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Categories: Dog Bites

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

A. 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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