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I have 2 German Shepherd's both Females. I've had the oldest…

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I have 2 German Shepherd's...
I have 2 German Shepherd's both Females. I've had the oldest one for 3 of her 6 years. Her name is Callie.Recently I rescued another and she is somewhere around 1 year and little older. They can't be in the same room without fighting. Can I ever make this work?
Submitted: 10 months ago.Category: Dog Training
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Answered in 25 minutes by:
10/1/2017
Dog Trainer: Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist replied 10 months ago
Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 20,452
Experience: Behaviorist /Trainer and Dog breeder 18+ years
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Hi JaCustomer,

Welcome to Just Answer. My name is Jane. I have been involved professionally with dogs in the healthcare and behavioral fields for over 20 years. I’ve worked as a Vet Assistant and Behaviorist and have extensive experience in dog reproduction, as a breeder, for even longer than that.. Canine behavioral issues and training are also my specialties. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.

It is necessary for me to get a little information from you before I can type up your reply. Your patience is appreciated.

Have either female had obedience training?

Is either dog spayed?

if not, is either of them in heat?

Can you explain the circumstances surrounding a couple of the fights?

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Customer reply replied 10 months ago
the older one. The 1 year old has not. I didn't know what age was safe for her.
Dog Trainer: Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist replied 10 months ago

Is Yes to training or yes to being spayed?

is either in heat?

Can you tell me the circumstances of the fights?

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Dog Trainer: Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist replied 10 months ago

I was hoping to get the answers to the request for more information but I do not want you to have to wait too long either.

Dogs do experience hormonal changes as they go into heat. We do normally see some aggression toward male dogs at the beginning of the heat cycle since they are not yet at the right time of heat. We also sometimes see aggressions toward other females to establish their leadership and "right" to mate.

Normally the resident dog is the alpha dog in the house hold. However, in the natural order of a dog pack, breeding animals hold a higher place then spayed dogs even if a spayed dog is stronger and more dominant. So if your older dog is spayed and the younger isn't, the younger dog might be trying to take over the top position from the older dog. If they are both not spayed, then there will be fights to establish who is the boss since that is the dog who in a pack would be breeding.

I would discourage any aggression by your female at all times. 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

http://www.tropicaldogtraining.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Dodman_MA10.pdf

http://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.michvma.org/resource/resmgr/MVC_Proceedings_2015/horwitz_02.pdf

An older dog will usually not just submit without some sort of altercation and this can be an ongoing issue. It may also be that the younger dog senses some weakness (illness perhaps) in the older dog which is triggering the fights. Sometimes it will look like one dog started a fight, but with dogs a wrong look or movement by a submissive dog can trigger a fight.

Attacking can also be triggered by an illness in the older dog as well, so you may want to have an elderly check up done on her to be sure she does not have a medical issue going on.

I would start making your dogs 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.cairnrescue.com/docs/nilif.pdf

You will also want to keep a leash on the females at all times initially to grab if they should disobey. Dogs like knowing what is expected of them and they love the little paper thin slices of hotdogs that I use for treats while training. Give this a try and see how it works for you.

In addition, if the situation is not improving using the techniques on the previous website, you may have to consult a professional behaviorist. You can usually find a behaviorist by asking your Vet for a recommendation or you may be able to find one using the following site.

http://www.apdt.com

If you need help with obedience training, the following site is helpful. . 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

Living in a household with multiple females can be an issue. You may eventually need to keep the two separate to avoid these problems. You can read about this issue here:

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

Now often if you take two dogs who live together around other dogs in a leashed situation, those dogs will bond creating a united front against strange dogs which often will help them get along when not around other dogs.

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.

I hope I've given you great service. If so, I'd appreciate a 5 star rating. The rating should be based on my answer and not any site issue. Experts are not compensated until a rating is done. If you have any other questions at all, please reply here and I'll be happy to follow up with you even after you have rated. .

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Dog Trainer: Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist replied 10 months ago

Hi Again,

I just thought I'd check in to see how things are going for you and your dog. I strive to provide the best answer possible. Did you find my answer helpful?.

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