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please help me

(41 Posts)
ldt87 Thu 04-Apr-13 07:16:25

My one year old staffy has suddenly started attacking my 9 year old. Both females. My brother and husband got hurt separating them last night and now I'm scared to have them near each other. I adore my dogs but I'm thinking the only way around this is to re home my pup?

Has anyone got any advice or experience of this? I'm scared of not being able to get them apart if I'm alone and they fight. After spending easter weekend miscarrying, this has devastated me. I have never got rid of an animal before. Please be kind, I've been up all night distraught.

1MitchellMum Thu 04-Apr-13 07:29:06

Sorry to hear this. Do you know what the trigger was? For example did they fight when you were feeding them? Or playing with a ball? If it was over food then you could try feeding them in separate rooms (even putting them in separate rooms whilst you prepare the food). This happened to me with two of my dogs (one since died of heart attack). Afterwards I never fed them together and never played ball with them together. Hopefully it's something you can identify and solve. Maybe worth speaking to a dog behaviourist. It must have been terrifying for you. Hope you sort things out.

ldt87 Thu 04-Apr-13 07:34:11

The problem is the younger one has always been greedy, we have fed .from separately for a while, but recently there seems so be no trigger. Last night my brother came to mine and walked in and stroked the dogs, the next minute they were on each other. It also happened at the weekend in the living room with no obvious trigger. I'm just scared for the safety of my dogs. I adore them, but I'm so worried about them.

OrbisNonSufficit Thu 04-Apr-13 07:41:14

Oh you poor thing, to have to deal with this on top of a mc. Hope you're ok [hugs]

I second 1MitchellMum - a dog behaviourist would be very helpful as it could be a few different triggers. Our local puppy school are great for this sort of this - they do 'difficult dog' sessions that are very reasonably priced. But food, bed space and your attention are definitely the likely triggers (dogs are pretty simple). Choose which dog is where in the hierarchy (observation, which one defers to the other one) and then top dog always gets everything before second dog.

But they might be just picking up on your stress - pup has seen a chance to test the hierarchy while the pack leader is distracted. They could settle down again without too much trouble. In the meantime are they crate trained? You could crate one while feeding walking etc the other one?

ldt87 Thu 04-Apr-13 07:45:26

They aren't crate trained, I feel like the younger dog is continually trying to get one over on the older dog. But last night she was not letting go and I'm scared they'll get hurt. I don't want my kids around it either.

After last night I'm too scared to have them together.

ldt87 Thu 04-Apr-13 08:47:08

I'm just sobbing for my gorgeous baby staffy who is amazing with the kids and who I love so much because when I'm here alone it seems so unfair to keep one dog shut away. I've got a muzzle for when they need to be let out for the toilet but it can't work like this long term. Can fighting bitches ever go back to being best friends like they were? Two fights in a week has trashed my confidence in handling them.

Empress77 Thu 04-Apr-13 08:51:56

Are they spayed? That would definitely be worth doing if not.

ldt87 Thu 04-Apr-13 08:53:16

No they aren't. I had read that it can make things worse? So much conflicting advice online. I will look into it.

MrsZoidberg Thu 04-Apr-13 10:24:35

I'm so sorry you're going through this. I have the same situation and we have to keep them separate all the time, not even together muzzled.

We are lucky enough to have a house where we can do this and our DS is old enough to know that he must follow strict rules to stop them getting together (to be honest DH is more likely to slip up than DS).

I decided against a behaviourist as I knew that I would never trust them together what ever training they had. They had lived together for 3 years with no issues, then the older one turned on the youngster. It was food to start with, then attention, then we haven't a clue - we think some communication between them too subtle for a human to see.

Our older girl will now attack ANY female, we think this is because we left it too long before we resolved it.

If you decide to spay them and go the behaviourist route then I really hope it works for you. You're tackling it early so hopefully you'll succeed. Good Luck.x

Bunnylion Thu 04-Apr-13 10:40:30

Could it be her coming into heat for the first time? If you think it could be then I'd keep them as separate as possible until its over in a week or two and see if she improves.

If it does improve after her het then its probably worth spaying her, as it'll only become more distressing for your older dog each time.

If its not then definitely speak to vet or behaviourist. It may be her coming into adulthood and just trying to reorder the hierarchy in the home. There may be an easier solution than having to let her go, or even spaying her.

Big hugs.

ldt87 Thu 04-Apr-13 10:49:51

She's already had her first season, the first fight they had was when my older dog was in season and had little patience with the pup.

The problem we have is that our house is not very compatible with permanently separating them, and as said above, this has been so out of the blue that I don't think I'll ever relax around them again.

I really don't know what to do but thank you for not flaming me.

ldt87 Thu 04-Apr-13 10:50:44

She's already had her first season, the first fight they had was when my older dog was in season and had little patience with the pup.

The problem we have is that our house is not very compatible with permanently separating them, and as said above, this has been so out of the blue that I don't think I'll ever relax around them again.

I really don't know what to do but thank you for not flaming me.

OldBagWantsNewBag Thu 04-Apr-13 11:57:17

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Empress77 Thu 04-Apr-13 12:22:12

Definitely definitely get them both spayed - your vet will tell you that too (im a vet nurse) and then go for a behavouralist consult. You could also try DAP collars. But definitely spay them both first, their hormones will settle down then!

SpicyPear Thu 04-Apr-13 14:21:31

Can I also suggest you speak to some people with specific bully expertise. It's generally advised against having two female bullies as this is quite common. With two bitches once the fighting has started it tends to escalate and thay will fight a lot more seriously than two males or a mix. I know someone who had to rehome for this reason. Maybe SBT rescue or welfare can help with some initial advice. For now I would not leave them alone together at all.

ldt87 Thu 04-Apr-13 15:28:47

Spicypear thanks for your reply. The risk of escalation is what really concerns me. I am considering re homing the younger of the two to make sure that they don't end up harming each other, or people who have to get in the middle. I have a muzzle for when they need to cross paths but they have been kept separate all day.

What worries me is the out of the blue nature of the fighting. With no indication of the cause I will struggle to preempt a fight. This makes me think re homing would be best in the long run, rather than put anyone at risk. I have read varying accounts of spaying working./not working. The same for behaviourists.

OldBagWantsNewBag Thu 04-Apr-13 15:48:45

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ldt87 Thu 04-Apr-13 16:08:21

Their exercise hasn't reduced at all, they also have access to our garden practically all day so they aren't cooped up at all.

Turniphead1 Thu 04-Apr-13 17:02:55

Do they actually exercise themselves in the garden though? It might just be my dog - we have a big garden, but she doesn't really get the same exercise there as she does when she is out on walks. Are they getting lots of walks and mental stimulation (realise this may be hard after all you have gone through - so sorry to hear about that).

midori1999 Thu 04-Apr-13 17:59:48

I would imagine that this has come about because the younger dog is maturing and the older dog simply won't tolerate behaviour she previously would. It is generally not recommended to have two bull reeds of the same sex together an it is true that once bitches have had a fight that has resulted in injury (sometimes even if it hasn't) they will bear a grudge and not let it go. I agree that is is best to keep them separate for now at least, as any further fights will just reinforce the problem and as you know, when they fight they not notice if humans get in the way.

You can find a good behaviourist on the APBC website and I wouldn't personally entertain a behaviourist that wasn't accredited to this organisation. Sometimes your insurance will cover the cost of this.

Obviously spaying has health benefits, but it's extremely unlikely to make any difference to this behaviour. Fighting amongst bitches is not testosterone driven as it is in males (not that that's always the cause in males, but testosterone can make dogs more reactive). Obviously you can discuss this with a behaviourist you see and I would do that as well as discussing with a vet, not all vets are fully up to date on neutering and it's effect or non effect on behaviour IMO.

This is a difficult situation and I think it's one of the few where reforming would be justified IMO, but I think it's also important to think about how likely your bitch is to find a home if you don't keep her and whether you'd be prepared to keep her until a reputable rescue could find a home, or if there was any way of keeping them both, although that may mean less thank optimal circumstances for them, as the alternatives may be much worse.

ldt87 Thu 04-Apr-13 17:59:55

They aren't walked around much as they should be especially at the moment, but they've always been fine before and played really well in the garden. They run around for hours playing and definitely tire each other out. Obviously now I have to keep them separately so they are in more. They have loads of toys which they play with and are really affectionate to people. Just suddenly hate each other it seems.

midori1999 Thu 04-Apr-13 18:05:58

It is important to keep up regular walks. They are about much more than exercise and provide our dog with mental stimulation and access to sights, sounds and smells they wouldn't get in a garden.

Poppylovescheese Thu 04-Apr-13 20:56:55

I have two ridgeback bitches, one is younger by 18 months and they have had a few fights mainly over food but sometimes seemingly over nothing. I think it relates to the younger one maturing. They eat, sleep and play together and we don't intervene in the fights as they sound worse than they are. Not sure if this is any help but just wanted you to know they can fight and then be friends again. I second the fact that very regular walks out of the garden (mine get two long walks a day) really helps also feeding them separately. HTH

ldt87 Thu 04-Apr-13 22:15:58

Thanks poppy, I do think it makes matters worse sometimes that I panic so much. Trying to get a plan in place to deal with this effectively, while keeping both dogs and making it safe. Thank you for all the advice everyone

Poppylovescheese Thu 04-Apr-13 22:26:58

Hi again
Its natural to panic: I do every single time but I think its possible to resolve it and to a certain extent a natural reaction for dogs who live together. However only you know if it would go too far: my two are pretty strong and full on and the younger one is definitely more dominant but it has settled down alot since she matured (she is two now).

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