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Lisa
Lisa, Certified Veterinary Technician
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 13207
Experience:  CVT with a special interest in behavior modification through structure, boundaries and limitations with positive reinforcement.
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My spayed, female Akita (two years old), has just loved our

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My spayed, female Akita (two years old), has just loved our new male puppy (not neutered yet, five months old) - also pure bred Akita, until yesterday. They got into a fight while playing, the male then kept growling and barking at her, then he was over it. Now every time he is near her she growls and wants to fight him, she even growled at us. What is going on?
They both sleep inside, we have another 11 year old Akita who just ignores both dogs and a Pomerainian who is also getting growled at by her.
It's like she snapped in one second.
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Lisa replied 9 months ago.
Hello! My name is XXXXX XXXXX it will be my pleasure to help you with your dog today.

Did Nala only growl at him, or did she actually try to bite him?

Is the PomeranXXXXX XXXXXer or older than Nala?
Customer: replied 9 months ago.

The initial fight I only heard because I was behind the fence with my horse. I heard the fighting, much different then their play noise. I had to physically keep the puppy from jumping back into the fight and she was circling and trying to get back at him while growling. Later that evening, we tried to put them together again and she growled and jumped at him like to try to fight. Same thing this morning, he wanted to play, then she went stiff, growled and I grabbed him before she could jump him.

Expert:  Lisa replied 9 months ago.
Thank you for answering my questions Denise. I really appreciate it.

Although a power struggle over who is dominant can result in interdog fights in a home, there are also many other possible causes that range from fear and anxiety to hormonal issues (this is most likely the cause in your home since the puppy is not neutered). The youngster is starting to become a little more seuxally mature, and as such, it's possible that he's challenging her and she's fighting back. It's also good to remember that whenever bringing in a new pack member, there is a good chance of some shifting of the pack dynamic, and that's often done through fighting.

There's a good site that discusses interdog aggression here:
http://www.cesarsway.com/tips/problembehaviors/understanding-aggression

That being said, the first step is to have the aggressor of the majority of the fights (which is actually Nala, since the pup is playing and she's being aggressive) seen by the vet to rule out possible medical reasons for the fighting. Things like thyroid issues can cause behavioral changes (usually to the aggressive) in dogs. Having your vet take a quick peek and run a thyroid test and/or any other tests they think could explain this behavior is the first step.

If that comes back clean, then you'll have to figure out how to handle this situation. Make sure you don't ever yell or physically discipline the dogs when they're fighting. Raising your voice causes the excitement in the dogs to increase, which can make them fight even more. Also, using physical punishment will only make them feel like they really do have something to be worried or afraid of. When they start fighting, the best thing to do is to quietly and calmly separate them if possible. Sometimes allowing all the dogs to have leashes on while in the house will give you something to grab and use to pull them apart so that you don't get bit accidentally.

I would also recommend getting your new little guy neutered so we can take the hormones out of the equation.

If you're reluctant to do that, then you're going to have to take steps to ensure that the aggressor isn't ever left alone with the other dogs. If your dogs aren't crate trained, then this would be a good time to get that started. Crates/Kennels provide a safe place for a dog to retreat to when they're overwhelmed about something. Additionally, getting everyone crate trained will make it much easier to control who is out interacting with each other.

You should also feed them in the crates and make sure to separate them when letting them outside.

Unfortunately, if you're unable to get these ideas to work, you may have to consider finding a new home for one or more of the dogs. It's definitely possible that your aggressive dog simply can't live peacefully with any new dogs. It's actually pretty common to have dogs who have lived together fine before develop aggression as they age, so if your more aggressive dog can't live happily in your home, the finding him a new place may be the best not only for him, but for the other dogs (and you!) too.

I hope this helps.
Lisa, Certified Veterinary Technician
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 13207
Experience: CVT with a special interest in behavior modification through structure, boundaries and limitations with positive reinforcement.
Lisa and other Dog Training Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Lisa replied 9 months ago.
Hi Denise,

I'm just following up on our conversation about Nala. How is everything going?

Lisa

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