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Dog Fights Q&A
Dog Fights Q&A
ASK CINDY YOUR DOG TRAINING QUESTION
If you have come to this page more than likely you
have issues with aggressive dogs. A number of pages on my web site (including
this one) contain emails about dog fights. I have places my personal
comments under many of these emails.
In addition we offer training resources. I have
produced a DVD titled: DEALING WITH DOMINANT AND AGGRESSIVE
DOGS This DVD demonstrates how to break up a dog fight if you
Breaking Up a Dog Fight without Getting Hurt Podcast
Dog fights are violent, loud and dangerous
events. I get emails every day on dog fights. As I wrote this description
I got 2 emails.
In email the family had two dogs. Their female GSD had just killed their
dachshund. In the second email this family's dog had just been in a fight
with a neighbors
dog and done $1,400 damage.
In the mid 1990's I wrote an article on How
to Break Up A Dog Fight - that article is still on my web site. This 52 Minute podcast
is an update of that article. The information in the podcast
has more details on making the decision of even trying
in to break up a fight,
methods used to break up fights and it tells how to break up a fight when
you are alone. There is an also extensive section on preventing dogs fights.
I try and answer every
question I receive on dog training. I may often come across as
a little on the blunt side. The way I see it is like this "I don't
charge for answering questions, I get over 100 emails a day. I DON'T
time for people who do not read what I have already written."
I consider myself an advocate
for dogs and not dog handlers. I am also an advocate for common
sense dog training and not the latest fad that appears on the horizon
(i.e. Halties, Clickers, Gentle Leaders etc.). Good dog training
is not rocket science, it is common sense. It's about making life's
rules VERY CLEAR for the dog to understand.
Dog fights are nothing to fool with. Not only
do the dogs get injured but the people who try and break them
often gets badly bit. Fights are almost always caused as a result
of the handler making mistakes. This means they are people-problems
and not dog-problems. There
are a number of training articles and Q&A sections on this
web site that you should read to educate yourself. If you write
dog fights - expect to be told about YOUR MISTAKES not the dog
problems you have.
Dog Fights are dangerous
article I wrote on how to break up a dog fight without getting hurt.
The Theory of Correction in Dog Training
PRONG COLLAR WARNING:
When you use your Prong Collar, we strongly
suggest you use a Leerburg
Dominant Dog Collar as a safety backup.
Prong Collars can come apart when not not put on properly. If a leash is clipped
to a Leerburg Dominant Dog Collar along with the Prong Collar, you will have
control of the dogs in the rare occurrence that the Prong Collar fails.
To learn how to correctly fit a Prong Collar, go to http://www.leerburg.com/fit-prong.htm or
purchase our Basic Dog Obedience DVD.
Dog Training is NEVER without risk of injury. Do NOT attempt these training
techniques yourself without consulting a professional. Leerburg Enterprises,
Inc. can not be responsible for accidents or injuries to humans and/or animals.
you have a video on dogfights?
- My dog
is dog aggressive. How can I fix this?
- Our GSD runs
through our Invisible Fence and attacks other dogs. My husband has tried
to verbally correct him and we do use a fly swatter on him but it does
not seem to be working. What can we do?
- We have 7
dogs. They all seem to get along with the exception of our chow-mix
who will occasionally fight with our golden. I have been bit trying
to break up these fights. What should I do?
- My 2 dogs
Petunia and Buttercups fight all the time, twice a day. Is there a solution?
- I have raised
and kept 4 adult females in my home at one time. This is how I did it.
- I bought
your Basic Obedience tape and prong collar and Im still having
problems with my Rott going crazy when he sees another dog on a walk.
What else can I do?
- We have 3
GSD's that we keep as house dogs. We recently adopted another adult male
from the GSD rescue. We have had 2 bad fights with our other male. What
should we do?
- My dog
is an aggressive dog fighter. She does not give other dogs a chance
when she sees them on the beach. She just goes directly in and fights.
What can I do?
- A friend
has two 3 year old female boxers that fight all the time. Would you
suggest any flower essences to calm them down, a la Rescue Remedy?
- We have
a problem with aggression on a 7 year old dog we raised. We gave the
dog away 3 years ago and recently got back. It attacks our smaller dogs
even though they lay down and submit. What can we do?
heard that using a fire extinguisher on my two dogs when they fight
stops the fight. Can I do this?
- Our 4 year
old dog just attacked a 16 year old female dog which had to be put to
sleep because it was injured so badly. What can I do?
- I have
4 adult dogs that live together. I have neutered one male and it has
caused the female we have to attack it. Now I am concerned about neutering
the other male because I do not want him to be attacked. What should
I do to stop this fighting?
- We have 8
dogs. Last night they all got into a fight which resulted in the death
of our 7 year old Dobe. What can we do to stop this from happening again?
dog was attacked by a pit bull while out walking. Now she is aggressive
to small dogs and kids. What should I do?
- While out
on a walk I witnessed a Rot almost kill a Pit Bull. The fight lasted
15 minutes. I was considering buying a Rot. How can I determine if I
should still buy one?
- Our CHOW-mix
has attacked our female GSD 4 times. Each fight gets worse. What can
- One of my
Pit Bulls attacked and killed one of my other dogs. Can you tell me
why this happened?
- My 7 year-old
German Pinscher attacked my Rat Terrier. Is it possible this fighting
behavior to be passed onto her children and what should I do with the
- I adopted
a 4 month old dog who was abused by a young boy at the previous household.
It now has a dislike for small boys only. How can I help get the dog
over its dislike?
- We have
four inside dogs. Our GS mix is constantly guarding the food bowls and
growls at the other dogs when they walk by. What should we do?
- My Doberman
was attacked by a pit bull. Now she acts afraid of every dog she comes
in contact with. What can I do to make her brave again?
I use a breaker bar if my dogs fight?
- I have a
16 month old male Shepherd with whom I have inadvertently caused a
- While at a
dog show last year a bull terrier got in a fight and bit the owner and
would not release the bite. Another handler stuck his finger up the
but of the dog and he released. What do you think about this?
- Our 12 year
old dog is being attacked by a new 12 month old Great Dane. What can
- My partner
was badly bitten last night when she came back to bed. She has
let one of our dogs outside and our larger dog had jumped into bed.
did was pat him on the head and she was attacked. What can we do?
- My dog killed two sheep today.
He has killed cats. We originally thought he was just playing rough.
It seems he has a taste for this.
- Can you tell me where
to buy selling salt? My dog was attacked on a walk and I would like
to carry it.
- I have two labs that fight viciously.
Would a prong collar solve my problem?
- I was walking my three dogs with
halite's a small dog followed us for 2 blocks - barking right behind
my dogs. One dog got out of its halite and attacked this dog. Am I at
- I have 2 adult Mastiffs. They
are brothers and started to have terrible fights. I am thinking
one to sleep. Can you offer any advice?
- Why did my dogs kill a deer?
- Our dog was attacked
by a neighbors dog. This is the third dog that has been attacked by
this dog, plus a paperboy. We have a hearing with the police. What should
we tell them?
- We have 7 dogs in our home. We just
adopted one that is fighting with the others. Should we put this dog
- I read your article about how
it is the owners responsibility to protect his/her dog if it is attacked
by other dogs while on a
walk. I did that today.
- I have two males
one Chow and one St Bernard. They fight every time I go into the
back yard. Would
the sound of a stun
gun stop this from happening?
- I have 4 inside dogs. We have dog fights and when
I tried to break up the fight I had 2 fingers that were badly bitten.
Now my husband if afraid of our dogs. What can I do?
- I own 2 females pit bulls who recently started to have
vicious fights. I am thinking of putting the aggression to sleep because
I don't know what else to do.
- Our three GSD's attacked and killed our Terrier while
they were running in the back yard together. Now the two females are
fighting. What can I do?
- We have three dogs. Two just got in a fight this morning.
I have two holes in my hand that are a result of trying to break up
the fight. We are thinking of putting one of these dog to sleep tomorrow.
Should we do this?
- My dog is very aggressive to other animals. I have tried
a HALTY and it is not working. What can I do?
- We put two females down because they had 2 terrible
fights. We adopted a Rott who is starting to growl when we rub his
belly. We do not want to put him down too. What can we do?
- We have two dogs
that got along fine for two years. We recently got another puppy.
Now the two dogs fight viciously. Can
you tell us why and what to do?
- Our neighbor has a pit bull that has run loose. Should
I file a police report?
- My dog is very protective of my because I am pregnant.
He just got in a fight with a GSD and almost tore its ear off. My husband
was badly bit trying to break up the fight. What should we do?
- While out on a walk
with my docile lab my dog was attacked by a pit bull and another
stray dog. What should I have done?
- I adopted a 3 year old Husky and I also have a 10 year
old Shepherd/Lab mix. The got into a fight. What can I do to make these
dogs get along?
- My 1 1/2 year old GSD attacked and killed my daughters
baby goat. Is this normal behavior for an untrained dog or should I
- I have 7 Great danes
living in my home. Some are mine and some are rescue dogs. I have
dog fights occasionally. Any thoughts or suggestions?
- I have been told
that German Shepherds are somewhat special in that they will accept
a bashing and still try and try to please their owner. Do you agree
have 6 male dogs that I have rescued. They live in the house and
are constantly fighting. What can I do?
- I was hired to obedience
train two dogs because of aggression issues. The owner isn't following
my rules and the dogs are just as
bad as before. Now they want me to sign a certificate for her insurance
company stating that
"passed" my training. Any suggestions?
- I have started giving
my dog a medicine called Clomicalm (40 mg) to help with the aggressiveness
at the suggestion of my vet.
It’s not working on my Chow mix. He still fights with my room
mates lab. I don’t want to tell my room mate to move, what should
- Our 4 year old female
attacked our 3 1/2 year old male yesterday. The Vet bill was $350.00.
She had never done this before.
Can you tell us why this happened?
- My son has a Pit
Bull female that killed our 17 year old house dog. What can we do
to stop this from happening again?
- I take my dog to
obedience class and she try's to put me between strange dogs and
I walk on the street she aggressively barks at strange dogs. Whets
- We have 2 recently
neutered male doxies. They are starting to fight and pee on the pee
pads. We took them to Pet Smart obedience training but it does not
seem to be working. What can we do?
- I own 5 dogs.
Today when I went outside 4 of my dogs attacked and killed my 8 year
old dog, Midnight. Why did they do this?
- I would like to
know what to do when a big dog (German Shepherd) attacks a small
dog (Yorkie Terrier)?
- My 7 year old Lab killed my 14 year old dog in a fight
yesterday. Was this a dominance issue-- we just added a puppy 3 months
- I have a male Kerry Blue Terrier that has been in numerous
fights that his previous owner could not control. Is there something
I can do to make him realize that other dogs are not snacks?
2 younger dogs have started to attack my 15 year old dog. What can
- I have a Beagle and a larger mixed breed. For no reason
the larger dog attacked the Beagle. Will this happen again?
- My 8 month old GSD is starting to bark aggressively
at other dogs. What can I do to stop this behavior.
- My dog is always attacked by my friend's dog whenever
we go over there. Is there anything we can do to solve this problem?
- My 2 dogs have been getting into some nasty fights.
I know they need to be crated, but how do I know when they can be together
- I have a 3 year old GSD female and a 17 month old Lab
female. They have started fighting for no reason and it is getting
out of hand. I love them both-- what can I do?
- Our 11 year old Chow and 3 year old Pit Bull have been
fighting lately. Is there any way to stop this other than complete
- My dog is aggressive to only 3 breeds of dogs. She got
into a fight in a dog park the other night and I don't know what to
do. Any suggestions you have would be greatly appreciated.
- My Rott and Akita mix have been fighting. Is there any
way to stop the aggression?
- My neighbor's dog attacked my dog. How can I protect
- My 2 females have started fighting. I am afraid for
my children and my baby on the way. What can I do?
- My male and female Chows have started fighting. Most
of the time they are inseparable, then the female will start a fight.
I can't imagine separating them all the time. Do you have any advice?
- I have 2 female littermates that get into fights once
in a while. They have horrible separation anxiety when they are apart.
What can I do?
- My 1 year old male GSD starts a fight with my 8 year
old female GSD. Once the fight has started, my 10 year old GSD joins
in. What can I do?
- I have a Mastiff mix that was trained to fight by her previous owner. How can I stop this behavior?
- My 2 year old GSD has started attacking my 9 year old Lab. What can I do?
- My dog was attacked by another dog, now I'm worried that she may be traumatized and be the first to attack now. Can you help me in what she is feeling, how she is going to be from now on and how will she be around other dogs?
- I'm unsure as to why my 9 month old pup has suddenly started to attack other dogs. Our trainer says he doesn't see any aggression in him. Any advise?
- I raise Boxers and I have a female that just can't seem to get along with the others. I can I help her to become part of the pack or to just get along?
- I am working with a dog who is aggressive to other dogs on the search. Do any of your materials address this issue?
- My Rottie bit an off duty police officer in the leg because the officer kicked him. I'm now afraid I will be forced to put my dog down, but feel that the officer is a poor dog trainer for kicking my dog. What are your thoughts?
- My dog attacks other dogs without a warning. What can I do to stop this?
- I was in between my dogs when they started to fight and was injured. I know much of what I have been doing as an owner is wrong, but what are your thoughts? Should I put the one dog down or give her up?
- My dog is dog aggressive to only some dogs. I am trying to get him to stop being aggressive, but he shifts mood so fast I have a hard time correcting in time. What do you suggest?
- We are having issues with the neighbors pit bulls. What do you suggest we do?
- My question is twofold; does your experience tell you my situations can be corrected for a trial situation and, secondly, would you recommend a muzzle, leashed, leave it training as the first step given where we are at now?
- My two dogs have started fighting and I have no idea how to make them stop. What should I do?
- I own two dogs. In the past two months the more dominant GSD has been barking at and most recently attacking the lab at feed time. What can I do to differently to correct this issue?
- My dog started attacking other dogs. Fortunately no one ever pressed charges because they were relatives. I need to stop this before it happens again. Please help.
- We have a 10 month old female german shepherd. She has never been allowed to meet or socialize with other dogs, but that seems to have been a mistake. Is there a safe way, other than having the direct supervision of a trainer, to introduce her to other dogs?
- During the day my dogs are out on our 2 acres to run freely. They are contained with the Invisible Fence system. We have a problem with keeping a neighbor dog out of our yard. What do you suggest?
- I have recently purchased a halti because nothing else has worked. Will enough of his hurting himself with the halti break him of his reaction? How do I get him back to ignoring other dogs?
- Do you feel my dogs fight because both are females, and having one fixed and one not fixed causes problems, plus both appear to be aggressive breeds? Is this a lost cause? Do we need to find a new home for our boxer? Should we muzzle both and allow them to be together?
- Our problem is our aussie/cattledog. She recently attacked our neighbor's black lab, and did some serious damage. Do you think Riley can be salvaged without having to end her life? Any advice you can give will be greatly appreciated.
- My GSD was going after my yorkie and I had her leash thankfully but she turned and bit me instead. She has been after them lately, what can I do? Should I muzzle her when she is out?
- My dog seems to have dog on dog aggression. Have you ever dealt with instances of owner's pregnancy causing behavior problems in dogs? And do you have any training suggestions?
- One of my dogs has recently attacked one of the others, twice. Is there any hope for these two? Or should I just work on finding homes for them?
- I have a two year old dog who is displaying dominant and aggressive behavior toward other male dogs. I was interested in the DVD on dominance and aggression, do you think this is a good place to start?
- My dog has started to display signs of dog aggression and has been picking fights at the local agility club randomly. He is totally unrecall-able when in drive and decided to try a prong. Do I still carry on with doing the automatic corrections now that he is so afraid of the collar?
- When my dog was 17 months old she was attacked by another dog. Any dog that approaches her too quickly or wants to get too private too fast she growls and barks. What if she lunges and actually bites? I want her to become a therapy dog but she would need to successfully do a meet and greet with other therapy dogs, at this point she couldn't handle it. Can you offer any insight?
- I have two Shepherds that have been through off leash obedience training. We recently moved to Montana and the neighbor has goats and sheep. The owner came home to see his goat missing an ear and my dogs covered with blood and they had the goat cornered. Do you recommend the wire basket muzzle? If so which size? The dogs measure 4 1/2 and 11 1/2 inch.
- I have an intact male & female that I will be breeding and one spayed female.
The females occasionally fight. Do you think having an intact male is part of the reason for the girls’ behavior? Is there any hope that these two can get along without the constant anxiety and fear I experience every day?
- I have been training an adolescent rescued Belgian Malinois, with four other people, to be a service dog. He has recently shown extreme dog aggression that has created a road block for him. Please let me know if you think of anything we can try.
- I have three German Shepherds, Mom, Dad and son. The son has started to test the dad. I have tried just about everything and do not want to have the son neutered. Any suggestions?
- Our dog is extremely aggressive toward other dogs. We can’t allow the kids to walk her for fear of dragging them, and yesterday she yanked the leash out of my wife’s hand and attacked a dog. Can you please suggest a training regimen that I can get started with?
- Is there such a thing as a mid-life testosterone rush in dogs? My dog's behavior has changed in a matter of days.
- We are raising two females at my home. They have been in three fights since we got the new one. We are a bit lost because we don't know who to turn to that specializes in pit bulls and raising two females at one time. Can you offer any assistance with this problem?
- I recently adopted a third standard poodle, and after just one month, he and my two females are getting along really well. My younger female has started climbing on my older female. What on EARTH could change this behavior in my younger girl?
- I have two male Yorkshire Terriers that are 10 years old. They have fought since they were six months. D o you think they would benefit from medication to calm them or isn't that necessary?
- We have four dogs in our household. We are having problems with one, he is a bully and aggressive with two of the others. What DVD's and training materials would you suggest that I begin with?
- Help! My dogs got in a bad fight and the vet suggested putting one of them to sleep. What should we do?
- I have an extremely dog reactive female German Shepherd, and I want to pursue agility with her but she goes nuts when she sees other dogs. Do you have any suggestions?
- I have littermates who have ‘sibling rivalry’ and they started fighting when they were about 9 months old. I keep them separated now, and wonder how I go about fixing this problem. I don’t want to put one of them in a new home.
- Is the video on dominant and aggressive dogs the best resource I can get from you to address Diego’s behavior? Or do you recommend something different?
- I had a major crisis this morning, resulting in a death by pack-attack of one of my dogs and bite wounds to myself (I was trying to break up the fight). I don’t know if I can stand to keep my remaining dogs, should I rehome them or euthanize them? Please give me some advice.
- We have (2) one and a half year old Bloodhound brothers that we are training for search and rescue. They are now at the age where they want to kill each other. Can you tell me which muzzles I should use for this, what sizes should I get, and what the price of the muzzles are?
- My 8 month old GSD has never shown any aggression to dogs or people. He recently bit another dog without warning and I’m really concerned. I cannot have a dog with aggression problems, is this an early sign of a bigger problem?
- I've had my dog since she was 8 weeks old. 3 months ago she started being food protective with other animals. We spoke to our vet who said it may be a pecking order issue, and not to intervene. Any advice?
- My dog was attacked when she was a puppy by 7 German Shepherds and then later attacked by a Boxer. She became embarrassingly dog aggressive after that. I have worked on her aggression and now when I take her to the dog park she behaves aggressively to certain dogs and she is chasing other dogs. She likes to chase squirrels, do you think she sees the other dogs as the squirrels?
- We recently found out that I am pregnant and two days ago one of our dogs figured this out for herself and has begun attacking our other dog anytime she comes near me. What should we do?
Mr. Frawley, I just found your website and am hoping that you can help us with a somewhat urgent situation. My husband (a vet), daughter and I have 3 dogs that are all crate trained and kept there at all times unless we are home with them. The oldest, Sally is a 12 year old mix, then there is Bugz a 4 year old Boston mix, and finally Polly the 18 month old bulldog mix. All are spayed females. Up until 2 weeks ago, all was mostly quiet with the dogs except maybe 2 challenges to Sally's dominance by Polly, which was not a surprise given the age and pack ramifications. We were careful to correct Polly properly for the aggression both times. Then 2 weeks ago week, while we were out of town, our pet-sitter/vet assistant came by one day to feed them and let them out (they know her well as she is in and out with work for my husband) and as Polly ran off to hunt squirrels by sniffing around the fence-line, the sitter bent over to pet Sally and Bugs at her feet and Polly ran in, jumped Sally and wouldn't let go of her ear. The sitter had to pry her mouth off the ear since she would not let go. Then, last week Polly went after Sally again while in my husband's study and got the other ear and it took both of us to get her to let go of it. At this point, we have tried to keep them separate for going out, and tried to prevent any dominance challenge situations and all was quiet. Then today, the sitter was here doing some work in the garage and my husband asked her to let the dogs out since the weather was so nice outside. She opened the crates and let them out and as soon as she turned around to close the door, another fight broke out leading to yet another ear bite and hold. This one took both she and my husband to separate and Sally has just returned from the vet with a partial ear amputation due to the damage.
I am sure by reading your site that we have done something wrong in the process, but we are both long time owners of multiple dog households and have quite a bit of veterinary experience and some dog aggression issues from cases we have seen. Polly is the perfect people dog and is very warm and loving and has never shown any aggression with any people or other dogs besides Sally though I know it is a possibility (they never go anywhere but here at the house or my mom's with us). The main question here is that my husband is considering putting her to sleep simply because of the viciousness of the attacks on Sally and the risk it adds if any person gets in the way. Can we fix this at this stage, and if so, how? We have thought of a muzzle when she is out and around Sally, or working shifts so that only one of them is out at a time, or getting her to someone in a rescue group that deals with dog-aggressive dogs or just wants a one dog home, knowing her history. My husband is still concerned for safety and liability issues. In addition, this is his dog and it is a very hard decision for both of us to make. We would love to spare her if possible. Any help would be very much appreciated. We are keeping them apart (Sally's drugged up and in a crate for a bit) and weighing the options.
This is 100% a pack/rank issue. Three dogs are a dog pack. Most times people can get by with it – but then there are times like this where there is no room for error. I hate to say this but there have been more signs of this coming but your family missed them.
If this dog 100% understood your leadership this would not have happened in front of you. It very well still would have happened with your house sitters and employees because they are not the dogs leaders – being human does not translate into being a pack leader.
The solution begins with the kind of pack structure program in my DVD Establishing Pack Structure With the Family Dog. I developed this program over the past 25 years of importing and buying dogs for police service work, personal protection and Schutzhund work. Many of these dogs were truly dangerous dogs handler aggressive dogs. I was never badly bit.
This program is only the first part of the solution. Dogs like this need to be under total control all the time. They need to understand this concept and more importantly they need to accept the situation. This is accomplished with dogs leashes (in the house) dog crates and no contact with other animals.
The dog also needs serious obedience training – by that I mean correct training that establishes you as a fair considerate leader. A leader who has rules that once explained and understood are respected and followed. If the rules are understood and then ignored they must be ruthlessly enforced with dogs like this. Read the free eBook I wrote on THE THEORY OF CORRECTIONS IN DOG TRAINING. Here is where the all positive dog trainer pee their pants.
This is best handled with a Remote Collar.
Muzzles don’t solve your problem. Muzzles cover up problems. They should be used to test training. They make the test safe. I have a training DVD titled MUZZLE FIGHTING FOR POLICE SERVICE DOGS. A dog can break ribs, knock out teeth or break a facial bone with a muzzle on. They are not your solution.
If your family is not prepared to get retrained and then change the way you live with your dog pack – you should find a single dog home for this dog. But the person who takes it needs to be experienced in how to handler dogs aggression. I have a DVD titled Dealing with Dominant and Dangerous Dogs.
Good luck – if you kill this dog it’s a mistake. It’s a failure of education and effort.
I am looking for a video that covers the area of dog
fights and how to break them up. Specifically, I work at a training center
and I am trying to locate an updated tape to show recruits how to handle
That would be a little hard to produce a video on this.
How would you suggest that it be done? I think the animal rights people
would have a hay day with the guy who went out and let dogs get in fights
just so we could show how to break up the fight - much less the fact that
it would be illegal in every state that I am aware of.
Read this article on my web site
- then talk to your people.
As I read your Q&A's I see
that I am not the only person out here with a problem dog. But I just
may be the only one here without a clue as to what to do.
We have 3 dogs and a cat at our
house. The first was the cat. Then I moved in with a Shi-tzu(8-9 years
old) with a bad attitude.
Yes she came from the pound and I make the excuse that she must have
been mistreated before I got her. She will bite me at any given time!
reason I took her in the first place was because this dog picked me out!
Never before have I seen a dog as determined to be "owned" by
someone as she was. Thus, she is mine. 2 Years ago we got 2 pups from
a pet store.
A Chow female and Shepherd male. Both were within a
month of being the same age. Things started out bad for the Shepherd and
he almost died from a worm medicine overdose given at the pet shop the
night we brought the pup's home. He spent most of his first month with
us either in the vets or staying at the vets. I guess like one would do
with a sick child, we spoiled him rotten once we had him back home and
he was gaining back strength. The chow was always sweet natured. Something
I found hard to believe from a chow since I had raised them for years
and found them to be stubborn, and rather unfriendly to strangers. This
one is the one in a million for disposition.
We started having problems when
the Shepherd started to try and control the chow. She would take it
for so long and then all
hell would break loose. As puppies, we could separate them with no problem.
Then as they got older, it required more then just picking them up. We
built separate pens for them and that sort of settled the problem. Now
we invested in the invisible fencing. The chow took to it with a minimal
of problems. But the shepherd now 2 1/2 years old is our problem. He
doesn't seem to feel pain. With the fence and his collar turned up
to full capacity,
he still runs through it and will attack any animal outside his boundary.
The neighbor has a yellow lab about 1 1/2 years old and he has attacked
her several times. Each time outside his boundary. Once in her own yard!
An attorney that lives down the road from us was jogging with his dog,
which was on a leash, and the shepherd ran through the fencing and attacked
his dog! Nothing we do works. We put him in the pen for punishment but
he still doesn't get it. When he attacked the lab the last time, my husband
put him on his leash and was taking him to the pen all the while letting
him have it verbally about how bad he was when he suddenly jumped up
on him as if to bite him. My husband tightened his hold on the leash
shortened the length until he got the dog to the pen and got him in.
This told me that our shepherd could and would very easily bite us.
I am sure you have figured out by now, he has been trying to be the dominant
one here for a long time now. A wire-handled fly swatter is the only
thing he fears. Pick it up and he hits the ground. But that works in
3 dogs in our family we are at our wits end as to what to do. The Shitzu
is now around 13 and won't be here much longer. She will live out her
last days here no matter what. The chow is no problem at all. But we
need some major help with the shepherd. Is there hope for him or is
he so far
gone that we should put him down. I know that if he will attempt to bite
us, he will definitely bite someone else. We love this dog and will try
anything to try and correct the problems if we can. But if the problem
lies within his breeding, which we know very little about, we understand
that putting him down may be the only choice. What do think of us having
a canine officer take him out for a few hours and trying to work with
him? Do you think a canine officer could tell if he was worth saving
or needs to be put down? Any help here would be greatly appreciated
someone or something gets hurt really badly.
Well you are correct you
are about as confused as confused can get. Here are my points:
- You have created a dog pack and are suffering the
- Keep these dogs separated all the time
- I don't consider you a very good pet owner. You know
your dog runs through the in-ground fence yet you still leave him in
the yard. Once is a mistake, twice is pushing it and may be an accident
but three times is animal neglect and stupidity.
- I have not heard of a dog that
cannot be kept in the in-ground fences. You need to go to the stronger
collar and work
with your dealer on this. They have collars that this dog will respect you can also add probes on the sides of the collar (so he gets
shocked from 4 points and not 2 again talk to your dealer).
- Your dog is not obedience trained. If you would like
to learn something about the principles of obedience training a dog,
read the description for my Basic Dog Obedience video.
You will probably find that you have not had the full picture on the
steps of training a dog must go through before it can be considered
fully trained. You can also read why I am not a fan of taking an untrained
dog to obedience classes. Get a prong collar and train this dog. If
you have to sharpen the points on the collar then do it. If he
has to wear a muzzle when you train him then have him wear a muzzle
(so he cannot bite you although I seriously doubt this dog will
bite his owner).
- Almost ALL K9 handlers are just
they are not behaviorists nor are many of them
real good dog trainers. They are almost all nice guys who get more
for being dog trainers than they deserve. So forget that avenue.
If this dog is attacking other dogs - then it needs
more than a fly swatter or a verbal correction. It needs a shock collar
or a damn big stick. I mean a stick! He needs to develop some respect
for the fact that THIS IS NOT ALLOWED. That DOES NOT happen with a verbal
scolding, it does not happen with a fly swatter.
It happens when this dog gets corrected so severely that it remembers
the correction for the rest of its life. That happens when you whale
on him. Read the Q&As I have posted on this. I will not retype this
My feeling is that you and your husband are in over your head. Most people
cannot correct this
problem. They simply do not have the temperament to be able to administer
hard enough corrections to change the dogs behavior. Most behaviorists
do not have enough experience to be able to offer sound advice on problems
So keep your dog in the pen,
get your collar for the fence fixed, he should wear a wire muzzle when
out, obedience train this dog, and if he does go after another dog teach
him what it feels like to be attacked! I guarantee this will work.
If you can't do these things then
find the dog a new home in the country.
I know you will think I am insane, but...
My girlfriend and I have 7 dogs,
we have a pack obviously. The dogs are: a 12 year male golden, a 10
female golden, a 10 year female
lab, a 6 year female golden, a 6 year female golden/chow, a 5 year female
golden, and a 2 year male golden. All of the dogs are spayed and neutered.
Some of these (the older 3 & the 5 year old) we raised from pups
of 8 weeks. The others were dogs that we adopted from rescue groups.
dogs generally get along fine, they play together, sleep together, eat
together, etc. The oldest male generally runs the show, and the others
respect that. The trouble is the golden/chow and the 5 year old. The
golden/chow spent the majority of her formative years alone locked in
a small room.
She has been a bit possessive since we got her. She will set up confrontations
by taking a toy and laying near it and guarding it from any dog that
comes near by growling. We have assumed that she is unhappy with her
in the pack and does this in an effort to force her dominance. Naturally
we do not let her get away with this and we take the item from her, reprimand
her, and make her move from whatever space she is in.
A couple times this kind of display escalated into
the golden/chow snapping at one of the other dogs before we could step
These were not true fights, put more like shows of dominance, she would
grab the other dog with her teeth, but there would no blood, no wounds,
just a lot of growling. At some point the 5 year old golden decided she
had had enough of this and she fought back, the result was a trip to
emergency vet and stitches for the golden/chow. Since then there have
perhaps 6-7 incidences that have resulted in bites, blood, and a great
deal of screaming on our part. What happens now is that at the first
sign of any aggression on the chows part, the 5 year old attacks her
locking on to her ear or neck. And of course the rest of the pack chimes
in with barking. And now the 6 year golden has begun to attack the chow
too. The result is a three dog fight. We have tried the wheelbarrow thing
with no success. Once these dogs are locked on to each other having
hind legs in the air does nothing.
My girlfriend and I have each been bit a couple times
trying to break up these fights, and I don't really care about that as
much as I care about the dogs injuring each other. These dogs still play
together, happily! They run and chase and play beg each other, dig holes,
and sleep together, and then BOOM! Do you have any suggestions? I cannot
get rid of the chow mix. She will be killed if she winds up in a shelter
and I can't do that. All of these dogs have sweet temperaments, but obviously
there is friction. Is there any hope?
Thanks for listening, even if you have no advice!
You have created a dog pack. You are not about to rewrite
genetic codes of pack behavior that goes back thousands of years. These
dogs are going to determine their own pecking order, and with some dogs
this is going to mean fighting to settle the answer of who is top dog
or who is second top dog.
Either find a new home for some of these dogs or build
a dog kennel. There is no golden bullet to fix your problem. Common sense
dictates that 7 dogs do not live as one happy family - that's a pipe dream.
Read my articles about dominant dogs and dog
I am really rather desperate and am looking for someone
who can empathize with my plight with my two cairn terriers. Both are
females and around a year and a half old. Recently, the alpha dog (our
smallest of the two) has been initiating vicious fights with the other
dog over affection with my husband and their feed dish (for examples).
I realize that this is a jealously issue, but keeping these two in the
same house is becoming an impossible task.
I just fear, however, that Petunia
is not a "family" type cairn. We haven't had problems with
fighting until recently. It started out about two months ago and we
were averaging maybe one dogfight a month...now
it is a couple a night. In fact, tonight as I type, I have Buttercup
(the eldest) downstairs with me and Petunia upstairs alone. They can't
be around each other when my husband is around anymore. It is just constant
fighting. Without him in the home, they get along just fine. Tonight,
they have both bloodied themselves and have been licking their wounds
all night. They have to be broken apart or I fear they would kill each
other. In breaking up these fights, both my husband and myself have been
Basically, I don't want to see Petunia
leave my household. She is a sweet little thing and is my "lap dog," and
admittedly my favorite of the two. From the description I gave, do
you think that
Petunia is vicious or is this something we could remedy with training?
The vet, last week, even mentioned that Petunia was much more aggressive
this last visit. In fact, she had to be physically restrained for administering
of her yearly rabies inoculation. Is this common in Cairns? I have
heard of such problems in the breed and have heard, more often than not,
that families own at least two cairns with no problems. Could it be
the breeding? I fear that I cannot contact the breeder, for both were
pet store purchases. I would appreciate an email back. I'm really at
loss and the vet is not willing to provide any advice.
Thank you - Diane
The bottom line is that this is a handler problem and
not a dog problem. Dogs are dogs and they have pack and rank drives -
humans may consider them lap dogs but they are not. They are still dogs
and unless you accept this you will fail forever with your dogs.
These females need to be kept separate with a dog crate
- this is not a big deal unless YOU choose to make it one. Having two
females can happen but not if they are allowed to live together like you
have tried to do.
Your dogs need strict obedience training to establish
who the pack leader is. USE A PRONG COLLAR. There is NO reason they should
ever fight because they should never come in contact unless they are muzzled,
and then if they fight they need their ass kicked and kicked hard. Unless
you are prepared to assume the role of pack leader you will fail.
I have enjoyed your Q/A about dogfights very much. I
have had success in having up to four female, some intact some spade,
GSD's living in my home and not fighting. All of the newcomers were introduced
at 8 weeks and grew up believing the oldest dog was in charge. I supported
the oldest dog in her position in the pack. These were not pet quality
pooches of indiscriminate breeding. They are all DDR X WGr. working lines.
As the older dogs died off, the next in line assumed the top position.
Now I have a 3 year old and a 7-month-old puppy that I think may have
a discussion about position as the pup nears maturity but I expect it
will take place out of my sight. The 3 yr. old rose to the top in four
months by reason of two deaths and I am not sure she is real comfortable
as the leader and may allow this extremely confident puppy take over without
much of a fight. At this point, they can have nice meaty bones in close
proximity and trade without a hassle. Of course the bottom line is I am
the Alpha and they are cognizant of that.
Bar Harbor, ME
You have done it right. If something like this is going
to work, it will only work by introducing the new dogs as 8-week-old puppies.
But as you mention - even then this does not always work.
I just bought the prong and the basic obedience of you.
I like it a lot and it has been a great help. BUT! My 14 month Rott is
very dog aggressive. When we are out walking he walks a good SLOW, HEEL,
COME, but if he is walking with me in a heel possession and a dog is on
the other side of the street he just don't care if an almost rip his head
of, doing it the right way. (Command, correction, praise.) He just turns
around and barks at me and tries again. The collar fits perfect and I
do correct him dead hard.
The solution to dog fighting begins with perfect
obedience. Without it your problem will never be solved. This means
your dog is not
fully trained. It can not mind and deal with the distraction of other
Get a muzzle for your dog - so he will not bite you
when he gets a very hard correction.
Then learn how to correct him so
that he respects your correction. He does not respect your correction
right now because it is
not working. If you have to, grind some dull points on every other prong.
If that does not work, grind the rest of the prongs. When you tell the
dog NO and he does not mind you had better correct the SOB until he fears
for his life. If you cant do this, you either need an electric
collar or a new dog.
When the dog re-focuses on you (with the other dog across
the street) put him through a series of obedience exercises. Down, sit,
heel in small circles. Give him something to think about other than the
other dog. Your long term goal is to have the dog focus on you when told
NO, your short term goal is to get the dog to focus on the commands that
you give when he sees another dog.
Do not ever take this dog to a dog park. It is a disaster
waiting to happen.
We raised two German Shepherd from
puppies Male and female, neutered and spayed. When they were between
1-½ and 2 we
adopted a 1-½ year old neutered male from German Shepherd Rescue
who had been abused. After about four days of his being in a kennel our
Shepherds accepted him. The three of them are now between 2 and 2½.
We adopted another male (neutered) from the German Shepherd Rescue a
couple of weeks ago and are not having the same success. Our male we
a pup and the new GS have gone at each others throats and had to pull
apart. This was after 2 days. They got together accidentally. We kept
them separated and about a week later they were in the same room again
by accident and again went at each other and had to be pulled apart.
Is there any hope that these two will ever get along? We try getting
used to each other by taking them outside with muzzles and leashes on
but our male turns his head and will not look at the new male. They look
at each other and wag their tails when one is outside and the other in
when they can see each other through the patio door. Is there any advice
you can give me or a possible solution for this?
You are creating a dog pack. Something is going to have
to give and the only way that can happen is for fights to occur. My advice
is to give the male back and be satisfied with three dogs. You have already
pushed the envelope at three.
So the answer to your question is - yes, there are
some things that you can try but in the end, keeping them separated is
only solution that will work. Let the dog go to a home where he will
not have to fight for pack position or build dog kennels and keep your
in them. At four GSD's you are beyond the house dog-pet scenario and into
a dog kennel scenario.
Hello Mr Frawley,
I was a first time visitor to your site today, and what
a thorough site it is. Compliments to you.
Reading some of your Q&A's made
me wonder whether you could offer advice on a problem I have with my
(normally) very well-behaved
female mixed breed dog.
Millie is almost two years old, she is crossed with
a Labrador and some small, lean brown and black breed (markings like
Rottweiler). She is a fantastic dog, smart, happy-go-lucky and very loyal
to me. She lives with two other dogs, which are border collies, and
the most part they get along great!
However, when taking Millie out for walks, or to the
dog beach, she never gives other dogs a chance - she runs right up to
them, and only pauses for a second before she normally educes an unfavorable
reaction from the other dog and they fight. It seems she is indiscriminate,
she even challenges dogs smaller than her. Even on walks on the lead,
if we pass a dog on a path way she can't get to them quick enough. She
normally listens to me at all times, but in these situations she won't.
Although, she seems to be okay if she has the ball to play with while
at the beach. It's once the ball is not in use that she gets distracted.
When she was younger a puppy at the beach who was at
least 3 times her size chased her around in circles, and she yelping as
if she was terrified. I don't know if this has affected her to this day?
Also, I lived with a guy who owned a bull terrier once. The dog was nice
enough, but she was very primal and sometimes fought with other dogs.
I think this may have rubbed off on Millie. It seems so out of character
for a dog like her to try and be so dominant!
I really want to correct this problem so I can be the
owner of a well-adjusted and social dog. She really is worth the effort
it would take to put this right. Plus, I don't want to distress other
Thank you, and once again congratulations on your site.
While no one can say for sure I
would guess that the incident on the beach as a pup was the beginning
of your dogs problem.
She has learned that if she hits first she has a better chance to win
the fight. Not an uncommon thing for a dog.
The bottom line is that this dogs
biggest problem is human related. The problem is that you have not
made an effort to properly
train your dog. If it were trained it would mind you when you called
it back from charging up to other dogs.
Dogs like this must mind ALL THE
TIME, not just when they feel like it. The unfortunate thing is that
to change this behavior
you will have to apply a great deal of force in training. The final mind
set of the dog must be - I must mind because I do not want
to bear the crap that is going to come down on my head for not minding. Once
a dog understands this concept the problems are finished.
To accomplish this the dog needs to get a prong collar
or an electric collar (I prefer the prong) and a long line. When it does
not mind it needs a correction that will flip it over backward. If the
dog even looks at the other dog it needs additional severe corrections
for even looking at the strange dog. When the dog comes to you it needs
a lot of praise. It needs to understand that it is only one way - your
way - and when it does mind it gets a lot of praise.
The praise is important even if the dog is corrected.
This tells the dog that you still love it and that you have forgiven its
The dog should not go off leash for a long time. Let
it drag a 30-foot line. If it gets away and does get into a fight, the
level of corrections must be so severe that the dog needs to think its
life is threatened - by you. You need to be screaming NO NO NO!!! Giving
multiple corrections like a crazy person.
Taking dogs like this to the beach is stupid. It makes
no sense. You know the dog fights so why test it? Dog owners must have
some level of common sense.
My friends (who happen to own one of your GSD's) suggested
that I write to you and you will try to help my friend. Here goes: A co-worker
of mine owns 2 spayed female boxers, littermates she brought home together
as puppies, they're now 3 years old. Their household consists of 2 cats,
2 teenage girls, 1 teenage boy, who spends the most time with them, and
About a month ago the alpha started to attack the submissive
one. I don't live in this family, so I don't know details. They're now
crating them separately and they sleep in the basement; she had the alpha
checked out at the vet (peeing in her crate, I think) and she had an
and is now on anti-biotic's. They were going to give the dominant one
to Boxer Rescue, but the son talked them out of it and they asked me
help. From what I gather, only mom and son are willing to try to shape
an acceptable behavior; the rest of the family wants to take the easy
way out and give the aggressive dog away. So I you can help please do
Can you suggest any books at the library or on-line
help for them? I suggested to take both dogs to obedience school. I know
having littermates grow up together can be a problem, but this behavior
started after 3 years.
These fights will start in front
of family members as well as alone. I get the impression that the dogs "run the show"
in the household and I feel obedience classes and a little attention/exercise
might help to reconstruct the pecking order, making the adults the leaders
of the pack.
Would you suggest any flower essences to calm them down,
a la Rescue Remedy?
BTW, I'm an obedience trainer but don't consider myself
a behaviorist; I live with a 15 yr. old mini schnauzer and a 9 yr. old
standard schnauzer that have earned numerous obedience/agility titles.
Thanks for your help,
Flower essences - now that's a new
one. Just about the time you think you have heard everything, something
FLOWER ESSENSES to calm a dog down comes along. You have to love
These people made a mistake the
day they brought two pups home. The solution is to find a home for
one dog. They have already
spent 3 years proving that what they did was foolish. I won't retype
information I already have on my web site about why raising two pups
at the same time
is stupid. You can find this in my Q&A section.
I know you must get many letters so I appreciate you
taking the time to read and answer my email. and I am writing to ask your
opinion because I am at wit's end with my dog which is part Border Collie
and part Australian Sheppard. I picked up the dog when it was 6 weeks
old and met the mother, but the father was locked up because they said
it would attack strangers (perhaps that should have been a clue - but
I did not know it at the time). I trained her by positive reinforcement.
The dog, Sable, who is now 7 years old, has always minded me and never
acted aggressively towards me, however she is completely random with her
aggression towards everyone else. She seems to tolerate some people but
if they reach for her she will snarl as a warning and then bite. The only
people she has not snarled at or snapped at are my parents. I had to give
her away three years ago to another family because I was traveling daily,
but they returned her recently when she started acting aggressively towards
their toddler and felt they could not always be watching her. She immediately
recognized me and started minding my every command. I brought her back
to my house and she attacked both of our small male dogs, including the
one who had submitted, by turning on his back. I feel this dog is a big
liability, but because she is very intelligent and loyal to the core with
me, I feel an obligation and a desire to find a solution other than putting
her to sleep. Do you think it is possible to train a 7 year old dog out
of this behavior or possibly train her for drug sniffing or some role
where she would not be such a risk to people in general?
Thanks for your response.
Keep this dog away from other dogs totally
away from them. Get a prong collar and train this dog to mind all the
under EVERY distraction.
If you would like to learn something about the principles
of obedience training a dog, read the description for my Basic
Dog Obedience video. You will probably find that you have not had
the full picture on the steps of training a dog must go through before
it can be considered fully trained. You can also read why I am not a fan
of taking an untrained dog to obedience classes.
If you do these things you can make it work but it will
require you to change the way you look at animal husbandry. This is a
pack animal and you are seeing pack drives that need strong obedience
I personally do not tolerate dog
aggression in my kennel. If I have a female who fence fights with another
dog I correct her with
a padded protection stick, (like the ones they use in Schutzhund). Dogs
are pack members and they need to learn that their pack leader (ME) will
not tolerate dog fighting. So I tell them to leave it and
if they continue to fence fight I hit them HARD right between the ears
with this stick, and they continue to get hit as long as they fight. It
is totally up to them how many times they get hit. The second they turn
and stop fighting they are praised. This is very important. While this
will blow the minds of all the animal rights people out there I
say to them come and try and correct this problem on my dogs any
other way pansy-ass dog training does not work with hard, tough
dogs or dominant dogs.
I normally only have to do this
once or twice with a dog and then they respond to LEAVE IT. This falls under the
category of one good correction is better than 1000 nagging corrections.
I will also say that these are very hard females (bitches
that take a hard correction and recover very quickly). The harder the
bitch the more times it is going to get hit, a soft bitch may just need
a tap to remind her that she is not supposed to do this.
With my males, (especially my males
that are protection trained), I use a shovel not a stick. For the simple reason that
I may need it for protection (to stick in the dogs mouth) if he
turns and comes after me. A Schutzhund stick is not going to faze one
of my males it just pisses them off.
I have two female shepherd-malamute mixes. They were
wonderful together (litter-mates) until they hit four years old. The fighting
began over-night, and they're now separated permanently.
I read an article, however, that suggested using a fire
extinguisher on them when they fight. It robs them of oxygen immediately
and they can't breathe, so they separate. Thoughts?
It also may kill them. Of course, you could hit
them over the head with it - that may work pretty good, (what's a concussion
A better solution is to
keep them separated, obedience train them with prong collars under
heavy distraction and make them wear
muzzles if they are ever close together.
German Shepherd is 4 years old, male. We had him from
3 months. Household is wife (59), daughter (27) and me (62). We live on
a 4-acre lot and use invisible fencing. We also have a 9 by 12 ft holding
area -- chain link fence variety of good quality. The dog Zeus, was supposed
to be my daughter's. She took him to obedience training a few times and
then dropped out. Said that he didn't need it. There are 2 cats in the
house. We are grandparents and grand kids visit. They use the trampoline
and swing - outdoor playground equipment. Zeus sees the pack hierarchy
as me (lead) then daughter, then wife. That's the background.
Zeus attacked and severely damaged a 16 year old female
dog that came on our property Saturday April 28. They were friends and
had been playing together for several years. The dog usually visited.
We learned that day from our neighbors that Zeus also visited the dog
whenever we failed to put the collar on him (which was not often).
No one saw the attack (other than our next door neighbor
who noticed from a good distance - this neighbor was not the dog owner).
My daughter saw the dog in the backyard with Zeus circling and licking
her. We ourselves were not home. We did not see the damage. Our neighbor
said that Zeus would let the other dog get up and would grab its hind
leg. The older dog was on its back.
The owners took their dog to emergency and she was put
down. said that she wouldn't survive the operation and that there were
too many holes. Everyone was surprised at this event. None of us can explain
what and why it happened. The damage to the dog was many punctures to
the body and a mangled rear leg.
My daughter dirt-bikes and Zeus just can't control himself
whenever he hears the bike motor start up. He also wants to race the bike
as she leaves (riding) for the dirt-bike track. When this occurs no one
can control him.
At Easter Zeus got really excited with the kids on the
swings. I had just erected the set so it was new. Cindy, our daughter
expressed concern that she couldn't handle Zeus and Zeus (through excitement)
has nipped her son in the leg. There was no mark on the leg. I took Zeus
to the swings, and had another grandson sit and corrected Zeus using a
rolled-up newspaper. Zeus was cowed down and suddenly surprised me! He
showed his teeth had a direct stare and growled - still cowed. I stopped
then and resumed right after without further challenge from Zeus. My daughter
had complained to me previously that he had challenged her.
My wife, as you probably gathered doesn't have much
to do with Zeus.
When anyone comes to the yard, workmen, strangers, family,
Zeus looks for a stick - there is usually some broken twig around from
the trees and invites them to play.
I took Zeus to the vet last night to have him neutered.
I have asked the family to place him in his pen whenever the grand kids
are around. Also to keep the collar on him whenever he is outside. We
still give him the full run of the yard otherwise. Most times he is alone.
Any suggestions you can offer will be much appreciated.
I am concerned from the attack and the challenges to my daughter and I.
Just can't figure out why he would attack an old female
More than likely this is a territorial problem with
your dog. You are taking some (not all) of the right steps.
- Getting the dog neutered is
a good move but it may not have the desired results on such an old dog.
- Keeping the dog in the 6 foot
fence when company comes is a very good idea. I would also put a Tri
Tronics No Bark Collar on the dog when its in the fenced
area. That will stop your dog from working himself into a frenzy. We
these on our site.
- This dog needs serious obedience
training. Get my Basic Dog Obedience video. You
also need a prong collar to work the dog with.
- Get a Jafco
or wire muzzle that the dog can wear during
training (so he cant bite you if you correct too hard). These
are also on our site. The dog should not be around other dogs - never.
- If there is any question about
control of this dog you should train it with an electric collar. But
if you are going to do this you will want to get the training videos
to learn how to properly train with one. Stick with quality products
here - I only recommend Tri Tronics Collars.
I have three German Shepherds -
a 4 year old male, a 4 year old bitch and their 18 month old son. My
bitch and dog got along
great and mated. They had 9 pups and we kept 1 dog, now 18 months old.
But the bitch was a rescue dog who was previously mistreated. We had
the dog castrated first and at a later date the bitch spayed as she
aggression to anyone but myself and my husband and 3 children, but found
this was a big mistake getting the dog castrated because since then the
bitch will attack and if she got the chance, kill the dog even though
he is double her size. I am aware the problem is we have altered the
packing order having the dog neutered - he is now an outcast and no
dog. Spaying the bitch didnt help either, but aware of the problem
we keep the dog and bitch separate at all times except when accidents
happen and I only wish I had visited your site before they had their recent
encounter. The bitch managed to get the dog on the back of the neck and
clamped her jaws fast. I physically pried her jaws apart letting the dog
escape but not before he had nipped me leaving large bruises on my arm
and she clamped her jaws on my finger. Each dog didnt know they
had hurt me and didnt intentionally bite me. The problem is I would
like to have the 18 month old dog castrated but I dont want the
same thing to happen. I am worried the bitch may turn on her son if I
have him neutered. Could you please advise me?
You have a dog pack. One or two dogs can live together
and can act like and be pets. Add a 3rd or 4th dog and you have a dog
pack that takes on a personality of its own. The dogs now live according
pack rules and unless you are a competent pack leader, you will have
chaos, which is what you have right now.
You are 110% wrong about this neutering issue. You are
fixated on neutering being the problem when in fact it really has nothing
to do with this. You may think it does but that does not make you right.
The fact is you could not be further from the truth.
Unless you change the way these
dogs interact , by keeping them separated, you are going to have dog
fights. You are trying to do
things that no responsible professional trainer would do let 3
adult dogs like this live together. Especially when they have proven
that they have the will to fight for pack position.
If you do decide to keep the dogs I would recommend
some serious obedience training.
Ed, I just read your material on breaking up a fight
and found it quite informative. I do have some questions I would like
advice on. First let me explain the situation... I have 8 dogs, assorted
breeds, and 3 are pits bulls.
Last night a vicious fight broke
out between the Shepherd & Dobie. The Shepherd in the Alpha Female and once the others saw
what was going on, all joined in against the loser (the Dobie). We were
able to get all the dogs to stop BUT the pits who were in a death match
fury. By the time we were able to break things up - this included grabbing
hind legs, breaking holds, etc. it was too late. Bones (the Dobys
name) had arterial & vein wounds and were bleeding out. I am a vet
tech. and could do nothing to save her... she was glassy eyed by the
we got all dogs off. We ended up losing a loved pet of 7 yrs. due to
a damn stick my granddaughter threw (she did not know we don't do that
all dogs out at the same time) and Bones got to it first. My husband
is disabled and cannot fight with them as well as I, so it was a nasty
Today they all act just like nothing happened at all.. I would like to
know what you'd suggest in my situation. I have all ready said the
will not go out with ANYONE other than themselves anymore for they are
the ones who caused the deadly damage. Should this ever happen again
can I do to break them? I will go get some of those poppers we use to
awaken those knocked out, but do you suggest pepper spray? What about
the cattle prod if it is at a high enough voltage to stun them? The grabbing
by the hind legs just is not feasible here - not enough people to work
with. A break stick was advised to me, I have never used one and do not
know if it would work. Please advise - I do not want to go through
again. Sure we have had spats in the past 10 yrs. but never of this magnitude.
Hope to hear from you soon.
This death is tragic. You have created a dog pack and
have now witnessed the ramifications of pack behavior. Build some kennels
to keep your pets separated or give some dogs away to good homes. This
kind of fighting will happen again. It takes some courage to be a responsible
pet owner. In your case the courage means finding better homes for your
pets. What you are doing is 100% wrong!
We have a 2 1/2 yr old female Rotti who was attacked
a month ago by a female Pit Bull while my husband was walking her - luckily
neither my husband or my dog were injured. The dog had gotten away from
it's owner. Since then she has shown aggression towards dogs smaller than
her and towards small children - but still very friendly to adults. Before
the attack she had always been loving and friendly to EVERYONE especially
children. She has basic obedience training. Please give us some advise
on how we can correct this behavior - I am wanting to order an electric
collar for her - but will wait for your reply.
Dogs have long memories and it surprises people how
one incident can sometimes change them forever.
The solution is control. The dog was traumatized. Just
like a woman getting raped. It is not going to get over it easily or quickly.
But it can have its behavior controlled. This is going to take a well
founded obedience program and being firm with the dog. You need to establish
yourself as pack leader and a firm, fair pack leader.
When the dog shows aggression towards children you need
to be very quick to correct. The dog must get sharp corrections with a
prong collar and loud verbal corrections. You need to make it very clear
that YOU ARE NOT HAPPY.
I would not recommend an electric collar for you yet.
The dog needs to understand that you are the one who is correcting it.
It needs to know exactly what it is that it is getting corrected for,
and in the hands of a novice, an electric collar can be confusing for
the dog. I never recommend one unless someone is a good dog trainer to
begin with, (unless its for punishment training).
Read what I have to say about the steps
of obedience training.
If there is any chance of this happening again, get
pepper gas and carry it. Or get an electric cattle prod and carry that.
I had the awful experience of witnessing a dog fight
between a Pit bull and a Rottweiler. The owners of this dogs were walking
their respective dogs when they walked to close to each other, and WHAM!
That is when the fight broke out.
Despite the owners efforts in trying to separate the
dogs, the fight went on for about 15 minutes until one of the dogs was
nearly dead. I always though that pit bulls were the most powerful fighters
in the dog world but in this case I am sad to say that the Rottweiler
nearly ripped the pit bull apart. What gives?
This were not fighting dogs, they were both family dogs,
I did not know that the Rottie's jaws were so powerful. I was considering
buying a Rottweiler puppy to have him as a companion (I am single and
live alone) but after witnessing this I am not sure (the brutality of
this dog has me traumatized), I love dogs and can not stand to see one
suffer. Could you please advise me?
I am happy to say that the Pit bull did survive but
not before running a big medical bill for his owner.
Buy a different breed unless you think you can control
a situation like you saw. Not many people can.
Our 3 yr old lab/chow (spayed) drew
blood for the 4th time in two years on our 5 yr old GS today. Unfortunately,
this time the
GS has a serious wound and is staying at the vet for treatment. This
was the situation this time: We live on a farm, and we had a new sheep
have one other sheep, which the dogs "raised") brought in to
the corral that is next to their run. The sheep was sniffing the lab/chow
through the fence and Kota, the GS came over to get a sniff, and all hell
broke loose. At first I was able to shout at Chemukh, "OFF"-she
paused for a brief time, then went in harder until Kota retreated.
We recognize that the dogs have
a packing-order, but we are not recognizing who is who in this small
pack. Chemukh came first,
then the GS, who by the way, at 105 pounds is exactly twice the other
dogs weight. How does an owner tell who is the Alpha dog? Another
variable is that that the smaller (meaner) dog has developed displaysia
and is cranky. My husband wants to ship Chemukh off because we have a
two year old chi ld... he fears that she could get into the middle
of these fights and get hurt. I am willing to work a little harder if
there is something that we are not doing right. Do you have any suggestions?
I greatly appreciate your very valuable site.
One more question, not training related, pertains to
our GS. She is a beautiful large female that we rescued. We have no idea
where she came from, only that she was probably abused (hand shy, afraid
of anything resembling a stick, would run from the site of a rifle, etc.)
She is a stunning dog though and we are approached frequently by people
asking if we raise Shepherds. My question is about her coloring. She resembles
your dog Gideon, only where he is light brown, she is white. Is there
a name for that type of marking? Is it undesirable? Is it from a particular
line? I have only seen one picture of a GS with the same color. Any info
would be appreciated.
These dogs need to be kept separated forever.
I would never try and do what you are doing. The dogs have demonstrated
that they will fight. These Chow mix dogs are almost always dog fighters.
I get more emails on fighting from people with chow mixes than any other
The fact is that your GSD is going to get neurotic because
it is afraid of fighting.
The coloring probably means the
dog is from American bloodlines and is not a well-bred dog. It has
not been mistreated, it
is just a product of bad genes and weak nerves. People often think a
dog was mistreated when in fact it just has poor breeding. Its
probably the reason the dog was abandoned.
Dear Mr. Ed Frawley,
I have a question concerning Displaced biting.
We live in the middle of 20 fenced acres. Last night
a car stopped at our gate about a quarter mile away that can be seen from
our house. My seven year old bitch, Lady, became excited and grabbed my
15-year-old neutered submissive Rat Terrier that is half her size. I had
two other dogs that joined in when the Rat Terrier was down, perhaps because
he squealed. As Lady, who is a German Pinscher bitch, hung on to the Rat
Terrier, I grabbed her collar and socked her in the face several times
until she let go and shoved her in a crate. A 5-year-old son of this bitch
seems to be developing the same tendency and is one that helped his mother
in this attack. I am not sure he actually took a hold of the Rat Terrier
because the Rat Terrier only had one ripped ear and not any puncture wounds
that I could find. This was the first time Lady had every grabbed the
Rat Terrier that she has lived with since she was 10 months old. Fortunately,
my husband was home to help me separate the dogs or I believe the Rat
Terrier would not have survived. This breed seems to be sight excited
that causes Lady to go for a lower pack member.
Lady was not socialized when I bought her from a kennel
situation at 10 months. In the beginning I had major problems with Lady
when I brought her home with a 5-year-old spayed Rat Terrier bitch. I
finally found a home for the Rat Terrier bitch after a couple of years
of hell. At one time when Lady was about 18 months old my husband yelled
at me to come and hold the Terrier bitch while Lady was clamped on to
her. We were afraid that Lady was going to kill the Rat Terrier, and my
husband grabbed the closest item, a broom and hit her over the muzzle.
He hit her so hard that the handle on the broom broke in two pieces. There
were many other incidents, and I kept them separate but an accident of
letting them together most likely meant another fight. My husband and
I took both Lady and the Rat Terrier bitch to obedience class. My instructor
set them up by having everyone run with their dogs to the other side of
the room. Lady immediately went for the Rat Terrier, and my instructor
helped me jerk even harder on her choke chain thinking that I had not
been hard enough on Lady. We even tried hanging her at one time, but we
needed to be more knowledgeable in what we were doing.
This was the first displaced biting incident that we
have had for several years.
Is displaced biting hereditary? Or is it an owner/trainer
problem? If I had been more knowledgeable in the beginning could this
have been stopped for good? Could this problem be transferred to a child?
I watch my dogs very closely and keep them confined if children are around,
but there is always that one possibility of something happening. I have
read extensively, attended workshops, watched videotapes, and obedience
classes, but I wonder if I had been a stronger alpha in the beginning
if this problem could have been prevented? Is this a form of dominance
or a mental problem?
My husband wants to euphemize the dogs for this problem,
and the propensity to fight. The decision is mine and I am unsure as to
what I should do.
Thank you for any advice you can give me. I do own several
of your videotapes, and thank you for giving us such great advice.
You have a dog pack and are experiencing
pack drives that come as a result. The only solution is to keep these
dogs that fight
separated. I would not try and do what you are doing so I cant
really offer advice on something that I do not agree with. Dogs like
this need separate dog crates and/or dog kennels. They should not be
to be together.
So if you cant do this you
need to find new homes for the dogs that are the problem. I would recommend
that over putting
the dogs to sleep.
I have a two year old belgian tervuren who I adopted
at 4 months old from a household where the little boy abused him (he still
has scars on his face). We've spent a good deal of time and training and
socializing getting him over his, shall we say, dislike of small boys
(never girls, just boys about the same size as his previous owner). Now,
we used to go to the dog park for runs and a little bit of socialization,
although we mostly went late at night because I didn't want other dogs hurting my puppy (I also had a chow/aussie mix and a
large mutt at the time). I made the mistake of not leaving when a "trainer"
showed up with his "well-trained" pit bull terrier who proceeded
to pounce on my pup and bite him a few times before the large mutt stepped
in and the other dog backed off. At almost two years old Kota, and btw
the previous owner had him neutered at 8 weeks of age, is perfectly
with any dog save for dominant males. For example, last week I met a
few friends of mine at a park with our dogs, and my friend brought someone
new, so all together we had my three dogs, my friend's male and female
pit bull who Kota gets along with, and his friend's male and female
bull. They sniffed, heads went over shoulders, and Kota exploded. He
instantly responds, and dropped into a sit, but continued to growl,
this guy's dog was perfectly well behaved and went on about his business)
so I told him to 'down'. He did, and was okay as long as the dog didn't
walk by, but growled when he did. I gave him a correction, he rolled
over on his back, and again, was okay as long as the other dog didn't
say, three feet. I never correct him very hard. He's extremely sensitive
to the point where I rarely ever have to correct him and tone of voice
has always been enough in training. Even when it came to not growling
at small boys. If I give him much more than a tug on a leash with whatever
we're doing, he'll flinch and almost cower, ears back. I think you know
what I mean. When it comes to anything else, he's so easy to control,
and he really isn't hard to control even in these situations, but when
I tell him to stop, he'll sit and down and even roll over on his back,
and I know he'd get up and go right back at this dog if I gave him to
okay to move... but is there anything I can do to enforce a kind of "no-growling" when
I say so without over correcting him? This is only with dominant males,
no other dogs, no aggressiveness with my other male (big clumsy
not even close to dominant old english mastiff) or the cats, not with
people, and although he's dependable around small boys, since I don't
have any I do my best to avoid situations where children are a factor.
Is that all I can look forward to with Kota? At this point I'd certainly
never be able to let him run and play while that dog or any dominant
male is around.. Kota bee-lines for them, if he gets the chance. He
feels left out while the other dog are playing and he's restricted to
sit-stay, but I don't know what to do to make him understand it's because
he's got this driving need to beat the snot out of every other dominant
male he comes across. I've always intended on looking into doing some
kind of work with his since he has a pretty awesome drive to work. Herding,
agility, or maybe SAR work. Would any of what I've described ruin him
from any of these activities? I know a trainer who said all the belgian
varieties are unstable of temperament and I'd have nothing but problems
when I took him. Well, I've had some interesting times, but I'd certainly
never use that trainer. In my opinion, he's over all a great dog. I'm
sure you hear that a lot. What do you think? I do appreciate any insight.
Good or bad.
I feel sorry for your dog. He has had and still has
a difficult life. I doubt you will ever get your dog to be comfortable
around male children. If you were violently raped when you were a child,
would you ever feel comfortable around people who reminded you of your
attacker? I think not, so why expect it from this poor dog?
I have never heard of a dog being
neutered at 8 weeks of age. I cant imagine a reputable vet doing
this. Must have been a hack.
I am not a fan of dog parks - I
consider them mine fields for dogs and your experiences are a perfect
example. I would NEVER take
my dogs to a park, so I cant offer advice on what to do. In fact,
I do not allow strange dogs near my dogs. This is a very BAD THING TO
DO. It is dangerous and for a dog like yours only causes the dog stress.
I suggest you read the article on my web site about
DOG PARKS. It is in the list of training articles.
We have four indoor dogs- two male and two female. They're
all mature. The female german shepard mix is constantly guarding the food
bowls and growling at the others when they walk by. This, we believe,
is the cause of the fights. The little male terrier never gets involved
but the beagle mix and the retriever mix will fight her.
Before we pay any more to the vet, what should we do
to stop the food guarding? We've placed three bowls of dry food in three
separate places in the house. We keep the bowls full.
Your advice will save us money and nerves.
Thanks in Advance,
Mike and Karen
- Get 4 dog crates and crate-train the dogs.
- Feed the dogs in the dog crates.
- Take the food away after 20 minutes - if they go
a few days without eating they will not die.
- NEVER free-feed dogs.
- You have a DOG PACK - you will probably always have
fights without crate training.
Hi, I really appreciate your article on breaking up
dog fights. Recently, my 85 lb. Dobie was attacked by a pit bull while
we were out hiking. It was really frightening but she is physically OK.
However, now she seems to be afraid when she encounters any dog, even
if it is non-threatening. She flops over on her back, exposing her belly,
even though she snarls. I'm interpreting this as a sign of submission.
She didn't act like this before the pit bull attack, and I'm worried that
any dog will take advantage of this & hurt her, even if that wasn't
the original intention. We do a lot of walking & hiking with our Dobie
and encounter a lot of dogs that either aren't or can't be controlled
by their owners. What can we do to help our Dobie be brave again? Thank
You are correct this is a
sign of submission. Here is another way to look at this:
Put yourself in her position. You
are out for a walk and a pit bull attacks you and locks on and you
cant get it off.
Imagine the panic in your mind because you did not do anything to warrant
being attacked, so you have RAW FEAR going though your mind. The fact
is you have probably never known that kind of fear. My guess is you would
react in a very different way to strange dogs after that.
There is no reason for your dog to be brave and protect
itself. This is your job. When a dog comes near your dog you should attack
it. You are the pack leader and your dog looks to you for protection.
I do not allow strange dogs near
my dogs never.
There is NO REASON FOR THIS.
I have a 16 month old male Shepherd with whom I have
inadvertently caused a big problem. When he was young he had hardly any
interest in food and I tried everything to get him to eat, including
teasing him that our other dog was, "going to get his food."
I realize now how big a mistake that was. My question is, what can I
do to undo the damage? To give you a little background, I am not an inexperienced
dog trainer. I've raised many dogs, including two Dobermans that are
well rounded, likable dogs and I used to show my Golden in obedience
and took many first places with her on her way to her CDX. This GSD is
a wonderful dog in every other way. I have spent much time with him,
socializing, training and exercising him daily. He has never been allowed
to go through a gate or door without me telling him it is ok. His stay
is solid, his recall is great. He is a very nicely trained, very confident
dog. He has never been people aggressive but just recently he had two
incidents where he fought with another adult male dog. The latest was
with a Dalmatian that happened to be going for the same pile of horse
poop that he was going for that someone was flinging. (We horse camp).
He left a gash under the Dal's eye. After we separated them, I was on
him and was able to hold his head to the ground until he gave in and
would not hold my gaze. It was a frightening experience for all involved.
The other incident was different. A friend has a Heeler that likes to
bite the balls of other
intact males. My guy remembered this and went after him. All involved
thought this was a justified reaction but when my GSD fights he is out
for blood. I feel like an idiot for having contributed to such a problem
food thing. Of course first thought is to have him neutered but what
else can I do to nip this fighting thing in the bud? I had previously,
extensively surfed your sight and instantly thought that maybe you would
have an answer for me. I bought two of your tapes and enjoyed and learned
from them both. Do you have
any suggestions For this problem? I am willing to use a shock collar
and I am capable of giving a "10" correction.
The solution to this problem is a simple one - just
keep this dog away from other dogs. I am sorry but I do not agree that
dogs that do not live together should run together. I would NEVER EVER
consider allowing my dog to be near strange dogs. There is No reason
on earth for this. It is asking for a fight - as you have already found
I was at a show last year when
during Brace two Bull Terriers went after each other. The owners hand
got caught in between the neck of one dog and the mouth of the other.
The dog had clamped on and was not letting go. Everyone tried to break
it up but finally one person stuck their finger in the rear of the dog
that had clamped on. This caused the dog to immediately let go - and
since others had the dogs legs the fight was over - it was very scary
good trick to learn if you know what you are doing.
I think it would be hard to talk people into trying
this one. I wonder if there is any rule about how far up the butt one
would have to stick your hand before the dog released. This may be something
I could put in a K9 training video for police officers to try on their
patrol dogs when the dog will not OUT properly.
I have a 12 year old Kuvasz, who has governed our pet
family for the same amount of years. We recently introduced a Great Dane
into the picture. The GD is slightly over a year now and has showed dominance
over the Kuvasz by actual fighting. The Kuvasz has ruled by intimidation.
The Great Dane didn't buy it and challenged her. The result was bloodshed
in the form of puncture wounds. I tried to establish that the Kuvasz is
dominant over the Great Dane, by feeding, greeting, and preferential treatment.
It worked for 3 months. Today all dogs were outside and when I came home
my husband informed me that the Great Dane was on top of the Kuvasz. The
Kuvasz was trying to get away. She has serious bites over and under her
eyes. I don't think the Kuvasz is going to live much longer she has slowed
down and is starting to smell different. What is going on. I know that
from now on I will have to separate them. The Dane doesn't do this to
our other dog who is a neutered male. Besides, being my fault is there
anything else I could do to quit my Dane from this behavior in the future.
I do take her to obedience classes as well as handling classes. I am interested
in any help you could offer.
My personal feeling is what you
are doing is very cruel.
A 12 year old dog should not be put in a position where
it has to fight. I compare this to a 18 year old trying to kick your ass
when you are 65 or 70 years old. The old dog deserves to live out its
life in peace and this is not going to happen with this young dog.
-Either keep them separated all the time or
-Find a new home for the young dog.
This is not rocket science you
are not going to find a silver bullet that is going to make these dogs
all of a sudden
get along. That is simply not going to happen.
We have three dogs--to small terrier mixes (Gina and Henry,
both over 12 years old, both about 15 lbs.) and a larger brown hound
dog, Willie, who is about 60 lbs. We were told he was a lab/German Shepherd
mix when we got him at the SPCA, about 7 years ago, but he is clearly
some kind of hound. When we first brought Willie home, he was smaller
than the terriers. Willie was quite aggressive with the terriers (causing
several vet visits) as soon as
he was physically bigger than they were, and he's bitten me a couple of times,
once because I unwisely got involved in a fight among the dogs, and on another
occasion because I reached my hand in the general direction of one of his bones.
We engaged an animal behaviorist who helped us work with Willie and the other
two dogs to get the family dominance hierarchy clarified for everyone. At the
time the behaviorist suggested that we were really not giving Willie a chance
to be a good dog, by undermining his rightful place as the dominant dog among
the three (we had mistakenly tried to treat the dogs all equally), and by not
making it clear to him that we were in charge. We undertook a bunch of changes--like
us eating first, making all three dogs work for whatever positive things came
their way, and supporting Willie's rise to the top of the dog hierarchy. We also
started leaving him on a leash basically all the time so that if something happens he
can be restrained. Things improved greatly and the dogs appeared to have worked
out a nice peaceful coexistence (and we, probably unfortunately, relaxed a lot
of our rules). Then we moved from Texas to Missouri and things are back to a
crazy. One problem is that Willie has developed some serious separation issues--barking
at us and trying to escape out the door when we leave for work in the morning. He has not acted aggressively against
the two little dogs, but he has shown some unusual growling and nastiness. Also
he is much more "needy" and constantly begging for affection and attention.
He just doesn't seem like he can relax. Last night was the worst aggression we've
ever seen from him. In the middle of the night, my partner had gotten up to take one of the little dogs outside and
Willie had moved up to her spot on the bed. When she returned to bed, she reached
out to stroke his head and tell him to move and he started to wildly bite her
arm, in a frenzy. He gave her about 6 deep puncture wounds and some serious bruising.
He stopped as soon as the lights were turned on. We immediately isolated him
a basement bathroom. Now we are trying to understand what happened, if it can be prevented, or if Willie has finally
crossed the line. He has never attacked my partner before (she has been his strongest
supporter). Again, though, he was fast asleep and I know that some gentle dogs
may act aggressively when wakened from sleep. Typically, she would not have stroked
his head like that--typically she commands him in a clear voice "Off Willie,
Off" and he moves. Do you
think it is wise to treat this as a slip up and try to reinstate the treatments that
worked before or should we consider something more serious? Any advice would
Dogs can get nervous when they are moved to a new home.
It takes time to settle in. What happens is the dogs have weak nerves
to begin with and do not deal well with stress. Moving to a new home
is stressful for them because their whole life is now changed. But THIS
IS NOT THE REASON YOUR DOG BIT YOUR PARTNER.
In addition dogs are pack animals and there is NO ROOM
to relax with this kind of dog.
The simple fact that You allow this dog on your bed is
a serious serious mistake - but then you already found that out last
You need to get dog crates and crate these dogs..
You also need to train the dog with a prong collar. If he shows any
aggression when he is corrected you should train him in a muzzle. I
recommend that you get my Basic Dog Obedience video.
need to read the article on my web site about DEALING
WITH DOMINANT DOGS - there are also Q&A's on this issue. Unless you are willing
to do these things you need to put the dog to sleep because he
is going to bite YOU or YOUR PARTNER again. It is only a matter
Hello my name is Lisa,
I have a 3 1/2 year old shepherd make named Bud. I found him when he was a few months old and so I'm not sure about his temperaments in blood lines. We recently had some sheep on the property and he got loose and killed two. He was killed cats before but we thought he was playing too hard. Today he went after a calf but luckily I was there to stop it. I punished him but it doesn't seem to do anything I don't want to put him down. Is there anything to do to get him to stop? He isn't aggressive towards other people unless he feels I'm at a threat and he isn't aggressive towards other dogs, just plays hard. Please if you have any advice, it would be greatly appreciated.
Lisa & Bud
Keep the dog in a chain link kennel
when you are not out with him. No exceptions.
I would never allow the dog out
of the kennel without an electric collar on – a very good one – like
Dear Mr. Frawley,
I recently read one of the articles in your Q & A
section on dogfights, one of them from Lenna Hanna-O'Neill, specifically
talked about selling salts capsules. Do you know where I can purchase
these? I just had an incident the other day while walking my dog, she
is an 80 pound, part terrier (very deep chested and muscular) female.
She is aggressive to other dogs and to some people and I go out of my
way to keep her away from both.
While I had her out the other day, a larger dog, whom
the owner was just getting ready to leash in their back yard broke loose
and came running towards us, I yelled at it to stop, said no, no very
loud, but it just totally ignored me and immediately just attacked my
dog and had a hold of my dogs ear. Luckily the owner came over a grabbed
her dogs collar, I grabbed my dogs leash and pulled and we managed to
separate them and her husband came out to take the dog in. She apologized
profusely. I am getting more afraid every day to walk her and I know its
something that she loves and looks forward to.
I have pepper spray, although I didn't have it
with me. Does this harm the dogs eyes? I hate the thought of hurting
any animal but I am sure its better than letting them fight.
Feasterville, PA.(Bucks County)
Smelling salts would never work in this type of incident
because there was no time to get it out. Pepper spray does not hurt an
If it did law enforcement would not be allowed to spray humans.
I would carry a walking stick. You can buy them
at any Hunting/Sporting store. Some have a nice handle. This can be used
to ward off another dog that is running up to your dog. Whack it over
the head a good one. If it comes through something like that – then
If you take the proper precaution then you should not have a problem with
your dog. Being too cautious only hurts your dog. Training with a prong
collar goes a long long way to helping your dog too.
I have been reading your website tonight and was hoping
that you could assist me with a problem we have with our two labs. The
golden lab is 5 yrs old and the chocolate lab is 3 yrs old. Over the
last year they have been fighting viscously on and off however over the
month it has become more frequent. The chocolate is becoming possessive
of my husband and I, and she attacks the gold when she feels the gold
is overstepping the mark (ie. steps forward before
she does). I have read about the 'prong collar,' what is it and would
it help in this situation? Can you offer any advice, is there hope that
they can live together in harmony?
This is a common sense no-brainer – keep
these dogs separated. A prong collar is not going to fix this. Two
or two dog pens will fix it (or find another home for one of the dogs)
By continuing to allow these dogs to be together comes under the heading
of animal cruelty.
You have not read the correct part of my web site.
Read the article on how to break up a dog fight – there are also
Q&A sections to read.
I just returned from a walk with
my 3 dogs very shaken up and would like your advice. At the end of our
walk, about 3 blocks from my house, a small (approximately 5 lbs.) dog ran out
of its house and started barking at us and yipping at our heels. I yelled
at it to go away, but it wouldn't, and followed us for a couple blocks.
I stopped to look for rocks to throw after it was apparent it wouldn't
leave. All 3 of my dogs had head collars on (Halti brand) and one of them
went nuts as this dog was barking. I have a German Shepherd and two mixes,
approximately 70 lbs. each. My 3-year-old mix, who has never displayed aggression
towards another dog or person, went nuts and as I was pulling him onward,
wrestled his way out of his head collar and went after this small dog.
After about 30 seconds, the dog owner came out of her house and ran down
the street and got her dog away from mine. I was yelling for help, but
that is about all I was able to do because I was afraid the other two
would join in if I got too close. My question is, Who is legally responsible
in this case? How can I train this dog to refrain from attacking, even
if provoked? Or is that a pipe dream? Thanks for any advice you can give.
This starts with you educating yourself - read the articles
and Q&A section on my web site. . Look in the
list of training
articles on my web site.
Head halite's are worth toilet paper - they are terrible
training aides - you just found one reason why this is. Get three extra
heavy prong collars and use them. Train with them. If you want to train
your dogs to ignore other dog then this requires a commitment to training.
You are partially at fault - your dog was not under
control (it got away from you) you were using faulty equipment and you
cannot control your dogs. Their dog is also at fault because it left
its yard and chased your dog. I seriously doubt that you would have had
a problem even if your dog had killed this other dog. They should not
be letting their stupid dog outside off leash without them being there.
First off, I love your site, but need more help in Dog
to Dog Aggression...
CASE HISTORY: We own 2 male Fila Brasilieros Mastiffs...They
are brothers, same parents, different litters, separated by 6 months ....Older
dog is now 3 years old, Young dog now 2 1/2 years old..Both sit, stay,
down and are crated ....Until 3 weeks ago they got along fine, with an
occasional spat over a toy or bone....not serious.
Problem: Younger dog is now attacking the older dog,
without warnings (growling or posturing)...and draws blood ...Younger dog
does NOT attack, Husband, Wife or 8yr old son. We have had to separate
them or attacks would be everyday and every opportunity. The dogs are
now being let out of their crates separately. Older dog conducts himself
in his normal manner while out with the family. The younger dog seems
on edge, not his usual affectionate self while out with us. He seems to
be focused on the older dog in the back of the house in his crate. This
started 3 weeks or so ago, gradually increasing in intensity.
Older dog does nothing perceptible to our eyes to warrant/encourage
the attacks, once it starts the older dog does not immediately retaliate,
older dogs barely fights back and always seems as though he had no idea
the attack was coming....like he is being blind sided.
We are at a crossroads and hope to gain some advice/insight.
The younger dog is a good dog, the behavior issue is only about his aggression,
which is a major issue when he weighs 175 pounds.
We feel it might be a power play by the young dog to
change his position in the pack. They are an extremely pack orientated
QUESTION: will neutering STOP this? Will the lack of
testosterone take his emphasis off of breeding rights, dominance in the
pack and his overall attitude? We love this dog and do not want to have
to destroy him, but he is not to be trifled with and we do not want it
We are weighing all the options, we have always owned
dogs and never had one like this. If we can find enough evidence that
neutering will help we will have him done, but if it is only a long shot
we do not feel it is right to put the dog through surgery if it is not
We are prepared to put him down, though it is our last
Any insight or thought you may have would be appreciated,
thank you in advance for your time.
Cindy (wife and owner of the younger dog)
It would be a shame to put a dog down for this reason.
Neutering is not going to do anything at this point. This is a rank issue
or pack drive issue. They cannot be raised together – keep them
separated with the use of dog crates or find a new home for the dog. There
is no magic pill that is going to change them.
I need some advice. Hopefully, I'm just being paranoid.
I am the proud mama of 3 dogs...
a 5-yr. old male 50-lb. mixed breed, a 5-yr. old female 70-lb. German
Shepherd, and a 3-yr. old
male 75-lb. German Shepherd mix. They stay w/ my in-laws' house on an
11-acre parcel of land in the country whenever my husband & I leave
town. My in-laws have 3 dogs as well, so when the grand puppies are visiting
we joke that they are quite the little "pack." All of the dogs
are good with other dogs and great with people. If a strange dog comes
onto the property, they may bark & run after it to chase it away,
but all of them immediately retreat when called off and none of them
have ever injured another dog.
Last weekend, my mother-in-law babysat
the dogs. One morning, she looked out of the window into the front
yard & saw 5
of them gathered around the same spot (the 6th dog was in the house...
she's 14 yrs. old & doesn't partake in much anymore). The other 2
dogs involved are a 10-yr. old female German Shepherd & a 30-lb. female
mixed breed. (It probably doesn't matter for the purposes of this e-mail,
but all dogs are spayed & neutered). When she went out to investigate,
she was appalled to find them eating on a dead baby deer that was no more
than a few days old. She verbally scolded them & called them off which
they immediately did. The deer's body was still warm which led my father-in-law
to believe it was a fresh kill. My GSD mix had most of the blood on him
& my female GSD had some on her as well. There didn't appear to be
any blood on any of the other dogs.
What led up to the kill, we can
only speculate. And, I suppose there is a very tiny chance that something
else killed the deer
before our dogs got a hold of it. But, I have the worst image in my head
of this pack of perfectly loveable, obedient dogs stalking & killing
this helpless baby deer. Had it been another dog, I personally would
have considered this far worse, and had it been a squirrel or bird or
somehow it wouldn't have been so bad. And, had they chased it down & killed
it from playing too rough, I guess that wouldn't have been nearly as
bad either (since then, it would be an "accident"). But, the
fact that they killed it, then ate on it seems so primal.
Now, that you have the story, here
are my questions: 1) I've often heard that dogs that get the "taste of blood" will
always go back. Is this a myth? 2) Is this single incident with a baby
deer a sign of worse things to come? 3) Behaviorally, have my dogs
done anything wrong and should I be concerned? Being a lover of all animals,
this incident upsets me; but, I also realize that while dogs are domesticated
animals, there are still many instinctual qualities that will always
I appreciate your insight.
I have been gone for a week to a dog training seminar
You have just learned that your family dogs are very
close to the wolf in their predatory instinct. Anyone that tells you
otherwise is foolish.
Hi Ed -- I discovered your web site while doing some
research on dog bites and dog behavior. You certainly take a no-nonsense
approach in your advice to people, so I'm wondering what you would have
to say about the following situation.
My husband and I own a three-year-old Shetland sheepdog.
She was attacked in early April by our neighbor's dog, a large female
mixed-breed dog (probably part German shepherd). We were out doing yard
work and had our dog tied in our front yard, when the neighbor's dog got
loose from its fenced-in yard. Our dog was bitten four times and basically
torn apart by this dog. If we had not been right there and stopped the
attack within seconds, I think she would have been killed.
Now we have learned this was the third time our neighbor's
dog has attacked another dog. She twice attacked another neighbor's Golden
Retriever and also went after a border-collie mix in the neighborhood.
None of these dogs was as severely injured as my dog. This dog has also
been cited for chasing a paperboy and knocking the kid off his bike.
Obviously, we think this dog is
a big danger in our neighborhood and have requested the city order
it removed. Now we are
coming up for a dog hearing because the owners want to keep the dog.
They have hired an animal behaviorist (who I don't think knows the
of this dog) and that behaviorist has made "recommendations." I
won't know what those recommendations are until the hearing takes place.
This dog is confined behind a fence, never walked, never played with,
and has minimal (if any) obedience training. When she gets loose from
the fence when the kids leave the gate open, other dogs are fair prey.
The police captain who will serve
as the hearing officer tells me he hopes we can come up with "solutions." The only
solution we want to see is this dog gone from our neighborhood where there
are many small children, two new puppies, and other dogs. Am I crazy,
or do you think there are other "solutions" to consider here?
I would appreciate your "blunt" advice.
While this is a problem with the dog (being dog aggressive
it is an owner problem. These people basically have a dangerous dog.
You also need to sue them in small claims court for the vet bills. This
is the first step. You need to find out (if you can) who their home owners
is with and then write them a letter warning them that these people have
a dangerous dog.
The solution is to put up a normal chain link 6 foot
by 12 foot fence in their fenced in back yard. Keep the dog confined
there. They should also agree to demonstrate to the animal control officer
the dog is obedience trained to come when called when there is another
dog on leash in the street in front of their house. Make sure the dog
is muzzled when that happens - because it will attack - you can be sure
of it. Be creative here - go in with a game plan. If the dog is obedience
trained then they need to be willing to demonstrate this in the presence
of another dog. He'll make them work the dog on leash with another dog
present that is on leash. If their dog is not dangerous lets see it work
Your dog will have mental problems with other dogs
for the rest of her life. Odds are she herself will now show aggression
to other dogs because of this attack. Once attacked they NEVER forget
- kind of like a woman being raped. Same concept.
I have read much of the information on your site concerning
dominance and fighting between dogs. However, I don't know where to begin
with the mess that we have created. We currently have seven dogs. They
have all been neutered/spayed. They are:
Brody 5 year old rescued 110 pound M Akita mix
Bentley 5 year old rescued 20 pound M Pug
Pops 15 year old rescued 20 pound M Pug
Mack 5 year old rescued 65 pound M English Bulldog
Lady 15 year old rescued 20 pound F Sheltie mix
8-Ball 9 month old 15 pound M Boston Bull Terrier
Daphne 9 month old F 10 pound Boston Bull Terrier
Brody, Bentley and Pops have been living together for
3-4 years with no problems. My mother moved in 2 years ago and brought
Lady ...still no problems. My mother purchased 8-Ball and Daphne 6 months
ago. We had to really work with them and Brody, but have successfully
integrated everyone into the family so far. It took approximately a month
until we felt comfortable that Brody wasn't going to eat them! About two
months ago, Brody began getting aggressive towards all of these other
dogs. They could just walk by, and he would growl and snap at them. He
would stop when we yelled at him. He has also growled several times at
my husband. My husband is afraid of him.
We brought Mack into the home 2 weeks ago. Immediately
he and Brody tried to kill each other. I believe they would fight to the
death. We have tried to do the introductions as suggested on your website.
So far, they still try to kill each other. Until I read your website I
had been getting between them and breaking up the fight. After seeing
the pictures, I won't be doing that again! We have been keeping them in
separate rooms. Mack is getting along pretty well with everyone else.
He and 8-Ball have occasionally gotten into a fight. Since 8-Ball is small,
I just pick him up and move him. I suppose my question is, do you think
there is any chance that Brody and Mack will ever be able to live together
in this house? We had already considered putting Brody down due to the
recent aggressiveness that he has shown towards the others and my husband.
We placed an ad in the paper to try to find him a new home that does not
have other pets or small children to no avail. Do you think we should
have him put down? Or is there any hope?
You own a dog pack. As such you need to learn pack and
rank behavior. I would never attempt to do what you are doing.
Putting a dog down should not be the first solution,
it should be the last resort. Find some of these problem dogs new homes.
You can read the articles and Q&A sections
on my web site about animal on animal aggression. You can also post to
my web discussion board.
I read something on your website once that gave me
the guts to kick a dog right in front of its owner... I would have NEVER
been able to
do that before. Somewhere you had written to someone that if an unleashed
dog in the park ever came at one of your dogs, even in front of his owner,
you would kick him to keep him away. I have never had a problem kicking
a stray to prevent a fight, but kicking a dog in front of its owner???
Well, some woman was walking her golden retriever in the soccer field
by my house and her dog was not on a leash. Her dog bolted straight toward
me and Sierra (who WAS on a leash and not showing a sign of aggression),
and when I saw that her dog was not going to stop and just before it
made contact I gave it a boot right in the chest. I obviously didn't
do it hard enough because it came right back at Sierra; fur up, growling.
Sierra didn't back down, but went right up on her hind legs to meet this
dog. Just as they made contact I gave this dog another kick in its gut
and sent it running so neither dog got bit, but that stupid owner stood
there and watched, never calling her dog until after the fact, and I
was about to go over and kick her! (I refrained). Minutes later she
was back again in the field with her dog running about 70 yards ahead
of her, not even paying attention to it. How dumb is that?? Anyway, it
didn't seem to affect Sierra at all.. she just started wagging her tail
and kept right on walking. I'm not looking for a response to this email,
I guess I just got so upset that I had to write and tell someone that
hopefully won't chew me to pieces for kicking some poor dog with a stupid
Hi. I had a question about my 9 month old black lab. He's been the sweetest puppy, other than his normal bad manners that need to be corrected. However, when I brought him around my brothers yellow lab for the first time he out of nowhere attacked this dog. Now he had been around 3 other dogs before this and was fine with them. He went for training and I spoke to the trainer about his aggression problem and he said he didn't see any aggression in him and proceeded to teach him basic commands. Well when I brought him home he immediately attacked a puppy. And is still attacking the other dogs as well. These dogs do absolutely nothing to him, just simply walk by him. I'm scared to death I am going to have to put him to sleep because he growled at my 3 year old cousin last week. I don't know what to do anymore. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
This is 100% an owner problem. You screwed up. You don’t understand pack issues and you simply made a mistake. Chaulk it up to not knowing how to introduce dogs.
I have a free eBook I wrote on HOW TO INTORDUCE A NEW DOG INTO A HOME WITH OTHER DOG – read it. My web site has a large number of FREE eBooks that I have written. Go to the main directory for eBooks http://www.leerburg.com/dogtrainingebooks.htm
There is also a eBook on dog parks and why they are a bad idea. It also deals with pack problems.