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Canine Behavior/My 2 female dogs fighting


I have a 8 year old min. daschund and a 5 year old american bulldog. They are both females the daschund can be mean and not just to my bulldog I have a male shephard too she will growl at and nip at his face. He just ignores her and walks off. My bulldog used to avoid her if she was on the couch and she wanted to get up there too she would see the daschund and go lay somewhere else. Here lately though they been getting into it to where I have had to break them up. They dont hurt each other but this is a 10lb dog against a 50lb dog. My bulldog is the sweetest dog she is very social with other dogs and towards people. The daschund she is ok with other dogs she will tolerate them. She can be a bully too. The first fight they got into was in my bed i woke up to them fighting i dont no what may have started it.The 2nd time my bulldog  walk up to me i was sitting down the daschund is very protective of me she started like fussing at bulldog and bit her on her nose and they went at it. Neither one hurt the other one i think a lot of it was noise. My question is what do i do after i get them apart how should i react towards them and should i separate them for any length of time. Last how can i stop them from getting into any more fights?

Two bitches fighting is most likely confusion regarding social hierarchy.  In this case, the Doxie appears to be the instigator BUT I can't see anything from here.  The body language just prior to an "attack" is very important; how you live with the dogs is also.  If I COULD be in your home to observe and evaluate both dogs individually and together, I could advise you properly.  As it is, I cannot take the chance as the Bulldog can (and might) kill the Doxie if this continues.  Then you have a serious problem.

Getting into the "mix" is not advisable.  Preventing it is.  First: find a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist in Florida IF YOU ARE ABLE TO DO SO.  Call the veterinary teaching college in your area or State and ask for referral or look at this site:

Now I have no idea where in the state of Florida you live; finding a CAAB might not be do-able.  If that is the case, you will have to use followup feature and answer an awful lot of questions so I can try to *see* what is happening.  This is the court of last resort, however.  If I make an educated guess, and I'm wrong, things can get worse.

So far: no physical injury; that will change.  The 8 yo Doxie is "aging out" of her social status and the 5 yo Bulldog is at the age of complete adult maturity and is becoming a "rank opportunist" (in regard to the Doxie).  "Managing" it requires putting all dogs in their "place" using a technique called Nothing In Life Is Free.  BUT.....during the process of actually doing this, "promoting" the "wrong" bitch will make things much worse and I can tell you that the Doxie will not easily take second "place" to the Bulldog, nor will the Bulldog allow it easily.  We're walking the razor's edge here.

So let's see if you can find a CAAB (NOT just a dog trainer).  Meanwhile:  put body harnesses on both dogs with lightweight leash attachments.  DO NOT get between them; use the leashes to remove the most aggressive (the one who CLEARLY started the fight); put that dog behind a closed door, then do the same with the other one: do this as quickly as possible. Leave them behind the closed doors for about one minute, then let them out and observe closely for a few minutes.  If you see one starting up again, grab the leash, behind closed door, same with the second, for another minute.  This is what I call "And now for something totally different."  Instead of your upset reaction, they are calmly isolated.  Will this cure the situation?  No, it is just a stopgap measure to keep the fights from escalating to real injury.

Sleeping in bed with you, I'm sorry to say, is allowing both to the "heart" of the "den".  This has to stop.  They should both be confined to comfortable place behind baby gate AWAY FROM ONE ANOTHER.  I understand very well that this is the last thing you want to do, but it has to be done until the situation is sorted out.  When you are not at home, they CANNOT be left alone.  When you return from going out, simply allow both dogs from their confinement areas by opening the gate; say nothing, no direct eye contact.  See which dog INSISTS upon greeting you even though you refuse greeting, and observe the behavior of the other dog (we are leaving the GSD out of this for now: he can be greeted freely and not confined).  Allowing them on furniture is also something I would like to stop.  Resource guarding is a huge problem between these two bitches.  That means YOU are also a resource.  Being on furniture and in bed with you are things the Bulldog may very well deserve, but the Doxie clearly does not deserve them, so we cannot allow the Bulldog to keep these resources because the Doxie will increase her determination.  As I said, I can't see anything from here.  I just want to stop this from getting to the point where they fight on sight, because then it is incurable.

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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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