Multiple Dog Households... Need Some Input

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Postby amazincc » January 15th, 2011, 8:03 pm

plebayo wrote:If you hadn't intervened do you think they would have worked it out?

No. I think Sepp was so surprised and startled (and PISSED from being woken up that way) that it got very heated very quickly. He takes no prisoners, if you know what I mean. He won't start anything... but he won't back down either.
When Luka attacked the boys Faust wouldn't fight back, and instead came running to me. Sepp was on top of Luka in a flash, but backed off immediately when I yelled for him to stop.

When Faust tried to lunge at Sepp over the treats the other day he most definitely got a very firm "NO", no treat, and crate time instead.
I do NOT wait for a fight to break out, and when I see Faust being an asshat there are usually immediate consequences.
Last night was totally different.

I tend to agree that Baby Chicken is trying to turn into a Rooster... :rolleyes2:

God help us. lol
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Postby pocketpit » January 15th, 2011, 8:27 pm

My 2 cents is that it may be the beginning of the end. I think the suggestions to use baby gates and tethers is an excellent idea as well as keeping them away from one another in highly exciting situations or when high value items such as treats and toys are involved. I also think your idea to rotate who gets to sleep with you is an excellent idea.
Every time we've had bitches or in most cases males that developed an intolerance for each other we had issues much like you are describing. Minor squabbles over things that sooner or later (depsite being "leaders" and practicing NILF) developed more intensity and happened more frequently. Eventually there didn't have to be a visible (to us anyway) reason for it or the stupidest moment could trigger something.
Intervening early (like you are doing) and using some of the above suggested techniques will slow that progression down and if that's not what they are going through, perhaps it will fix the issue.
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Postby TheRedQueen » January 16th, 2011, 8:19 am

plebayo wrote:If you hadn't intervened do you think they would have worked it out?

I only ask because you say there was a lot of noise and like Diana was saying, maybe Faust is just testing the waters and this was just a big loud snark fest.

I would just watch their interactions when they're playing if things look like they are getting intense, tell them to leave each other alone, send them to their beds etc. If you're getting out treats they need to sit in their spots respectively [away from where the treats are kept] and wait for them, they can't crowd or rush you for them.

I do kind of disagree with the lack of punishment. Seth has done some resource guarding towards LiLo and attacked her over a water bowl. I told him a very firm "No!" gave the water dish to LiLo and he got the hint pretty quickly. I still watch them when they are 'sharing' things, but he has never tried to go after her again. He did kind of 'snark' over a bone by making faces, and I told him 'No.' and took the bone and gave it to LiLo and made him leave it. He didn't get into trouble, but he knew what he did was a bad idea. I do think some kind of a reprimand [not physical but verbal] is needed so Faust at least knows WHY he's going into the crate. He really might not give a crap that he's locked up and Sepp isn't, and never associate fighting with being crated. He needs to know what action caused the problem, that you don't approve of his attitude toward Sepp. This is just me, I think issues like this need to be nipped in the bud pretty quickly, waiting for him to associate fighting with the crate after he's fought with Sepp 10 times wouldn't be worth it to me.


Yeah, see, I wouldn't get mad at a dog for snarking over a resource. We've gone over this before here on PBT...but honestly, who doesn't get mad if someone tries to take something off of your plate at dinner? Why should our dogs just willingly give stuff up to others...just because we think it's "Fair"? That kind of stuff is just going to make them guard that item MORE next time...when you're not around. ;) When you're around, that behavior will be suppressed...but the motivation behind the guarding isn't going to change.

Christine...I'm not going to comment on the turning "on", since I don't have pit bulls...and I can't really speak to that. But honestly...dogs usually won't go that far with a simple fight...a snark attack, sure, but they shouldn't be fighting to the finish over things...regardless of whether it's over a resource, over status, etc. Bullies and physical dogs aren't tolerated in dog packs...USUALLY. The whole point is to end up alive at the end of the day. So no, this isn't what happens with most social, typical dog packs.

My guys have bloodied each other twice (Rip and Score) fighting over a treat/food...and that was a quick slash to the muzzle both times...I won't call it an accident, because Score meant to prove a point...but once first blood was drawn, Score stopped. They occasionally snark in the house and will nip/grip each other in the yard...Inara and Rip have nailed Score multiple times while playing...they are herding dogs. But never, have they fought to the finish. Inara and Vesta just recently...bitch fight, between two rival bitches (Vesta isn't part of the true pack.

Dog packs are fluid, status changes from moment to moment, place to place...so fighting over status is silly. Feeding one before the other, or treating them equally isn't going to fix anything, even if it is a status issue. So honestly, I'd be inclined to think that this is a pit bull problem...;) rather than a status, pack-oriented problem. But that's just my $0.02.
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Postby amazincc » January 16th, 2011, 9:04 am

Surprisingly (and shocking to me) there wasn't a single scratch on either dog, as vicious as they sounded and acted. :shock:

I don't have to "punish" anyone for resource guarding, since I feed them/give high value treats in seperate locations... always.
Both have "favorite" toys which only come out when I interact w/them individually, so having to guard anything from one another has never been a real issue.
When one gets on the others last nerve I seperate them as well... just matter-of-fact send them to seperate locations, no big deal.
I don't expect them to love and adore each other 24/7... that would be completely unrealistic.

I AM pretty easy-going and lenient when it comes to my dogs, so I'm definitely going to rethink my approach... maybe enforce the few rules we DO have a little faster/more consistently. :oops:

The thing that baffles me is that there was NOTHING to fight OVER... and I can't stress that enough. One minute they were sleeping... and the next minute they were in a snarling heap, rolling across the floor.
I'll probably never know what triggered it, but I have a hard time believing that Faust - in his sleep - decided to suddenly turn on Sepp. :|
I know Sepp responded the way he did because he was completely startled and probably pissed at being woken up that way... and as soon as I seperated them, it was over as quick as it had started.
No hard feelings, and no holding a grudge.
However... I DO think that, without my intervention, it would've gotten very ugly, because they were both so caught up in the moment. I don't think either one was even aware of me until I physically pulled them apart.

Faust was tethered to me pretty much all day yesterday, and Sepp continued to seek him out for play time. They both acted as if nothing had happened.

So, if this is a "Pit Bull thing" I will manage it... if it's an "adolescent asshat behavior thing" I will manage that as well.

Thanks for all the suggestions, everyone. I appreciate all the insights. :)
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Postby TheRedQueen » January 16th, 2011, 9:12 am

amazincc wrote:
plebayo wrote:If you hadn't intervened do you think they would have worked it out?

No. I think Sepp was so surprised and startled (and PISSED from being woken up that way) that it got very heated very quickly. He takes no prisoners, if you know what I mean. He won't start anything... but he won't back down either.


The only reason I mentioned the seriousness of the fight was because I read this from you...which didn't sound like the not-a-scratch on them scuffle that it apparently was. ;)

Sawyer regularly snarks and acts ugly when he's asleep...it's the worst time for him...he comes awake swinging...and beware the dog that is too close to him as he's sleeping...he's a bastard, and a light sleeper. So anything that wakes him up...he lashes out at the nearest being...dog, cat, etc.
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"Dogs don't want to control people. They want to control their own lives." --John Bradshaw
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Postby amazincc » January 16th, 2011, 9:35 am

TheRedQueen wrote:
amazincc wrote:
plebayo wrote:If you hadn't intervened do you think they would have worked it out?

No. I think Sepp was so surprised and startled (and PISSED from being woken up that way) that it got very heated very quickly. He takes no prisoners, if you know what I mean. He won't start anything... but he won't back down either.


The only reason I mentioned the seriousness of the fight was because I read this from you...which didn't sound like the not-a-scratch on them scuffle that it apparently was. ;)


I was on top of them FAST. Their pillow is about 6 feet away from the couch, and my living room is pretty small.
Honestly... I've never seen an actual dog fight in person, but mine have scuffled in the past without injuring each other... and it never sounded as vicious, or got that loud.
I could be totally wrong, but it looked to me like neither one was willing to back down, so I assume this was way more serious than a scuffle. :?
I'm also very in-tune w/growling, lip curling, and all the other signs of possible impending snarkiness... there was nothing.

Hmmm... that is interesting about Score.
After I got my bearings, checked over and crated the heathens, and thought about the whole incident... the first thing that popped in my head was that Faust had either been dreaming, or that something had really startled/scared him. I didn't hear or see anything, but who knows... :|

Still - makes me SO glad that I have this self-imposed rule to never leave them out together, unsupervised.
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Postby amalie79 » January 16th, 2011, 9:53 am

I'm pretty new to pit bulls and to a true multidog household, so I'm really watching this thread more for future reference than because I have good advice... But I can speak to what I've seen so far...

Something Erin reminded me of a while back and that took me a little while to really get into my head was that it doesn't matter one whit if I think it's high value or a resource of any kind. We had an incident where Robin went after our very old man, Simon, when he merely wandered by the bed. Robin has never seen Simon on the bed (he hates being up there and it hurts him for us to pick him up) and he paces all the time with no apparent destination. This should have been both old hat and no threat in logic-land. But she had been watching things out the windows by the foot of the bed, and had decided to guard the window? the bed? the space at the foot if the bed? She was clearly guarding something and it made no sense to me, but it sure did to her. She's gone after Simon one other time when he went near the area where she'd had a bone 20 minutes earlier. :rolleyes2:

Both times were the noisiest things I'd ever heard. I'm used the way River snarks. She snaps, snarls, makes a very quick noisy display, but ultimately walks away. She doesn't want a fight. I'm not sure Robin thinks that far ahead. She's aaaaallll terrier. She just keeps going and going and going after him. And it's noisy. GAWD it's noisy. But I could easily break it up both times by grabbing her collar and putting her outside, and with about 15 seconds of separation, it was back to normal. Both times. The first time it happened it terrified me. Absolutely shaking, nauseous, terrified me and I thought I was pretty savvy in the ways that dogs can communicate and how noisy it can sound. But this was a whole new level of noise.

She went after River once for invading her crate space...same thing.

BUT! Not a scratch, any of those times. To hear it you'd think the world was ending, and Robin is certainly persistent. I think she's as noisy in her pissiness as she is in her play. I don't know what would've happened if I hadn't stepped in-- Robin's crated when we're gone for any length of time, and I do take solace in the lack of scratches. Those are the only 3 times I can think of it happening in the one year we've had her (and I can't say we introduced her as slowly and carefully as we should have). :oops:

At the same time, out in the world, a loose dog has tried to charge Robin and she backed out of her collar and ran away. :|

And she's a grumpster when she sleeps.

Is there any way Faust could have nudged Sepp in his sleep and surprised him? or inched closer to you or something else he might see as a resource?

Who knows what goes on in their little heads. :|
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Postby TheRedQueen » January 16th, 2011, 9:58 am

Sawyer is the one that grumps at everyone...he and Inara get into it occasionally when she gets too close to him...he reacts with a HUGE noise and lots of teeth, and she responds in kind. Sounds like they're going to kill each other...when in fact, it's rare for them to come away with fur in their teeth. Unlike Score for instance who came away from playing with Inara yesterday with a HUGE clump of her fur stuck in his teeth (rotten dogs!)

Sawyer has a proximity issue...he doesn't like anyone close to him...and his idea of "close" depends on the dog. New dogs can't get within 5-6' of him...his brothers can lay on him, but Inara just pushes his buttons, so he gets set off all of the time by her.

And yeah, I'd advise to stop trying to figure out "what the hell and why"...at least stop driving yourself crazy with it...because you'll probably never know for sure. lol
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Postby mnp13 » January 16th, 2011, 10:09 am

Sorry, only just seeing this...

TheRedQueen wrote:And yeah, I'd advise to stop trying to figure out "what the hell and why"...at least stop driving yourself crazy with it...because you'll probably never know for sure. lol


I agree with Erin, don't beat yourself up with the "why" of it. Sometimes it happens for no reason at all... well, except dust in the wind or something.

You're already very prudent about keeping them separated, you can't do much else to make that better. Everything else has been good advice...
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Postby amazincc » January 16th, 2011, 10:17 am

amalie79 wrote: Is there any way Faust could have nudged Sepp in his sleep and surprised him?


That is the other thing I was thinking about... that is the most plausible explanation so far.
They both kick me awake often enough, and are totally oblivious when I get snarky in the middle of the night because I have a foot in my face... :rolleyes2: lol

So, maybe it wasn't a fight, per say, and I "read" it wrong. I know it was VERY noisy, happened very fast... and I fully expected someone to end up bloody, or w/an ear torn off.

Little bastids... making an old lady w/a bad leg leap through the air like that, and damned-near give her a heart attack on top of it. :nono:
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Postby TheRedQueen » January 16th, 2011, 10:21 am

amazincc wrote:
amalie79 wrote: Is there any way Faust could have nudged Sepp in his sleep and surprised him?


That is the other thing I was thinking about... that is the most plausible explanation so far.
They both kick me awake often enough, and are totally oblivious when Iget snarky in the middle of the night because I have a foot in my face... :rolleyes2: lol

So, maybe it wasn't a fight, per say, and I "read" it wrong. I know it was VERY noisy, happened very fast... and I fully expected someone to end up bloody, or w/an ear torn off.

Little bastids... making an old lady w/a bad leg leap through the air like that, and damned-near give her a heart attack on top of it. :nono:


The most common refrain in our house is..."GODDAMMIT SAWYER! NO ONE WAS EVEN **NEAR** YOU!"
:nono:
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Postby amazincc » January 16th, 2011, 10:38 am

Daisy puts on a HUGE show when someone bothers her... teeth, noisy snarling, the works. It has never really made me all that concerned. :|
And interestingly enough Daisy wasn't fazed by all the commotion in the least little bit... lol

I guess, w/the boys both being Pit Bulls, I tend to worry about, and over-examine, every single thing a tad more. :oops:
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Postby airwalk » January 16th, 2011, 10:48 am

I guess, w/the boys both being Pit Bulls, I tend to worry about, and over-examine, every single thing a tad more


and this was why I didn't want you to immediately jump o the conclusion that Faust was turning on. Like Erin said, typicaly pack behavior doesn't permit completely anti-social behaviors...we do know there are some Pit Bulls that do not fit in your average pack; however there are many that do.
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Postby amazincc » January 16th, 2011, 10:52 am

airwalk wrote:
I guess, w/the boys both being Pit Bulls, I tend to worry about, and over-examine, every single thing a tad more


and this was why I didn't want you to immediately jump o the conclusion that Faust was turning on. Like Erin said, typicaly pack behavior doesn't permit completely anti-social behaviors...we do know there are some Pit Bulls that do not fit in your average pack; however there are many that do.



Well... that's why I have YOU guys, to remind me, pat me on the head, and tell me to calm down. :D
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Postby amalie79 » January 16th, 2011, 10:53 am

amazincc wrote:Daisy puts on a HUGE show when someone bothers her... teeth, noisy snarling, the works. It has never really made me all that concerned. :|
And interestingly enough Daisy wasn't fazed by all the commotion in the least little bit... lol

I guess, w/the boys both being Pit Bulls, I tend to worry about, and over-examine, every single thing a tad more. :oops:


I do that every time something out of the ordinary happens-- I guess it's better that we're on the alert than just allowing things to escalate.

Just gotta be careful not to give ourselves heart attacks. :wink:
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Postby SLS61185 » January 17th, 2011, 12:47 am

Remember when you told me that I may never know why it happened or what his issue was? This may be one of those times where that goes for the boys. The difference with Patch was he was NOT noisy at all. He was the quiet one, it was the other dog that was the LOUD one, but you know why. Maybe their loudness is their way of yelling at each other? Patch will sometimes be in bed with Mike, dead asleep, and I can be in the living room on the computer - it can be really quiet in the house and all of a sudden Patch will wake up, come hauling ass out of the bedroom for NO apparent reason (This happened the other night when I was messaging you, actually). So maybe like you said, Baby Chicken was just dreaming... Him and Patch been talking?!
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Postby amazincc » January 17th, 2011, 1:05 am

SLS61185 wrote:Remember when you told me that I may never know why it happened or what his issue was? This may be one of those times where that goes for the boys. The difference with Patch was he was NOT noisy at all. He was the quiet one, it was the other dog that was the LOUD one, but you know why. Maybe their loudness is their way of yelling at each other? Patch will sometimes be in bed with Mike, dead asleep, and I can be in the living room on the computer - it can be really quiet in the house and all of a sudden Patch will wake up, come hauling ass out of the bedroom for NO apparent reason (This happened the other night when I was messaging you, actually). So maybe like you said, Baby Chicken was just dreaming... Him and Patch been talking?!


I can always be pretty objective and rational when it comes to other peoples dogs... :| lol

Everything is back to "normal" here. :)
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Postby airwalk » January 17th, 2011, 11:57 am

We are all more objective when it's other peoples dogs....not so much with our own. I like normal.
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Postby mnp13 » January 18th, 2011, 12:01 am

airwalk wrote:We are all more objective when it's other peoples dogs....not so much with our own.

Absolutely.
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