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Canine Behavior/DOGS fighting


I have a 7 month old german shorthair pup and a 4 yr old german shorthair  we have had the pup for 5 months now and the 4 yr old since she was 6 weeks here the last month out of no where the older one got into a fight with the pup and it has been on going since then.  they were best of buds til then and now we have to keep gates across the doorways to separate them. the last fight was bad it involved the pups ear and neck bleeding. im scared for the pup more she is afraid of the older one and hides and shakes every time we try to reaquainte them. I have contacted my vet and she says it may be cause they are both not spayed.. so last week I had the pup spayed and she has backed away from the older one some. the older one goes to be spayed next week I really need some kind of help here these are like my kids and just want them to get along again . please any kind of advise will be appreciated

You may have spayed the wrong bitch.  Vet gave bad advice.  Seven month old may have been close to estrus cycle, progesterone would have benefited her temperament.  I would not spay the older bitch right now.

When two bitches fight on sight (as you are describing), it often is extremely difficult to stop them.  It seems to me the older bitch was the instigator, most likely because the younger was running estrogen.  Your "pack" is not under control.  Your veterinarian seems without a clue.  You say the "pup" has "backed away from the older one some"...but the "pup" was not the instigator according to your report.  The "pup" is afraid of the older bitch.  There's more to this than meets your eye.  I would be able to "see" it (read body language, take a full history of ownership of both dogs from you, evaluate them separately and together) but I can't do that from here.

You need to find a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist.  Even veterinarians trained in behavior (Veterinary Behaviorists) don't have the hands-on experience outside of a clinical setting.  Medication is not the answer here.  Your "pack" needs to be carefully structured by YOU, under the supervision of a CAAB.

Find one at one of the following sites or by calling the veterinary school in your geographical area:


Your younger bitch is, as you report, visibly shaking and fearful.  Your older bitch has usurped YOUR position in social hierarchy.  You can't fix this alone.  It will get worse.  Find a CAAB.  Until then, put house tabs on both dogs (lightweight leashes, only when you are at home) so you can easily (if there are two of you) separate them.  Being Human and loving your dogs, you may inadvertently have intervened in a manner that one dog found "rewarding" and the other "punishing", I can't see anything from here.  In future: opposite sex dogs unless you are then educated sufficiently to know how to temperament test before bringing a same sex dog into your home.  Wish there was more I could do for you, but you need on site specialist.

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Jill Connor, Ph.D.


I have spent my entire professional life rehabilitating the behavior of the domestic dog and I can answer any question regarding any behavior problem in any breed dog. I have answered more than 5,000 QUESTIONS on this site in the past (almost) eight years. If you are a caring, committed owner and need advice, I'm here for you. I am personally acquainted with my colleagues (Turid Rugaas, Ian Dunbar, etc.) who were members of an elite group in EGroups that I founded: K9Shrinks. THERE ARE NO QUICK FIXES for serious behavioral issues; not only is it unprofessional to offer same, it is also unethical. IF I ASK YOU SUBSEQUENT QUESTIONS, I NEED YOU TO INTERACT WITH ME. More information equals more credible answers and a more successful outcome. If you want ANSWERS THAT WORK, participate in any way I request. I'm quite committed to working on this site for YOUR benefit and the benefit of YOUR DOG. Help me in any way you can.


30 years of solving serious behavior problems in domestic dogs; expert in dog to human aggression; Internet columnist for for 5 years; former radio talk show host, WHPC.FM, Garden City, NY "Bite Back" (1995 through 2000). List owner, international animal behavior experts, Seminar leader: "Operant Conditioning and Learning"; "Aggression in The Domestic Dog"; "Solving Problem Behaviors" -- conducted for various training facilities on Long Island from 1993 through 2000. Former clinical director of "Behavioral Abnormalities" in conjunction with Mark Beckerman, DVM, Hempstead, New York.

Member, APDT (UK); Psychologists in Ethical Treatment with Animals

Harcourt Brace Learning Direct: "The Business of Dog Training" "The Fail Safe Dog: Brain Training, not Pain Training"

Ph.D., UC Berkeley

Past/Present Clients
Board of Directors: Northeast Dog Rescue Connection; The Dog Project; Sav-A-Dog Foundation; etc. Pro Bono counselor: Little Shelter Humane Society My practice is presently limited to forensics. I diagnose cause of dog bite, based upon testimony before the Court, for attorneys and insurance companies litigating dog bites, including fatal injuries. I also do pro bono work for bona fide rescue organizations, humane societies, et al, regarding such analysis in an effort to obtain release for dogs being held for death in municipal shelters in the US.

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