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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 18961
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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I have a 7 yr spayed female and a 11 mos spayed female. They

Customer Question

Customer: I have a 7 yr spayed female and a 11 mos spayed female. They have started bad fighting. All night and into this am. have to separate them.
JA: Thanks. Can you give me any more details about your issue?
Customer: They are Yorkies; 7 yr old is Daddy's; 10 month old is mne. Bindi {7} is aggressor.
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Customer: ok will do thanks
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Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 11 months ago.

Hi JaCustomer,

My name is ***** ***** I’ve been involved professionally with dogs in the health and behavioral fields for over 18 years. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.

In order to supply you with an informed answer, it is necessary for me to collect some additional information from you. When I receive your response or reply, it will likely take me between 30-45 minutes to type up my reply if I am still online when I receive notice that you replied. I hope you can be patient.

Can you describe what is going on when the fights occur?

Have either dog been obedience trained?

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Bindi, our 7 yr old (Yorkie, is the aggressor. Pepita, 10 month old, also a Yorkie, is my pup. Normally they get along great, with minimal fighting.
They sleep with us too, and last night fought most the night, continuing this morning. Have separated them today.
We were given Pepita about 3 mos ago, as the previous owner could not potty train her. We have trained her to go out with Bindi in our fenced back yard. No other training but come, stay, leash.
We recently went on a trip for a week. The boarder said they did fine with the other couple dogs. She did say they fought one time. When returned home on 12/20, and they have been fine until last night.
What should we do?
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
The fighting has turned into extreme, but the little one gives in eventually.
Now the older Yorkie wants to keep it up.
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Our name is:
Jerry and Eileen Bennick, in TX
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 11 months ago.

I just wanted to let you know I'm working on your answer now.

Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 11 months ago.

What you are seeing is pretty normal. when you have two females, one has to be the boss and one the follower. Normally the resident dog ends up being the boss of the house as most people introduce small pups into a new household. However Pepita may be a pup but would be old enough to be sexually mature. With Bindi being so much older, Pepita may be starting to see if she is more dominant than Bindi. If she is, she might feel she should be the boss instead of Bindi.

The boss gets to tell the other dog what to do. They get privileges such as the "right" to eat first, get affection first and even go outside first. If they want something the other dog has, the leader just has to walk up and the other dog is expected to give it up. This is what it sounds like may be going on. I also want to add that usually when you add a basically adult dog into a household, the resident dog thinks they are just a visitor at first and thus doesn't have much of a problem but as they stay longer, the dogs realize that they are there to stay and then fights can start as they figure out who is the boss and who isn't.

Now I know you think that Bindi is starting it, but it might be as a form of reprimand for something Pepita is doing. For instance, you walk into the room. Bindi, as the boss, has the "right" as top dog to get your affection first. Say Pepita pushes past Bindi in hopes of getting to you first. Bindi would as boss have the right to reprimand Pepita since she acted in a way inappropriate for an adult lower ranking female in a pack. Any misbehavior by Pepita would be met by a reprimand from Bindi. So this could be Bindi teaching Pepita that she is the boss and isn't going to back down.

However, Pepita as I touched on might also be doing things purposesly to test if Bindi can keep the top dog position. If Bindi continues to reprimand her then she may back off and peace will be restored. If Pepita is a dominant dog as well you might have ongoing issues until one is the clear boss and the other totally submits.

Obedience training can help. The following site is helpful in helping owners train their dog. Be sure and click on the link to the page on obedience at the bottom. and links on subsequent pages leading to detailed instructions.

http://www.schutzhund-training.com/training_theory.html

Training works best if you train at least 30 minutes a day (two 15 minute sessions). I would start making your dog work via the Nothing in life is free program (NILF). It is outlined below.

http://www.pets.ca/articles/article-dog_nilf.htm

http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/dogs/tips/training_nothing_in_life_is_free.html

Additional training can also help. 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.

In extreme case, some females have to be separated permanently. I've found that is the case in a few instances. Usually dogs tend to work these things out. Read more on this here:

http://www.canismajor.com/dog/feisty.html

There are other causes for sudden aggression in dogs such as hypothyroidism. You can read about this here.

http://www.petplace.com/dogs/medical-causes-of-aggression-in-dogs/page1.aspx

I would start training and learn body language to get an idea of when they might be headed for a fight and I think you can get them to coexist. Here are sites on body language.

http://www.apdt.com/petowners/park/body-language/

http://www.pawsacrossamerica.com/interpret.html

http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/virtual-pet-behaviorist/dog-behavior/canine-body-language

I hope this information is helpful to you. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have . If you do find this helpful, please take this opportunity to rate my answer so I am compensated for my time.

If you have questions in the future that you wish me to answer, you may click here and bookmark the page or make it a favorite. It is best to put my name "JANE" in the question as well.

Since there have been recalls on certain foods, please check the following site to be sure the food your animals eat is not affected. If it is affected, contact your vet as soon as possible. Have your dog seen if they have any symptoms.

http://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/SafetyHealth/RecallsWithdrawals/

Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 11 months ago.
Hi,
I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?
Jane Lefler

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