Hi, I have two boxers, a female aged 6 who has been with my partner and I for over five years. She is un-neutered and we have never bred from her because of the risks involved and I couldn't bear losing her. We aquired a rescue male boxer 3 days ago and I'm already at my wits end! He's 16 months old, also un-neutered (but is having the op before my bitch comes into her next season.) After we picked him up, we introduced them on neutral territory and my bitch was pretty accommodating for the first few hours, licking him and sniffing even after we got home. After this he wouldn't seem to leave her alone so she got a bit grisly with him but even after time out he will still go and harass her, it has got to the point now where if he picks up his own toy she will actively persue him, lips curled and attack him to take his toy. We have to feed them and walk them seperately, food, toys and our attention to the other seems to be a trigger for their fighting but she also attacks unprovoked, he got into his crate earlier, just for a sniff, totally ignored her, and she pursued him into the cage and bit his nose. I know this is her being territorial, I understand its been her home for a long time but I'm hoping you can give me some advice to restore harmony in my once peaceful home. I time them out when he gets too harrasive of her, and tell him no, I do the same for her when she attacks unprovoked. I've ensured she has been treated as top dog, allowing her privileges such as being first to get her food put down, and allowing her to sleep in our bed but she still continues to find fault just to attack him. She knows which is his favourite toy and purposely plays with it, so when he gets excitable and goes to join in with the play she goes for him. So far I've only had to deal with a couple of superficial cuts/bites to his lip and nose, but I'm petrified to leave them alone in the house together (I resort to crating him for his own safety) I also feel I'm missing out on time with my lady because I'm having to keep him out of her way which is making me feel terribly guilty and sad. I'd really appreciate any help you can give me because I couldn't bear to send him back into rescue, its not an option. I think he was beaten in his last home as he cowers and flinches at any object picked up suddenly. Thank you for your time. Kind regards, Logan
First, I'd like to correct you. A female is "spayed" or "unspayed" and a male is "neutered" or unneutered." You cannot call a vet and ask to have a female dog "neutered."
Secondly, I commend you for getting a rescue, however, that can have it's own set of problems. Not knowing the exact history of the dog in order to know how it will behave and how to overcome it and modify behaviors.
Third, your female has been the "alpha" of the pack (you, your partner, and her, equal a "pack") and that takes time for her to accept another into the pack, and teach the newcomer that she is the alpha, not him.
She is constantly reminding him by showing him, that she is the alpha and in charge- not him.
She will take away toys and do passive-aggressive things, and even aggressive things, to prove to him she is the boss.....
You will need to supervise at all times for awhile, and keep them feed in two separate areas in the kitchen opposite of one another, sleep in two crates, and treat them the same with the same rules. No sleeping in the bed and him crated.......... both need to be crated to sleep, both need to be feed at same time; the same routine- exactly, the same rules.
Buy a whistle.
When one misbehaves, shows aggression; any behavior you want discouraged, blow the whistle, and immediately verbally reprimand the misbehaving dog with one word commands, such as "no" or "bad" (make it a simple one to teach them) and leash the dog immediately, and put it in a "time-out" crate.
This crate should be a third crate to your already two crates they sleep in. This crate is different, maybe larger, and placed in a different area away from family view. This is a "jail" that is segregated from the family, making the misbehaving dog isolated and "punished."
Leave him or her in it for 5-8 minutes. Then, you can let the dog out.
Continue this religiously. Do not waiver.
Soon, they both will learn the sound of the whistle and the time-out in the special crate is punishment associated with the bad behavior.
You also should take the aggressor and push him or her onto her side down on the ground and hold there until submissive. Show the aggressor that YOU are actually the "alpha" not her or him...
To prove you are the alpha: do this:
At feeding time:
Take both food bowls and put food in them.
Place them up on the counter or table.
Have both dogs sit before you watching you.
Place cookies or crackers or biscuits behind the dog food bowls on the counter or table for yourself to eat.
Stand there eating one while NOT looking at your dogs.
Make them wait while YOU EAT.
Then, after you are finished, place there bowls down for them to eat.
This is how it is in the wild: the alpha eats first while the packs wait. When the alpha is finished eating, the alpha allows the pack to eat what is left, if any.
This will teach both dogs that YOU are the alpha and in control, which will soon make her realize that she is NOT the alpha and the equal to him.