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Thread: How Can I Curb Aggression

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    Veteran Member mellowsong's Avatar
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    Default How Can I Curb Aggression

    I have a 12 year old miniature pinscher and an 8 year old 1/2 pug, 1/2 chihuahua. They have been together for over 5 years now and have never been friends, mostly just ignoring each other.

    For the past month or so the pughuahua is becoming very aggressive toward the min-pin. Sheba can't move without Daisy pouncing on her, growling and hackles raised. Daisy has never bitten anything and I don't think she would but Sheba was abused and is "touchy". She starts snarling at Daisy and I'm afraid that one of these day she will bite Daisy even though Daisy is the aggressor.

    When I call them to go out, Sheba is usually curled up under a blanket and Daisy pounces on her. It's really getting extreme. I once watched the Dog Whisperer and he curbed aggression by holding the aggressor down until they relaxed. It is not working with Daisy anymore. My arm will get tired before she relaxes. This is driving me nuts because it is happening 20+ times a day. I've had to get separate dog beds and put them across the room. I have to go pick Sheba up before putting leashes on or feeding them etc. Any suggestions?


    Not sure this matters but Sheba was sick in December. She had a nasty skin infection but also became incontinent. 200 bux of labwork showed nothing but antibiotics cured the skin and the incontinence. This is when the aggression started on the part of the other one but Sheba is fine and has been for a while. Thanks.

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    Veteran Member Reesacat's Avatar
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    Default Re: How Can I Curb Aggression

    Spray Daisy with water from a spray bottle when she starts to act aggressive? We do that for cats.
    There are some homeopathic formulas out there for dogs....I just have cats so I'm not much help...

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    Veteran Member mellowsong's Avatar
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    Default Re: How Can I Curb Aggression

    Quote Originally Posted by Reesacat
    Spray Daisy with water from a spray bottle when she starts to act aggressive? We do that for cats.
    There are some homeopathic formulas out there for dogs....I just have cats so I'm not much help...
    Thanks. I can try that...except that occurs in my bed too if Sheba moves before Daisy is asleep, lol. Maybe banish her at night if she pulls it.

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    Administrator Islander's Avatar
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    Default Re: How Can I Curb Aggression

    I have no suggestions except to say that whatever you do, do not try to separate fighting dogs. That involves great personal risk.

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    Veteran Member mellowsong's Avatar
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    Default Re: How Can I Curb Aggression

    Quote Originally Posted by Islander
    I have no suggestions except to say that whatever you do, do not try to separate fighting dogs. That involves great personal risk.
    Thanks. They are about 11 lbs each, lol. Sheba would bite if she was upset enough so I always grab Daisy. I've never seen her bite a thing. She just makes a lot of noise.

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    Veteran Member Aaltrude's Avatar
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    Default Re: How Can I Curb Aggression

    It is difficult to know what is going on without seeing the dogs in action, so to speak. It could domination, it could be fear or a number of other reasons that is causing this behaviour. If possible you should have someone independent watch what is happening to see if they can see the cause. Without knowing the reason for the aggression it is not really possible to suggest how to deal with it. The wrong advice could make things worse.

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    Veteran Member mellowsong's Avatar
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    Default Re: How Can I Curb Aggression

    Quote Originally Posted by Aaltrude
    It is difficult to know what is going on without seeing the dogs in action, so to speak. It could domination, it could be fear or a number of other reasons that is causing this behaviour. If possible you should have someone independent watch what is happening to see if they can see the cause. Without knowing the reason for the aggression it is not really possible to suggest how to deal with it. The wrong advice could make things worse.
    Thanks Aaltrude. There's no way to get anyone who knows anything to watch them. It appears to be dominion. For example: I had 2 dog beds, both liked only one of them. Daisy would not let Sheba on it no matter what, even if Daisy wasn't on it when Sheba went. They used to share it, no problem. I went and got another identical bed and blanket thinking that would help...well Daisy did her best to force Sheba off whichever one she was on. When they are in my bed at night, if Sheba moves, Daisy goes ballistic, growling and pouncing. I call them to eat or go out, Daisy seems to think Sheba doesn't move fast enough and goes nuts barking and growling and so on.

    Last night, for the first time, she wouldn't let Sheba eat. They have separate dished and get fed small amounts 3 times a day. Well that did it. I spanked Daisy. Believe it or not, it's been better today. They are both lying peacefully on separate beds and so far no incidents. They say that spanking dogs is meaningless to them, but I have to wonder. I hated doing that but I'm not going to have food wars on top of everything else and I'm not going to feed them separately either!

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    Administrator Islander's Avatar
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    Default Re: How Can I Curb Aggression

    Advice you probably already know: don't use your hand. Use something like a rolled-up newspaper or magazine. They get the message without fearing your touch. Use plenty of praise when they obey your commands too.

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    Veteran Member Aaltrude's Avatar
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    Default Re: How Can I Curb Aggression

    Quote Originally Posted by Islander
    Advice you probably already know: don't use your hand. Use something like a rolled-up newspaper or magazine. They get the message without fearing your touch. Use plenty of praise when they obey your commands too.
    Good advice Islander. Praise is very powerful indeed. Kind, encouraging words for a desired behaviour is a very strong reinforcer.

    Mellowsong, we don't let our dogs eat until they are given the 'OK'. Even when the food is in the bowl and sitting in front of them. They must sit there waiting until we say 'OK'. We do this not only to prevent the scrambles that would occur otherwise but it also reinfoces that we are the king pins in our pack.

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    Veteran Member mellowsong's Avatar
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    Default Re: How Can I Curb Aggression

    Quote Originally Posted by Islander
    Advice you probably already know: don't use your hand. Use something like a rolled-up newspaper or magazine. They get the message without fearing your touch. Use plenty of praise when they obey your commands too.
    Thanks Islander; very good advice! I hadn't even thought about that. It was sudden knee jerk response to her taking Sheba's food. I've almost never have spanked them. Funny thing is, today all it has taken is a stern NO when Daisy goes near Sheba to stop anything. It's been the most peaceful day with them in at least a month,lol. I would not want it to be because she's afraid of me though :(

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    Veteran Member mellowsong's Avatar
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    Default Re: How Can I Curb Aggression

    Quote Originally Posted by Aaltrude
    Mellowsong, we don't let our dogs eat until they are given the 'OK'. Even when the food is in the bowl and sitting in front of them. They must sit there waiting until we say 'OK'. We do this not only to prevent the scrambles that would occur otherwise but it also reinfoces that we are the king pins in our pack.
    Hmm. Wonder if I could train them, lol. What's that saying about "You can't teach old dogs new tricks?" Definitely a good idea. I have to admit, I've never really tried to train them to do much. They do know sit though (when they want to). They are rescues and were abused, house trained adults when I got them. I got Sheba at 4 in 2002 and Daisy was 2 in 2004.

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    Veteran Member Aaltrude's Avatar
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    Default Re: How Can I Curb Aggression

    Quote Originally Posted by mellowsong
    I would not want it to be because she's afraid of me though :(
    That is probably not likely mellowsong. It sounds like she is respecting you as the "Top Dog" in your pack.

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    Veteran Member Katee's Avatar
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    Default Re: How Can I Curb Aggression

    Quote Originally Posted by mellowsong
    I would not want it to be because she's afraid of me though :(
    You mentioned The Dog Whisperer earlier. We've watched a few of his shows. He does say that dogs want the person to be in the alpha position & then they feel secure. He has said that these aggressive behaviors come from a lack of security.

    Just like parents who want their kids to "like them" & so don't discipline, i guess animals want the people to be in control so that they can feel secure. Short of actual abuse (which i know would never come from you) i don't think your dog will be afraid of you.

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    Veteran Member Aaltrude's Avatar
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    Default Re: How Can I Curb Aggression

    Quote Originally Posted by mellowsong
    Hmm. Wonder if I could train them, lol. What's that saying about "You can't teach old dogs new tricks?" Definitely a good idea. I have to admit, I've never really tried to train them to do much. They do know sit though (when they want to). They are rescues and were abused, house trained adults when I got them. I got Sheba at 4 in 2002 and Daisy was 2 in 2004.
    Old dogs can be taught new tricks. If you are going to try to teach them this, it will be much easier to do during the learning phase if you can separate the dogs and teach them individually. If you have them both together when you try to teach them, they are likely to take cues from each other. and it will be a lot more difficult. You will get one sitting and the other will stand up. You put that one back in a sit and the other stands etc, etc, etc.

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    Administrator Islander's Avatar
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    Default Re: How Can I Curb Aggression

    Quote Originally Posted by mellowsong
    Thanks Islander; very good advice! I hadn't even thought about that. It was sudden knee jerk response to her taking Sheba's food. I've almost never have spanked them. Funny thing is, today all it has taken is a stern NO when Daisy goes near Sheba to stop anything. It's been the most peaceful day with them in at least a month,lol. I would not want it to be because she's afraid of me though :(
    I agree with what's been said. They need the security of knowing that you're in charge, the alpha of the pack. Training is important. I get really pissy when dogs jump on me, and that's one of the easiest behaviors to stop! Trouble is...you gotta be smarter than the dog... (not referring to you, obviously!)

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