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How do I stop dogs from fighting?

asked 2016-02-25 12:28:32 -0500

I have 2 dogs; one is a Pit Terrier and the other is a German Shepard/Husky Mix. They have both gotten along great for the past 1.5 years they've been together. The other day I took my German Shepard/Husky mix to the groomers. When he returned the Pit wanted to sniff him, but the German Shepard mix didn't want to be sniffed so he growled at the Pit. The Pit then jumped on him and attacked and they got into a fight. I was able to break it up but it kept occurring.

I'm not sure how to go about fixing this issue and I'm hoping maybe somebody out there can help me fix this issue. I currently have the Pit kenneled in the back yard until can get this resolved. I'm also considering finding another home for the Pit. Please let me know your suggestions!

Thanks, Jake G. Cotter

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answered 2016-02-25 15:58:50 -0500

I'm so sorry you're going through this. It sounds like you're on the right track keeping the dogs separated until their issues with each other can be addressed. I think this series on dog-dog aggression between housemates will be invaluable to you -

Part 1 - The Fight

Part 2 - Bites

Part 3 - Management

Part 4 - Training

I would also recommend this article on why you should consider muzzle training both of your dogs. Having both dogs comfortable and happy in muzzles can go a long way in keeping your dogs safe during their reintroduction as well as give you peace of mind.

And of course I'd recommend finding a qualified behaviorist. It's an expensive step, but it's one that will maximize your chances of keeping your family intact without jeopardizing the safety of your dogs. And if you're unable to keep both dogs safely, they can help you prepare one for rehoming.

Good luck!

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answered 2016-03-02 12:53:35 -0500

Definitely work with a trainer to learn how to manage a fight should one break out. The best thing is to prevent fights by identifying triggers and keeping them separated. It sounds like your Shep/Husky could have been sensitive, tired, etc. after coming home from the groomers and just wanted to be left alone. If there is one dog being hostile towards the other dog, kennel that one and let the other one be out until things calm down. Then switch.

My Boxer likes ALMOST every other dog that he meets. However, he picks up on if another dog is scared or on alert and reacts by mimicking the other dog's behavior. Whenever I introduce a new dog at our house, I make sure all the lights are on and that the dogs don't meet in the hallway. Dark and enclosed spaces tend to set the dogs up for a bad start.

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answered 2016-04-26 08:31:20 -0500

I would definitely recommend working with a trainer before re-homing your pet. It could be the stress from being at the groomer on top of the different smells from your husky mix.

As far as breaking up the fight, the best way I have found to do this is to grab the hind legs of the dog and pull them backwards. This limits the potential injury to the dog and the dog cannot turn and redirect on you which is very common in all dog fights.

Also, are your dogs spayed/neutered?

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answered 2016-04-09 12:43:23 -0500

You should try play groups. So what you do is that you take your dog and and another dog that's friendly and walk side by side. Never ever put them face to face because it is a threat sign to them and you don't want that. So walk them side by side but not too close if you feel they are uncomfortable. After they can walk side by side nicely together than still have them on leash but let them play with each other. If it becomes too rough just pull them apart for a little break. After doing so then let them off leash and voila they can play fine. Always do this when your dog meets a new dog so that there is no tension between the two. Hope this helps.

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answered 2016-04-20 19:24:29 -0500

As far as resolving the behavior through experience/training, all the other posters' comments are great.

In addition to behavioral training, it is important to know what to do if you are ever faced with a violent emergency that could turn into a life or death situation. All of the breeders/trainers I know insist the best and only way to disengage two fighting dogs is to yank their tails extremely hard. It is possible that you could slip the vertebrae, or cause other significant injury, in the tail, but nothing that is permanent or cannot be easily resolved at your vet's office. When compared to the alternative, which is that the dogs cause fatal harm to one another, the tail injury is definitely preferable.

I should stress that this is a recommendation for serious, emergency situations. I think it's important to share, not because I would ever want to see you have to use this, but because I've witnessed a couple really horrifying dog fights, during which I felt totally helpless. After the second fight, which resulted in an intervening pet parent's arm being torn all the way through to the bone from wrist to elbow, I consulted every trainer and breeder I knew so I'd be prepared to step in if I ever saw a situation like this again. The tail yank is the safest thing you can do for all involved. Even fight dogs (those abused to the point they are "trained" to fight) are likely to respond to this.

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