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What obedience training have you done with them?
Do you walk them daily?
Does one seem to be the aggressor or does it vary?
What exactly have you tried so far?
They start the day with a 45 minute walk and then some running in the backyard. They walk and play in the backyard without fighting. Every afternoon they run while I bike for at least 20 minutes straight. I am not coordinated enough to have them to do this together. Then they get another walk together in the evening.
The fighting occurs in the house or on our deck. We have not figured out the trigger. It is not toys or affection as we are very careful with both. There is a 2 second interval between intense staring and a full out fight. It is scary. For about a week now, we have been separating the fights and then holding each dog down on their side until they are calm. I have learned this from the Dog Whisperer. We are doing our best to be calm and assertive. However, I have been bitten 3 times breaking up the fight. And this morning I was bitten pretty badly on the arm after about 8 minutes of holding one down. He was being very stubborn and not willing to calm down. Even though they are littermates, one is much larger and he is the one who bit me today. He is the one that I think is the problem. The other one seems to be fighting back out of fear. I now find myself afraid to have them together after the bite this morning and I know they will sense my fear.
We also have 2 older pugs. Each puppy is wonderful with the pugs as long as the other puppy is not around. One pug (female) intervenes in the fights without success. Vinny actually had her face in his mouth this morning when I was bitten. We have 3 cats and the puppies do not bother them.
We have done 6 weeks of obedience school with each pup. They were aggressive with other dogs and the trainer said "something is wrong with them" as Aussies should not be aggressive.
They have some strange love/hate thing going on. They cry and cry if we move their crates. If their crates are next to each other they are very happy. And they cry when they are in separate rooms. However, they fight when they are together.
My husband, kids, and I have done everything we can to make this work. After the event this morning I feel as if I cannot win and we must re-home Vinny. This makes me very sad. We have already invested so much love, time, and money into both of them.
I would really like to know if we should try e-collars. Or should we just realize that there are red zone dogs and we cannot handle 2 of them?
Both dogs should be leashed and if one dog even looks at the other dog, a correction should be done. Any sign of aggression including a prolonged look, hair raised on the shoulders, a growl or even a stiff legged walk, should be corrected. A correction is a quick tug of the leash and a firm low toned "NO". Once you have done this couple of times, you should notice the dogs ignoring each other. When that happens, you will want to reward them for the desired behavior. Again, use tasty treats like the hot dog slices. This teaches the dogs that you WILL not tolerate fighting in YOUR pack.
I also want to give you sites on body language so you can stop aggression before it breaks into a fight.
The leashes will help you separate them if necessary. Also keep a hooked style cane handy. It can allow you to hook a collar and pull dogs apart if necessary and if the leashes are not easily grabbed.
As to your actual question about shock collars or remote training collars, they are not designed to be used in cases of aggression. If you read the training manuals they will tell you somewhere in there that they are not effective for aggression. What happens is the dog is aggressive toward another dog and you give a shock and the dog associates that discomfort with the other dog or a person and feel it is an attack and it makes the aggression even worse.
So I do not recommend an e-collar for this purpose. E collars are a handy tool and great for long range recall. I have used them for that purpose. I know that there are some trainers that feel e-collars can be used to stop aggression, but those are seasoned trainers and none that I know of would recommend an owner use one to stop aggression.
The methods I have suggested have proven over the past 15 years to be effective for this situation. I do not feel you have dogs that can not have their behavior corrected. I just think you need to increase any obedience training you are doing, start the NILF program and catch the behavior before it starts. Start rewarding the desired behavior as well. It shouldn't' take that long for them to settle down especially if they were neutered in the last 30 days or so.
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I will check out all of those sites. Should we allow them to be in the room together all the time? Should we muzzle them when they are together to help with our fear of them fighting? You said to keep them on leash and we will.
What do we do with them after a fight? We will stop the physical submitting. Should we just put each one in their crate to cool off??
Right now their crates are next to each other - are you okay with this?
why is it that they do not fight while on walks or playing together in the back yard?
do you know where to get basket muzzles?
we will buy the basket muzzles and put them on them during family time - we will keep them on leashes and look for signs of aggression - we will do a correction if we see any signs - if they fight we will separate and put in crates for 30 minutes - we will move their crates to 3-4 feet apart - and we will try to remain hopeful
we will also start to recogize Vinny as the leader of the dog pack
this plan makes me feel much better than trying to force them to submit...
We have started to treat Vinny like the alpha - he is let out of his kennel first, he eats first, etc. We are also implementing the "nothing in life is free" approach. They are doing GREAT outside - they are walking together without any growling or dirty looks. And after a walk or bike ride they play in the back yard and have a great time. I am no longer even anxious outside.
Inside the house is another story. We had 2 attempts to let them hang out together yesterday. Both ended up in a fight but it took over 15 minutes for the first fight to start. The second fight started right away. It may be in my head but it did seem like the intensity of the fight was not as high as it had been in the past. We tried to use an air horn to stop the fight and of course that did not work. But we grabbed their leashes and it was much easier than grabbing collars.
We have not had them out together in the house tonight. Their crates are in our great room where we hang out so I have been alternating one in and out of his crate every 30 minutes. They both had LONG bike rides earlier this evening and they ran like crazy!
I did notice last night and today that Chief is afraid when we are taking him in the house from the outside. He will plant himself and we have to pull him to the door. Of course, Vinny is always somewhere else when we bring Chief in but it does make me sad that Chief is afraid in his own home...
We are not giving up yet...
Should we be concerned about Chief being afraid to enter the house? Or is this actually a good thing because it means he realizes that Vinny is in charge?
Thanks so much!! You have been a fabulous resource for us!!!
Well, we had a big fight outside last week that took me by surprise. I ended up with another bad bite on my leg.
After that fight we decided to re-home Vinny. He is currently with one of my friends and so far doing okay. She has an 11 year old male lab who has cancer and a 7 year old female bulldog. Vinny spent a few hours with them for 2 nights in a row and then "moved in" on Saturday. On Saturday he tried to fight the famle bulldog and she sat on him and quickly put him in his place. Now they are all great friends and playing like crazy. Vinny apparently needed some leadership that we just could not give him. But I think the female bulldog is up for the challenge!!
The only problem now is that he is urinating in their house and he was fully house trained with us. Hopefully this will improve. My friend loves him and will keep him forever as long as he gets the house training under control.
We are happy and sad. We are sad that we could not keep them both. We love Vinny very much. But he will be happier in a non-threatening environment and Chief is also SO much happier now. He is like a different dog.
We should have never adopted littermates and we will never make this mistake again. Also, we are very thankful that my friend wanted a new dog and also fell in love with Vinny. Hopefully he will get the urinating in line so he can stay with her.
Well, Vinny is back in our home. He started fighting with her 11 year old male lab with cancer. The lab was afraid of him and was hiding in their home.
I do not know what we are going to do.
In your professional opinion, is there any chance of him mellowing out over time?