"Ask the Dog Guy" with John Wade

"Ask the Dog Guy" with John Wade

Puppy and Obedience Training Without Food or Fear

Dog Fight

– Posted in: Aggression, Columns
Dogs Fighting

Hi John,

My name is Danielle and currently I have three dogs. I have a bouvier (4) and Akita/Shepherd (2) and a black lab (4 months). We have just recently moved into a new home that is located on acres of land and provides the dog with a lot of running room. Lately we have had severe issues with the Akita having aggression. The Akita is not fixed and has an appointment this weekend to do this. Last weekend we were outside with the two older dogs and out of nowhere they started to get into a fight (very dark could not see who started it ) Mainly if this does occur it lasts no more than 5 minutes and the dogs work it out and no one is hurt. This time the dogs were starting to hurt each other, and would not stop no matter what we did. We focused a lot of our attention on the Bouvier due to she is bigger and could do very bad damage if she felt like it. So the Akita essentially had free range, and hurt the Bouviers leg very badly and had to get stitches. I am now at my wits end because I love all of my dogs and they have never done this before, it scared me very badly. Now my fiancé is saying we might have to get rid of the Akita and I’m trying everything and anything to fix the issue before resorting to having to give her away. Could you please provide some time of direction or advice of what we should do please?

Thank you

Danielle

Hi Danielle,

Thanks for the email. The dynamic between dogs does naturally change just as it does with people as they move from adolescence into adulthood. As your Akita has just entered adulthood from both a physical and mental perspective he may have decided he wants to renegotiate the contract regarding his status. His genetics certainly would lead him in that direction. Often this does work its way out, but not always.

Aggression/stress/anxiety between dogs is almost always much more of a problem when in a multiple dog household the dogs have come to view the relationship they have with their owners is more of a college room mate dynamic, rather than a teacher/student, or parent/child. They fight more amongst themselves for perceived resources where they might not if they had an ongoing understanding that nothing is up for grabs because, “It’s all mom’s. We just get to use it.”

If it were me I would be looking at first seeing if tuning up my relationship with the dogs made them less competitive. That can go a long way towards ending this sort of conflict. However the longer the conflict between the dogs continues the less likely there will be a happy ending.

You might want to purchase a light weight CO2 fire extinguisher and keep it handy as it can more safely end dog fights reducing the chance of injuries to the dogs but also to the dog owners who often end up with some pretty severe accidental bites when trying to break up the conflict.

John

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