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Thread: I'm about to kill them!!

  1. #1

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    Question I'm about to kill them!!

    My dogs are giving me the absolute irrits at the moment.

    We have a beagle (who just turned 3) and a boxer (who is nearly 3). About 8 months ago they started fighting at meal time, so we separated them at that time.

    Now they are fighting over absolutely everything and only stop when either DH or I go out there and scream at them. We are scared that DS will be out there and be in the wrong place at the wrong time and get in the middle of a fight and they will bite him (they are perfect dogs - just turned into nasty buttheads at the moment with this fighting crap)

    The boxer (male) has been fixed so we don't think its a hormone thing. She (beagle) has been fixed as well.

    Any ideas how to stop them bloody fighting? seriously, it sounds as if they are ripping each others throats out when they do it, and you can hear it all over the neighbourhood.

    If it keeps continuing, I don't think we'll have any option but to get rid of one of them (just would be hard to decide which one) but they are obviously not living together very well anymore (honeymoon is over apparently!! only took two years)



    Any help would be GREAT.

    Or if you are looking to adopt a boxer or beagle....

  2. #2

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    Aww please don't kill them, they just don't understand.

    When my dog and my Mum's dog were living together we had the same problem...and you have two VERY food orientated breeds with a Beagle and a Boxer!

    Do you have time to feed them one at a time and make one sit and hold him/her by the collar (or even give it a pat) while one eats in peace, and vice versa? This is what we did for my dog and my Mum's dog and eventually we didn't have to hold them anymore.

    Eventually they will realise that they actually aren't any real threat to each other's food. At the moment it seems like they see it as a survival situation and don't realise that they are BOTH going to be fed. It's a heirarchy thing that they are trying to sort out between themselves but unfortunatley as you said it could be dangerous for your family.

    Also your Boxer is still a puppy in the head. They are notoriously slow to mature mentally, as was my Labrador. At 3 years old she was still really hard to handle. A lot of larger breeds take a bit of extra time to 'grow up'.

  3. #3

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    Amanda - I was only kidding about killing them, I seriously wouldn't do it.

    And at food time they are separated so it isn't a problem then. But unless we keep them separated ALL the time - they fight.

    They don't fight over food - because they only get food at meal time - and they are separated.

  4. #4

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    Ooooohhhh....sorry am at work and read the details wrong. On my way home, will check it out again after parenting classes tonight.

    LOL I know you wouldn't really kill them!

  5. #5

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    hun, at times we've had three seperate "pairs" of dogs - two little females, two large females and two large males - each in their own yards. each "pair" have fought - not over food, but as their way of playing - they were just like over boisterous kids that would scrap for fun and then go off and play quietly together! when we lost one of the males and one large female, the two remaining dogs got to share a yard, and same thing. not sure if it's just their breed (cattle dogs) but to them, play meant rough housing. we ended up giving the female away (she wasn't a working dog whle the male goes in the truck with DH) - and have had no dramas with them. i HATED the sound - it always scared me even though i knew they were playing - and i was worried about having kids around them

    i'm not sure if training will help, but perhaps it's an option to look at. i know how terribly hard it is to get rid of one of your fur babies (and we ONLY did it cos she went to my bro's house) and really hope it doesn't come to that...

    FWIW - our little dogs still play fight, but are so very gentle around kids - it's a jealousy thing for them - one gets patted before the other, and when they go to play, they scrap! they do the same when they get together with mum's dogs (from same litter) - so i can't offer a solution, just an understanding ear...

  6. #6

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    Unless they are hurting each other and growling it is just play. My sister's dog and Mum's dog used to playfight all the time, it was not an overly attractive sound (plenty of sneezing and huffing) but there was no growling and rarely did they get hurt. There were only a few occasions of yelping, and that would be when we would separate them.

    I certainly hope that it is only play for you hun

  7. #7

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    Hun its hard.... sounds like they may have gotten a few things confused and they aren't sure what is going on. My older dog is the boss but when she was a puppy our other dog was (he was very rigid in his bossiness as well!). He had anxiety disorders... anyway... if she went through the door first, he would beat her up the next day.

    Sometimes if things get confused and one of the dogs has an anxiety issue or raised anxiety over something they can start fighting. A really good thing is to keep them separate for a few days and then only let them near each other to do training (just 5 minutes a few times a day!) or go on walks. They will settle down knowing what they are expected to do, so sit near eachother, drop etc etc.

    Is there anything new in their environment? Is one of them getting older, maybe needs a check up? Are there new neighbours? etc etc... think about these things and try to get them some stimulation daily. So walks, training etc... Even if you do 3 training sessions for 5 minutes at a time that is heaps of mental stimulation for your dogs.

    5 minutes of::

    Sit * Drop* Sit* Stay * Come * Drop * Sit.... and change the pattern, so if they only know sit and drop... do that. Sit * drop * Wait.... Sit* Drop* and give them heaps of treats or rewards for it.

    I know how frustrating it is when you have your toddler screaming, the dogs fighting.... arghhh!!!!

  8. #8

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    Thanks Christy.

    As far as I can think - nothing has changed recently. At all. All of a sudden its like they just can't stand each other (kind of typical considering I have one of each sex!) Maybe I should take away one of their beds and force them to sleep together and kiss and make up

    I will try to get out there more often, I'm pretty slack when it comes to that kind of stuff

    Ali - its definitely fighting honey.. not playing... I know the difference in the sounds, and they used to play fight all the time.. now its just bluin'

    THe other day they were fighting over a stick. Yes. A stick. Which we have HUNDREDS in the yard, but they both decided that this particular stick was the bees knees.

    Then also the other day - they were both on the deck and one was closer to the screen door where DS was standing - so that started a fight. THere is definitely some jealousy going on, but I don't know how to solve it without getting rid of one of them!

  9. #9

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    mmmm sounds like a dominance issue really. Like one of them is pushing boundaries and the other one is having to work very hard to stay on top. Often in every relationship one of us is the boss.... nicely put. I'd like to say that DH & I are equal, but in reality in the home.. I'm the boss (not really something I'm proud of ). I can um.... argue my point until I get it my way. He doesn't really care about those things as much and would rather keep the peace. So its perfect because we don't fight about much. BUT if DH sudden started to assert himself more and argue with me over my little issues (like the rubbish not going out, or something silly like that) it could cause major riffs in our relationship and I would feel angry because he's changed and he would be angry because he wants his way... etc etc. Now I'm talking about silly things like rubbish etc, but as women we all know this adds up in the end.

    For dogs its the same, an example is walking through thresholds. Gates, doors and even barriers like arches etc can cause rifts in their dominance. Who is closest to the person... mainly the boss person. Who gets their food first... what order are they fed? Are there more fights if one is fed before the other... I'm talking seconds here.... the seconds it takes to move from putting one bowl down to the other....?

    Main causes of fights in family dogs: Food, order of food, thresholds, people, height. Whoever is the tallest has an edge on the dominance issue.... but beds etc can cause issues as well if you have a dog that is threatening the order of the house.

    Now, this is an older way of thinking about their behaviour... family packs etc... they change over time in other houses and in wild packs. Generally the boss is always the boss and the rest of the pack fights and argues their ways up and down the ladder.... so there isn't always the same dominant dog all the time in a pack/family. But when they are rearranging, often there are blues getting there.

    You can try to encourage the boss to stay the boss....by making sure he/she goes through the doors, thresholds, eats food etc first. But you need to be sure who the boss is before doing it.

  10. #10

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    We had the same problem with our dogs. It didn't help that both were females
    We had the cattle dog first, then got the mastiff. The cattle dog claimed owner ship from day 1. She nearly did kill the mastiff one morning.
    We did have the cattle dog tied up for a bit, then we tied her up only after a fight. In the end we just had to watch them constantly.
    Eventually they got better. The mastiff got bigger, but was always a sooky baby, so the cattle dog still bullied her.
    They were both great with the kids.
    All I can say is maybe just wait it out & watch them. Our cattle dog decided chasing trucks was more exciting & got lost, so that ended the fighting for us.
    Sorry I don't have any advice

  11. #11

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    This happened to our dogs. Even though they are both fixed they still get urges... lol

    My female dog hates being harrassed by the male for special attention. So they fight... ( silimar situation inside the house... PMSL) . He tries to and she isnt interested so she gets fiesty and then its all for nothing. They appear to be vicious but never have they really hurt each other. I wet them when they go for it. and ALWAYS supervice the kids with the dogs. JIC. (i dont care what breed i think supervision is a must.)

    We have a kelpie and a lab and our lab is a hoover. Loves his food. So we have to seperate at meal times also. they can get along well for a while but they fight almost daily... Try wetting them. Also i heard that a bit of vinegar in the water makes it taste yuk so when they lick it off they dont like it so they stop... Not sure have never tried vineger. Hose is always quicker to get... lol.

  12. #12

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    I agree with Christy's post - sounds more dominance related to me too.

    FWIW we have two neutered females a border collie and a red heeler. BC is much taller and gentler but is also more jealous and still very puppy. RH is short and a bit more instinctive with things (like rounding up etc) and a few years older she came second as a rescue.

    BC and RH often have fights that seem very agressive to me over nothing but noone is never seriously injured so to me seems more ego orientated. RH has pinned BC to the ground and had her by the throat to make her submit.

    Other dogs on the farm (12 in total including our 2) often blue and sometimes there are small injuries and one in particular seems to bear the brunt all the time. They sort themselves out eventually though. Also season seems to play a part in their bickering even with the neuted ones.

  13. #13

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    I agree with Christy, it does sound like a dominance problem to me. The lower dog challenging the alpha dog for that position in the pack. Has one of them been ill or something that might make for a shuffle in the pack structure? Has one of them grown out of adolescence at last?

    Make sure they both know that they are both lower than all of the adults (or older children) in the family.

    Make sure that you treat the alpha dog as the alpha dog, and don't confuse the issue for them by sometimes elevating the lower dog's status by feeding him/her first, letting him/her into the house first, paying attention to the wrong dog first, etc.

    I would consider getting a dog psych to come and see them and try to work out what is going on. There might be a simple solution. In general dogs don't mind being lower down in the pack structure as long as their positions are clearly understood by the entire pack.

  14. #14

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    They both get fed at the same time - and always have. We make them wait for it, and now DS can say "you can have it" and they both run (in different directions) for their food. Then the boxer is locked on the deck so the beagle can't come and take his food (cos then they fight)

    It would be a dominance issue - maybe the boxer is standing up for himself more? Beagle has always been the boss..

  15. #15

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    It's good to know i am not the only one who has to separate my dogs to feed them! I have 2 labs, the younger one gets fed in the laundry and she can get out when she is finished. The older one gets fed on the deck and can't get into the laundry. Both have to sit and stay and are allowed to feed at the same time.

    My dogs will play fight, and the older dog will let the younger one know when she has had enough.

    We worked out that the younger dog reads the older ones' signals better than we can. If she is staying back from the older one (or staying in laundry longer), then maybe she senses something we don't. The door is un-hooked so the younger one can come out anytime, but the older one can't open it from the outside.

    Earlier on when we tried to force her out before she was ready(i think after a good breakfast), the older one attacked and it was then we realised that they have their own system going on and the younger one knows she is not the boss and knows when the older one is ready for her. They only play fight now.

    Christy's post rings true for me too.

    We couldn't force the younger dog 'to get tough' because it wasn't going to work. They both have their place and it works.

    It can be hard to work out who the dominant one is sometimes. The younger one will pull her ears and collar or chew on her tail or legs or hump her head , and we wonder why the older one just stays there. but the older one allows her to do this stuff because she knows when she has had enough with just one growl or look or signal she can get the younger one to stop.

    Do you know who the boss is between your dogs?

  16. #16

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    Pepper (beagle). Definitely.

  17. #17

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    Arimeh..have they been fighting since before number 3 has been baking? or since?? My *****es here picked up i was pregnant before i knew..and my older girl (RIP) was very protective of me...and would often start fights when one of the younger *****es would get to boisterous near me...
    just a suggestion....

  18. #18

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    Can I ask Christy, is there a point at which they can or will sort it out themselves? If humans get involved does that slow the process down?

    I only ask because I know in a 'pack' situation they would sort it out themselves, right? I understand they could hurt each other, but how is the 'top dog' position going to be decided without them working that out between them? Or (as horrible as this sounds) would they really just fight to the death over this?

    Arimeh - if the beagle is the boss I would feed her first and let the boxer see her being fed first. Feeding at the same time is very diplomatic, but far too subtle for a doggy brain! It will only reinforce to the less-dominant dog that it should continue to challenge for top spot. Same as giving treats, etc. Beagle gets everything first. Otherwise they will be confused.

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