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Aggressive dog attacking

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Hi, question for the masses, something I've never really seen, bothers me and a good friend.

My friend adopted a dog about 3 months ago, 2 yr old male, billed as a Border Collie / German Shepard mix. Looks like a small GS, maybe some BC in the face. He's over my house a couple times a week with his dog, and my Border Collie and him play for hours. Running around the yard, chasing balls, never an argument. My BC is 7 yrs old male.


I adopted another BC last weekend. 2 - 3 yr old Male. Very quiet, not an aggressive bone in his body.


The first meeting of these dogs was on Monday earlier this week. My friend is walking down my driveway with his dog on a leash, I had my new dog on a leash, we let the dogs get close, and his dog attacked my dog, very viciously, but I was able to get my dog away, and we separated them quickly.

He came back on Tuesday or Wednesday, and cautiously he brought the dog close but saw his desire to attack again.

Brings us to tonight, we've been having gatherings on my deck with multiple neighbors dogs, everyone always gets along. I left my dog in the house, and my other dog, and his dog played normally in the yard. Gave it a while, I brought the new dog outside on a leash, to see how it would go. Not good, sad to say, it was bad, no dogs hurt, but a bad quick fight. Now to be clear, my dog is somewhat submissive in all this, not fighting back, this is a one sided thing.


I put my dog back inside and about an hour later I tried again very cautiously. Was hoping we could just nip this in the bud as they say. My friend is really bummed out about this, he's a veteran BC owner as well, and really respects my dogs.


I've wondered, we have a nice dog park very close to us, many dogs, all getting along, I've had my dogs there, big dogs, all get along. What would happen if this dog was in there? He has seen 6 other dogs at my house, and got along with all of them, what does he see in this new dog to trigger this.


Any ideas? Would be sad to never let these dogs get together, but scary to let them try.

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Not enough info here to really know what happened, but there are 2 things that come to mind.


First is that this is very, very soon for a newly adopted dog to be being introduced to other dogs that aren't in his household. The rescue I volunteer with recommends giving a new dog at least a good couple of weeks to acclimate to his or her new home before expecting them to meet a bunch of new people and new dogs, longer if they need it for the really sensitive guys, as yours pretty clearly is. It looks like you brought a new dog in to meet him on what, day 2 or 3 of arriving? I might be delaying having a new, soft dog meeting the other dogs in my own home for a few days. That's a lot for an overwhelmed dog to have to deal with, and from your other post about this dog there are indications that the dog is indeed over faced with all the changes to his world. There were pretty clear stress signals in his facial expression in the first photo you posted of him.


Which leads the the second thought . . . that it's quite possible Kingsley was wearing the canine equivalent of a "Kick Me" sign and the other dog did just that.


So the question is, what was Kingsley's body language as you were taking him on leash (i.e. with no real way to escape or avoid conflict) to meet this other dog he didn't know? Is it possible you and your friend missed the body language that told you your dog wasn't welcoming and comfortable with this forced introduction?


And now, only a few days later and still less than a full week since he's been brought to this new home, you bring in a lot (at least to him) of new strangers both human and canine. Again, you bring the same dog that's already attacked him (and wanted to on 2 other occasions) when he had no way of avoiding it and put him in another situation where he had no way out and let the other dog attack him again. I know that sounds harsh, but both dogs were on lead, so yes, the humans controlling the leash allowed it to happen. The humans shouldn't have permitted these dogs to get close enough to fight again.


Can we please stop a moment and think about this from the dog's POV? This dog needs time to decompress, to get used to his new home and to create a relationship with you. He needs you not to push him into situations that he's not comfortable with yet. And he really, really needs you not to be putting him into situations where he's going to be attacked by another dog. The first time might have been an accident, but the second?


Please, please, please give this dog some time and space to adjust to his new home. That may take longer now that he's had these unpleasant experiences, so please be patient with him and let him relax and become comfortable at his own pace. He may never be a social butterfly, and if he's not, that should be OK.


And it's possible that these 2 dogs are never going to be friends. That should be OK too.

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A-) Everything GentleLake said about giving this dog some time.

And not unrelated:


B-) "Very submissive" is often the result of massive insecurity and uncertainty. That can, in fact, as a that Kick Me sign GL mentioned.


Let. This. Dog. Get. Secure. In. Your. Home. Let him again confidence. Allow him time to develop a relationship with *you* and *your dogs* before throwing him off the deep end.


There could be a whole bunch of other reasons he and this other dog don't do well together. But the new dog's insecurity is NOT helping. And every time you throw them together and set him up for this kind of negative experience, the more likely it is to turn into a major, lasting, issue. And the more you erode his security and trust in you.

Seriously. Let him be at home for a while - without guests, visitors, or strange dogs. Take him on some quiet walks. Work on training him a little. Hand feed him. Play games. Learn his personality. Let him learn yours.

Worry about all this 'meet other dogs' and 'get serious about recall and training' and 'meet all the people' in like, frankly, August - or better yet this fall.

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Thanks, well, Kingsley (my new dog) is well adjusted. He loves other dogs. I've had him to our local dog park twice this week, he socialized with a dozen dogs.


It bothersome, that as said, these two dogs could never be friends. The dogs live within 200 feet of each other. I've been scouring the web and I feel that might be correct, the aggressive dog may not be able to get over this.


I've seen many dogs fight, they sniff each other out, then go at it, but they get over it. I've had it happen with my own dogs, jealousy over toys, but you can see a potential reason for it. This thing I'm talking about is just crazy. That first meeting was very fast. not a second of checking each other out, Kingsley walked up fast to say hi, and got beat up. The submissive thing I'm talking about is just not fighting back. He's got a wagging tail, head up.


I honestly dont think my friend will ever let this happen again. He's an 84 yr old guy, that would be happy to just keep his dog on a leash for the rest of his life. I think that's how it will go. He was very reluctant to let this dog off leash, I talked him into it a couple months ago. I have a very safe property, and he saw how much fun his dog has running.


So if there's any creative thoughts out there on how this could be resolved. I will let some time go by, maybe we'll let them see each other again.

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I would keep them separated. Period. Just like people don't like everyone they meet, dogs don't like everyone they meet either.


Speaking plainly, I don't see the need for your new dog and your friend's dog to get along. Neither dog is going to be affected adversely by not being around each other. With the brief history you describe between the 2, there's a good chance one or both dogs WILL be affected adversely by being asked to meet each other again.


I've had a dog aggressive dog, and I had to learn some hard lessons about what not to do. If you don't want to make things worse for YOUR dog, (who should be your primary concern) don't force him to meet this other dog, who has attacked him 3 times already. It would be very sad if your dog were badly injured, or if you dog were so traumatized by this dog attacking him a 4th time that he generalizes it to All Dogs Being Dangerous. It would be sad if your dog starts to lose trust in you because you keep putting him in dangerous situations.


Ruth & Gibbs

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I agree with all advice above.

Do not push this brand new dog. Let him adjust to his new circumstances slowly. Prove to him that he can trust you by NOT putting him in danger.


If your friend is willing to keep his dog on a leash indefinitely that is your solution. Keep them apart, do not let them see each other. Accept that these dogs cannot be together at all. It is barely possible that, in a year or two of being completely separate, they could try again. But don't have that as a goal. And I am not kidding about the year or two. For now, just let this drop and do not try to resolve it.


You have allowed this new dog to be attacked three times, after you were surprised by the first one. If that first attack happened to a dog in my care I would never have allowed those two dogs to see each other again. For at least a year. No exaggeration.


You are trying to move much too fast with this dog. Please put yourself in his place and imagine how this feels for him.

Everything is strange and new and he doesn't even know how he fits into the place yet, and now someone has attacked him with no provocation.

Please give him time and patience.

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You know, this should probably be its own post, but I'm kind of lazy so I'm putting it here.


My youngest dog is a BCXACD+Teeeeeeny bit of foxhound (don't ask me how a foxhound got into the woodpile with dogs being bred to herd goats, I do not know or much care) mix, of the 'useful farm dog' variety.

He's now 14 months old. As a young puppy, every single person and animal on the planet was a potential playmate and his new best friend. As he gets older, this has changed. He still very much loves the dogs he knows and already are his friend, but his use for unknown dogs has become very limited, and his tolerance of dogs being pushy, rude, weird, or being shoved in his face has lowered. He's not aggressive, but he's gone from 'LOVE ME' to 'meh' and occasionally even 'wtf dude, back off!'


This is NORMAL.


I have a dog-selective dog with fear issues. This isn't what this is. This is normal 'dog growing up' stuff. Heck, it's 'mammal growing up' stuff - little kids are more socially open than teenagers, teenagers are more socially open than adults.


Your dog and this other dog have a relationship. They know each other. They are already friends. Quite aside from the risk of you getting your dog hurt and damaging your relationship with your dog, and your dog's confidence, you're not really doing this other dog many favors by continuing to push the interaction either. He's pretty clear in how he's saying that he doesn't want a new friend. Respect that.

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Thanks all, I had Kingsley at the vet this morning, standard checkup following the adoption. All good, I asked the vet about this issue, and suggested the following.

Chester the BC/GS also an adopted dog about 3 months ago, has established himself as the top dog around my house. It took no fights to get to that point, but he is Alpha. Enter Kingsley, approx. same age as Chester, a male, and he sees a threat. Time may heal it.


I went over and talked to my friend, and see Chester, without either of my dogs. all good, we agreed to take a lot time off to allow Kingsley to get established. Chester is a good dog, no hard feelings on my part, all just shocking to me the it happened.


My wife and I had our two dogs down by the water today by house, 3 other dogs showed up, 2 Corgies, and an Aus.Sheperd pup. The 5 dogs got along great. Corgies could get some better manners but they all got along.


Kingsley is doing well, likes the water, did not swim but got into the river (we're on the South River in Annapolis) nice beach there. I'm setting up some basic obedience training for him, a mandatory thing following adoption. Could be good, some basic commands can lead to some good things.




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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi, happy update here. We took it slow, couple of weeks of no aggression but we did not allow the dogs freedom until last night. Kingsley has opened up and is having fun, leaning to play like a dog should. Chasing balls and showing confidence. You will see that I still have to keep him tied unless closely supervised, even still, I have lost 5 lbs over the last 4 weeks chasing after him. 

That's Chester in the photo here, the black tri color. He's the 2 yr old that started the trouble. I'm holding the ball while taking the photo. The two dogs are getting along just fine now, supervised of course. 

Kingsley is enrolled in an obiedience course, hoping to allow him off leash on a permanent basis soon. 





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