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Sally G.
Sally G., Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 9568
Experience:  Service /assistance dog trainer,Therapy dog evaluator and trainer, AKC evaluator, pet first aide and member of PAS Animal Response Team.
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Hi I rescued an intact male boxer (max) approx 7 yrs old. Took

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Hi I rescued an intact male boxer (max) approx 7 yrs old. Took him to get a check up and blood work and he is fine. He is the calm boxer I've ever seen. I've had experience and had two female spayed boxers. I brought him home where I have a 14 yr old neutered XXXXX XXXXX (jack).He has an alpha personality so i wasn't sure what to do. They met outside the house and got into a fight. They was resolved and they've been fine since. I've had him about 6 weeks. Then other night Max got up in the middle of the night @ 3:15 whining. He is like an alarm clock for 6:15-6:30. I took him out alone ( I always take both but jack had his teeth cleaned and had been anesthetized and had to rest) and he did nothing except stare out in the distance and sniff. I came back in an d jack came downstairs to greet us and next thing I know they're fighting . They had to be separated for like almost 24 hr's. Now they are back to normal. My females fought a lot but I knew the triggers. In thus case I have no idea. Was it Bc jack came from the vet? Can't tell who the clear alpha is and maybe he was challenging and figured jack was weak and took the opportunity ? Or was max smelling a female in heat somewhere and saw jack as a rival? He WAS acting strangely (staring outside and sniffing like crazy, he didn't eat that day) odd thing he was totally fine when jack first came home that afternoon. Why fight 8 hours later? Would he discover his weakness that late? I want to keep him. He is great but I'm debating on whether I should neuter him. He is in great shape and not aggressive. But if smelling a Female makes him nuts like this then I have to neuter. What could cause him to suddenly do this?

Sally G. :

Hello, thank you for using this site to help you with your problem. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I have been in the dog field for 25 years. It will be my pleasure to help you today. Please understand that I may send an information request so that I may gather what I need to better help you with your problem.

Sally G. :

I would say that if there was a female in heat and he is not neutered then that would make a fight happen.

Sally G. :

Dogs can smell a female in heat for almost two miles and they will become aggressive.

Sally G. :

At the same time you are right in assuming the possibility of him seeing the other dog in a weakened position would also cause a dog to try an take over.

Sally G. :

I would suggest that you keep an eye on them over the next few days to see how it goes as a female will be in heat for at least 4-9 days. If things calm down then you will know that was the problem.

Sally G. :

I see you are offline right now so I will sign off and wait until you have the time to come back to the conversation.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thanks for the info. I fell asleep. So far they are ok yesterday and today. We went out for walks with no incident. Based on the randomness of max's behavior and his fervent sniffing and searching type behavior in the middle of the night, I think that may have been it. Perhaps the female was a visitor? I've heard they can be in heat for several days and now they are fine. Unless it's because jack is much better as well. My concern is also long term. I'm assuming that neutering will help him nonetheless. I've seen other males react negatively towards him and I hope it doesn't make him gain weight. However what happens when jack gets older? He is spunky and healthy for 14 but eventually when he gets older and weaker should I worry that max will attack him?
That would be a horrible situation for all. Is there anything I can do to prevent it? Like I said in my previous email, jack is usually alpha w other dogs and often makes a point to mount other visiting dogs. Not so w max. Jack pretty much leaves him alone. Sometimes he instigate when getting leashed for a walk. Max isn't acting as if to try either. How I can I help them figure out their hierarchy?
Thank you for that information Vanessa. When you have a multiple dog home it is very important that all dogs be on a neutral playing field and the human be the one in charge. This is because as you suspect with Jack getting older he will eventually become in a weakened state and Max will probably recognize it and pound him. This is not uncommon so if you can take over the dogs now in the long run it will be best.

Max will not gain weight if you don't over feed and if he gets the exercise he needs. Neutering him will bring down the testosterone levels within a couple of weeks which will take some of that aggression away.

At this point it is hard to say for sure if Max thought Jack was in a weakened state because of the vet visit so he tried to take over. As well you have only had Max for 6 weeks so the honeymoon period as we call it may be coming to an end and the fighting may begin to increase. Sometimes newly adopted adult dogs seem to be fine, a small spat here and there because they are still unfamiliar with the new surroundings or how long they are staying however that can quickly change when they begin to feel at home. They may start to show more of their true colors as far as being possessive or alpha so it is always important to be consistent with the dogs in the home at all times so they do not feel they can take the lead.

I have always run a multiple dog home for well over 25 years with six and seven in house large to giant breed dogs, if I allowed one to be the leader there would be constant chaos because of all the different personalities.

That being said the Boxer breed is prone to hypothyroidism and this can cause aggression as well, so you will want a blood test to determine if this could be a problem

Since Max is aged and was adopted I would not be breeding him as you may not know if his hips, eyes, and heart were certified, as well you want to know the temperament of the family line unless you adopted from a breeder who gave you a copy of the full health records.

I would have him neutered and see if he calms down a bit, I would begin both dogs on the nothing in life is free training to put them both on an even playing field if you are going to keep Max, and I would do daily sessions of obedience training to show both dogs you are a consistent leader in what you expect from them. This traing is not to show the dogs how to sit, or stay, it is to firm up commands and show them you are consistent.Dogs do not want to follow a leader that is not consistent. The training sessions should be for about 15 minutes and done several times a day. I would teach a firm leave it command and a firm recall so you can prevent a fight before it happens with either command.

I will direct you to a site that goes over the NILIF training so you can get an sense of how and why it works as well as too a positive obedience training site. IF you are worried about weight gain you can use their daily amount of kibble for the training sessions as you will be using this to feed them by hand in the NILIF training anyway.

If Max stays intact and it was a female dog in the area that caused this then you will always have this problem because even if Max cannot get near this female he will still be possessive over his area. Even when male dogs are fixed, a female in the area that is in heat can have them act out.

Once you have rated my answer I would like to schedule a FREE follow up with you to see how things are going or if you need more help with this problem. Should any new problems arise, you can open a new question and request me if you wish for me to help you again.

Clicker training/positive method training

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