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Charleen
9th February 2007, 06:24 PM
I haven't been able to tell you, because I am horrified and appalled at what has occurred this week. But I need advice and so I must tell you. For those of you that have worked with a PACK of DOGS - I really need your expertise.

I'll start with the story on January 12th. Before that date my parents were home with the cavaliers during the day and I was with them on nights and weekends. Starting Jan. 12, my parents are down south with their camper and won't be back until spring.

Luke has always wanted to sit on my lap. He loves affection and will jump in your arms to get it. I know he craves it, so starting last week, I am taking him to daycare once a week and he is doing really well there.

Sunday - Feb. 4th - I was eating a sandwich on the couch and the dogs were on the floor. Next thing I know Luke attacked Pippin's ear. Luke detached himself after a few minutes.

After that I will not eat in front of the dogs.

Wednesday - Feb. 7th - I was going to toilet and I was petting Pippin's head. Luke started to enter the bathroom and Pippin growled at Luke. Next thing I know Luke lunges at Pippin and grabs his ear and won't let go. Then Merry attacks and grabs Pippin's other ear. It was awful. I am screaming for them to stop and they will not. My sister runs into the room and reaches in to pull the dogs off each other and she is bit in 3 places. Blood everywhere.

Since this incident, I will not let the dogs in the bathroom, when I am in there.

Once I got the dogs apart, I locked Luke and Merry in separate crates for the next hour, while we bandaged up Melody's hands and got ready for work. I had to wash my sister's hair and then she went to the emergency room. They required that she fill out a dog bite report and next thing you know the Health Dept. wants to inspect the house and the dogs and get current vaccination records. My sister told them that it was her fault. The dogs did not attack her, they were fighting and she shouldn't have reached into the melee.

Anyway, I think Luke thinks I am all his. And since my parents are not home, he is now telling the other dogs that he is not sharing me and they need to stay away. Luke is also telling Pippin that he is taking over as top dog. Merry and Pippin are half sibling and been together since birth and I was surprised that Merry joined in on attacking Pippin.

I called Luke's breeder and got her husband. He said the breeder will be home tonight and I plan on talking with her. He said they had Luke for 3.5 years and had 2 un-neutered males in the house and Luke didn't show this dominance in their house. I have had Luke since last May and this is the first time he has done this. It has to be because he isn't getting as much attention as when my parents where home.

I have tried not to show my anxiety after the 2nd attack, but I am changing what I do. It is hard not to think about what happened when I am changing my sister's bandages twice a day and washing her hair. And the Dept. of Health being involved.

With the dogs, I am trying to show that I am in control, by standing more, instead of being at their level by sitting or laying down. I am working on not letting Luke on my lap as often and working on his obedience training again. Making him sit, before I pet him.

Can I re-train myself and Luke to get past this? What do I do?

Cathy Moon
9th February 2007, 06:32 PM
Charleen, I am at work, but when I get home I'll find a book I have about multiple dog households, and I will PM you.

arasara
9th February 2007, 06:33 PM
Charleen - :hug: :hug: :hug: :hug:

I don't know what to say to you as I don't have experience with this type of thing but I hope you know I am here for you and I'm thinking about you. *HUGZ* Hopefully you'll get this all sorted out.. :flwr:

BarbMazz
9th February 2007, 06:41 PM
Have you heard of Patricia McConnell? She is an applied animal behaviorist, and her books are wonderful. She wrote The Other End of the Leash, and many other books.

She has a wonderful little booklet about living with a pack in your home.. here's a link:

http://www.dogsbestfriendtraining.com/books-retail.php

The booklet is called Feeling Outnumbered?
How to Manage and Enjoy Your Multi-Dog Household

It's $8.95 and worth every penny!
Good luck... I know what you're going through is scary. I do think it's manageable though!

Karlin
9th February 2007, 06:49 PM
The fact that Melody was bitten three times and this drew blood means this has to be a matter of extra concern and probably (IMHO DOES) needs professional advice as you definitely do not want a repeat of any of this. I would think this puts it beyond just reading books though these will be helpful going forward -- but you need to be doing something RIGHT AWAY. You are getting some insight into what is triggering problems -- close proximity in a situation where they are vying for attention or something they both want, eg time with you -- but understanding and managing this is I think going to require expert insight. This is a really tough situation and I'd really recommend getting a good behaviouralist in -- I always recommend APDT-certified.

Certainly I would keep them well apart and also realise, this may be a permanent management strategy you will have to adopt if you wish to keep four dogs. I def wouldn;t keep them all in the same room when you are out for now.

Are they all neutered?

Please don't jump to any assumptions on why this is happening. It may have nothing to do with attention your parents were paying and more to do with the shifting dynamics of your pack and the fact that you have lots of males all together. Also siblings do not always get along after puppyhood, and the dynamics may shift entirely as they get older and when new dogs are introduced. Likewise the fact that a dog was not being aggressive in one household situation doesn't really have any application to a totally different situation.

This IS very serious when a human gets bitten not least because the dogs failed to recognise the person and were in such a frenzy that they went for the person they knew as well.

Isn't one of these dogs only reaching maturity right now? If so that may be part of your problem as all will see it as time to sort out a pecking order. They may settle things, they may need permanent management, or -- and this is a hard but sometimes needed option to consider -- you may need to rehome Luke as the last one in that is making the situation unstable now. You have a definite pack with pack instincts now. It would not be uncommon at all for it to take several months for him to settle in, gain confidence, then decide to start challenging the other dogs, especially if he senses one is unable to maintain leadership of the group (or leadership in certain situations -- there isn't always a clear alpha all the time). Also if you and your parents give a lot of extra attention to Luke that may well have triggered this situation -- unintentionally, I know!-- and given him the sense of sel importance to take on Pippin. It is dangerous that three went into a melee.

I am going to ask Tara and/or Lisa, who are certified APDT trainers who frequently work with this kind of situation, to offer advice. They however have a seminar on all weekend and may not be able to get online to respond til Sunday or Monday.

sramirez
9th February 2007, 07:20 PM
Thanx Karlin for giving us insight into the "pack mentality".

Actually I have 3 household dogs as well - my daughter's Lhasa has really gotten into a bad habit doing this too - snapping at my two cavs when HE wants to sit by me or they are looking at what he perceives are "his" treats only. I feed him in a different room than the other two. His behavior seems to be the worst when he wants to sit on my lap (as well) or just sit at my feet and doesn't want the girls to be near me. But, when I send them outside to potty, he always has to run to the door to be first outside. Obviously, I have perceived this is somewhat of a territorial issue but also just a bossy issue that I am not comfortable with right now either.

He definitely needs an adult person to be the pack leader in our house and I seem to have to constantly remind him that he can't always be Mr. Alpha - I'm the boss too! But any other suggestions as to correcting his behavior would be appreciated!!

Sheri

Linda
9th February 2007, 07:39 PM
Charleen

I am so so sorry that you are having to deal with this as I am sure you love them all.

I have never heard of this and really could not advise you, I just want you to know that we are thinking of you and pray that all gets sorted out.

Did your sister require stitches. ???????

Maybe you should crate them more, don't know only a suggestion.


I am sure you are stressed over this and having the Health Board involved is a worry in the back of your mind.

Please keep us posted. :flwr: :flwr: :flwr: :flwr: :flwr: :flwr:

Karlin
9th February 2007, 09:27 PM
Bickering isn't unusual -- Leo and Jaspar have scraps now and then and they have drawn blood. If I see them in any sort of confrontational situation I remove whatever is promtping the stand off -- usually a treat or a toy. This evening it was, believe it or not, a piece of banana skin. Leo had it and Jaspar was at the doorway very unhappy that he had it. I couldn;t figure out why Jaspar was clearly unhappy and making weird noses at Leo. Finally saw this shrivelled blacked bit of banana skin under Leo'd paw, and removed it and moved Leo out of Jaspar's line of site. Then Jaspar came back in the room looking sideways at Leo and go into the dog bed with Lily. :roll: Now how ridiculous was that and it could have been a fight if they'd gotten close.

But on the serious side, these things seem silly but can escalate quickly if you have two dogs that are looking for opportunities for scuffles. Jaspar tends to start things because he plays games with food -- hence, another thing to watch. They have scuffled near the food bowls recently -- a new development -- so now are kept further apart as Jaspar is a slower eater and Leo is now scavenging. Leo runs the house but Jaspar's game-playing gets him in truble with Leo. Lily is no problems at all.

Charleen, most likely you will be able to work this all out but four dogs is a complex mix and you do need advice I think from someone who can come observe how all four interact. My own guess is your little tri is getting near adulthood and thus the others are getting defensive (be aware you my have additional issues arise as he matures -- so get those recommended books!); Luke has been specially indulged with attention and is feeling confident and confrontational, and once you get a scuffle going two are very happy to gang up on a third, an unpleasant discovery. This can as you have already seen have nasty outcomes and it can be a lot worse than it was -- I know soemone who had dog end up on a drip when one, normally very friendly with him, ripped a major blood vessel in a scuffle.

Generally an expert will want to know the details of the event, watch the dogs mix, talk to you about the general environment and day to day activities and how the dogs are managed.

It may be that this is a temporary volatile situation with the males until your tri boy matures and will need you to manage interactions carefully with Lukea nd Piippin in particular.

I stress I am just guessing and I wouldn;t take this as The Advice to Solve Your Problems, if you knwo what I mean -- get in an expert :) -- but having talked through various cases with behaviourists and trainers I would predict this may be what you will hear back.

Charleen
9th February 2007, 09:27 PM
Thank you to everyone. They are all neutered/spayed. Jolly wisely stayed in the other room when this happened and did not join in. Here is a little more background info.

Luke was 3.5 years old when I got him from the breeder as a retired stud dog. Luke first started showing dislike of strangers about 2 months after Jolly arrived in the household. Luke would bark a lot at a the stranger. Then that got better when we worked with him. Now when my parents are gone, this new, even worse problem has arisen. He just doesn't like change.

Pippin has always been timid. He is a big cavalier at 26 pounds. He had cataract eye surgery on both eyes last June and has recovered well. He also limps sometimes because of a luxating patella. I guess he could be considered not a leader type. He was my first cavalier 3 years ago this month.

Karlin
9th February 2007, 09:39 PM
Hmmm, I'd say there are a few things going on there. It is complex. I'd definitely advise getting someone in to assess them.

Here's the apdt site:

http://www.apdt.com/

There are four listed for Buffalo. :)

Kodee
9th February 2007, 09:47 PM
I know nothing about pack of dogs and behaviour but your getting great help here from what I read. I just wanted to add something I noticed. It appears to me the trouble started with dogcare - its possible Luke learned this behaviour there - maybe has had to adopt this attitude to get by in his day with other pushy dogs. I realize regardless of where/why it started it must be dealt with, but perhaps daycare is not the best environment now. Is there a home with one other dog he can go to or would having a petsitter come in work better, till you get back to where you were.

I can imagine how this puts you are pins and needles. If I get a little puppy nip, I am reacting for a bit pulling my hands away faster than normal. This must be nerve wracking for you and your sister but keep working on it.

Charleen
9th February 2007, 10:09 PM
Debbie - thanks for your insight about daycare. I hadn't noticed that the first incident was 3 days after Luke's first daycare visit. The daycare facility said he did great both times, but maybe it has put him on edge because he doesn't handle change well. More to consider.

BarbMazz
9th February 2007, 10:10 PM
I apologize, Charleen. I didn't mean to downplay your sister being bitten in any way. :(

I had resource guarding problems with Bentley where he did bite me once, and I know it is very frightening.

I was able to manage and diffuse the problem with guidance from the book I mentioned, but I do have a lot of experience with dealing with many dogs at once.

Karlin is certainly right on with advising you to get professional advice right away.

TKC
9th February 2007, 11:18 PM
Hi Charleen,

I have read this through and prepared a number of replies but I really feel that you need to find a behaviourst who

1. Has dealt with aggression and resource guarding
2. Does not rely on dominance theories and rank reduction techniques
3. Is APDT certified and experienced
4. Uses appropriate methods of behaviour modification

Personally I feel this could be a case of resource guarding and that you are the resource but I couldn't tell without assessing the dog(s). It probably started a while ago with subtle signals being displayed and you can probably think back and remember a few of these signals now.

Other than that I can only advise you to nip it right in the bud, get good advice and get it sorted. You are an experienced dog owner so try and not let this shake you. You should, however go with what your chosen behaviourist advises.

If you could contact Dee Ganley www.deesdogs.com and ask her for help I feel you would get results.

Good luck. Let us know how you get on.

Cathy Moon
10th February 2007, 01:27 AM
Have you heard of Patricia McConnell? She is an applied animal behaviorist, and her books are wonderful. She wrote The Other End of the Leash, and many other books.

She has a wonderful little booklet about living with a pack in your home.. here's a link:

http://www.dogsbestfriendtraining.com/books-retail.php

The booklet is called Feeling Outnumbered?
How to Manage and Enjoy Your Multi-Dog Household

It's $8.95 and worth every penny!
Good luck... I know what you're going through is scary. I do think it's manageable though!
Yes, this is the book I was planning to recommend. I bought my copy from our APDT certified trainer. This book is a real eye opener into the pack dynamics of pet dogs in the home.