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our new dog attacked our existing dog this weekend - help!

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by clairem, Jun 23, 2009.

  1. clairem

    clairem PetForums Newbie

    Jun 23, 2009
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    I apologise now for the long post: We have 2 dogs - Colin a 10 month old border collie x springer spaniel who we've had from 8 weeks old an is the biggest softie ever - loves to play with other doggies on walks but is also quite submissive and generally flops over onto his back most of the time - although the older he's got the more confident he was getting. So as a companion we got Meg in March, a 5month old (now almost 8 months) border collie x labrador. We introduced them properly and all was fine. We kept an eye on them during feeding and for the first few days when Colin went sniffing at Megs food she would growl and he backed away - from then on he's always waited until she's started eating before starting his own food. She also takes toys off of him when we play fetch - we assumed that they had sorted out their pecking order and Meg was top dog.

    Meg is a very timid dog and doesn't like strange people or dogs but was getting much better as we have been taking her to our obedience leasons with Colin. On walks she barks at other dogs but then runs away - again, the more we ignored that there was a threat she was betting better. But this weekend, we went camping for the first time with them both. In the car on the way there Meg attacked Colin for no apparant reason - we had to stop on a busy motorway to restrain them. Both Sunday morning and evening at feeding time Meg attacked Colin again even though we went through the same routine as normal ie both sat calming Meg given food first then Colin but she purposely came over to stop Colin eating his food - this time she managed to draw blood near his eye and on his mussel. Once seperated Meg happily ate her food whilst Colin would not go anywhere near his and in the end I started him off by hand feeding. Then yesterday, we were sat outside a cafe both dogs were calm and submissive, the waitress bought our food over and we began eating and again Meg attacked colin again causing more lacerations to his face. We thought maybe the strange surroundings and the fact that they were on leads throughout the weekend may have contributed, but last night at feeding time, I got the bag of food out of the cupboard with both dogs sat calmly I was in the process of emptying some into each bowl (on the work surface, not on the floor) when Meg once again attacked Colin. We don't know what to do, we have kept them seperated since and I don't trust her anymore and feel upset to have our other dog injured. This morning on her walk, my OH said she ran up to a puppy (not normally like her) and wouldn't leave it alone - I would hate for her to do something to another dog as well.

    As you can guess from the length of this, we are very worried and wondering why after 3 (somewhat) harmonious months together this has suddenly happened and what do we do next. Unfortunately I don't think Meg had the best start to life and was passed from person to person before we adopted her and really wanted to give her a lifelong home. Our training class is tomorrow night so we will be asking advice then but if anyone else has advice in the meantime we would be very very grateful
  2. flubberdub

    flubberdub PetForums Junior

    Jun 19, 2009
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    I not very experienced on this, but am guessing that Meg is the boss of Colin, for some reason. Did something happen one day when you were out? Do you keep them seperate when you go out? I have one puppy, and was thinking of getting another until someone said that I would have to keep them seperate whilst we were out incase they had a fight!
    I can't offer any advice, but am wishing you all the best.
  3. Nonnie

    Nonnie PetForums VIP

    Apr 15, 2009
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    I think you need to seek the help and advice of a professional behaviourist (not a trainer). Without seeing the dogs first hand, it would be impossible for anyone to give you good and solid advice.

    She wont be attacking for no reason, and you need some experienced to be able to observe and pick up on what is causing these problems.

    I may have missed it, but are either of them neutered?

    All i can suggest is feeding them seperately, keeping them seperate when you arent around, and perhaps seperating them in the car. Also, if she harasses other dogs, you need to keep her on the lead.
  4. kath123

    kath123 Guest

    Im sorry to hear about what is happening with your dogs, there is obvisously an issue with the pecking order between them. As i dont have dogs i cant offer any advice im sorry.

    But my sister has a German Shephard who is 1yr old and they have just recently sent her away for training as just wouldnt listen to her. And was barking constantly and going for other dogs when out on walks.

    They paid £800 for a 3 week course, she is back home now and my sister took her out for a walk and some training the other day and a yorkshire terrier came running over off the lead and jumped for persia throat, so yes you can imagine persia just grabbed the yorkshire terrier head in her jaw!!!

    My sister was trying to stop her and the yorkie and she was bitten by the yorkie. She is very upset and is getting back in touch with the trainer and behaviourist and asking to send her back up as it clearly hasnt worked and has cost them a lot of money.

    Persia also lives with 2 yorkshire terriers so was very strange for her to attack the dog but it did go for her throat so i suppose it was just self defence to her.

    I hope you can get them both sorted hun. xxx
    #4 kath123, Jun 23, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 23, 2009
  5. Sleeping_Lion

    Sleeping_Lion Banned

    Mar 19, 2009
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    From your post, it sounds like Meg doesn't know who is boss, and just assumes she can be. Dogs that have had problems with fear aggression, or are timid, can be unpredictable when they don't know what's acceptable. My last rescue, an old foster for life called Chloe, had obviously been badly treated and used to become fearful after a certain time at night. I think someone had possibly come home and beaten her on a regular basis. She was a lab/collie cross, and it was always a case of supervising her behaviour with other dogs, because she didn't know what to do, she would either be bullied, or would try and push the boundaries. She had to be kept separate when no-one was present to be the boss, and she was always watched at meal times as she could be food aggressive too. Dogs do generally sort out their own affairs, but with a dog that isn't aware of how to interact properly, I wouldn't leave them to their own devices.

    When I feed my two Labs, I choose who gets to eat first, they sit and wait, their food is put down, and they are allowed to eat when I say their name. Because Indie is so food orientated, quite often I'll allow Tau to eat first, if Indie moves, she's put back on the spot she was told to sit, just quietly and firmly but no nonsense. They're by no means perfect, but they mess me around a heck of a lot less than other dogs I read about. But it is difficult with a dog you know is timid and possibly has issues relating to how she's been treated, to be able to reprimand without it bringing the world crashing round their heads, trying to avoid that situation escalating in the first place is probably the best option.

    I'd second Nonnie and say get the help of a behaviouralist, and feed them separately for now.

    Chloe, lived a good year and a bit longer than she would have if she hadn't been rescued, and although she had her moments, it was well worth persevering with her, but it is a full time job sometimes, you may never stop having to monitor her behaviour. Good luck with her, I hope she finally settles in with you
  6. Maybe she is coming into season - bitches do get often get extra stroppy then!
    One thing I will add the bitch needs feeding last! she needs to know she is the least important member of the pack!
  7. Burrowzig

    Burrowzig PetForums VIP

    Feb 18, 2009
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    Meg coming into season was the first thing that came to my mind.
  8. clairem

    clairem PetForums Newbie

    Jun 23, 2009
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    Meg was neutured when she was six months old, Colin is still entire. I kept them seperated last night and fed them seperatley this morning. Meg has been pining for Colin so far today, she really seems to miss him when he's not around and you wouldn't know anything was wrong last night after dinner when they were snuggled up together, but when we're not there I'm definitely keeping them apart

    Thanks for the advice about a behaviourist, our training school is run by a mixture of vets, trainers and behaviourists so hopefully they can fathom this out
  9. catz4m8z

    catz4m8z PetForums VIP

    Aug 27, 2008
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    I would defo say to get an expert involved too. Collies can be very complicated in their behaviour. Also you say you think she had several owners. I know other people who have rescued dogs say that there is a 'honeymoon period' when the dog is finding its feet before it then starts to show old behaviours and tries to be boss.
  10. goodvic2

    goodvic2 PetForums VIP

    Nov 23, 2008
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    Hi. You describe Meg as top dog, but yet she is a rescue who is nervous and fearful in certain situations.

    A nervous dominant dog can lead to aggression. This is because they do not know how to handle situations, but because they are dominant then they feel they have to.

    I would consult a behaviourist as you have been advised.

    I would also reinforce the pack status so that she does not feel the need to feel like this. Keep them seperate when you are out, but as much as possible have them together. I would not seperate them at meal times, even though food appears to be the trigger. Instead, I would feed them together and manage them. If they try to go to each others bowls then do not let them. If Meg looks as though she is about to become defensive/aggressive then immediately tell her no.

    Get some advice. My newest rescue had a really hard time from one of my older rescue's and at first he took it, but eventually he fought back. What you don't want is for the other dog to get fed up with it and then you end up with a dog fight - not pretty.

    Best of luck x
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