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Ask Jane Lefler Your Own Question
Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Breeder,Behaviorist, formerVet Asst
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 19662
Experience:  Former vol Vet Assistant.Breeder 18+ years Dog trainer / behaviorist
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2 ,6yr old ***** ***** and 18 month corgi,both coming

Customer Question

2 bitches,6yr old ***** ***** and 18 month corgi,both coming into season.normally get on fine but this last couple of months they can suddenly attack each other with blood everywhere.they don't seem to do it when left alone
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 2 years ago.
Hi Sir or Madam,
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.
Are these the only dogs you have and what sex are they?
How many seasons has the corgi had?
Can you describe the circumstances leading up to the fights?
Does one dog seem to be the attacker (perhaps the ***** *****)?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
both bitches.2nd season for other dogs in a rule its the ***** ***** that starts but a couple of days ago the corgi flew at the russell causing a deep cut to side of nose.cant really say what the trigger is,they just go instantly,very little or no I said,they don't seem to fight when left alone
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
sometimes there might be some serious growling but we separate them instantly when that happens
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 2 years ago.
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. Now while dogs will start going into heat anywhere between 6-12 months of age, they really aren't mature until they are closer to 18 months. It is that period of time between a year and 2 years that they mature into adults and start challenging existing alpha dogs in the household in the hope of becoming the boss.
It sounds like your older female started exerting her will on the Corgi to remind her that she was boss, but then the Corgi decided she had enough of the reprimands and is fighting back now. The Corgi also might have been doing things that disrespected the older alpha like pushing past her to get to you, or getting affection from you first or just getting too close to her or ignoring the Jack's warnings. This would cause the ***** ***** to reprimand her.
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 below. I don't think that is the cause, but it is a possibility.
When a dog is a puppy (under a year of age or so) any older dog in the house is the alpha dog. A male is usually alpha over females and females have one female alpha in addition to an alpha male. Thus there is no dominance fighting from the male. While the younger dog was maturing, the older dog established her rank over the other female with minimal or no fighting involved. Now that the younger dog is matured, she may feel she has to put the older dog in its place and establish herself as the alpha dog like I touched on above. 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 or injury in an 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.
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.
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.
While it looks like it is a sudden attack, the dogs body language is most likely speaking volumes before the fights start. So read the following pages so you can better understand the non verbal cues that dogs use in their daily interactions. It will allow you to stop fights before they get to even the growling stage in a lot of cases.
In addition, if the situation is not improving using the techniques I've suggested, 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.
Living in a household with multiple females can be an issue. You may eventually need to keep the two separate to avoid these problems if training doesn't work. You can read about this issue here:
Spaying one of them might also help since one would clearly be the alpha at that point. Keep in mind it can take up to 30 days for the hormones to stabilize.
I hope this information is helpful to you. If you need more information or clarification, please reply and I'll get back to you as soon as possible. If you are satisfied, please take the opportunity to rate.