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same household fighting


levi
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I am a new member, and a new owner of a BC. I would like to ask for some input regarding our 2 year old male BC. We adopted him approximately 9 months ago from a BC rescue. At that rescue, he got along with most other dogs, cats, female people, although extemely shy of people he did not know- especially men- and did some fear biting (nipping). His story was grim- he had been removed from a home where he lived under a horse trailer year-round, on a 4 foot chain. His reaction to strange men suggests he was physically abused also.

 

We live on a farm and have lots of room. The dogs all run free on over 500 acres. We also have two other dogs, a 16 year old female heeler and a 3 year old male wire fox terrier. When we first introduced the dogs, the heeler and the BC were instantly friends, and the un-neutered wire tried repeatedly to breed the BC. The BC was very appropriate in his repsonse of growling and nipping and moving away. He did finally convince the wire to stop.

 

After a couple weeks, fighting between the wire and the BC began, inititated by the wire. The BC would try to get away when we yelled at them to stop- but the wire would persue him. These fights escalated, and we neutered the wire, hoping that would take the heat off. It did not. We now have a very reactive situation between the dogs- any small tension or growl will begin a serious fight. The wire was torn up pretty well last time.

 

We do not currently have stock, but we got this BC with the idea that he would work. We do plan to get going with a little flock of sheep, but perhaps not for a year. He is a great guy, and we like him quite a bit. He is very biddable, very attached to me, and is in all a splendid dog. We realize that he needs a job. Thinking it might be best for him, we have offered him to neighboring ranches/farms, but because of his background of abuse and neglect, he is something of a "special case" - he is very agresive towards men he doesn't know, and is also agressive towards other dogs. He is also afraid of horses. So we have not been able to place him in a working home. We would like him to atay with us. Are we being unrealistic? Can anyone recommend a socialization method that we might try to re-set their behavior? Which dog should we identify as dominant? Do we need to do this? It has been recmommended by some to use a "startle" and re-set behavioral training model- but others have warned me that the BC is too sensitive for this technique.

 

Thanks very much

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The problem with the two dogs is more of a handler error issue. The fox terrier should have never been allowed to hump the BC. This is something that you really needed to step in and stop. The yelling only made it worse for the BC because here he was minding his own business, the fox terrier comes to hump him and he gets in trouble for it. I'm not at all surprised that they are fighting. The BC has learned that that is what he must do to keep the other dog from bugging him.

 

What you need to do is separate the dogs. Kennel or crate the BC or the fox terrier so they aren't loose together. You can switch them out so they each have free time throughout the day.

 

If you're not prepared to do this, then you need to find a new home for one of them before the terrier gets killed.

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You might want to talk with a behaviorist. And keep the boys seperated. I don't see how the border collie is now lable aggrssive towards dogs now? He wasn't initiation fights, and trying to flee. Maybe I missed something? Also have you contacted the rescued again? They normally have the knowledge of how to handle situations like your.

 

Sorry I am not of much help.

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A couple of points:

1. If you adopted from a rescue, I imagine your rescue contract states that you are not allowed to place the dog elsewhere if you choose not to keep it, but instead must return the dog to rescue. Placing a dog on a farm when the dog's desire or ability to work are completely unknown is likely just setting the dog up for failure.

 

2. It sounds as if the terrier--not the border collie--is the troublemaker.

After a couple weeks, fighting between the wire and the BC began, inititated by the wire... [emphasis added]

You state that the border collie did all the right things whenever the terrier behaved inappropriately toward him, so I don't quite understand why you're drawing a connection between the fights and the *border collie* needing something to do or needing to be resocialized.

 

For now, the easiest thing to do would be to keep the dogs separated. When one is out, the other is in. Let them destress a bit. It sounds like the border collie went from a bad situation to one in which another dog was allowed to harass him to the point where he felt a distinct need to fight back. At least until you figure out what to do I think you should keep them separated.

 

J.

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Hello,

 

As Julie wrote, if the dog was adopted from a legitimate Border Collie rescue, the adoption contract should require that the dog be returned should things not work out. Please contact them about what you now need to do to resolve this situation and for suggestions about what to do until the dog can be returned.

 

Regards,

nancy

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Thanks for your replies so far. Let me clarify that we DO NOT BLAME the BC for any of this. We Are AWARE of the problems between the dogs, and we UNDERSTAND that the wire is the cause. We do NOT allow the wire to harrass the BC. We DID seperate them, for goodness sake. There is no allowing of "humping". Jeez. AS I said, there were some problems at first, but now, after we worked with them, they are usually good buddies, and play often together. We HAVE spoken to the rescue and explained and also discussed our thought to place the dog in a working home. By the way, he DOES work, we are not so stupid that we would try and place him in a working home without knowing that he wants to work, and is very keen to work. The rescue and I agreed to cooperate on a new home if one was identified. However, as I said, we have no takers.

 

I have to say, I am a bit taken aback at the attitude of a couple responses. You have assumed that because I have not owned a BC before, that I am ignorant in the ways of animals and in the ethics of rescued animals. I can assure you , I am not.

 

I wrote for help becasue the BC is not an easily placed dog, and his options for another home are very limited. The rescue had trouble placing him before we took him and we are willing to committ to try and work this out, if it is possible. I also wrote becasue I have been told that the BC is a unique breed as far as intelligence and training techniques. Please try and help us, rather than judge us.

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In your original post

The BC was very appropriate in his repsonse of growling and nipping and moving away. He did finally convince the wire to stop.

 

You said nothing about you stopping the behavior - it appeared you said the BC stopped the behavior.

 

After a couple weeks, fighting between the wire and the BC began, inititated by the wire. The BC would try to get away when we yelled at them to stop- but the wire would persue him.

 

Once again, you said nothing about management issues on your part except for yelling at the dogs.

 

So we kind of based our responses on this information.

 

But for long term success with both dogs the key is now separation and management. They cannot really be loose together without risking the life of the smaller dog. Yes, they do play together at times, but it also escalates to fighting at the drop of a hat. So they can't really play safely together.

 

Not all dogs are going to be friends, especially with this past history. I think you can keep both dogs just fine and they will live happy lives, they just can't be trusted to mingle with each other safely.

 

It doesn't sound like this behavior is coming from the BC having a job or not having one. Rather that he is stressed by the terrier and reacting to it. Remove the stress of interacting with the terrier and things will probably be fine.

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Levi-

I think you're taking these responses far too personally. Everyone who's responded is just trying to help you with some practical advice. We all make mistakes with our dogs. It took a professional trainer to watch my behavior with my BC for me to see that I was encouraging his shyness toward strangers. It wasn't easy to hear but it was what I needed to hear.

 

The same goes with your initial reaction to the humping, which was to get excited and make your already fragile BC think he had done something wrong. (Trust me, I probably would have done the same thing...we are often ruled by our guts.)

 

In the meantime, until you can get this resolved with a behaviorist, re-homing or whatever, keeping the dogs separated seems to be the best thing to do, especially when you can't keep a constant eye on them. That will probably make them both feel less stressed as another poster pointed out.

 

No one is trying to insult you. This form of communication allows people to be blunt and sometimes things don't sound as nice to the recipient as they do to the writer. Please stick with it, as this is a really great resource when you need help with your Border Collie.

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I have also dealt with a somewhat similiar situation, hopefully I might be of help. First - from my reading I have learned that is takes a while (sometimes up to a month) for the chemical reaction of the dog to disappear from the system once a fight has occurred. That means - once a fight occurs, the next one will come quicker if you don't set up a situation to allow the dogs to de- stress. Your BC does not sound like he is aggression motived, but fear. So from that dogs perspective, you have to reestablish that you have everything under control and he does not have to fend for himself. I do this now by being very much on top of where each of the dogs are. We use baby gates in the house to keep them separate and let us relax a little. I do some training with a dog in the down stay on one side of the fence and another on the other side - giving them very high reward treats for calmly lying there, getting their treat and ignoring each other. They are not allowed to stare at each other at all. Both have a location in different parts of the house that if there is any tension at all they are sent to.My dogs get a very high reward treat for stopping on a dime and moving to neutral territory. My "fear" dog - is sent off with all the "happiness and sweetness" my voice can muster. I try to communicate no stress or panic at all to the "fear based" dog. My pushy dog - is sternly corrected- not yelled at, just told to cut it out. End result- at this time they can end up in the room together and nothing happens. BUT.... most of the time I just keep them separate. I don't want to risk anything. Most of the time now, the dogs have learned that they are not supposed to be with each other. I have seen one wait in a doorway - waiting because the other dog is in the room. This waiting stance is very calm and oh well ish.

 

One last piece of advice - if a fight occurs and there are two people - pick the dogs back legs up like a wheelbarrow and walk them backwards in a slow ark. By curving, the dog must concentrate on side stepping its front legs and cannot turn around and hit you. If there is only one person - pick up the hind legs of the "wire" dog. Do not try to grab the collar - you will probably get bit. Good luck

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Levi,

Thank you for clarifying the information. Please remember that we are just trying to help and can only base our responses on what you post in the first place. No one was accusing you of being stupid or anything else--we were simply responding to the limited information you posted. For myself, I made no assumptions about your knowledge about border collies--I based my comments solely on the information you provided. For example,note that in your original post you simply stated that you had tried to place the dog.You did not say you were doing so with the help of the rescue, so it's only natural for a reader to assume you were doing it on your own. And none of us had any way of knowing otherwise until you posted further information.

 

Good luck.

 

J.

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Hi Levi ~

 

Please bear with us! :) When you wrote, "he did finally convince the wire to stop," that didn't include what steps you might have taken, so I was thinking the same as previous responders. Your follow-up post clarified things, so thank you.

 

To answer your original questions, the dominant or at least dominating dog is clearly your wire fox terrier. Same-sex mounting behavior like that is an overt attempt to dominate, not any misguided "breeding" behavior. Given that your BC is a fear-biter and given that he's already suffered under the terrier's mounting behaviors, I'd say he can't help but be over-sensitive to the dog.

 

So, I'd echo other advice: keep them separate for a good while, and closely supervise any interactions. Don't allow any staring or stiff-legged posturing. My intact male has "issues" with a friend's now-neutered male, (both dogs are jealous) and when they've gotten into the occasional minor scrap, it still takes them days, sometimes a couple weeks, to get past being twitchy and over-reactive with each other.

 

They don't forget a past aggression, and I'll bet anything your BC feels on the defensive. The shouting that accompanied past attempts to break them up would only add to his fear and anxiety. I agree that "startling" or loud methods might backfire on your BC. If the terrier resumes posturing and the BC growls a response, and people pounce with loud and startling corrections, the BC won't understand that he's not the one in trouble. He'll think he's being corrected for defending himself.

 

"Cody & Duchess" has given you some excellent advice. I hope that will be of help to you. Do keep us posted.

Cheers ~

 

Gloria

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I had the same issue as the orginal poster.

 

Whisper is a rescue; I got her when she was likely around 8-10 years old. I will never know her real history (except she is an ex-street-dog), though I can make some educated guesses. The rescue group I got her from was an all-breed rescue, and a fledgling one at that, so they really couldn't tell me a lot about her behavior-wise. All in all, I lucked out--she was housebroken, seemed to know a lot of basic commands (as in it was more like reminding what she already knew when it came to teaching her to sit, stay, etc). She tried to chew the remote only once-I told her no, and she never offered that behavior ever again. She tried to chase the cat once, I told her no, and even now rarely offers the behavior, and then only when the cat is acting persnickety.

 

Whisper's only issue that I can't get beyond is other dogs. She came into a household where we had one dog, a male Rottweiler. He was top dog, and everyone knew it, though she tried to topple him. She had one little spat with him, which he totally ignored, and that was the end of her issue with him (with the exception of the end of his life where he was blind and accidently stepped on her-she corrected him in a hurry, and he could not get away from her. It took three humans to separate that fight).

 

Then a stepson moved into the house with his female Pit Bull. The male Rott was still the Alpha Male, but both both females wanted the next slot in pecking order. There was constant fighting, and we did everything wrong--we shouted, adding to the pandemonium and rished into the middle of the fight, and we each got bit at least once--and never by the Pit Bull, it was always my Whisper biting humans--I had one brusie that didn't go away for most of a year. It caused no end of strife between the stepson and I, until one day, after a particularly nasty battle, requiring stitches and a soft cast for Whisper (a battle everyone but my stepson agreed the Pit Bull instigated), I told him that he loved his dog and I loved my dog, there had to be a way to work it out. And we tried so hard. In the end, my stepson moved back with his mother.

 

I stopped taking her for walks where I might meet other dogs and I stopped going to PetSmart with her. I did not know how to deal with dog aggression and I didn't know anything about behaviorists at that time. By that time, we had another male Rott in the house, but there were no issues with that dog at all (we only took him because the owner was not feeding him and I will not stand by and let a dog starve to death while I can do something about it). I was thinking it was a female dog thing. What's interesting, is when I had to move into my mother-in-law's house with my dog. Her granddaughter lived next dog with her female Pit Bull. She'd let her dog out in the morning, and if the dog wasn't back before she had leave for work, the dog stayed out all day (and nowadays, she'll leave the dog in a crate all day long--upwards of 14 hours a day. I'm not sure which is worse). This dog knew the way to grandma's hosue and would spend the day there. I was at work, the granddaughter was at work, and that left grandma to babysit two female dogs, with one of them having known dog-aggression issues. I worried about this endlessly. And then grandma said there was NEVER an issue between the dogs while they were there. Whisper went upstairs and slept and Raja (the granddaughter's Pit Bull) slept downstairs.

 

Assuming this is the truth (and while the woman won't flat-out lie, she will stretch the truth to her liking, though now that I"m thinking about it, there were at least two occassions where I was not present at all and the stepson's dog and my dog got into fights), that means I am part of Whisper's dog aggression problems. I don't know what I'm doing wrong, or if Whisper is resource guarding, or if she is trying to protect me. At this point, Whisper is an only dog, and will remain that way for the rest of her life. I have banned all other dogs from the house. She sees other dogs only at the vet's office, neutral territory, and she never offers to fight there, only shrill yapping barks if she sees another dog, which I can live with (I hustle her out to the car and then come back in to pay the bill), which is the only time she barks in that particular voice.

 

I sincerley hope that the OP can work on his dog's issues. Love and patience (and sometimes a behaviorist-sometimes someone completely new to the situation can see something everyone else has overlooked) will see many a dog through their issues.

 

 

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I do think that every now and then there are situations where dogs just aren't going to get along.

 

I ran into that with my little dog, Kaiser (intact male Alaskan Klee Kai) and a foster BC I had for a couple of months.

 

The BC came to me completely unsocialized and scared of other dogs. Oddly enough, Kaiser was the first dog that he was okay with and they started out doing well together. The issues started when the foster started to play with my BC, Secret, and Kaiser didn't like this. He started to attempt to break up their play sessions by jumping on top of Max (Max was twice his size...). I put an end to that by not allowing Kaiser to be outside when the two BC were playing, but the controlling behaviors started to escalate inside the house.

 

Max wasn't a confident dog to begin with and Kaiser's repeated posturing/attacks just kept dragging him down. Understandably, after a couple of months of this he started to fight back -- But he also became so anxious about the situation that he started to pee everywhere. It wasn't healthy for anyone in the house, so Max got moved on to a more stable home.

 

It wasn't Max's fault. He & Kaiser just weren't able to get along -- Kaiser is a dog who gets along with 95% of the dogs he meets -- And I would venture that 95% of the time he & Max were fine together. They would be fine just long enough to lull me into a sense of security and then something would trip another fight. They weren't bad fights -- Mostly a lot of noise & posturing, but I really didn't need to take a chance of them getting to the point where blood was drawn.

 

With a dog like Kaiser, and perhaps with your terrier, it may be that I am better off bringing females into the house. He & Secret do well together because she is a bitch and doesn't take anything from him. :lol: But I have had other males in the house that he is fine with -- Kaiser senses insecurities and tends to take full advantage of the situation in those cases.

 

This isn't to say the situation isn't manageable. But in my house we co-exist as a pack. I really don't want to have to keep dogs separated as a personal choice.

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I see on your post that they DO play at times, so IMHO, it is not an all out "I gotta kill this BC" on the WHT part. I have a pure bred, bought as a pup from a working breeder. Skip has a "napoleon" complex. Jackson is a big BC, but he will go to extraordinary lengths to avoid confrontation. Skip used this since puppy-hood. I made the mistake of thinking Jackson was just giving him license to be a pup. I did stop his harassing of Jackson, but the "pact" between them was established. If Skip wants something, Jackson must cede to him. Skip has also, last year or so, started lashing out, unwarranted towards other dogs in the house. Mostly, it is geared towards Holly. Poor girl is in her own world and seldom notices its coming. Hank and Jackson have learned to avoid him when he is in that mode. What I have done is when Skip so much as raises a lip, he goes to doggy jail, which is my bedroom with the door closed. He is left there in isolation, while I make a point of engaging in games with the others that he can hear. It may sound extra cruel, but when he is allowed out, he behaves for a month or more. I don't know if that would work for yours, but I know Skip would rather have any thing done to him than to be isolated. When he is allowed out, he will go out of his way to show me how agreeable he has miraculously become.

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thanks to all of you who replied- even the person who made me mad- you DID make me evaluate, and that is always good. Advice from those of you who have had the problem also helps! Anyway, we are looking at things we can change and also are thinking about behavior-ours. So thanks.

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[

It has been recmommended by some to use a "startle" and re-set behavioral training model- but others have warned me that the BC is too sensitive for this technique.

 

Thanks very much

 

Yes, Border Collies are very sensitive, especially one that has been abused and would not respond well to this at all. The BC needs assurance that he is good hands, that you are in charge of his well being so that his trust in you can continue to grow.

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