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Canine Behavior/Will my two female dogs ever be able to get along again? Please help


Hello my name is diane, I am writing to ask you questions on if my two female dogs will ever be able to get along again?   The two dogs are a  two year old Boston terrier that is spayed and a 5 year old Pitt/lab mix that is also spayed.  These two dogs are my girlfriends but last week the dogs got into another bad fight n I just can't do it anymore so I wanted to reach out to see if I could get some help with this because I know my gf will not b able to get rid of either of the dogs.  So she has had the Pitt/lab mix since she was a baby, and then about 2 yrs ago she got the new little Boston terrier as a puppy.  Things were fine between them until about a year ago, they were playing with a toy and the Boston terrier like bit the Pitt/lab and the Pitt didnt like it and like bit back and really injured the Boston terrier, almost popping her eye out and killing her.   She made it through and recovered great only thing is now they can NOT being in the same room ever, they are separated when we are not there and also when we are there. At night the dogs are also separated and get to alternate every night with who gets to be in the bed that night with us.  I also have a Boston terrier that just recently has came into the house, but both females love him and he gets along with both of them but still the girls can not be together.  It told my gf that we needed to try something as far as training before one of us gets hurt or one of the dogs do which of course we don't want.  When they have fought, it is always the little Boston terrier that will go after the Pitt and bite her and won't let go and the Pitt will try so hard to not do anything until she gets hurt n then fights back, but I just feel the Boston terrier is the one that does the looks, or starts it because the Pitt is very much a lover and tries to avoid the Boston terrier even when we are switching she makes sure to not leave the room till we pick up the Boston terrier......   I tried having the Boston terrier in the room ans my dog and the Pitt locked up in the master bathroom with a baby gate so the girls could still see each other and next thing you know the Boston terrier is looking and then running to the gate and then jumped on the gate, opening it and causing another fight.   What so i do? Please help

Sadly, when fights between two females start to escalate, and cause serious damage, the only option for them is either strict management so that they do not have any access to one another at all (we call it crate and rotate), or rehoming one of the dogs.  Allowed to go on, this situation is likely to result in the death of one dog, very likely the Boston, or injury to you breaking up the fight.  Please think in terms of the best interest of your dogs, and not how much it would hurt you to rehome one.  You may be saving its life.  You will encounter people who will tell you that this can be solved, but in my experience you would have to punish the dogs so severely that their quality of life would be ZERO (and in my opinion, it would qualify as animal abuse), and that isn't fair to either of them.  Same gender aggression, especially female to female, is fairly common among terriers, and so it's not a surprise to me that this is happening or that the girls both love the male dog.  Sorry this is happening, but I really think the dogs, and you, would be happier if the little Boston found a single dog household, or a home with a compatible male dog.  Not fair to boot a resident dog out of her home for a newcomer who is instigating problems, plus your Pit mix with a bite history is not likely to find a home.  If you turned her in to a shelter, she would be put to sleep pretty much as soon as you walked out the door because of the liability.  If the Boston didn't do any puncturing, even if she was the instigator, she's a safer bet to rehome.

In response to your comment:
If you are walking the dogs together, you still need to make sure that no one is issuing threats to one another, and walking together, while possible, does not insure that they will grow to like one another enough to be with one another in other contexts.  If you want another professional opinion, I highly recommend that you seek counsel from a certified applied animal behaviorist or veterinarian behaviorist in your area.  

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Anne Springer, B.S., Dip., CAPCT


I am happy to answer questions about: dog behavior and training, therapy dogs, training disabled dogs, training recently rescued dogs, and managing off leash play groups.


Professionally involved in teaching private and group lessons, and doing behavior consultations. American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen Evaluator, Therapy Dogs, Inc. Tester/Observer. Special interest in pet/elder issues, and in therapy dogs.

Truly Dog Friendly Association of Pet Dog Trainers International Positive Dog Training Association Therapy Dogs, Inc.

Gloucester Times Cape Ann Beacon Ipswich Chronicle Beverly Citizen Salem News

Bachelor's Degree in Psychology, Cum Laude. Diploma in Dog Obedience Instruction, Graduate of NY School of Dog Grooming, Certified Advanced Pet Care Technician - American Boarding Kennels Assn., Certified Pet First Aid & CPR, American Red Cross

Awards and Honors
2002 Caregiver Award from the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, for Pawsitive Connections Program (pet/elder issues)

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