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Our dogs don't get along. Is there ANY hope before we send one back to the pound?

(27 Posts)
PrincessMarcheline Fri 30-Oct-15 14:41:12

We have had our rescue dog for 3 years. She can be a bit aggressive on walks when we meet certain dogs, but is great with kids and a generally nice dog. We are out a lot during the day, so we thought it would be a nice idea to get another dog for company for her. We also wanted to save another one from the pound as there are so many unwanted pets.

So we got our new rescue dog a few weeks ago. She is lovely. Unfortunately they have had a few fights, the last being very bad. They were both covered in bites and there was a lot of blood.

I know she has to go, but she is such a lovely dog who has spent her life in the dog pound. It is going to break our hearts to send her back, but what can we do? I am scared they will kill each other.

BingoBonkers Fri 30-Oct-15 15:07:09

Return her. Not fair on either dog to keep them.

SurlyCue Fri 30-Oct-15 15:10:56

Is the pound a "kill after 7 days" type? If so then dont return it to there! Search for local no kill rescue.

Also, get a dog walker for your other dog so she isnt alone all day.

Costacoffeeplease Fri 30-Oct-15 15:38:48

It's taken us 18 months to get our two dogs together, lots of training, treats, patience. We started with them either side of a stair gate and huge amounts of praise and high value treats for every positive interaction - if our older dog licked the younger one he got praise for giving 'nice kisses' - short sessions, very frequently, as many times a day as we could

When that was totally reliable we put the younger one on a long line in the garden and let the older one roam free, again lots of praise and treats for positive interaction - any signs of stress and we stopped straight away.

There were times I doubted if we'd ever get there, but we have, so it is possible, but you need to really work at it

CaptainKit Fri 30-Oct-15 15:45:38

How much time and money are you prepared to throw at this, even without the guarantee of it working?

Options, as I see them, are;

- Call in a dog trainer/dog behaviouralist who can assess the dogs separately and then together and can suggest whether there's any possibility of it maybe one day not being impossible to have them together. Expensive and no definite promise of success.

- Keep both dogs, but divide your house and do twice the work with walking, playing etc - very impractical and stressful for both dogs.

- Take the new dog back to the pound (unless it's a kill pound, in which case find a different pound/rescue to take the dog back to) it's been one week, so while this will probably be a little stressful for the new dog, and upsetting for you, it's probably the best thing to do in the long run. I've had to do similar in the past, albeit with a much smaller, but no less loved pet - got him home from the rescue and couldn't integrate him with my existing pets, so had to take him back after a week. Thankfully I'm involved with the rescue, as are his new owners, so I get to catch up with him every so often.

It's a really hard part of having multiple pets; sometimes a newcomer just won't fit in with the existing animals in the house and the only good option is to take them back to the rescue and hope they find a better fit somewhere else.

Do you know where the aggression is starting? I.E. is your dog starting on the new girl, or is the new girl picking the fights? It's worth working out, if you can do so safely and with as little stress as possible, as it might help you work out whether there's a chance of you rehoming a different dog, or whether your existing dog is saying 'I like other dogs on walks, but at home I want to be the only one.'

Madbengalmum Fri 30-Oct-15 15:48:01

I was always told when i was getting a dog that i should never consider having two bitches together as they would fight until the death and would never get on.
Sorry its not what you want to hear but that is what my dog breeder told me as i wanted to buy two of her bitch puppies

originalmavis Fri 30-Oct-15 15:52:52

Ahhh. Bitches will fight to the death.

My sister had 2 at one point and one was generally muzzled as she would nip and snip at the other (placid) one until she retaliated. They were farm dogs and my sister is an excellent trainer. She said that she would never have 2 bitches again.

Do you know anyone who could take newdog?

KinkyAfro Fri 30-Oct-15 16:04:11

I think every situation is different, I have two bitches and they get on famously.

CaptainKit Fri 30-Oct-15 17:07:06

We had two bitches as I grew up without any troubles. The second was 6 months old when we got her - both were neutered, older one was done before younger arrives, and then younger was done shortly after arriving.

The older girl wasn't always great with other bitches when out walking, but never aggressive to the point of fighting.

Definitely a case of different dogs being different.

originalmavis Fri 30-Oct-15 17:12:21

Maybe it depends on the be dog type. My sister has Alsatians but I can't see labs being so fighty.

Costacoffeeplease Fri 30-Oct-15 17:55:05

A friend of mine currently has two bitches, both adult rescues, and previously had two bitches, one as a pup and one adult rescue, so there isn't necessarily a problem with 2 bitches

tabulahrasa Fri 30-Oct-15 18:18:37

What's triggering the fights?

3mum Fri 30-Oct-15 18:34:39

It does sound very hostile. usually two dogs will growl, snap the air, bump the other dog and threaten, but not actually fight, so your two really are not getting on.

I'd give it one last shot with muzzles for both dogs all the time whenever they are together. Please don't let them fight at all. Anyone who growls gets isolated immediately in another room with a sharp "no, bad dog" and no other communication (i.e. don't reward bad behaviour with attention. Being deprived of your company is the worst punishment for a dog). Give petting and treats for letting the other dog come close without growling (you can slip these in through the muzzle whilst it is on). Give it another month. If they have not settled down by then I think you will have to rehome one.

TheMotherOfHellbeasts Fri 30-Oct-15 18:44:58

As others have said, with time, patience and perseverance it can work, although I think its very dependant on the dogs' characters. We have three rescue dogs, one male, two female, all neutered. Our two females are a Caucasian Ovcharka (ddog1) and a Fila Brasiliero (ddog3).

They hated each other at first, but are fine together now and ddog2 (our male Caucasian) is the thorn in both of their sides! We had the advantage that ddog1 is very very highly trained and immaculately obedient (as are ddogs2 and 3), and because we made it clear that ddog3 was part of the family, and that she was in no way being usurped in our love and adoration of her, she begrudgingly tolerated her. It helps that ddog3 is fairly laid back by nature, well, as laid back as Filas get anyway.

When we rescued ddog2, it was a different matter. Ddog1 tried to kill him at first, and as he stood his ground with her things got nasty fairly frequently. Every time things got too nasty I'd step in and referee, and we were extremely vigilant and took a slowly, slowly approach with them spending time together, but eventually they were fine together too. They don't like each other (ddog1 seems to find him very irksome), but peace reigns.

honeyroar Fri 30-Oct-15 21:31:53

When we got dog 2 the rescue refused to rehome another female with us, saying they prefer a male and a female. A few years on we have another rescue, this time a female. They get on fine. Dog 1 doesn't like the new dog much, but they will walk together on leads and lie down together at home or when out, but they don't play so much. Dog 1 grumbles at most other dogs (she is a grumpy lab..), most dogs ignore her totally unless they're nervy types.

Anyway, I would try and find a rescue or new solo owner that could rehome your new dog. You know her, you know she's a nice dog, just needs to be in a home where there are no other dogs perhaps.

TooOldForGlitter Fri 30-Oct-15 22:35:30

You can't deal with anything until you figure out what they are fighting over. What is it?

PrincessMarcheline Sat 31-Oct-15 06:03:09

Thanks of your replies. We can't work out what they are fighting over. They will just suddenly go for each other, there hasn't been anything going on beforehand. It's really weird. They have had 4 fights in the month that we've had the second one. There don't seem to be any triggers. Everything is fine then suddenly they are tearing each other apart.

TheMotherOfHellbeasts Sat 31-Oct-15 07:21:58

Four fights in a month doesn't sound without hope - our first two were fighting every half hour and they're fine now. You know what's best in your situation though.

PoppyBlossom Sat 31-Oct-15 10:15:58

How long are they being left alone for?

PrincessMarcheline Sat 31-Oct-15 11:03:58

PoppyBlossom, we both work full-time, so most of the day. But all of the fights have occurred when we've been around.

OliviaBenson Sun 01-Nov-15 08:44:58

Could they be board and frustrated? It's a long time to leave them alone. Do you have dog walkers while you are at work? Our two dogs get at each other when they are bored- for example if it's been throwing it down and they haven't been out for a walk. It's like sibling children getting fractious at being cooped up together. How long per day are they left for?

Shockers Sun 01-Nov-15 08:50:41

I have a bitch with fear aggression and was told by both the vet and dog behaviourist that if I were to get another dog, it should definitely not be female.

Shockers Sun 01-Nov-15 08:51:38

Whereabouts are you OP? There's a brilliant rescue centre near to us (NW).

EasyToEatTiger Sun 01-Nov-15 09:31:52

We had dogs who fought. It was a nightmare having to go to the vet with bits of ear and one dog bandaged up. The one who got bitten was spectacularly annoying to the younger one. In the end we muzzled the younger one or we would have had to rehome him. They didn't fight often, but often enough for it to be a welfare problem.
Bitches can be awful together and they don't forgive each other so easily as dogs after scraps. You will need to keep them separate and seek advice.

TheKitchenWitch Sun 01-Nov-15 14:10:43

I would not leave them alone together until you are as sure as possible that they won't fight.
We have 2 bitches who went from being fine to fighting. With a lot of muzzled training, vigilance and keeping them separate a lot, we are back to fine again now.

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