Emergency vet visit......

(6 Posts)
FeckingJackRussell Fri 22-Feb-19 00:03:58

As my username would suggest my bloody JRT has just cost £300 at the emergency vet.
Not her though, my poor old Westie.

JRT has been known to be aggressive to other dogs no shit eh?! and as westie is old and just submits, and JRT doesn't stop, JRT is crated when I'm out because I didn't trust her.
Don't know what happened today but I was out for a couple of hours and JRT somehow got out of the crate and as she can jump had pulled anything she can lay her thieving little jaws on down off the side. A fight has obviously happened and I came home to what looked like a murder scene. Blood all over the floor mixed with the upended water bowl and blood up the walls and all over both white dogs. I was horrified. Turns out westie has an injured eye, bleeding and swollen and so we have been to the emergency vets, and she's to go to my vet tomorrow and may need surgery. The bloodbath was probably due to dog shaking her head and the water from the water bowl spreading it about. No other injuries.

I have no idea how the JRT got out, she never has before, and I'm pretty sure I shut the cage properly. She didn't get out while we were at the vets but I'm worried now - thinking of seperate rooms but they cry when seperated, it's going to cause issues with neighbours, but it could have been so much worse and I'm not willing to risk it.

I've noticed the JRT gradually getting more aggressive towards the Westie as the Westie slows down and age is catching up, I realise this is probably fairly normal, but always having had dogs the same age I've not faced this problem before - can anyone advise about this?
I understand that there's times when 2 dogs (bitches actually) will fall out and they've had a few rumbles but it's always the JRT that starts it and she gives relatively little warning before she goes full force. Westie is just too old for this now and I don't know how to deal with it.

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missbattenburg Fri 22-Feb-19 10:19:30

I think I'd be double bagging this one. A crate and another form of barrier - such as a baby gate - between them when left alone.

I'd also be keeping them separated much more when I am in the house and using treats or similar to have them associate being apart with nice things. Thus making it easier for them to be apart when left alone.

Your Westie will be less and less able to cope with this - both mentally and physically. Getting them both settled being apart could be a life saver, literally.

fwiw I am not convinced it IS more normal for a dog to increase aggression just because the other dog has gotten older. I say that because thinking of it as normal might mean you accept it as inevitable. I don't think it is. A qualified behaviourist would be one way to try and tackle this. Otherwise, I suspect you're looking at controls and management for the rest of your Westie's days. Don't replace any dog until the JRT goes as well.

SlothMama Fri 22-Feb-19 10:21:08

I would put the crate in a separate room, could you use a baby gate rather than closing the door? This might stop them missing each other but still keep them safe if the JRT escapes again.

With the other issues it is common that dogs of the same sex can become aggressive with each other. At this point all I can recommend is a dog behaviorist

FeckingJackRussell Fri 22-Feb-19 11:18:20

Thank you for your replies, I 'double bagged' this morning while I nipped out to the chemist for stuff I needed to keep eye clean until vet tonight. I have a play pen type cage that opens out so put that across the kitchen so they were together but not and a heavy stool in front of crate door so it couldn't be pushed. This might have to be the way forward!
We have started seperating them as westie has slowed down, DD (17) walks JRT alone and I walk Westie, and when we've done vet and groomer visits because of different needs and they sleep in different rooms when we're both here, with us, but are so used to being together when we're out - tbh it's why I have two so they're not on their own, although we're not out for very long at a time, there's usually someone around and they settle well with water and a chew for the times we are both out.

fwiw I am not convinced it IS more normal for a dog to increase aggression just because the other dog has gotten older. I say that because thinking of it as normal might mean you accept it as inevitable. I don't think it is. A qualified behaviourist would be one way to try and tackle this. Otherwise, I suspect you're looking at controls and management for the rest of your Westie's days. Don't replace any dog until the JRT goes as well.

I have always thought this was a natural pack thing - but that's not to say I'm just going to let it happen though. The vet last night said the same as I thought that younger dogs start to challenge older dogs as they sense weakness in them as it's natural for the pack to have the strongest and fittest in charge. I've seen horses attack other older and weaker ones in the herd and chase them away because from a herd pov, they're a risk to the whole. But of course horses are prey and dogs predators, so different dynamic.
I was planning on asking the vet for advice later regarding the JRT - there's no health issues there, checked over a few weeks ago as normal vet mot. And she is fine with my mum's JRT when they/we visit and a couple of other dogs she knows and has been introduced with properly. She gets aggressive when other dogs she doesn't know bound and bounce all over her and she gives relatively little warning and doesn't stop when the other dog submits. She's on a lead when out unless we're sure it's clear because of this.
As I said they've had a few little rumbles in the past, sorting things out and I fully expect that, it's just in the last couple of months or so JRT has changed towards Westie, barges her out of the way and pushes her around and has gone for her while I've been around and I've had to seperate (with no injuries) obviously this time I wasn't there.
Will ask vet to recommend behaviourist.

OP’s posts: |
missbattenburg Fri 22-Feb-19 11:28:57

Hmm. I would take your vet's advice with a pinch of salt where behaviour is concerned. You're very right that prey and predator groups work differently. Goldfish (probably other fish too) do something similar where they will badger a sick animal until it leaves or dies - because its presence weakens the group.

On dogs especially...

- Dogs do not form packs, they form loose social groups which have very different social dynamics to a pack. For a start, no animal would remain in the same group long enough to grow old or weak. The group membership literally changes all the time with dogs coming, going etc. These groups also look nothing like a wolf pack and have very different dynamics. Wolf packs do not make good examples for dog social behaviour.
- Those social groups do not have set leaders. In fact, the probably don't have any leader at all. In specific circumstances one dog may defer to another but this is not a leader/follower dynamic. Literally minutes later the deferee could become the dog being defered to. It's all about what specifically is happening at that time.

Asking for a behaviourist recommendation sound sensible. You want one registered to a professional body, such as APDT to try and make sure they are using the latest science in their work - not outdated theories re dominance etc.

Good luck!

FeckingJackRussell Fri 22-Feb-19 11:59:55

Thank you, that's very helpful, for want of a better phrase the JRT appears to be bullying the Westie and Westie now less able to deal with it. JRT must have stopped at some point, or Westie defended herself enough because they were both curled up together in Westie bed when I got home! I'm just grateful it wasn't worse. I guess management is the key, and getting a good behaviourist.

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