be neutered asap -- it is very difficult to manage unneutered males or unneutered females in a single house as they quickly start to do just what you are seeing -- battling over who run s the house and who fits in where. The leg lifting is part of all this and is a training issue for you more than anything, just as any unwanted behaviour is.

I'd really recommend getting at least one of the dogs into a January training session with Tara/Lisa as both dogs would really benefit. Also as soon as you have them neutered you are going to see a reduction in all the things you mention. You could ring Tara/Lisa for advice on which dog might be best -- I'd guess Max.


In general do not let the dogs sort things out amongst themselves if it is actually any sort of fight. You are the one in charge of the house and this is not acceptable behaviour and they should call a halt when you ask them to. But likewise you need to practice responsible management especially with two intact dogs. That means avoiding situations where you may get flashpoints -- usually that means feeding, chews, treats and toys.

But again, I stress, two things are needed here -- neutering for both, and a good training class for at least one dog.

Cathy Moon
29th December 2006, 02:56 AM

We were having that same problem with Geordie, and we have nipped it in the bud. I think it was a form of resource guarding, with me or hubby being the resource! :roll:

He was fine with India since they grew up together, but when Chocolate joined our family at age 3 he started acting up. First he acted up with just Chocolate, then he started with India, too.

Two situations always triggered it: 1) if I was petting Geordie and one of the others approached, he would growl and jump at her, or 2) if Geordie was sitting on the sofa with me and one of the others jumped up on the other side of me - same thing, a growl and jump/lunge.

Our trainer recommended a small book by Karen B. London, Ph.D. and Patricia B. McConnell, Ph.D.: Feeling Outnumbered? How to Manage and Enjoy Your Multi- Dog Household
Don't let them work it out themselves. It is better and safer to have zero tolerance for aggressive displays and fighting.

Basically make sure you remain calm when this happens, but assume a stern, quiet demeanor, letting them know you are in control. Separate the dogs, keeping them in sight of each other, and put them both into a long down-stay (do not praise them for the down-stay). Make sure there is no winner/no loser; neither dog gets what they want out of the situation. Ignore them by staying within their sight, but do not look at them. The main point of this is to make sure that the dogs do not get what they want from aggressive displays. And the down-stay gives them a cooling off period as well.

If one or both of the dogs doesn't yet know down-stay, you can confine one or both of them to crates or pens to be ignored, but make sure they are in sight of each other and can both see you ignoring them.

29th December 2006, 04:16 AM
I think I'll try this tip. I've been getting round it by having Holly beside me (her choice, not mine) and when Amber wants up (cue occasional growling from Holly) I let Amber on my knee but otherwise ignore her and concentrate on keeping Holly calm, with lots of praise once any growling stops. I think though I'll be more proactive now about nipping ANY display from Holly in the bud. Actually, I think it might have gotten worse since they started sleeping together. Maybe I'll let Holly sleep in the living room for a while and see if there's an improvement.

29th December 2006, 11:53 AM
I agree with the other guys. I think you have several issues you need to address, but it sounds like your already on to it.

Neutering is obviously going to help diffuse some of the hormones that are no doubt adding to the problem and will ease some of the leg lifting I would think.

I think there is definately a resource gaurding issue ( you being the resource) and I would consult with a trainer asap on this one and try and nip it in the bud. ( sounds like your in the process of working this out to)

With regards to the alpha male (top dog stuff) it is thought here lately that this should theory be ignored. Both dogs should be treated equal if there is a dog showing dominance eg winning fights (can't think of another example :sl*p: ) this should be ignored. When you decide that because this dog appears the stronger on some level and treat it slightly different based on its supposed top dog status you are rewarding that dog for its negative behaviour. By constantly feeding this dog first or giving attention before the other you will add to the problem. Just give praise and reward both for good behaviour and ignore the attempts for dominance and top dog status so that both learn good manners gets them the goodies whatever that may be.

I hope that makes some sense as I'm tired. Apologies if its waffle.