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Dog Fights Q&A

Dog Fights Q&A


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Dog Fight



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 are alone.


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 to step in to break up a fight, it discusses many 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 have 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 fight

Dog fights are nothing to fool with. Not only do the dogs get injured but the people who try and break them up 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 me about dog fights - expect to be told about YOUR MISTAKES not the dog problems you have.

dog fights are dangerous
Dog Fights are dangerous


Read the 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.



  1. Do you have a video on dogfights?

  2. My dog is dog aggressive. How can I fix this?

  3. 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?

  4. 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?

  5. My 2 dogs Petunia and Buttercups fight all the time, twice a day. Is there a solution?

  6. I have raised and kept 4 adult females in my home at one time. This is how I did it.

  7. I bought your Basic Obedience tape and prong collar and I’m still having problems with my Rott going crazy when he sees another dog on a walk. What else can I do?

  8. 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?

  9. 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?

  10. 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?

  11. 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?

  12. I heard that using a fire extinguisher on my two dogs when they fight stops the fight. Can I do this?

  13. 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?

  14. 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?

  15. 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?

  16. My dog was attacked by a pit bull while out walking. Now she is aggressive to small dogs and kids. What should I do?

  17. 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?

  18. Our CHOW-mix has attacked our female GSD 4 times. Each fight gets worse. What can we do?

  19. One of my Pit Bulls attacked and killed one of my other dogs. Can you tell me why this happened?

  20. 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 dogs?

  21. 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?

  22. 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?

  23. 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?

  24. Should I use a breaker bar if my dogs fight?

  25. I have a 16 month old male Shepherd with whom I have inadvertently caused a
    big problem.


  26. 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?

  27. Our 12 year old dog is being attacked by a new 12 month old Great Dane. What can we do?

  28. 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. All she
    did was pat him on the head and she was attacked. What can we do?


  29. 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.

  30. Can you tell me where to buy selling salt? My dog was attacked on a walk and I would like to carry it.

  31. I have two labs that fight viciously. Would a prong collar solve my problem?

  32. 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 fault?

  33. I have 2 adult Mastiffs. They are brothers and started to have terrible fights. I am thinking of putting one to sleep. Can you offer any advice?

  34. Why did my dogs kill a deer?

  35. 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?

  36. We have 7 dogs in our home. We just adopted one that is fighting with the others. Should we put this dog to sleep?

  37. 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.

  38. 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?

  39. 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?

  40. 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.

  41. 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?

  42. 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?

  43. My dog is very aggressive to other animals. I have tried a HALTY and it is not working. What can I do?

  44. 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?

  45. 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?

  46. Our neighbor has a pit bull that has run loose. Should I file a police report?

  47. 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?

  48. 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?

  49. 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?

  50. 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 be concerned?

  51. 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?

  52. 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 with this?

  53. I have 6 male dogs that I have rescued. They live in the house and are constantly fighting. What can I do?

  54. 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 the dogs have "passed" my training. Any suggestions?

  55. 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 I do?

  56. 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?

  57. 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?

  58. I take my dog to obedience class and she try's to put me between strange dogs and herself. When I walk on the street she aggressively barks at strange dogs. Whets going on?

  59. 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?

  60. 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?

  61. I would like to know what to do when a big dog (German Shepherd) attacks a small dog (Yorkie Terrier)?

  62. 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 ago.

  63. 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?

  64. My 2 younger dogs have started to attack my 15 year old dog. What can I do?

  65. I have a Beagle and a larger mixed breed. For no reason the larger dog attacked the Beagle. Will this happen again?

  66. My 8 month old GSD is starting to bark aggressively at other dogs. What can I do to stop this behavior.

  67. 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?

  68. 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 again?

  69. 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?

  70. 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 separation?

  71. 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.

  72. My Rott and Akita mix have been fighting. Is there any way to stop the aggression?

  73. My neighbor's dog attacked my dog. How can I protect him?

  74. My 2 females have started fighting. I am afraid for my children and my baby on the way. What can I do?

  75. 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?

  76. 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?

  77. 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?

  78. I have a Mastiff mix that was trained to fight by her previous owner. How can I stop this behavior?

  79. My 2 year old GSD has started attacking my 9 year old Lab. What can I do?

  80. 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?

  81. 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?

  82. 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?

  83. I am working with a dog who is aggressive to other dogs on the search.  Do any of your materials address this issue? 

  84. 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?

  85. My dog attacks other dogs without a warning. What can I do to stop this?

  86. 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?

  87. 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?

  88. We are having issues with the neighbors pit bulls. What do you suggest we do?

  89. 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?

  90. My two dogs have started fighting and I have no idea how to make them stop. What should I do?

  91. 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?

  92. 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.

  93. 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?

  94. 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?

  95. 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?

  96. 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? 

  97. 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.

  98. 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?

  99. 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?

  100. 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?

  101. 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?

  102. 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?

  103. 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?

  104. 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.

  105. 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?

  106. 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.

  107. 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?

  108. 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?

  109. Is there such a thing as a mid-life testosterone rush in dogs? My dog's behavior has changed in a matter of days.

  110. 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?

  111. 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?

  112. 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?

  113. 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?

  114. Help! My dogs got in a bad fight and the vet suggested putting one of them to sleep. What should we do?

  115. 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?

  116. 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.

  117. 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?

  118. 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.

  119. 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?

  120. 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?

  121. 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?

  122. 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?

  123. 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?

 


Question:

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.

Thanks,
Ashlyn

Ed's Response:

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.

Kind Regards,
Ed


Question:

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 dogfights.

Ed

Answer:

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.

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Question:

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! The only 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 and 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. And as 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 the house.With 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 before someone or something gets hurt really badly.

Answer:

Well you are correct – you are about as confused as confused can get. Here are my points:

  1. You have created a dog pack and are suffering the consequences.

  2. Keep these dogs separated all the time

  3. 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.

  4. 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).

  5. 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).

  6. Almost ALL K9 handlers are just that, "HANDLERS" – they are not behaviorists nor are many of them real good dog trainers. They are almost all nice guys who get more credit 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 it’s life. That happens when you whale on him. Read the Q&As I have posted on this. I will not retype this stuff.

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 dog’s behavior. Most behaviorists do not have enough experience to be able to offer sound advice on problems like this.

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.

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Question:

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. The 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 status 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 in. 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 the 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 ferociously, 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 their 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!
Kelly

Answer:

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 fights.

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Question:

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 even 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 injured.

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 never 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 in 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 a loss and the vet is not willing to provide any advice.

Thank you - Diane

Answer:

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.

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Question:

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.

Jennifer
Bar Harbor, ME

Answer:

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.

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Question:

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.

Andre
Norway

Answer:

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 dogs.

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 can’t 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.

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Question:

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 raised from 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 them 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?

Shirley

Answer:

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 the 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 dogs in them. At four GSD's you are beyond the house dog-pet scenario and into a dog kennel scenario.

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Question:

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 a 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 for 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 dog owners.

Thank you, and once again congratulations on your site.

Carolyn
Western, Australia

Answer:

While no one can say for sure I would guess that the incident on the beach as a pup was the beginning of your dog’s 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 dog’s 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 stupidity.

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.

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Question:

Ed,

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 the parents.

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 infection 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 for 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 so ASAP.

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,
Linda

Answer:

Flower essences - now that's a new one. Just about the time you think you have heard everything, something like “suggesting FLOWER ESSENSES to calm a dog down” comes along. You have to love it.

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.

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Question:

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.

Answer:

Keep this dog away from other dogs – totally away from them. Get a prong collar and train this dog to mind all the time 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 and corrections.

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 dog’s 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.

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Question:

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?

Sue

Answer:

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 between sisters).

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.

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Question:

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 playmate!

Joe

Answer:

More than likely this is a territorial problem with your dog. You are taking some (not all) of the right steps.

  1. Getting the dog neutered is a good move but it may not have the desired results on such an old dog.

  2. 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 it’s in the fenced area. That will stop your dog from working himself into a frenzy. We have these on our site.

  3. This dog needs serious obedience training. Get my Basic Dog Obedience video. You also need a prong collar to work the dog with.

  4. Get a Jafco or wire muzzle that the dog can wear during training (so he can’t bite you if you correct too hard). These are also on our site. The dog should not be around other dogs - never.

  5. 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.

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Question:

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 shows 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 longer top dog. Spaying the bitch didn’t 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 didn’t know they had hurt me and didn’t intentionally bite me. The problem is I would like to have the 18 month old dog castrated but I don’t 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?

Monica

Answer:

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 to 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.

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Question:

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 Doby’s 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 time 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 with 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 situation. 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 pits 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 what 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 this again. Sure we have had spats in the past 10 yrs. but never of this magnitude. Hope to hear from you soon.

Linda

Answer:

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!

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Question:

Dear Ed,

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.

Thank you,
Sandy

Answer:

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.

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Question:

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.

Answer:

Buy a different breed unless you think you can control a situation like you saw. Not many people can.

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Question:

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 (we 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 dog’s 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 one 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.

Answer:

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 breed.

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. It’s probably the reason the dog was abandoned.

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Question:

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.

Kay

Answer:

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 can’t 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 allowed to be together.

So if you can’t 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.

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Question:

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 fine 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 pit bull. They sniffed, heads went over shoulders, and Kota exploded. He instantly responds, and dropped into a sit, but continued to growl, (thankfully, 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 get within 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 obviously 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.

Thanks,
Amber

Answer:

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 can’t 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 can’t 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.

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Question:

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

Answer:

    1. Get 4 dog crates and crate-train the dogs.
    2. Feed the dogs in the dog crates.
    3. Take the food away after 20 minutes - if they go a few days without eating they will not die.
    4. NEVER free-feed dogs.
    5. You have a DOG PACK - you will probably always have fights without crate training.

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Question:

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.

Answer:

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 can’t 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.

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Question:

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 with the 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.

Thanks,
Dennise

Answer:

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 out.

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Question:

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 but a good trick to learn if you know what you are doing.

Anna

Answer:

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.

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Question:

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.

Answer:

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.

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Question:

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 bit 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 in 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 be greatly appreciated.

Laura

Answer:

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 night.

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.

You 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 of time.

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Question:

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.

Thank you,
Lisa & Bud

Answer:

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 the Dogtra 2000.

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Question:

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.

Please advise?

Thank you,
Dolores.
Feasterville, PA.(Bucks County)

Answer:

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 animals eyes. 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 gas it.

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.

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Question:

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 last 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?

Kind Regards
Kelly

Answer:

This is a common sense no-brainer – keep these dogs separated. A prong collar is not going to fix this. Two dog crates 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.

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Question:

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.

Answer:

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.

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Question:

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 breed.

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 getting worse.

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 necessary.

We are prepared to put him down, though it is our last option.

Any insight or thought you may have would be appreciated, thank you in advance for your time.

Thanks,
Cindy (wife and owner of the younger dog)

Answer:

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.

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Question:

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 rabbit, 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 be there.

I appreciate your insight.

Amy

Answer:

I have been gone for a week to a dog training seminar in Boston.

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.

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Question:

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 entire history 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.

Joanne

Answer:

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 insurance 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 that 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 on leash.

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.

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Questions:

Mr. Frawley,

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?

Debbie

Answer:

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.

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Comment:

Hi Ed

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 owner.

Debbi

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Question:

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

Ashley

Answer:

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.

The Principles of Dog Training with Michael Ellis Online Course